Ishvara Pranidhana – Surrender to the Divine4 min read

In hearing and only to the word God you might resist, something inside you might doubt… It is a weird word for many people and it was also for me. But it may be not… Maybe you do believe in something! But before you think of anything else give me some time… God in my opinion is something very personal, it means something different for each of us.

In Yoga philosophy the Sanskrit word is Ishvara and it means God, Supreme Force, Absolute Truth or True Self. In the Upanishads it is called “the state of collective consciousness“. For me the word Ishvara means that the Divine that lives inside me, and inside you, and all around us, inside the animals, the trees, and the sea. It is all this energy that leads us to love and to do good, and sometimes maybe we forget that it exists but it is always there inside us, next to us.

The other word is Pranidhana and it means to surrender, to let go. Another difficult word for most people. In a society that teaches us from our very first years how to behave, to take all the control in our hands, not to lose anything, how hard is to surrender to something… Observe your reactions when you lose control of the situation… how do you behave? Just let me remind you that “The only certain thing in life is that nothing is certain“

Being myself a perfectionist and an absolute control freak I remember myself going to an appointment, being late because of the traffic and observing how my heartbeat was rushing like crazy! When someone made changes to my daily schedule I was instantly seeing red, not to mention the hysteria eruptions when more serious things in in my personal or my professional life were not going as I have planned.

When I got into yoga many things started to change and they started going the other way of the plan that I had for myself, or on what I thought it was good for me. Like something was challenging me even more! Let me say here that the path of yoga or self-knowledge is not covered with rose petals, you have to face yourself, everything you know, all your habits, you start to wonder about everything you thought as given! This procedure is painful because it gets you out of your comfort zone and who likes this?

So in my journey I noticed all this behavior, I realized that this path doesn’t lead to something good. The anger and the stress at some time they would have negative results to my psychology and my body, if they didn’t already have done enough damage… and for sure I was not enjoying my life. I was torturing myself daily with my behavior. . At that moment the meaning of Ishvara Pranidhana stepped into my life!

Firstly I believed in that “Supreme Force” and its plan for me and secondly I realized that I whatever I do I couldn’t control nothing other than myself, that I had no power on the outcome. So I decided to surrender.

I knew that I am a responsible person and that I give my 100% on what I do but there were some things that I could do nothing… and this thought relaxed me. I slowly started in situations that I couldn’t control to act with calmness, to observe, to trust what’s happening because there must be a reason that I don’t understand at this moment. The quality of Ishvara Pranidhana was entering my life.

I can’t tell you that this happened immediately, or that it was easy but it was sure worth it! My daily life improved and my trust on how things come also! The ‘Divine Plan’ was that I had to take my lesson in some way, to realize what I do to myself, to love me a little bit more, removing stress and anger that I didn’t need, as a result to live a better life! Also people that come in my life are calmer because we are ourselves are mirrors!

At the end I want to say that I am not a totally different person, or that I never behave like that anymore, but for sure I am  and feel better! This pattern of behavior may appears again but it won’t last long, I will recognize it faster and I will say no! This is not for me anymore!

The past few week a sutra (sentence) from the Upanishads is stuck in my head “Yoga comes and Yoga goes”. So be alert, keep practicing, and never stop! You owe it to the Divine that lives in you, and the Divine that lives in me! It knows!


Marianna Thimiaki

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