The part of me that wants to be in control doesn’t like the word hope. To my fearful mind, hope implies that there’s something I’m unable to make happen on my own. While I may not like that concept, it’s exactly what I needed. Hope helps us move through our problems and choose to perceive them in a new way. Hope is the conduit for miracles.
For me to move past the sadness, shame, and need to control, I had to surrender to hope and let go of my plans.
The pathway back to hope is through surrender. It’s not something that comes naturally to us—it must be a daily practice.
Consider my situation. Here I was in the midst of writing a book on how to trust in the love of the Universe, all the while trying to control my own life’s circumstances! The need to control is sneaky. It can blindside us. The ego thinks it knows the way, and it does everything it can to keep us in a headlock. The best way, and ultimately the only way, to stay connected to the flow you’ve established is to surrender and then surrender some more.
Surrendering to love is not always easy, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to live a miraculous life. You don’t have to surrender fully overnight. In fact, it usually doesn’t happen all at once. Surrender is a process. A Course in Miracles says, “Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away.”
Here are the steps I used to clear away the darkness of control and surrender to the love of the Universe:
Step 1: Take your hands off the steering wheel.
In his book The Seat of the Soul, Gary Zukav writes, “Take your hands off the steering wheel. Be able to say to the Universe, ‘Thy will be done,’ and to know it within your intentions. Spend time in this thought. Consider what it means to say, ‘Thy will be done,’ and allow your
life to go into the hands of the Universe completely.”
To restore your connection to the guidance of the Universe, you have to loosen your grip. When you surrender your plans and release control, you stop pursuing the path of your misguided ego. You allow the voice of your intuition and the energy of love to be your guide.
The way to take your hands off the wheel is through prayer. If you’re in need of surrender, begin each day with these words:
Today I surrender my goals and plans to the care of the Universe. I offer up my agenda and accept spiritual guidance. I trust that there is a plan far greater than mine. I know that where there once was lack and limitation there are spiritual solutions and creative ideas. I step back and let love lead the way. Thy will be done.
These words will help you humbly surrender to the guidance of the Universe. Something miraculous happens when you let go and allow. You open up to an infinite field of possibilities. The moment I surrendered my desire to be a mother, I felt taken care of. I knew that the Universe was guiding me in the perfect direction, time, and order. Trusting the path of the Universe gave me freedom and happiness in the midst of uncertainty.
The Universe Has Your Back
Step 2: Turn over time.
The biggest block to living with faith is time. There are many situations in our lives that we cannot control. You can’t decide the exact day you’ll conceive, the moment that your lover will propose, or a million other things. But you can control how you experience each moment of each day. The way to surrender your need to control time is to embrace the present moment. In any moment you can receive a miracle with the decision to choose love. That simple choice, to choose love over fear, can release you of time and restore your hope and faith. Love is a decision, and all that is asked of you is the
willingness to choose it. Each time you do is a miracle.
And with total willingness your obsession with time will end. The miracle is now.
A Course in Miracles lesson 173 is: “The light has come.” I once had a deep conversation with my friend and mentor Robert Holden. We both have a shared love for this lesson. For Robert it’s a gentle reminder that the light isn’t coming when you get the job or the baby is born. The light has come. It’s already here. In any given moment, you can surrender to the light and live in the miracle.
To give up our obsession with time, we must accept that the light has come. We already embody all the love, joy, and peace we long for. In any moment, when you find yourself caught up in time, you can return to the miracle of the moment. Accept that the light has come, and live in the miracle. Imagine how free you would feel if you lived your life moment to moment rather than milestone to milestone.
When you turn over time, you can trust in the order of the Universe. You have faith that everything is happening to you in the perfect time so that you can grow and heal. Embrace the miracle available in every moment, and each step will be perfectly laid out before you. Don’t rush your spiritual evolution; enjoy it. It’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
Step 3: Surrender your goals and let faith take the lead.
We must learn to give up goals and embrace hope and faith. Goals often imply that you need to achieve something else to be happy. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with visions, dreams, and desires as long as you’re willing to surrender them. The key is to gently hold great visions and then release them to the Universe.
To feel free and surrendered, we must learn to release our attachments. Deepak Chopra says, “When you’re happy for some reason you’re still in misery because that reason can be taken from you tomorrow.” Instead of seeking some reason or outcome to make us happy, we must learn to trust in the wonders of the Universe. Each day brings new miracles to celebrate. Each moment can be a miracle if we choose to perceive it that way.
Instead of focusing on goals and outcomes, redirect your focus onto celebrating what you already have. Take time each day to devote your attention to what is thriving in your life. In my case, I gave up the goal of getting pregnant on a specific date and chose instead to focus on the deep love I have for my husband. I made it my intention to feel connected and in love. I redirected my energy onto my body and the health I am blessed to enjoy. I concentrated on my home and the space I am creating for the baby I am ready to call into my life.
Instead of focusing on when I will have something (or someone) new, I focused on what I already have.
When you return your focus to what you already embody and enjoy in your life, you can let go of what you think you need. That doesn’t mean that you cut off your desire. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You bring far more love and energy to your desire when you take the pressure off. Focusing on what you do have creates more of what you want.
Step 4: Turn it over to the holy triangle.
A beautiful element of my spiritual practice is my holy triangle. It’s a wooden triangle that hangs above my altar. Each edge of the triangle has a meaning: faith, love, and charity. The triangle is a symbol used in the John of God community to facilitate spiritual surrender.
The idea is that when you write down your desire and place it in the holy triangle, the desire will be taken care of. You leave your desire in the triangle for a week, and then at the end of the week you remove the piece of paper and burn it. The act of burning the paper symbolizes your faith and trust that your desire is being supported.
When I was wrapping up this chapter, I realized that I hadn’t placed my desire to be a mother into the holy triangle. All this time I’d been so controlling that I’d forgotten this crucial step. Placing my desire into the triangle allowed me to tell the Universe that I know it’s
You too can have a holy triangle. You can make one, or if that isn’t you, simply use a box. I’ve taught many people to create their own God box, and it offers the same service as the triangle. You can decorate the box in any way that empowers you. Once you have the triangle or box, try it out. Write down your desire and place it in the hands of the Universe. At the end of one week, take it out and burn it. (Be sure to burn it safely in the sink.) That’s all it takes.
As you continue on with this practice, be mindful not to put the same desire back in the box. That would imply that you didn’t trust it was being taken care of.
This is a powerful practice of surrendering. Practice the three steps above and then offer up your desire to the holy triangle (or box). Place your desire in your triangle, and say a silent prayer to surrender it to the Universe.
Turn it over once and for all, and know your request is being heard.
These four steps will greatly help you surrender what you think you need and embrace what is of the highest good for all. Focus on the subtle, moment-to-moment shifts. As A Course in Miracles reminds us, “Each small step will clear a little of the darkness away.”
Surrender offers you this kind of serenity. When you practice surrender, you’ll begin to lean on a power greater than you. In time you’ll know it’s always there, and you’ll rely on it.
Gabrielle Bernstein has been labeled by the New York Times as the next-generation guru. A motivational speaker, life coach, and author, she is expanding the lexicon for the seekers of today and tomorrow.
What would it feel like to trust the Universe?