The Paradox of Surrender


edited from a talk in June 2012, with members of Alan’s current Body, Heart & Soul Training               

Yes, the paradox again! This is why in the wild phase of the Art of Being meditation I try to give you this one guiding line – to keep your hands, mouth and pelvis moving passionately all the time, and to let that wild expression be your meditation. You’ve heard me say it so many times, meditation means being with what is. “OK, what IS, for the next twelve minutes, are the hands, mouth and pelvis moving all the time, so I will give myself to this and be in it no matter what!”

It’s a choice I invite you to make every morning as the meditation begins, so that during this time you’re watching all this stuff going on in your mind. It protests, “Wait a minute, I don’t want to move this morning.” And this is precisely the point! You’ve already chosen that for this time, almost an hour, you are in this meditation, surrendering to its structure. I’ve never said this to you before, but to surrender to a structure and to therefore stay with it no matter what is going on in your mind is an amazing way to release yourself from your mind stuff. As a matter of fact, The Art of Being meditation is a 50-minute microcosm of what I lived for eight years with Osho. When I became a sannyasin (disciple), even though I’d already found a lot of freedom, my mind was in control in so many ways. There was a big part of me that totally raged against surrendering myself to a master. To be a disciple? Ughh! And there was a much deeper, more valuable place in me that was choosing: I’m willing to put myself through this. At the time that I said yes to it, I didn’t know for how long it would be. I let it be as though it was for the rest of my life.

From the moment I said ‘yes’ to it, I was engaged with the paradox. Surrendering myself to a guru meant that I didn’t run my life any more. I lived in the ashram, and I lived the way we were required to live. I was given the workshops that I was to lead – though one beautiful thing was that Osho never interfered with how we led our workshops. I had no personal money, I didn’t get to choose where I lived. When I was put into a room with another guy the other side of a screen, and an Indian man and his grandmother in a loft built into the room for them, all I could do was rage – then surrender. For eight years I kept on raging and surrendering – with less and less rage! It wasn’t surrender to Osho or surrender to the situation even. It was surrender to all the feelings and inner experiences that were being provoked in me. Every time I wanted to fight and rage was an opportunity to say hello to what I could not – would not! – embrace in my inner world. What I was doing was finding my way through all my judgments and conditions and expectations and requirements and the stuff that ran my life – and that WASN’T ME! I was hidden inside all this reaction, and without the surrender, I would never have come home to myself!


I don’t think you have to surrender to a guru for eight years. I trust that The Art of Being has become something that gives you the opportunity to go through your surrender experiences without having to become anyone’s disciple. The opportunity is there each morning in those 50 minutes of the Art of Being meditation, and of course much more so in the extraordinary commitment that all of you made to be in this 2-year training with me, where you keep on having to let go of your personal agenda that wants to run the show. And you know for yourselves, in that letting go, when you allow it, YOU DISCOVER YOUR OWN ART OF BEING.

P—, you and I are similar in certain ways. I can simply tell you that for me it really worked to surrender when I didn’t want to, and to dare, when I didn’t know if it was me abandoning myself or me giving myself what I need, to choose to surrender anyway. Through this commitment I gradually acquired a vivid sense of what is mine and what is someone else’s. Learning that meant making mistakes, like saying ‘yes’ and then later realising that I should have said ‘yes’ to something deeper in me, which would have been ‘no’ to Osho and even, as it was in the end, to being a disciple. There were things that I experienced in my eight years of being a sannyasin, that I really regret putting on myself. I think I gave myself an unnecessarily hard time – especially in the later years – in my devotion to this Master-disciple relationship. But when I look back from the perspective of who I am now, really I can only say, “Thank you, Osho!” and my regrets evaporate. I’m left with a sense that maybe they were necessary too! Maybe they also dissolved parts of my personality.

For me, surrender is an essential element of the journey into BEING, really being THIS ONE THAT I AM. I found my way home by being willing to surrender myself for those eight years. And during that time I chose to be on the sannyasin path totally! It was really a wild adventure! It’s more than a year ago now that you chose to be on this two-year adventure of the Body, Heart and Soul Training, and you’re all still here! I honour you. And with no ego investment in it at all, I totally recommend to all of you, whenever your personality starts playing up – arguing, knowing better and all that stuff – keep letting go! Your surrender is not to me. You know that doesn’t interest me. No, your surrender is TO ALL THE FEELINGS AND INNER EXPERIENCES  that are being provoked in you by the Training itself. My work is to keep creating these situations where you can discover the magic that happens when you surrender your whole being – into a meditation or an experiential process or a homework assignment; to discover what opens in you, what heals, what lets go, what transforms, what blossoms! AND ALL BECAUSE YOU DARED TO EXPERIENCE SOMETHING THAT WASN’T CONTROLLED BY YOUR PERSONALITY with all its agendas, conditions, attitudes, opinions, fears, desires and politics. This is how your personality’s domination over your life comes to an end. Instead, it becomes the servant of your being. Awakening means that you have stepped out of your personality into your BEING. When your being is guiding your life, your life becomes beautiful. Remember, personality is merely the costume that you wear – actually it’s a wardrobe of costumes that you use for different occasions. And no matter how chic and stylish your costume is, who you really are is the much more magical mystery inside it. Coming home to him or her is what this surrender is all about.