Surrender to Peace

Watermelon Catapult GIF

“The greatness of a man’s power is the measure of his surrender.”–William Booth

As an American, surrendering is never an option. I was raised with mottos like “give me liberty or give me death”; “remember the Alamo”; or “I’d rather die on my feet, than live on my knees.” We have been taught to “never give up.”

The image above comes from the reality television show, The Great Race. What is most remarkable is not that this contestant survived the accident, but that her partner urged her to keep trying after she wiped the blood off her face, so they could win the race.

Maybe Americans have it wrong. Maybe surrender should be our first option.

Cover of "War"

One of my favorite albums in high school was U2’s War. Looking back, I realize that the whole album wasn’t about war at all, but surrender. Two of my favorite songs from the album  are “Surrender” and “40.”

“40” is the last song on the album and became a staple in U2’s live performances. It comes from Psalms 40:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”

To me, waiting patiently is a form of surrender. I’m vowing to surrender more and fight less in 2013. I am going to surrender the things in the past that I can’t change. I will surrender my fears about the future and focus on the present moment.

“If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments.”–Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Most importantly, I will surrender my ego to the greater good. It is our ego that causes us “to win no matter what the costs.” So much suffering in the world stems from egocentric behavior. Maybe living on one’s knees in humbleness and surrender is better than not only dying on one’s feet, but also standing on the victor’s podium.

Perhaps the quickest way to peace is for everyone to surrender to the higher powers of humanity, lovingkindness, and compassion.

What are your feelings about surrendering? Am I being anti-American by having these views on surrender? Please share.

Thank you for reading, sharing, and/or smiling.


70 comments on “Surrender to Peace

  1. You are right. We are taught growing up to “overcome” obstacles and never surrender and that is courageous and a display of great strength. But it takes greater strength to surrender and let go of our insecurities and doubts and put our trust in others.

    • Kozo says:

      It does take great strength to surrender, Tasha, especially in our culture. I love how you say, “let go of insecurities and doubts,” because surrendering requires us to confront our own weaknesses which seems ironic. We often think of surrendering as giving into our weaknesses, but it actually requires us to overcome fears and doubts.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Dawna says:

    The image at the top… I find that so difficult and personally painful to watch. I do agree, though, that surrendering is not something programmed into us, especially here in the States, but it is often the best and most necessary way in which to proceed. It is a hard lesson to learn.

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing my own post on Peace. I am truly honored.

    • Kozo says:

      I agree, Dawna. The GIF is disturbing. I probably would not have included it if it had not have been from a game show. It shows how much we are willing to risk for fame and fortune in this country. Sad, but true. It really shocked me when this woman’s partner urged her to finish the task, because if you ask me, this woman is lucky to be alive.
      By the way, I am working on your assignment this week. Great post. Thank you for posting for peace.

      • Dawna says:

        Oh! I agree completely. The things people will endure – physically, emotionally and mentally – for their 15 minutes of fame and money… It amazes me, and… yes, I am surprised she lived through that. So, I believe the GIF is most appropriate in the context of your post. It just hurts to watch. 🙂

      • Kozo says:

        Your pain reflects your empathy, Dawna. Thank you for caring and understanding.

  3. Great thoughts here, I think we are programmed to keep on with our struggle, regardless of the barriers we face. I know many times as an athlete in my youth I was urged to “push it” and “don’t ever give up” that it is difficult to surrender. As an older adult I think that is why it is so contradictory and difficult to learn that letting go is a good thing. I definitely don’t think you are anti-American for thinking this way, America is full of different opinions and that is what makes us who we are. Great reference of U2, one of my favorites as well from high school. Love the War album. Keep them coming!

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jonathan. Funny about the anti-American thing. I was listening to the radio this morning contemplating whether my post would offend Americans when U2’s “In the Name of Love” came on. I’m sure you know that this song is about Martin Luther King. I realized that many of MLK’s views were seen as anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Black, but in the end, everyone realized that he was pro-love which makes him anti-nothing. I guess I’m willing to be seen as anti-American if it means that I am pro-love. Thanks for your reassurance, however. I love this country, and I agree one of the defining qualities of America is the diversity of opinions that we tolerate.

  4. I don’t think you’re being anti-American. You’re just sharing a different view. Isn’t that one of the key principles this country stands on? Our freedom of speech? 🙂
    & That is a great album. 😉 I’ve always loved the cover art.

    • Kozo says:

      I agree, DDiW. The cover art is powerful. I really miss album covers. I miss albums. I can’t remember when was the last contemporary album I listened to in its entirety. I can’t even remember what was the last album I bought. Ever since cds disappeared, I only buy songs. Something needs to change–probably me.
      Thanks for the post, DDiW. Peace Be.

  5. what a great post, I really enjoyed it. Have tweeted and Facebooked to.

  6. Adam S says:

    That GIF is brutal! You can actually see the sonic boom flash when the slingshot hits her in the face. Sorry, I couldn’t help but point that out.

  7. I shall read your readers comments, I’m not sure –but I do know this is enriching topic!

  8. KM Huber says:

    Nothing anti-American here nor anti-human, just thoughtful words. I have come to believe that the past looms less when we accept or surrender to the fact that nothing will ever change it. Some say that defines forgiveness, and I agree.

    Your post got me to thinking about unconditional love and peace; perhaps the bridge between them is not attaching to outcome, meaning crossing the bridge to get to the other side. I’ll see what I can do with it.

    Really appreciate the mention on your blog, Kozo. It means a lot.


    • Kozo says:

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment. I love the idea of surrendering the past defining forgiveness. Definitely have to work on that one during meditation. haha
      I would love to hear more about the bridge between unconditional love and peace. Sounds like a great post for B4peace.

  9. seeker says:

    Rumi the mystic poet there are so many ways to kiss the ground. Surrendering peaceful begets peace. As for ego, I think of pride. When one has too much pride, especially in my family, I can easily say, swallow your pride, it’s not fattening. Then, we all lightening up. Thanks for the post, Kozo.

    • Kozo says:

      Great point about pride, Seeker. That is why I love the idea of getting down on one’s knees–good way to crush pride. Maybe that is what Rumi was getting at. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  10. diannegray says:

    This isn’t anti-American in my opinion – though I’m not an American! 😉

    We’re taught from a very early age to ‘never surrender’ – it’s kind of a yellow-belly coward thing to do. I think this causes half the problems we face in the world today. People stand up against each other and the one that surrenders is painted as the weakling. What an awful way for us all to live!

    I remember watching a TV show once where an actor survived a plane crash and his words have never left me. He said the plane went into the water and he panicked and was struggling to release his seat belt. He didn’t know if he was facing up or down and he was completely submerged in the water. He said he couldn’t remember how long he struggled before he heard a voice say “surrender”. He felt an overwhelming calmness come over him, he relaxed and unclipped his belt and floated to the surface where he was pulled from the water. I believe life is like this. Once you surrender to the universe and let it weave it’s magic, life takes on a whole new meaning. I equate it to “floating down the river of life” – I never struggle against the flow because I know the river is leading me to my destination and I’m loving the journey 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Wow, Dianne, what an incredible story. I feel a voice telling me to surrender. I was going to say that I am not on a crashed plane, but some would beg to differ. haha.
      I love your image of floating down the river of life. I’m done struggling and fighting. Hopefully, I can start enjoying the journey as well. Thank you for your wise words, my friend.

  11. Professions for PEACE says:

    Thank you for another wise and enlightening post! Let this be a magical year as more and more of us vow ‘to surrender more and fight less’. And as we bring peaceful thoughts as we drive through traffic and wait in lines at grocery stores and walk through crowded streets, let us know we are surrendering frustration and embracing patience as we contribute to a more peaceful world. Bless your heart my friend. Your posts continue to amaze me. I am honored with your inclusion of a link to one of my posts.
    Happy cyber hugs of gratitude and friendship!!! 😀
    Cheers, Gina

    • Kozo says:

      Yay, cyber hugs of gratitude and friendship. I can’t think of a better gift. Thanks, Gina. I love the way you put it–“we are surrendering frustration and embracing patience.” Hugs and surrender seem to go hand in hand or arm in arm. I look forward to a year of peace, gratitude, and hugs. 🙂

  12. theINFP says:

    I agree with you, the amount of wasted mental and physical energy that goes into persistence and resisting could be put to so much good.

    • Kozo says:

      Your right on target with the idea of wasted energy, INFP. These fights I’ve been fighting have drained me to the core. I feel so much new energy from surrendering. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  13. PaulaB says:

    There was a Dalai Lama quote I saw recently that reminds me of this post, Kozo. About his reasoning for not staying to fight the Chinese…about the inner war created by persistence, and war being obsolete. To walk away sometimes is the better choice…for ones own personal well-being.

    • Kozo says:

      You read my mind. I was going to make a comparison between American perseverance and Tibetan surrender, but I chose to go with the U2 reference instead–music has been in my thoughts lately. The Dalai Lama is a great example of the power of surrender. He has brought so much peace, awareness, and happiness after his surrender/exile. Thank you for bringing up this very relevant idea.
      p.s. I will be by the blog soon. I have been tied up lately with a number of responsibilities. (((Hugs))) Kozo

  14. Great One, Kozo!

  15. Dieu says:

    I think in moments of greatest stress and distress, surrendering to God, or the universe or to a greater force is what helps people relax and live in the moment. Surrendering is about living in the moment – not anti-American or anti-anything, I think. I read a quote somewhere that goes something like this: “if all you do today is breathe, that is enough”.


    • Kozo says:

      Beautiful quotation, Dieu. Reminds me of how simple life can be. Thanks for your continued support and spirit. Hope the migraines are subsiding.

  16. dadirri7 says:

    i am with you on that, surrender to peace, biologists are discovering that man is not necessarily warlike …. the more of us who are at peace with ourselves the more peace will spread … thanks kozo 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks, Christine. Love to hear that biologists are finally catching up to mystics who have always believed that the heart of man is godliness/peace/love. Let’s keep spreading the peace.

  17. Alison Armstong says:

    I’m finding that the biggest, hardest and most useful surrender I can do is the surrender to the complete and utter humanity that arises here, in all it’s wonderfulness, and all it’s shittiness. If I can accept myself as I am, exactly as I am, in any moment, surrender to it, exactly as it is, there’s a freedom – a freedom to just be, and a freedom to allow others to just be – exactly as they are. Oh it’s so easy when I’m feeling good, and happy and loving towards others. Not so easy when I’m disgruntled and discontented, and judgemental of myself and others. That’s the energy that needs to have the light shone upon it, and loved, and brought home into the fold of aceptance and surrender. We all carry this burden – of hating the “imperfections” in ourselves and others. What if there’s nothing wrong? If we can discover the truth in that, if we can surrender to that, then we are free.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you for this insightful comment, Alison. I just read a quotation on my day calendar that says something similar.
      “The Universe is completely and utterly in love with you. No matter how many mistakes you make, no matter where you are in your life, no matter what you think of you, the Universe loves you for all eternity.” Rhonda Byrne
      I guess I’m meant to be reminded of this today. Thanks for reminding. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Alison Armstong says:

        Yes me too – it’s up for me at the moment – accept the humanity, love the humanity, be deeply grounded in yourself exactly as you are – that’s where the freedom lies.

      • Kozo says:

        I can’t find my way back to your blog. Can you give me a link. I can’t find one on your gravatar.

  18. […] I came across a GIF that while disturbing to me (especially as an empath) was so pertinent to the sharing to which it was attached.  This morning, I shared it with Dh and in the process saw another discussion taking place in the […]

  19. So much to think here, Kozo and another great post. Surrendering is so much harder to do regardless of culture, because I think it has to do with trusting and swallowing our pride, the way Seeker was saying.
    Once the ego is out of the way magic happens, the tricky part is to let the ego…go (sorry…)
    You are onto something Kozo I keep reading your posts and learning from you Thank you for leading the way 🙂

  20. Alison Armstong says:
    I’m having all kinds of problems with WP at the moment.
    It was heartening to see you could still “like” and comment on my blog.
    However, all my problems are with WP personal domain blogs like yours – they are slow to open, I can’t “like”, and they make me login to comment even when I’m already logged in. Same thing happens when my husband tries on his computer with his membership. I’ve been in touch with WP, but no solution yet.

  21. Tracy says:

    I think we perpetuate behaviours that were useful when we were cave people; back then we needed a strong survival instinct. I wonder of deep in our subconscious we haven’t yet accepted that the days of fighting to survive are long since past. Hostile tribes, animals or weather phenomena tend are not lurking just outside our cave door in 2013! That’s not to say we live in a world without dangers, it’s just that today’s dangers tend not to pose a mortal threat. Our survival instinct in its raw form always leads to a right:wrong or win:lose situation but as we aren’t physically fighting like our cave ancestors I wonder if this now plays out through our egos, pride, status, class systems, etc. and ultimately through wars.

    Surrendering our primitive instincts might free us to achieve a higher purpose. In a right/wrong situation the parties are almost always both right and wrong to some extent – rarely is one party 100% correct. So surrendering doesn’t seem anti-anything to me and relinquishing ego makes a lot of sense.

    Imagine a world where we focused on achieving things together instead of competing against one another to win. Maybe in that world we would be equipped to solve hunger, poverty and find peace?

    • Kozo says:

      YES, Tracy. I agree 100% if that is possible. Let’s focus on cooperation rather than competition. I find that the more I give up on competing the happier I am.
      I think anything is possible if we all cooperated.
      Thank you for your thoughtful response.

  22. electronicbaglady says:

    Great post (as ever!) and I also enjoy all the comments from your thoughtful readers!
    However, it reminds me of the old joke about saving the defense budget by buying a tape recorder with “We surrender!” on a loop! If only we could do that 🙂

    I had a lot of friends who participated in the Greenham Common and other peace camps in the 1980s and the idea there was to relax completely when someone tried to move you. You let your body surrender to the earth and then it took at least 2 men to move a small woman, tying up the police and making some very persuasive footage for the cameras.

    There are all kinds of surrender and they are mostly (if not all) powerful so long as they are borne out of active choice, not fear…

    • Kozo says:

      I love the idea of a looped tape saying “we surrender,” EBL. MIght have to make one for myself. Or for those of you who know how to make a GIF that would be a great idea. hint, hint.

      I used to practice aikido, and we had a similar exercise of relaxing completely. Great to hear that it is being used for peace.

      • electronicbaglady says:

        it’s funny how by doing nothing we can do something quite powerful…love a paradox!
        {{{Hugs}}} back too

  23. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength – His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

    go ahead and surrender Kozo


  24. […] return to Kozo’s post on Everyday Gurus with regard to surrender and how such an idea is not one that is “programmed” in to us here in the west, […]

  25. […] Kozo’s far more meaningful reflection here. […]

  26. sofiasiberia says:

    Wonderful post, Kozo! Like we talked earlier, you are an old wise soul.

    The older the soul is, the lesser ego its physical shape possesses on its earthly journey, and the more it is open to altruism, unconditional love and spirituality.

    You know many of such people/souls around you, and even here in a writing sphere fortunately manifesting more and more, sharing ideas of peace and love. But these souls only have a power of word and persuasion so far.

    Unfortunately such souls didn’t get to rule the governments by now..

    Ego in ranks begets and nurtures conflicts and segragations, because they perfectly serve a certain bunch of people ego needs.

    In order for the ideas of peace to get in practical power, a major shift in minds must first take place.
    We are anticipating such shifts in a new era, which is just slowly starting to get in power itself.

    We’ll know shifts are starting to take place on a bigger scale, when we stop considering peace and well-being of certain people within specifically defined political-geographical borders, and start seeing People with the same needs outside those borders as well…

    Thank you so much for these posts, Kozo! Truly thought provoking! 🙂

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for the insight, Sofia. I agree that we need to see a shift in minds so that rulers will come into power with larger perspectives than their egos. I feel like change can always start from and by the people.
      I truly appreciate your support and friendship, Sofia. Let’s keep writing our truths and see what happens.

  27. 1EarthUnited says:

    No worries, when you surrender completely, you’re only giving up the ego. Imagine how much glorious space is available for Love, Compassion, Caring, Bliss…. divine God Stuff rushes in. 😀

  28. Sunshine says:

    wisdom words comes from so many sources. we must learn to quiet ourselves and breathe in attentiveness and focus…like Christ’s words: “my grace is all you need. my power works best in weakness.”

    of course, this weakness is not natural (i don’t think) to human nature. is it? gah, i am so not good with all this…all i know is if we teach empathy early in life, we would have a more peaceful world. obviously we have not minded the store so now…okay, i’m done. ❤

    • Kozo says:

      Sunshine, Your last sentence says it all–not “okay, I’m done,” but the sentence before that. 🙂 Empathy early on for a more peaceful world. I also like Christ’s words about surrendering to realize the most power. I would echo that the meek will inherit the earth. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  29. […] Surrender to Peace ( […]

  30. gita4elamats says:

    I agree that ‘…the quickest way to peace is for everyone to surrender to the higher powers of humanity, lovingkindness, and compassion’.

  31. […] Gurus 1 2 3 4 5 (sometimes Kozo’s writing moves me to tears, no […]

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