It occurred to me that maybe I should read through the focus of the month ahead of time, not only for preparation, but to decide which months I should go on vacation. That is cheating, I know. I wanted to cheat this month because it is a constant struggle for me to understand and experience bhakti- devotion to God. I thought, I really am more into the maryada marg- path of effort. To surrender and to leave things to grace are difficult for me. I was taught to be independent, to be in control, to rely on no one but myself.
Then I remember this glimpse of surrender that I experienced. It was during Jivamukti Teacher Training. The night went on with a lot of chanting, just on and on. I had no idea when it was going to be over, and I decided for a brief moment I will rest in child's pose amidst of it all, and imagine that I am a bhakta (a yogi who practices bhakti or devotion). In those few moments, I experienced a surge of relief, as if my worries were gone, as if I were all of a sudden not so alone, as if I were part of something or someone, as if I had a team rooting for me. I surrendered and it felt good.
I realize further that this surrender is not completely new to me. When I practice asana and get a few breaths to release in between poses, I experience that surrender. After a challenging sequence and a teacher gives us the space to do a falling out breath, I experience the surrender. During forward bends when I release tension from my shoulders, I experience the surrender. In savasana, I let go of my practice and my need to control, and I surrender.
Complete and unconditional surrender may be scary to a control freak like me, but I can cultivate awareness of the ways I already practice surrendering. And then I can start to understand that it is my mind playing tricks on me. My mind resists surrender but my body finds relief from it. This body may be a vessel, but it is a vessel that carries with it warnings, reminders, diagnostics.
I may struggle with bhakti, and I may continue to do so for a long time, but there is something very beautiful in knowing that I can just give it up- give it all up- and trust that everything is going to be okay, that surrendering is not an end but a promise of a beginning.