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The relationship between mastery and surrender

Achieving any goal is a very dynamic process where success is closely related to the amount of effort and energy invested in achieving said goal. It requires, passion, perseverance, rigour, commitment and a pretty strong will at times. These seem to be the the driving forces in terms of achievement but it is not the complete picture.

I would like to shift the focus to the softer, often overlooked, skill of letting go.

At some point on our journey toward that shiny goal, we will almost certainly arrive at a point that require the qualities of flexibility, openness and letting go. Personally I find these times a lot more difficult than applying a skill set, buckling down and working really hard. Hard as it may get at times at least I am clear on where to focus and success or failure at that moment fall into an easy “ either I get it done or I don’t “ mindset. So where is the shift between control and trust, between holding on and letting go?

I honestly do not think about it all that often because I am so busy getting the work done. I do however recognize its arrival by a certain discomfort that shows up with uncertainty.

Uncertainty being the key word here, I suspect, because it always shows its face when we are moving in the territory of weighing risk and reward.

I am learning a new nunchuck skill at present where I do a switch of the ends that I grip. The chain rides my hand and the nunchuck rotates on its path from one hip to another. I attracted the attention of one of my instructors at this point and she took position at my side. After watching me for a little while, she had the following instruction: “ you need to open your hand.” I did just that and improvement was instant, the attachment to guiding the chain at the point of transition remained however and it revealed itself in many a pinched hand. This is what led me to ponder the purpose of letting go in the first place. In terms of nunchuck skill it was easy to draw the conclusion that all the work is done at the point of transition, the momentum and direction of movement is set at this point. I did the work and now I need to trust in that, by opening my hand. If my setup was correct the nunchuck did a beautiful rotation and it was up

to me to regrip at the right instant. I am not sure what I liked better, the sudden ease in the movement or the metaphor.

Pondering where else I had an attachment to guiding and clinging in situations that have been ‘set up’ if you will, by previously mentioned hard work etc. proved to be a

worthwhile contemplation. It became clear that there are most certainly times that call for an open hand and a big dose of faith in the work leading up to the point of transition. When I enter this phase of the journey toward my goal I am alerted by a forced quality that enters my active participation as well as a mood of uncertainty. Success is very much a function of effort and application but recognizing the moment of transition and opening the hand is an often underrated art.

Surrender is a powerful move, practice it!

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