"We all have secrets in our hearts. I will tell you one of mine. All my life I have longed to say yes, to give myself completely, to some Ultimate Someone or Something. I kept this secret for many years because it did not fit the image I wanted to present – that of an independent, self-sufficient man. The desire to surrender myself had been at least partially acceptable when I was a child, but as a man I tried to put away childish things. When I became a physician, and later a psychiatrist, it was still more difficult to admit – even to myself – that something in me was searching for an ultimate self-surrender." (Gerald May in Will and Spirit, 1982)
The experience and posture of surrender has been espoused by religious traditions as key to spiritual life and development for millennia. Within psychology, on the other hand, surrender’s position has been likened to an “unwanted bastard child,” and its research has been neglected. Moreover, when occurring in the context of a relationship with another person, the terms “submission” and “obedience,” laden with negative connotations, have been commonly used.
We propose that psychologically and spiritually developmental surrender is a common experience both when it occurs in relationship to “reality,” the Self or God, and in the context of relationship with another person, as in love, sex, patientship, followership, and discipleship. We focus on surrender to a spiritual master, which is in some respects the most extreme form of surrender to another person and the most challenging for the modern secular worldview to accept and suggest that, with all its complexity and potential pitfalls, it can be a powerful enabler and facilitator of the search for the sacred, self-transcendence, and spiritual integration."
(From the Abstract of Surrender to Another Person: The Case of a Spiritual Master)
This page is dedicated to the ongoing exploration of this topic.