What does it mean to surrender a posture?
by Mandy Penalver
To surrender a posture is to simply recognise and know oneself as the conscious presence in and as which all postures, both on and off the mat, appear to arise.
True surrender is effortless when it is recognised that it is what we already only and ever are, not something that we do. In this recognition, there is no longer a ‘me’, wilfully ‘doing’ the posture, but an unpredictable, vibrantly alive flow of sensation unfolding ‘in’ me, Aware-Ness.
This offering of the posture back to its home ground of presence sets it free to unfold organically, allowing the innate intelligence of the body to spring forth unimpeded. In this deep listening, devoid of any effort, achieving, attaining, deserving or becoming, multiple layers of tension and contraction feel safe to come out of their hiding places. It is seen that all sensations, both the so-called ‘unpleasant’ as well as the ‘pleasant’ ones are already inherently welcome in and as that openness. Gross and subtle habits of resistance and seeking are welcomed into the light of Aware-Ness without judgement.
Uncomfortable feelings, divested of story and memory, are met as sensation and fully felt with courage. The relentless and habitual projection of attention ‘outwards’ from a ‘me’ located inside a dense, solid body in a stance of protection and defence against a World and ‘others’ out ‘there’ can come to rest in its source. This is deeply relaxing to a nervous system in a state of chronic flight or fight.
The conceptual belief in ‘me’ as an individual, time-bound, limited and separate entity with control over the flow of experience is exposed as nothing more than an intermittent activity of craving and aversion. As we surrender not just the posture, but all impermanent appearances of the mind, body and World to Aware-Presence, we abide in and as the fathomless, undivided, eternal, openness of Peace itself. We experience directly that we are paradoxically distinct from, yet simultaneously utterly ‘one-with’ all appearances. As Aware-Ness, we pervade the entire field of experience, whilst remaining completely unblemished by it.
As this felt-understanding is explored on the mat with curiosity, sensitivity and patience, free of direction or agenda, it gradually seeps into all the postures we find ourselves in, in our everyday lives.