Surrender: The ultimate victory

So when you think about fitness, what pops into your mind? Action. Whether it’s controlling your diet, cranking out reps, or logging the mileage, getting and staying in shape requires DOING. On the other hand, the reality is that in many respects, we are NOT in control of much. A lot of us understand this, to a degree, and then others have a tendency to deny it. Let’s briefly look at this from a philosophical perspective, though, including both religious and non-religious ideologies.

 

  Abrahamic traditions

Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

Well, the basic basic framework of this is pretty universal, even if you don’t subscribe to Judeo-Christianity. You can have a goal, and have a means to accomplish it, but outside forces may intervene. Ain’t that the truth?

Meanwhile, the very name of Islam may be taken as MEANING “surrender.” The root, “S-L-M,” is also found in the Arabic greeting “salaam” and the Hebrew “shalom.” In those cases, it is taken more to mean “peace,” but the idea of non-conflict remains. Not to mention the typical prayer positions of submission, be it kneeling or bowing.

 
Indian traditions

A concept central to Hiduism (and especially in yoga), is Ishvara Pranidhana, which is the tenet of mindful of a greater picture. In fact, you might say that it is a major goal of yoga, to the point that not paying attention to it means you are not actually practicing yoga.

Then you have the Buddhist Four Noble Truths, that ask us to understand that life is pain, although it also offers a way to minimize this by following the Eightfold Path. Even the ultimate goal is Nirvana, which is characterized as a “blowing out,” like a candle. It is a joining of the ether in some ways.


Non-religious

I don’t think I have to tell you about failure if you live entirely in the material world, as opposed to the metaphysical one. Every time you’ve struggled or faced loss, you know what it is. Yet what can one person do, in the face of such a universal experience? As of this moment in time, and the foreseeable future, nothing. You can only know that you aren’t the only one and that while maybe your life isn’t without suffering, you might ease that suffering of others. But eventually, you will be unable to go on.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should just give up. You can still fight the good fight, although romanticizing it is generally a bad idea. It comes down to acceptance. Accept this: you will fail. It will look like you’re going to keep on failing. But you can can make a concerted effort to change your situation. And when you’ve gained a measure of control over yourself, you can start to help others to find their potential. Remember, heroes are remembered for their contributions, not their own glory. Even King Solomon, with all his riches, is best known for his WISDOM.

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