A Soul in Deep Surrender

Every Tuesday afternoon - I look forward to my nearly two hour commute on the metro - to and from my yoga class - for it gives me the opportunity to lose myself in uninterrupted reading.

As I continue to delve into The Cave of the Heart - about the life of Henri Le Saux - the Benedictine monk turned swami - the realization came to me that his sojourn in India was really an invitation he received spiritually - perhaps unknown to him in the beginning - to abide in deep surrender. This theme of the necessity of cultivating surrender is evident in the writings of all spiritual giants since there is perhaps - no more difficult or pertinent lesson for a soul.

Here are some passages that are indicative of Le Saux's experiences with his pursuit of greater solitude and what he described as being "stripped stark naked in my soul."

This excerpt follows an extended period of meditation in a cave in India:

"What if he knew he would be there forever? What if no one knew or cared that he was there? What if no one brought him his mid-day meal and he had to beg for his food? Would he still feel such joy?

Then, in the depth of his soul, he heard what he called 'the call to total dispossession.'

the call to total stripping,
which is the call to total freedom;
since he only is free who has nothing,
absolutely nothing that he can call his own."

I thought of how difficult it would be to actually live this way in our culture and society - yet we are able to considerably reduce our materialism and our spiritual attachments in particular - for these truly hold a soul back from its progression.

Later on, a friend and teacher notices the depth of Le Saux's spiritual progress and tells him:

"There is only one thing you need, and that is to break the last bonds that are holding you back. You are quite ready for it. Leave off your prayers, your worship. Your contemplation of this or that. Realize that you are, Tat tvam asi - you are That!"

In other words - you are already that which you seek and you are already one with the Source of your seeking...

The ultimate experience here was to transcend the ego which Le Saux began to have glimpses of - knowing he had to:

"Dive down into myself, to the greatest depth of myself. Forget my own 'aham,' lose myself in the 'aham' of the divine Atman which is the source of my being, of my consciousness of being. And in this unique - or primordial - Aham feel all being to be oneself."

It was so interesting to me to follow Le Saux's spiritual development - as he pursued his quest in two traditions at once - which mirrors my own quest to a large extent:

"It is through YOU that it is seen and heard, through you that it is thought and willed. You are what remains when nothing is any more seen or thought, willed or heard. That is the atman, the Self; it is what YOU ARE yourself in reality and beyond all outward appearances which change and pass away. Tat Tvam asi - You are That! What prevents you from realizing this?"

Le Saux experiences deeper surrender - letting go of even his attachment to his ashram - letting go of all his moorings, in his own words.

Later on in the book - there are beautiful descriptions of what he referred to as his awakening. Truly, this work tells the story of the journey of a soul in deep surrender...

These two final excerpts are from his diary after a profound experience and from a letter written to his sister, who was a Benedictine nun:

"The solitude of the one who has found God, for there is no longer any God to be with: God is only with himself and one who has found God exists only in the Self. It is the Self that he finds everywhere, in God, in his fellow human being...

And to discover oneself everywhere, what a draining out of oneself it is, what an emptying, kenosis. Everything is taken away from me. Supreme solitude, which is supreme emptiness, for how can the one who is Alone still define himself; no coordinates left by which to situate himself."

To his sister:

"...when you have discovered this I AM, scorching, devastating, then no longer even (can you say) God is - for who is there to speak of God? This is the great grace of India, which makes us discover the 'I Am' at the heart of the Gospel (John 8). May the devastating joy of this 'I Am' fill your soul."

He truly wished for others the beauty of his experience and the fruit of his life long quest for union with the Divine through the pursuit of solitude and deep surrender.


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