The Spiral of Surrender

This is the first Holy Week for which I have not “been in charge” (HAH!) for nearly thirty years.  As a ministering person, this is a most intense week of responsibility.  But here I find myself with response-ability afresh.  What does this week of remembrance, the heart of Christian Wisdom, offer?

A friend posted the suggestion to practice SURRENDER this week. At first glance, surrender calls up the image of playing war with my brothers and needing to come our of hiding, waiving a white flag, and being taken prisoner.  Being a loser.  Dying.

Jesus reframes surrender in this Holy Week as he gives himself in full abandonment to love humanity to the core.  Even the rotten core.  His wild love is a kind of three way mirror between himself, humanity and the Holy Wisdom.  He is exposing the essence of our wounded, bound up, currupt love/hate relationships with one another, our world and the Holy.  Through his hearty living, he is both breaking open and binding up the brokenhearted. By surrender. By a willingness to be “poured out.”

Here is how my friend quoted Cynthia Bourgeault on surrender from her book The Wisdom Way of Knowing:

Chanting, meditation, and practical work are all activities, but SURRENDER is an underlying attitude. That means it is there in everything, at the root of everything….

….[The simplest no-frills version of a surrender practice is]: never to do anything in a state of interior brace. Any brace position throws you immediately into your small self with its incessant wanting, needing, and insistence, and this immediately clouds the heart. Maintaining an open, inner gentleness, even in the face of perceived threat and reversal immediately connects you with the whole multi-spectrum knowingness of your heart. Surrender is always “being actively receptive to an intelligence that is greater than that of ourselves,” …..

The divine compassion can begin to operate as well, for once your being has become inwardly gentled and peaceable, those qualities of aliveness will flow out to others as a spontaneous healing and delight…. 

From , The Wisdom Way of Knowing, by Cynthia Bourgeault, pp 111-112

I see in Jesus step by painstaking step of refusing a resistant bracing against evil.

Ah! Via google images I found this Surrender Spiral.  While Taryn Sydow draws from many streams of spirituality which are not my streams, I believe this spiral reflects Jesus’ Wisdom Descent of Holy Week and offers a pattern for us? What do you think?


  • ACCEPT – Can you embrace reality for what it is?
  • TRUST – Do you have faith that all is exactly the way it is supposed to be?
  • EMBRACE – Can you own the part you play in co-creating this reality?
  • LOVE – Can you find compassion, love and kindness for yourself and others?
  • RELEASE – Are you willing to face your truth and deal with how you feel about something?
  • CONNECT – Do you allow yourself to receive support, love and guidance?
  • EXPAND – Are you brave enough to make new choices and try something new?

When I find in another tradition such similar innerworkings, I wonder how the Jesus Path is a reflection of a wider Wisdom, though not an easy or self evident Wisdom.

I am hoping to keep this Holy Week in a spiral of surrender, dancing with Mary Magdalene and Jesus in a love beyond what we can “ask or imagine.” I am hoping to surrender to new eyes, heart and ears. I am hoping to encounter the Christ in the risk of “inner gentleness” in the face of terror and beauty.

What will your practices be this week?


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