The Role of Surrender in Health and Healing

Posted on September 13, 2015


This series explores how spiritual transformation facilitates and supports health and healing. Each article focuses on a specific spiritual quality and discusses how it relates to health and healing and how Consciousness based Healthcare supports this spiritual quality.

What is Surrender?

“Surrender is directly related to one’s personal will. In that sense it is the relinquishment of one’s own personal will. However it is also the acknowledgment of Divinity and the understanding that this Divine Power will take care of whatever one surrenders.  In this way it is energetically different than, for example, “letting go.” In letting go one may still see oneself as being in charge of the letting go but, even more importantly, letting go does not include the acknowledgment of the existence of Divinity as well as its direct intervention in the process of surrender.

Surrender is a very active process and on an energetic or subtle level it invites Divinity to resolve a situation. This is why the universe and one’s life is radically altered as one surrenders on something. Once something is completely surrendered the highest form of wisdom and power is now handling it, which means that its outcome has altered also.

In pragmatic terms surrender can be compared to the letting go of wanting to control something or somebody. In surrender there is a quality of deep devotion and humility.

Surrender is an invocation in which one lays one’s will about something or somebody in the hands of the Divine. In this moment of complete surrender it simply does not matter which way life may unfold.” (Taken from the forthcoming book: “Surrender – The Pathway of Love” All rights reserved)

Surrender and the Innate Healing Capacity of the Body

“Your body was designed to be healthy without requiring a drug. Give it what it needs to thrive and it typically will regenerate itself without any outside interventions. This innate restorative tendency is what I call effortless healing”.
Dr. Joseph Mercola in “Effortless Healing”

The body has an innate or built in quality to heal and repair itself. When we cut ourselves the wounds heal over time. When we get a flu or a cold the body’s immune system fights the invaders and ideally restores health and balance. The innate healing quality of the body is a key principle in Bodytalk, as well as many other healthcare systems. It is a key principle of Consciousness based Healthcare.

Most often this natural process of self-healing is only interrupted by ourselves. We tend to get in the way and resist the natural process. Often the body or the mind has deteriorated to the point where self-healing becomes more and more limited. Consciousness based Healthcare directly addresses the broken down pathways of self-healing.

Because surrender allows natural unfoldment to occur, it also allows the natural healing process to occur instead of opposing, resisting or distracting it on a subtle, often subconscious level. Surrender thereby tells this innate healing capacity of the body that it has permission to fully function as it is no longer compromised by the resistances of the client.

Surrender not only facilitates the healing process but, on a deeper level, also activates the process itself.  This is clinically proven by numerous case studies where a patient surrendered and healing occurred. Throughout history people have healed and recovered from almost any physical, mental, emotional ailment through the process of surrender. Addiction as well as the 12 step process (which is a process of surrender) have produced countless examples, as did groups who also focused in part on this process of surrender like ACIM groups. Many examples can be found in the book “Healing & Recovery” by Dr. David R. Hawkins as well as in “Mind over Medicine” by Dr. Lissa Rankin. Both books show the mind-body connection and hence the interrelationship between spiritual change and the innate healing process within the body.

Application: Surrender and Emotions

How do you feel?
How do you feel about feeling that way?
Virginia Satir

While what we are feeling is what most people are focused on, it is how we are relating to those feelings that is of critical importance and will eventually lead us to deep freedom.

Typially a person is the victim and at the effect of their emotions. If a person feels “good” or “positive” emotions the person feels great and “things are going the right way”. However, if a person feels “negative” feelings their life and mood is affected and they feel they are “having a bad day”.

Because any type of emotions are part and parcel of human life, it is unrealistic to expect that a “negative” emotion will never be experienced again. However the relationship towards that emotion can be radically and permanently altered through continuous surrender.

Surrender supports working with one’s emotions in a twofold way. First, because the emotions are no longer resisted, they process through effortlessly and are dropped more quickly. Secondly, one starts to become “immune” towards any emotions that one may experience. As one learns to surrender one emotion after the other, the way one feels about feeling that way will be permanently altered. One is more of a impersonal witness of what is happening and can relate to any experience as much as any other.

In this way surrender facilitates not only the processing of emotions and the belief systems behind them, but also eventually leads to experiencing a space within which it won’t make any difference what one is experiencing or feeling. One’s own inner self and experience has become independent and free of it. In this state one has transcended the influence and grip emotions may have had.

“The continuous surrender of emotions leads to a space where emotions are no longer processed. They simply do whatever they do without that which we consider to be ourselves to get involved with them. “
Taken from forthcoming book “Surrender – The Pathway of Love”

Application: Surrender and Pain

Another clinical application of surrender is towards the experience of pain. Pain, like any other experience, can often not be avoided. Surrender will allow one to be with the pain without being affected by it, similarily to the process with emotions. Because surrender also facilitates self-healing there will be a tendency for the underlying factors that are contributing towards the existence of pain to be resolved.

The effectiveness of the application towards pain whether physical, emotional or cognitive has been proven in numerous scientific studies on utilizing forms of Mindfulness Therapies (e.g. MBSR, MBCT, MBRP).

Mindfulness and Surrender

“Mindfulness is this content free, non reactive subtle field of nondual Awareness, Presence” Stephen Giligan Ph.D.

A certain aspect of Mindfulness is almost identical to the concept and process of surrender (i.e. “Choiceless Awareness”). While there are subtle differences within the morphic fields of these approaches, in pragmatic terms, both have been found to be very effective in clinical research as well as history.

Mindfulness emphasizes the importance of being present with the experience and not to disassociate from it. Mindfulness also emphasizes the importance of not having subtle resistances towards the experience (attractions or aversions). Furthermore, because of its historical buddhist background, mindfulness can be used with a more secular language which has lead to its acknowledgement in current western psychology and science as one of the major healing modalities.

Mindfulness is widely available everywhere and applied to varies forms of illnesses whether, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritual by psychologists, medical doctors and other professionals. This has allowed a similar process to  surrender to have found its way into mainstream society.

Application: Surrender and Your Stressors

“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can
and wisdom to know the difference”.
Reinhold Niebuhr

In daily life the body and the mind are exposed to various forms of stress. Stress drains the bodymind’s system and compromises the functioning of the body. Some alternative healthcare systems consider stress as the single cause for health problems.

Stress is a radical subjective experience. What may be stressful for one person is not stressful for another person. Also, what may be stressful at one point in one’s life may be something a person  can easily handle later in life.

The development of the quality of surrender allows a process of de-stressing to occur. Because one is learning to place perceived problems into Divine Providence one can let go of wanting to control the situation and its outcomes. This in turn brings relief of those stressors.

While some stressors are very easily surrendered others may seem insurmountable. Here the indispensable value of Consciousness based Healthcare can come in to bridge the gap and help with those stressors and the process of surrender itself.

Surrender & Consciousness based Healthcare

Consciousness based Healthcare determines, through priority testing, which layer of surrender to address “for this patient at this point in time”. Then the process and “structure” of surrender can be addressed. Unhelpful belief systems, concepts and ideas, as well as resistances towards surrender, can be cleared or resolved. Often these stem from the collective consciousness and can be outside the awareness of the person.

Another application of Consciousness based Healthcare in facilitating the process of surrender is to work with the physical “hardware” that processes surrender. This includes an optimization of the brain, energy systems and various morphic fields to support the process of surrender.

One important aspect of Consciousness based Healthcare is that it allows one to address specific issues a person is “stuck with”. While a person may have tried to surrender certain things in their life they may have found they were not successful in doing so. Consciousness based Healthcare can often address those issues directly or at least help to ease the overall process in working through them.

Surrender progresses through different stages. Consciousness based Healthcare can help facilitate the shift from one stage to the next in one’s understanding, application and being the quality of surrender.

Group Support

Another way to facilitate the deepening of surrender is through group support. Historically 12 step groups have proven effective in supporting the process of surrender within the addiction population. Similarily, since mindfulness and surrender are similar in nature, mindfulness groups and practices also can support the capacity to surrender. Mindfulness groups are available at many Buddhist communities under terms such as “Vipassana”, “Insight”, “Mahamudra”, “Choiceless Awareness”, or “Shikantaza” (the last one focusing mainly on awareness of thought processes).

In the Christian tradition, centering prayer can be partially utilized to practice the quality of surrender, particularly through the “Welcoming Prayer”.

In addition to these more widely known groups, another group has formed that solely focuses on perfecting the quality of surrender. Initially born out of the work of Dr. David R. Hawkins, the “Surrender Group” now has Christian as well as nondenominational meeting scripts available that can be used by anyone who would like to benefit from group support in regards to surrender.


Surrender has deep health benefits as it facilitates the physical healing process, emotional wellbeing, the handling of stressors, and pain among other aspects.

Consciousness based Healthcare offers a means to directly address the highly individual blocks to deeper levels of surrender. It also supports the resolution of individual problems that a person is working through.