To hear the word “surrender” in a yoga class is commonplace. To surrender into the pose. To surrender any pre-conceived expectations of how a pose should look or feel. To surrender the ego. Now, surrender is a fine practice. It fosters sensitivity, humility, patience, and awareness. All worthy and necessary qualities.
But what has become of the Will? The deliberate nurturing and cultivation of an adamant Will. The bedrock upon which all action is built. Such talk is practically akin to blasphemy in most of today’s rainbow chocolate covered chakra-licious yoga classes, but the simple truth is that the practices of Yoga are part of a system intentionally designed to nourish and mature the power of the Will.
Now please don’t suppose that by that is meant a system to empower and create a particularly willful variety of stubborn Ass. No, that is not what is meant, though that does tend to be what is conjured in mind when one speaks of Will these days. Three conjoining terms from Yoga will shed light.
Iccha (Will) Kriya (Action) Jnana (Knowledge)
A yoga sadhak was expected to cultivate a Will strong enough to take the Action necessary to attain to Knowledge. Self-knowledge. Furthermore, consider this. Meditation is the fixing of the mind upon a single object to the exclusion of all other mental and sensory diversion. Meditation is only made possible if the Will is strong enough to hold the mind from wandering. The foundation of Meditation is the Will.
Yogas chitta vritti nirodah.
Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the Mind – the classic rendering of Patanjali’s most famous sutra written above. But wonderful, symbolique Sanskrit also allows for this translation -
Yoga is the cessation of the wavering of the Will.
I leave you with two quote to take for a spin.
“Do as thou Wilt shall be the whole of the Law.” – Aleister Crowley
“You’ve got to know when to hold em’
Know when to fold em’
Know when to walk away
Know when to run”
– Kenny Rogers
Tom Sharp, KYT