The Uncomfortable Talks by Bill Skiles Talk Number 4 Principle – Surrender
Well, I just finished my walk for a mile and here in the mountains there is no level ground, so you walk up and you walk down, and you walk up and you walk down, but it was a beautiful walk. The birds were out. The sun was out. Although it was only 24 degrees out, it was still quite nice. I walked past the creek and heard the water running and looked at the little waterfall and looked up at the deep blue sky and it was peaceful.
Last year my wife got for me a very wonderful shirt. It is flannel on the outside and fleece on the inside, and it is warm, so I’m able to take those walks and everything is warm except my ears, which I’m working on. Going to get one of those hats with the flaps that come down and hopefully Santa will bring it to me in a couple of days and I’ll have my ears warm as well when I go out on these walks.
But anyway, I went out on this walk and during the walk I was thinking of a principle, and the principle is “surrender.” Now I don’t know if you know much about surrender or how important it is. I know Joel has a chapter in A Parenthesis in Eternity called Self Surrender, and in that chapter he talks about the new students feeling that they should mount up in the seventh heaven and have servants and students and all sorts of things. But he points out that the opposite is true: The higher you go, the more of a servant you become. And so, self surrender, he says, is very important.
Now I had a man tell me back when I was 22 and he was 80, he said to me: “There will never be a time when we don’t have to surrender to God. We will always have to surrender.”
And I wasn’t too keen on that idea, in fact, when I was 19 years old and searching for God and searching hard for God, trying to find God, and I couldn’t find him anywhere. I had read The Art of Meditation and perhaps The Art of Spiritual Healing and Practicing the Presence, and I tried to meditate. I tried to pray, but I couldn’t feel God anywhere. And so for all intents and purposes, it was as if God didn’t exist.
Oh, I had a concept of God, and I believed in that concept, but I didn’t have any experience, any feeling, any conscious awareness of the living Presence. But I tried. I really tired. And eventually after a year and a half of hard labor I became so frustrated, so angry at myself, feeling I must be a failure and angry at God – why was he playing hide-and-seek with me? And then I started to wonder: “Maybe there is no God. Maybe these people are calling it God, but it’s not really God. And I just … I just was so frustrated … and perhaps that’s not a bad place to be, because you remember in several of the books, in many places in the writings Joel talks about having to get rid of every concept of God we ever had in order to experience God, and that that can be a painful process, and it was for me.
And eventually at the height of the frustration, when I felt I could take no more, I just broke down one night at two in the morning – three in the morning. I lived in Pasadena, California in the County of Los Angeles, and I sat out on my front porch steps in the middle of the city, and the dam broke. I just … I just started to sob, and I cried out to the universe and I said:
“God – Jesus – Buddha – Christ – anyone – anywhere – I’ll do anything if you just show me how to live.” And I meant it from my longest toenail to my longest hair on my head – I would do anything.
And see, something happened to me at that moment, because I became teachable. Up until then I was full of the letter of truth, and I mean full of it: I could quote it to you and spout it off at any moment and often did – sometimes when people didn’t even ask! Of course, that didn’t win friends and influence people, but … I knew the letter backwards and forwards, and yet – I knew nothing about God. Nothing. Zero. Was not even sure God existed. But when I cried out to the universe, when I cried out to God: I’ll do anything if you just reveal yourself really is what I meant; if you just show me how to live.
Well, at that exact moment in time, that split second I realized I did not know anything in spite of all the letter I had memorized … and I became teachable. Inside myself I became receptive for the first time, and although I didn’t feel anything sitting there on my front porch steps, in the days that followed all sorts of remarkable miracles began to take place because inside myself I had surrendered.
I surrendered a personal sense of knowing the truth. My understanding of truth I surrendered. I had no understanding. My prayers I surrendered. I had no prayers. No prayers were left. Just an emptying out, just a surrender. And when that kind of a vacuum is created, we all know if by no other means but by reading, we know that when you create a vacuum, God happens.
God is constantly Is-ing, and that is perhaps the only truth that we can say is absolute. God Is.
Yet, to experience the Isness of God, to experience God Is-ing, there must be a complete surrender of self, of a false sense of a personal self. And then into that vacuum rushes the living Presence of God. The living Presence of God was always omnipresent, but never felt until the vacuum, until the surrender.
And so in that state of surrender, standing in that unknowing, God began to reveal itself in my experience. And miracle after miracle after miracle took place.
And then something else happened, and that is – the personal sense of self slowly took control again and took back everything and started to try to run things. Well – that’s my money, so I’ll invest how I want to. Well – that’s my marriage, and I’ll direct it the way I want to. Well – that’s my career, and I’ll – and so on and so forth. So a personal sense of self exerted itself again, and although I thought at the time of that surrender on my front porch steps, I thought: “Oh, I’m so glad that happened and I never have to do that again” – it turned out that my friend was right. There will never be a time when we don’t have to surrender.
Now I told you that a little while after this … I told you in the last talk that my wife left me, and she did. And while I was there alone, again another surrender, a deeper surrender took place in which I asked God to take all of me … all of me.
I realized that the scripture: “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” was an act of surrender.
Not by personal, physical might – because that personal, physical might is nothing. And not by personal, mental power – because that, too, is nothing. But in the surrender of that and the standing still from that, My Spirit functions.
And then, too, I began to realize Joel’s right. If we only know within ourselves that God is omnipresent, if we only bear witness to God, then we only have half of the package. That’s only half of it. We have to have the total package in order to have what he calls the demonstration to which we are entitled – or to which we can have – is the way he puts it. We rob ourselves of that complete demonstration if we only have half the package.
And so the complete set of principles are:
When I recognize the nothingness of a personal sense of a material life, and I recognize that a personal sense of mind thinking thoughts of truth, or the truth as I understand it, is also nothing, then I surrender a personal sense of self, a personal sense of physical life, a personal sense of mental life, a personal sense of truth – the truth I understand – that must go too. A personal concept of God. God as I understand God. That must go too.
In the practice of the principle of bearing witness to the nothingness of self – of a personal sense of self – a surrender happens. I surrender out of that personal sense of self. I surrender it, and standing there still – standing there naked – standing there open and receptive – God Is, and I become aware of God Is-ing.
One of the most beautiful scriptures to me is: “And the Spirit of God moved over the face of the deep.” I love that because that’s how it feels. When you stand there in complete surrender or rest – rest in complete surrender from a personal sense of body or mind or life or truth or being and surrender. Then just like this moment, the Spirit of God moves over the water and you feel it. You become consciously aware of it. It’s a living thing.
It was there before, but you weren’t. You were inside of a personal sense of existence. But when you see the nothingness of a personal sense of life, you surrender. You stand still. You watch. You bear witness to the nothingness of a personal sense of self and standing still – “Behold – I come quickly.” The Spirit moves over the face of the deep. There is a flowing. There is a presence. There is an invisible spiritual Being moving, and you feel it…you feel it. You are conscious of it. And now you are practicing the second half of the principle: Bearing witness to God in action.
So there’s two parts: You bear witness to the nothingness of a personal sense of self. You surrender, and in the surrender, in that attitude of resting from a personal sense of self, the Infinite Invisible Self moves through your being, reaching right up through you out into the world.
This principle of surrender is very important. After my wife left, while I was by myself I was lying down to sleep one night. I wasn’t yet asleep, but I wasn’t awake – I was in that in between stage, and lying there peacefully in the state of surrender, I heard a voice, an internal voice. It wasn’t the mind…of that I am certain, but the voice said this:
“God needs no prayer. God already Is. Man needs prayer in order to let God Is.”
And so startling was that that it woke me up, and I jumped out of bed and ran for a piece of paper and a pencil, and I wrote that down, and now of course, it is in the book Steps to Mystical Experience, but it became the foundation for my life of prayer: God needs no prayer. God already Is.
See, most of us pray to God for this or that or the other. Send me health. Give me wisdom. Give me that, give me this. Take away this, take away that. But God needs no prayer. Not that prayer, because God already Is.
There is nothing you can do to influence God. Who can influence, or what can influence the Infinite? One thing alone … and it doesn’t influence the Infinite … it simply provides an opening – and that is surrender.
God needs no prayer. God already Is. Man needs prayer in order to let God Is.
And so you see, I discovered that night Paul’s injunction that we must pray without ceasing. I never knew what it was until that night. I used to think: “Wow, how can we pray without ceasing and do our jobs at work every day? How could I possibly pray without ceasing and be attentive to my wife? How could I pray without ceasing and do a good job with the children? How can I pray without ceasing and even drive my car?” And I didn’t understand it for a long time, but you see, prayer becomes now an act of surrender.
Prayer is an act of surrender. Again, we are told that we don’t know how to pray. The Spirit makes intercession, but the Spirit makes intercession when you surrender. So … I discovered how to pray without ceasing, and that is by practicing throughout the day, and if I awaken in the night, staying surrendered.
Now Joel tells us and told us in the Kailua study series that at least 12 times a day we need to pause for two or three minutes and just invite God: Father, reveal Thyself, or anything else that reminds us just to rest, just to be still, just to surrender. And then pause and wait one minute or two minutes and see if we feel that movement … if somehow or another the Presence of God reveals itself or flows through our being.
And – if it does – well, it’s a beautiful thing. We open our eyes and go about our business. And if it doesn’t that’s okay too, he says, because he points out that the goal is what? You remember? The goal is to create a consciousness that is consciously aware of the living Presence of God and has an area of consciousness set aside for listening. In other words, this act of surrender must be a continuous act of surrender.
So we pray without ceasing. We take the Kailua study series seriously, and we practice 12 times a day. Joel says he practices this 30 or more times a day. I used to wonder how could he possibly sit down for an hour or even 15 minutes of meditation and heal or work on 300 cases of the flu in a day, and now I recognize that’s not what he did. He didn’t do that. He practiced praying without ceasing. He practiced these moments of listening so much so that his consciousness became constantly open to that movement of Spirit, of Christ within.
And I have found that even while driving my car a part of my consciousness can be listening, can be surrendered, can be open, can be receptive. The first time I became aware that I was doing this was way back when the movie Star Wars came out, and George Lucas did an excellent job with that movie. And I was watching the movie. I took my 8-year-old son to see it, and we were enjoying – I was enjoying the movie: C-P3O and R2-D2 and all the characters and robots and whatnot and Han Solo and his Wookiee – remember?
Well, I was enjoying the characters and not even thinking of anything in particular, and all of a sudden I felt a flooding of the Presence in the middle of the movie theater, in the dark movie theater. And I pulled my attention within myself at the speed of light because I wanted to know what was going on! And when I pulled it within I realized, I recognized for the first time ever that while I was watching the movie, totally caught up in the characters, an area of my consciousness was praying. Some part of consciousness was surrendered – there was an opening.
And so I had inadvertently not even known that I was saying: “Father, fulfill Thyself. Thy Will be done” and watching the movie. And the answer came – I was flooded with the Presence. So I discovered from that, that Joel did not sit down. Sometimes he sat down, but more often than not he even says in the Kailua study series he could be out swimming and at the same time praying. He could be mowing the grass and praying. He could be eating and praying. Because an area of consciousness was surrendered … was open … was receptive … was still. You see that?
And so praying becomes an act of surrender. It’s an attitude of surrender. An altitude of stillness and silence.
The principle we’re looking at today is surrender and how vitally important it is, and so Chuck was right. There is never a time when we don’t have to surrender – or – I would say it this way now: There is never a time when we don’t have to be surrendered.
And I also discovered that – you know, I used to get into some trouble and then stop and say “Uh oh! What happened!” and then I’d walk back through my day, sort of take myself a little inventory of my day and walk backwards until I could see – “Uh oh! Look … there. I…I went after that again instead of trusting God, or I forgot that God was on the scene and I wanted to fix that, or whatever the problem was.
And I used to say: “Now how did I do this again! I’m tired of doing this. There must be a better way.” And that’s when I discovered, or reinforced the idea: If I stay surrendered, then I don’t have to confront these huge problems that make me surrender. I don’t like to feel pain or uncomfortable, and so I look for ways that I can practice principles and not have to end up that way. I know they say … and I’ve been hearing all my life … that pain is the touchstone of growth.
But my experience is you don’t have to wait until you’re in pain to grow. You don’t have to carry that touchstone around with you. You can grow just as much out of love as you can out of problems. And I know this, because love of God will motivate you to stay surrendered in order to stay close to the experience of this movement of Spirit. Once you love that with all your mind, heart, and soul, that will motivate you to stay surrendered – to pray without ceasing. To continually have an area of consciousness that’s listening for Thy Father’s voice.
All right…so it is a complete package, and there’s two parts to one experience. And the first part is, as he says in the Kailua study series: Bearing witness to the nothingness of error. Or let’s just call it like it is – bearing witness to the nothingness of a person or a personal sense of self.
It really is nothing. It really is. And when you see it where you stand, when you see the nothingness of a person or a personal sense of self, then the surrender happens. You surrender. You stand still and you bear witness to God, to God Is-ing. Joel says: “Is alone overcomes the world.”
Now he didn’t mean Is and you helping, and he didn’t mean Is and your praying, and he didn’t mean Is and your personal view of truth or your personal understanding or your personal knowledge of truth. No. Is alone overcomes the world. That’s a complete sentence.
And so we surrender and bear witness to God Is-ing, and the Is alone dissolving the world and a personal sense of self. Every time we surrender and the Is happens – we become aware of the Is is a better way of saying that, because the Is is already Is-ing – but we’re not aware of it when we’re in a personal sense of life.
Surrendering the personal sense of self and seeing its nothingness and standing still before the lord, we become aware – consciously aware of God Is-ing, and that Is-ing dissolves a little deeper this personal sense of self. And standing there in the cloud of unknowing, the Is reveals itself. So do you see the importance of surrender and the principle of surrender?
All right, let’s have a little silence now. [Silence]..
I surrender this personal sense of self that I thought had wisdom, understanding, knew truth. All it had was a letter – a letter of truth – and the letter of truth kills because it’s nothing, and this personal sense of truth is nothing.
And so I surrender. I stand here still … empty … open. Father, reveal Thyself. Reveal God Is-ing. And now I wait.
And sometimes there is the movement of Spirit across the water, and it reminds me of when I was on Lake Michigan real early one morning before I started my boat. I looked out across the water and it was smooth as glass. Smooth – not a movement at all. Very, very still. And then very slowly there was a few – yes – a … a light breeze blew across my face, and I looked and there was a tiny ripple moving in the water, across the water. And sometimes it feels that way – the movement of Spirit.
And you may feel the Presence in another way, but this Presence that you feel is the only Self that’s here. You are not aware of it when you’re living as a false self, a personal sense of self. When you surrender that and stand still, the real, infinite invisible Self reveals Itself and moves Itself and lives Itself and is Itself.
And so we pray without ceasing. We surrender unceasingly. We train ourselves to have an area of consciousness that is always open to the Divine impulse.
I found this in the original book The Infinite Way, and it’s the very last chapter. I don’t think it was here in the beginning. I think he added it when he added The New Horizon. And this chapter is called: The New Jerusalem, and I’m going to read it because it’s only two pages … two pages and a little bit, a few lines, and I want to read it to you because in it you can feel – I can feel – we can feel – Joel’s surrender. You can actually feel it.
And so listen. Be still and listen. Just close your eyes. Surrender any personal sense of this chapter you thought you knew and listen. Listen for the surrender.
THE NEW JERUSALEM:
The former things have passed away,” and “all things are become new ….”
Now you see, that’s just what we’re talking about. In this surrender, the recognition of the nothingness of a personal sense of self – and the subsequent surrender – in the standing still all things are become new. This invisible Spirit reveals a new Self, a new kingdom, a new being, a new life.
“Whereas I was blind, now I see,” and not “through a glass, darkly,” but “face to face.” Yes, even in my flesh, I have seen God.
And that’s the experience of surrender. As you surrender, in that moment of silence, into that silence God pours Itself.
The hills have rolled away, (and the hills are a false sense of self). The hills have rolled away, and there is no more horizon, but the light of heaven makes all things plain.
Long have I sought thee, O Jerusalem, but only now have my pilgrim feet touched the soil of heaven.
And if you surrender daily, if you feel the movement of Spirit, then your feet are touching the soil of heaven.
The waste places are no more. (He says). Fertile lands are before me, the like of which I have never dreamed. Oh, truly “There shall be no night there.” The glory of it shines as the noonday sun, and there is no need of light for God is the light thereof.
See – you don’t need a personal sense of understanding. You know you do not have to know any truth anymore? Think of that … this personal sense of mind that had to know all this truth – NO MORE … No more. I surrender the personal sense of self, a physical, material self, and I surrender a personal sense of mind, a personal sense of mental truth, a personal sense of the letter. I don’t have to know any truth anymore EVER with the mind. No, no … no – for God is the light thereof, and in the surrender of a false personal sense of self, the invisible Spirit flows through me, and I am the truth it declares. I am the truth. Bear witness to me.
I sit down to rest. In the shade of the trees, I rest and find my peace in Thee. Within thy grace is peace, O Lord. In the world I was weary – in Thee I have found rest.
In the dense forest of words I was lost; in the letter of truth was tiredness and fear, but in Thy Spirit only are shade and water and rest.
And see – in a personal sense of truth – which is the letter of truth – there is tiredness and fear, and it doesn’t work. You can repeat it over and over and over as vain repetitions, but it doesn’t work. There is still a personal sense of self practicing a personal sense of truth.
Oh! No – no – no! We are to transition into Christhood. That’s what this group is about. And so – in the surrender of that self, in the standing still – Thy Spirit reveals itself, and it is shade and water and rest.
How far have I wandered from Thy Spirit, O Tender One and True, how far, how far! How deeply lost in the maze of words, words, words! But now (after the surrender) am I returned, and in Thy Spirit shall I ever find my life, my peace, my strength. Thy Spirit is the bread of life, finding which I shall never hunger. Thy Spirit is a wellspring of water, and drinking it I shall never thirst.
And do you recall Jesus sitting on the edge of the well and the lady there, and he said: “If thou knewest the gift and who it is that I am, and if you would have asked, I would have given you living water, and you never would have thirsted again.” Remember? This is the Spirit that sits on the well of your consciousness, waiting for your surrender. And that’s how you ask. You don’t ask with your lips. You ask with an action, and that action is … surrender. In the surrender of a personal sense of self, into that vacuum God Is-es, and you become consciously aware that that Spirit is moving over the face of the water.
And so he says:
As a weary wanderer I have sought Thee, and now my weariness is gone. Thy Spirit has formed a tent for me, and in its cool shade I linger and peace fills my Soul.
That’s exactly what happens. My Peace floods your being.
Thy presence has filled me with peace. Thy love has placed before me a feast of Spirit. Yea, Thy Spirit is my resting place, an oasis in the desert of the letter of truth.
And if you have lived on the letter and in the letter – and by a personal sense of self and a personal sense of truth, then you know what that desert is like. Ah – but in the principle of surrender, I will lift you up, and you will feel this Spirit. You will feel My Spirit, and you will find the resting place, and you will be filled with the living water.
In Thee will I hide from the noise of the world of argument; in Thy consciousness find surcease from the noisomeness of men’s tongues. They divide Thy garment, O Lord of Peace, they quarrel over Thy word – yea, until it becomes words and no longer the Word.
And see – the words are what you now surrender. Any personal understanding must go. In the silence, in the stillness, in the surrender – the Word becomes flesh and you see it, you feel it. Yes, Thy Word becomes flesh.
As a beggar have I sought the new heaven and the new earth, and Thou hast made me heir of all.
How shall I stand before Thee but in silence? (and in surrender). How shall I honor Thee but in the meditation of mine heart?
Yes, not in the meditation of mine head. Not in the meditation of what I memorize. Not in the meditation of a personal sense of self. No! No! Surrender … surrender, and in the silence the heart is felt. And the Spirit enters the heart.
Praise and thanksgiving Thou seekest not, but the understanding heart Thou receivest.
The empty heart. The surrendered heart Thou receivest.
I will keep silent before Thee. My Soul and my Spirit and my silence shall be Thy dwelling place.
Yes, your surrender will be the dwelling place of God Is-ing.
Thy Spirit shall fill my meditation, and it shall make me and preserve me whole. O Thou Tender One and True – I am home in Thee.
Yes, it shall make me and preserve me whole, or holy. Do you, dear one, wish to bear witness to the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among you and dwelling in you and as you?
Then surrender … surrender.
Surrender that which you thought you knew. Surrender a physical sense of self. Surrender a mental sense of self. Surrender a mental knowing of truth. Surrender in the recognition of the nothingness of a personal sense of self and stand still, trying to do nothing physically, trying to do nothing with the mind. Just stand still and be receptive. And in this stillness, the Spirit moves over the face of the deep. The Word becomes flesh and dwells in you.
This is the true meaning of Christmas. This is the Christmas I know is within you, and I recognize is yours by inheritance.
And so, my friends, this is the principle of surrender. Always. There will never be a time when we don’t have to surrender. Always we maintain a certain area of consciousness that is open, receptive, silent, and surrendered. Into this, God pours Itself. The invisible Isness of God, and that Is transforms the world into the living manifestation of the Word made flesh, and Christ is born again.
Blessings, and all my love.