Unconditional Surrender

Unconditional Surrender

Dennis Bradford

388 Posts

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Unconditional surrender to the form of what-is in the present moment is the beginning of living well.  What?

‘Unconditional surrender’ means complete acceptance; there can be no strings attached. ‘What-is’ is reality. Ultimate reality is Being (Life, God, divinity, Consciousness).  A “form” is whatever can be separated from everything else or singled out for attention; it’s an impermanent appearance.  All forms are temporal; all forms exist in the domain of Becoming (as opposed to the eternal, formless domain of Being). 


To be wise is to live well.  Living well or wisely begins with the transition from time to timelessness (eternity), with the opening of Becoming to Being. 

Total acceptance of whatever form Becoming has in the present moment does not mean acceptance of any story or interpretation or evaluation of whatever form Becoming has in the present moment. 

All stories are temporal.  All interpretations are conceptual judgments.  All evaluations are impermanent.  Total acceptance is beyond time, judgments, and evaluations.

How can we determine for ourselves what living well is like?  How can we experience wisdom directly?  It’s simple:  detach from all stories, judgments, and evaluations, which, like sensations, perceptions, and emotions, are contents of Becoming.  Doing so reveals Being, which is like an infinitely spacious container.

Beyond Becoming

The most powerful symbol of the transition is Jesus on the cross.  [I discuss this also in ARE YOU LIVING WITHOUT PURPOSE?]  It’s not a matter of his will being done; it’s a matter of Thy will being done.  The referent of ‘Thy’ is ultimate reality.  Whole-hearted acceptance of whatever form Becoming has in the present moment is the uncovering of one’s essential or true self (Buddha-nature, Being, Self). 

Unconditional surrender or acceptance, like life, can only occur now; it cannot occur in the past or in the future. 

Since it is Jesus’ death, the termination of his person, why is Good Friday good?  Because it’s Jesus’ opening to ultimate reality (transition from his little self to his big Self).

Merely thinking about complete acceptance should not be identified with actual complete acceptance.  All thought, like all life, is restricted to Becoming, whereas Life is Being, which is beyond all thought (as Self is beyond self).  Since Being is ineffable, the word ‘Being’ is merely a pointer.  The same goes for all similar words and phrases.  To confuse any of them with Being is to mistake a finger pointing towards the moon with the moon or reading a menu with eating the food described on the menu.

The pre-Christian symbol of the cross stands for the intersection of time, the horizontal, with timelessness (eternity), the vertical.  [Please don’t confuse ‘eternal’ with ‘immortal.’] 

a Christian cross

“Spiritual awakening” is experiencing the intersection of time and timelessness.  [Please don’t confuse ‘spiritual’ with ‘religious.’]


This is a rejection of the way of the world, which is constantly trying to gain whatever one likes (desires, values) and to avoid or lose whatever one dislikes.  (The only exception, which is unrecognized anyway by those attached to the way of the world, is nonegocentric desire.)

This is a rejection of the someday syndrome, which is believing that “If only I could have X, then I could finally live well.”  ‘X’ denotes something desired.  [Please don’t confuse the object of a desire with its good.  The good with respect to a desire is its annihilation.  For example, food is the object of hunger, but the good with respect to hunger is the end of the hunger.]  At this moment, none of us are actually missing anything required for living well.

This is a rejection of the restricted understanding of myself as ego (resistance, little self, egoic I).  Instead, it points to realization that our essential (true, whole) nature is Being.

Why is this important?  Since Being is formless and forms are required for separation, there is no separation in Being.  Since all dissatisfaction (misery, discontent, suffering, unease) is caused by separation, realization of our essential nature dissolves all dissatisfaction.

The takeaway:  when you are sufficiently sick and tired of being sick and tired, emulate Jesus, The Buddha, and all other sages by opening to Being.  This is the critical difference between “sages” (buddhas, saints) and the rest of us.  This is why they live well and we don’t (yet!).

Good News

The good news is that we are all potential sages.  What is required for our transition is detachment from all forms.  How is that possible?

Ego-death typically requires mastery of some classic spiritual (yogic, meditative) practice or other such as zazen, aliveness awareness, or tai chi. 

zen student practicing

Mastery of anything worth mastering is never easy.  It requires the right kind of sustained practice.

Wisdom, mastering life, requires total detachment from ego.  There’s no such thing as a selfish sage.

Since wisdom is not a matter of luck or happenstance, we are all capable of wisdom.  We all have what it takes to live well.   It’s false that the shift from ego to egolessness is commonplace, but, perhaps, it may become so.

That’s humankind’s only hope.

1 thought on “Unconditional Surrender

  1. Beatrice

    It really talks about reality and is right path to fellow when it comes to living well

    28/07/2019 at 11:47 am

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