Joyfully Surrendering to the Mess

Thanks Leigh for offering up Adi Da’s profound insight below in response to my post on the difficulties of adjusting to a family of four.  Yes: there are times to let go of all programs, “solutions,” life rafts, methodologies, philosophies and “answers.” Beneath the ceaseless attempts at “right action,” I can witness and participate in life’s unfolding with a loosening of my grip on any agenda towards particular outcomes. A striving towards and desire for ‘gentleness’ or familial harmony may serve life in some way, but it ultimately doesn’t reflect the raw truth of life’s underlying messiness. And, striving for and desiring anything other than what IS is exhausting, and counter to a deeper calling to simply love what is arising wholeheartedly in every moment.

It is like frying oneself in a frying pan: the quest for ‘perfection,’ the attempts at avoiding messes and mistakes, the labeling of love as one thing and not another. “AH! OUCH! WAIT, THIS SUCKS!” is the mantra that surfaces. What entraps many of us in suffering is a belief that there is a more ‘perfect’ way to be. Until: the reminder that what serves life at the deepest core is love, and who am I to judge what that ultimately looks like? The mystery of a life’s unfolding is far beyond the unraveling of a given ‘difficult’ day in my household. There are lifetimes of karma being wound and unwound…There are eons of contractions and expansions to be lived. Just like the cosmos pulsing its ebbs and flows, we too dance this dance of contraction and release. And what can we do in the midst? Surrender to processes greater than ourselves.  Let go into the pulsing movement of life, and surrender with a joyful disposition – just like the dive into the mud…


“You are disturbed, you are uptight, you are not surrendered bodily, and you are working on internal programs for ultimate surrender. The truth is that you are simply afraid, not surrendered. Those programs are what you do when you do not surrender emotionally, when you cannot see that you are simply contracting and cannot release the contraction and allow whatever is happening to happen. You must trust the process of your own life, whether it is to go mad, to become ill, to work, to succeed, or to die. Be free of fear…Trust the Divine altogether. Give yourself up emotionally to God. Practice complete devotion and absolute surrender. Do not just tread the path of gradual attainment in your emotional and ceremonial approaches to God. Give yourself up completely in this moment. Give up everything at every depth and in every area of your life. Allow life to be the theatre of God, in which what seems to be appropriate and necessary in your case will be accomplished spontaneously. Allow all of life to be God’s business. Whatever arises, high or low, such a life will be simply surrendering to the point of happiness, giving up to God completely…You need not know anything. You need not become convinced of anything except that you are suffering a contracted state of existence. Feel the force of that contraction, its emotional force, its physical force. Feel the quality of contraction and realize it is your own action. Realize you can exist in a totally different condition merely by recognizing your own separative activity and transcending it in each moment. Just surrender emotionally and completely.” 

– Adi Da

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