Like most of the principles I’ve surveyed in this book, surrender consists of two opposing and complementary aspects. It’s both letting go and letting in.
Letting go implies releasing and turning away from what was—the old ways of thinking and behaving, the old hopes, the old intentions. We accept that our old lives are over, and we leave them behind. This involves changing our minds about the course we’ve been on by accepting that it isn’t working. It’s the “white flag” part of surrender—the admission that we’re done fighting. Letting go also involves putting down our weapons, which includes all those things that we’ve been using to keep our battle going—everything we use to fight against change or to inhibit growth.
The letting in aspect of surrender involves choosing to follow, or letting in, a new commander. Whether that commander is an idea, a person, or a Higher Power, we submit ourselves to its superior force and trust in its goodness. Reciprocally, the new commander accepts our surrender and receives us. Then surrender involves uniting our lives with that power and becoming part of it, which implies integration.
In the sections below, we’ll look at four distinct phases of surrender represented by four commands. The first two of these commands have to do with letting go. They are “change your mind” and “drop your weapons.” The other two commands have to do with letting in. They are “follow the king” and “unify the kingdom.” Each phase is related to the functions of a specific archetype. The Magian enables us to change our minds (phase one) through his capacity to transform our thinking. It takes the Warrior’s courage, discipline, and ability to detach in order to drop our weapons (phase two). The King represents the pattern of wholeness that we’ll follow (phase three). And the passion of the Lover’s libido and desire for union is the power that will unify our inner kingdom (phase four).
These four phases don’t necessarily represent a sequential path of surrender, although it is more common that the first phase will precede the others and the last phase will more often follow the first three. But rather than seeing them as linear, think of these phases as being more like components or even principles that might occur in a variety of sequences. As we go through the process of surrendering a major issue in our lives, we may go back and forth among these phases. And we’ll likely cycle through them again and again as we work our way toward greater wholeness. Once you know these phases, you will find that the process of surrender is active—or needs to be activated—in many aspects of your life.