A few weeks ago I told you how I was listening to the book The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. It’s really been an interesting experience to watch my own resistance, and then consideration and curiosity, and then openness to the concept of surrender. 

Along the way, I’ve been explaining what I’ve been thinking about to some of my friends and my coach. It really helped me to hear their questions and confusion about what I was thinking and what I was trying to put into words. 

I wanted more of it too – more information, more content, more understanding! I told you how as soon as I was finished with the book, I went right back into my app and pressed “start over” to listen again. 

When the book expired from the library and I was left without it to listen to anymore, a podcast episode, and then another book with the same themes made their way into my ears. 

Today, in an effort to better understand, through attempting to explain, I want to share what I’ve been hearing, and learning, thinking about, and noticing with you. And, as always, I will be so curious to hear your reaction!

Let’s Talk About Surrender

Is the idea of surrender just obvious and basic to you? Maybe you already live in surrender? 

Or, is this concept completely foreign and crazy-sounding?

What is confusing or what do you notice resistance to when you hear me talk about the concept of surrender?

I’ve been working through my own questions and things I’ve noticed. And I’ve loved hearing questions and comments from other people as I talk it out – so for the rest of our time together today, I want to talk you through what I’m thinking (at this point in time while knowing I’m still learning and still realizing).

Battle Language

The first thing to address about the concept of surrender, and so many words that come up in this whole discussion, is how many of them come from the battleground. 

Surrender, resistance, liberation, struggle, fight, peace, freedom. Why is that? Is that necessary?

And what came first? The comparison of these ideas to battleground language or do we actually use personal development language to describe what happens during war? Trippy, right?

I haven’t looked this up or researched it, but my guess is the reason we use these words like surrender and resistance and struggle and fight is because we are engaging (sometimes, uncomfortably) with our own minds, our own egos. 

I’m not sure how I feel about this whole battle language situation just yet, but, for now, I’m noticing that it does exist. It does provide descriptive words to use. I’m just accepting this language for now and maybe as I continue learning I’ll find a non-war related set of vocabulary to use instead. And, also, maybe, it doesn’t matter!

Is it Weak to Surrender?

I had someone tell me that she wondered if surrender implied weakness.

Isn’t surrender just giving in? Yes, but maybe not in the way you’re thinking. Surrender is accepting reality instead of fighting it.

In this case, resistance really is futile. And, since it’s futile, resistance actually takes so much more effort and creates more strain than surrender. 

But, that doesn’t sound right. At least not to our minds. Our minds are probably screaming “No! Don’t accept! You must resist! You can control what’s happening. Or you should at least try to control what’s happening.” Spoiler Alert- we can’t control any of it! Sorry!

As I continued my research into surrender and openness, I heard Tosha Silver answer the question of how do you define surrender as it’s the “release of the my.” When you surrender, the “my” (referring to the ego or the preference) is no longer the centerpiece to how you make decisions. 

Hearing that interview and that definition caused me to give Tosha’s book “It’s Not Your Money” a second consideration. 

I had judged a book by it’s cover. I saw she had a book about money and thought – I don’t have any resistance around money, that book isn’t for me.

But when she described surrender as the release of the my, for example, it’s not my money and I understood she was describing a releasing of the needing, wanting, grasping, and trying to control. I saw that her book about money didn’t actually have to be about money and suddenly, I was very interested.

Surrender Indicating Weakness?

So, back to the original question of surrender indicating weakness. Is it weak to surrender? In this context, not at all. And I felt pretty confident about that answer. 

Until I talked to someone who told me she’d been surrendering her whole adult life. I thought I knew what she meant and I thought (and probably said) “but that’s not what I’m referring to.” 

I admit, I could be totally wrong about this. Here’s what I thought during that conversation: she’s telling me that she’s surrendering and has surrendered her whole life- but, she hasn’t. She’s still trying to control. 

She’s not surrendering, as in accepting that what is, is. 

Yes, she’s giving in and acquiescing to other people’s preferences – so in that sense, she is surrendering to other people. But, she’s doing that out of fear and threat. She’s afraid of what will happen if she doesn’t give in to their way. She feels threatened by her imagined future if she doesn’t go along with their wishes. So, she tries to control other people’s reactions and the future by giving in to their demands.

So, yes, I can see how, in a way, she’s living a life of surrender. 

And, it makes me wonder, what if, instead of believing she had control over someone else’s reactions and what if, instead of believing she knew how things will play out if she does or doesn’t do something, what if she surrendered to the idea that maybe they will be disappointed or angry if I don’t give in and that’s ok. Maybe there will be a negative consequence if I don’t go along, and I accept that. 

Surrendering to Someone Else

A whole new set of questions pop up for me as I try to work out this hypothetical situation. Then, what should she do? How should she behave? If she doesn’t surrender to someone else, what should she surrender to?

When should she stand her ground? When should she choose her own preference, over someone else’s? I still don’t know the answer to all of these yet. My suspicion is that it has to do with abundance. 

My “go to” method for considering impossible situations is to ask “what if you knew it would all be fine, what would you choose then?”

In the case of my surrendering friend, what if she had no opinion about what would happen next, what would feel like the most loving and abundant choice to make?

If she’s noticing she’s making a decision out of scarcity, how could she make that decision from abundance instead?

And maybe, she would decide to choose her own preference, instead of someone else’s. 

Which brings us to preference…


Preference kept popping up for me as I was learning. I’ve heard the phrase preference before with other teachers and not really noticed it, but I really noticed when Michael Singer consistently referred to dropping his preference in The Surrender Experiment.

So, what is preference even referring to?

Is this the ego? What the mind prefers or thinks it knows better. 

I’ve started noticing so much preference in my own thinking now that I’m identifying it this way. 

My mind frequently has a preference for something that is not reality.  Cute, right? 

Does preference suggest where our expectations come from? Are my expectations due to my preferences? I think so. 

And when I notice this, I figure out why resistance comes up for me. 

What’s My Expectation?

So, if I have a preference for people to show up on time, then it becomes my expectation that a friend should show up on time when we have plans. 

Then, if she doesn’t show up on time, my expectation is not met. I start to feel resistance. 

It might sound like “she should be here by now. She shouldn’t keep me waiting. She should be more respectful. If she knew she was going to be late, she should have let me know.”

See how all these should statements are just not reality? The reality is she’s not here by now. I am waiting. I have a thought that she’s not respectful. She did not let me know. 

I have the option to just accept (or surrender to) this reality instead of resisting it. 

An Example of Acceptance

Let’s practice with one of the examples I just gave. 

The resisting version is me saying “She should be here by now.”

The accepting version is “She’s not here by now.”

Even though the difference in those sentences is so slight, do you hear the huge difference in the energy?

When I think she should be here by now, I might feel irritated. 

When I think she’s not here by now, I might feel observant. 

And then we can play it out from there – what do I do when I feel irritated (probably not a lot of great things). What do I do when I feel observant? I feel much more open and calm. I have the capacity to consider possibilities. I don’t really have that capacity while I’m irritated. 

Knowing and Trust

Once I asked a coaching client how she felt about having faith. Even from her facial expression, I could tell there was a disconnect. She said she didn’t really identify with that word. 

I get how using the word faith can be a turn off for someone who’s context is that it means to believe something blindly without evidence. I probably have had that disconnected reaction to the word faith in the past too. 

But now I’m really warming up to it. I’m really starting to consider the idea of purposely and intentionally believing something even when there’s no “reason” to believe it. 

I like the idea of noticing what I KNOW, like deep and innately, not what I think. I like the idea of trusting that things will work out and that I’m set for life. Because, what’s the alternative, to trust that things won’t work out? That I’m doomed for life – no thank you!

Being Open

I was explaining all these new ideas and concepts to a friend and talking about how, because I was learning about and experimenting with surrender, I was trying to be open. She said she didn’t get the connection between surrendering and being open. 

She described it, for herself, in her own situation, as thinking she could either surrender to do this or that. How was that being open?

As soon as she described her 2 choices, I felt even more clear about what I was talking about. That’s an example of the mind falsely limiting the choices to just 2, and thinking one of them is probably the right choice or the better choice. 

Being open means I have no idea how many choices there are. And, I see my preference as just a preference. It also means I believe all of the choices could be right. So I’m being open beyond my own knowledge and my own preferences. 

How Do I Surrender?

Even though I’m sharing what I’m learning in all of this, it’s still relatively new for me. I’m a baby at surrendering right now and I still have so many questions and so much to learn. 

As I was listening to The Surrender Experiment the first time through, I hoped (my preference was) that after he was done telling his story, he would switch into teaching mode and give me a list of steps or maybe a worksheet on how to surrender. 

I liked hearing his stories and I understood what he was telling me, but I did wonder how I could import the ideas and lessons from the woods of Florida in the 70s to the suburbs of Arizona in the 20s. 

One question that my mind is very eager to learn the answer to before it will relax and stop resisting is how do I live in surrender?

Doesn’t that mean I’m just doing nothing?

When I pose that question to myself, I come up with the answer of “Maybe.” Wouldn’t that be fine?

What if I surrendered to a life of doing nothing and boredom because the preference of the mind is entertainment, problem solving, excitement, drama and creation?

Interestingly enough, after I decided “I guess it’s ok for me to surrender to a life of boredom and “doing nothing.” I found my next surrender teacher (who I mentioned earlier) – Tosha Silver. 

I devoured her book Outrageous Openness. Another book of stories which I really enjoyed – and again, I was left with the understanding of how she applied openness to her life in the 90s and early 2000s in the Bay Area, but how, how, how could I apply it to my life, now, in the suburbs of Arizona in the 20s?

Giving the Book Another Look

That’s when I gave her book It’s Not Your Money another look. That’s when I heard it described as a How to Surrender Book. What?!? Exactly what I had been wanting! 

I’m not saying it always works out that effortlessly and flowy – that one minute I was wishing for a how-to book, then I surrendered to a life of boredom, and then I received a How To Book. But, that is how it all unfolded for me in the past few weeks. 

Another question the mind in me has is “am I just waiting for life to offer me something that I can surrender to?” That’s the idea I got from listening to The Surrender Experiment, but as I listened to another one of my favorite teachers, Jess Lively, on her podcast talking about how her life was flowing, I heard so many beautiful examples of surrendering to the nudges and guidance of the Inner Voice rather than the mind and not necessarily an external offer. That was the missing piece for me! 

Language of New Teachers

Speaking of offer… we all know what that word means, right? But as I’m learning, and getting used to the language of new teachers, I actually had an offer misunderstanding. 

Just after I listened to Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness, (it seemed like the perfect feminine energy complement to the male energy Surrender Experiment), I heard her being interviewed on that podcast I mentioned. She explained to the interviewer that the entire book is really about offering. 

My Offering Misunderstanding

Without having read the book yet, I interpreted offering in the context of generosity. It sounded good to me. 

That night, I was talking with my sister and summarized some of what I had heard and what I was thinking. She asked me, what’s your offering? I knew right away -it’s coaching. It’s the idea that I have this skill and this talent, that I’m good at and that I enjoy, and that I really believe makes the world a better place. So I’m able to offer coaching. And in thinking about this, I considered, I guess it also means, I can offer coaching without any expectation, no strings attached. I can coach – even if I don’t get paid for coaching. This is an interesting perspective. It kind of made me wonder – does surrendering and following these teachings mean that I volunteer my coaching freely and that my life will take on a monk-like existence? 

Again, with the intention of surrender, I was able to answer “maybe.” But I’ll be honest, the mind in me was screaming NO and I could definitely feel so much resistance.

What Offering Is

As it turns out, I had misunderstood what Tosha was referring to when she talked about offering. She wasn’t talking about a gift or a contribution. She wasn’t talking about what I list on my services page of my website: “my offerings.” 

She was suggesting that part of surrender means offering any problem, burden or desire to the divine to handle instead of thinking the mind has to solve it. What a relief! That was an interesting little mental field trip I took there!

And also- thinking about offering in this way is literally a relief! It means when I catch myself stressing or feeling worried or anxious, I can offer whatever it is that’s bothering me up and detach myself from fixing or controlling it. I can trust that I’ll know the next right step to take towards or away from it.

Next Steps towards Surrender

Can you see how this exploration has ignited my curiosity and interest and even passion? I definitely feel it! And, even though I was prepared to surrender to boredom and doing nothing in order to practice this work. I’m actually feeling very excited and inspired. And, what I’m learning is causing me to do lots of things- not do nothing.

I still want more! More information, more content, more understanding! And I see how valuable its been to discuss these concepts with other people to hear their perspectives and questions and understandings. 

So, I’ve started a Surrender Study Group for the months of March and April. We’ll be working through Tosha Silver’s It’s Not Your Money book a week at a time. 

If the topics I’ve shared today are interesting to you and if you’re curious about the book, please consider joining us! 

We’ll be meeting on Wednesday nights on Zoom and we also have a facebook group with over 50 people from around the world who are interested in the book and these concepts. I’m so excited to see how this all unfolds. 

Books and Episode and Study Group Links

Here are the books and podcast episodes I’ve mentioned:

The Surrender Experiment – Michael Singer
Outrageous Openness – Tosha Silver
It’s Not Your Money – Tosha Silver
Elizabeth DiAlto interview with Tosha Silver: https://youtu.be/Czj8CToYSkI
Jess Lively Flow Diaries: https://jesslively.com/tls347/ ​​

If you’re reading this in real time (at the end of February, 2021), you can join the facebook group by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/surrenderstudy