There is something we know but cannot really understand. It’s submission.
I don’t know why, but whenever I hear this word, the first thing that comes to mind is a movie I saw on TV as a child. Maybe it was a series—I’m not sure. There were only two national TV channels at the time. If you spent your childhood in İzmir during the 80s, you‘ll remember there were also two Greek channels as well. As a child, I had no knowledge about the English or Greek languages, but due to the lack of choice, I watched the foreign-language channels as well. I remember encountering this movie (or series) a few times, and I watched it with great interest each time. It was set in Ancient Greece, and the Greek gods featured in it alongside regular human beings. In one scene, one of the gods is before a chess table. He takes one of the pawns and makes a move, and the corresponding human down on Earth suddenly finds himself in a completely different place.
Now, you may wonder how this relates to submission. We all know life is a game, an illusion, and so on, so let’s assume it is a chess game. Some of us are bishops, some are knights, some are pawns, and so on. The squares we are on represent our comfort zones. We all know the queen has a wide selection of moves to choose from, while a pawn can only move forward. That said, with a careful choice of moves, it can reach the other side of the board and transform itself into any other piece. Even if it doesn’t manage this, we can’t ignore the pawn’s contribution to the game.
Okay, you are probably thinking that I started talking about a movie and then drifted onto chess. Don’t worry, I’m getting to the point. If I pick up the knight while playing chess, the moves I can make are obvious, so I pick one and make the move. Naturally I choose the most logical move that will hopefully help me win the game. The knight will never say, “I don’t want to move now. I am happy on this white square and have no need to move to a black one.” It will also never complain about having to move in an L shape and insist on moving in a straight line. Can you imagine how you would feel if chess pieces said such things to you? What would it feel like to experience such resistance, even though you know the right moves needed to win?
We come to this world knowing our role and accepting it. Whether we are kings or pawns, everything is known and accepted, but what happens if we stop on our turn? Instead of everything happening as it should, what if we only showed resistance? If we were to ask a hundred people, at least some would say they are still looking for their purpose in life. Do you think this is something that you can find by searching? Let’s say I am a piece on the chess table, but I don’t know which one. If I just leave myself to the flow, I should understand my role after the first or maybe second move, right? Do I really need to know my role in advance?
For me, submission means realizing I am a part of that chess game. Now you maybe wonder what happened to free will? Free will exists of course, and we can change our shared consciousness and the flow of the game with it. To win the game, we should trust in this, but when the time for a crucial move comes, we should surrender to someone who sees the entire board, someone who sees the big picture.
I therefore don’t believe that evolution is an individual thing as we understand it. The other pieces on the chess board with us are also very important. Doesn’t every person in our life teach us something or learn something from us? To win the game, we must move together in unity. It is not just the last move that wins the game—every piece played a role in this success. They opened doors for each other. Submission is leaving yourself to the flow and knowing this. Maybe some pieces needed to be sacrificed to win the game, and maybe these pieces were not even aware of this fact. Only after the game ended did they understand the honorable role they played. If we focus on the pieces we lost and agonize over them, don’t we risk losing? Can a chess game ever be won without losing a single piece?
To protect one piece, another piece can sometimes be sacrificed, but when its time comes, the protected piece should be prepared to be taken. If you orient your game around protecting one piece at all costs, you can never be successful. This is why each piece has its own unique value.
Given we are all one, every person around us reflects ourselves back to us. In this case, though, how is it possible to have individual evolution? When I change, everyone else changes, right? So why do we resist? Why are we so arrogant? What do we search for? Why is it so difficult just to leave? What are we holding onto and why?
Submission comes from realizing the reality of our union. We then understand that everything that happens is an experience to help us move forward. Every person we meet is there to teach us something or learn something from us, but usually both. We can go forward with our experiences and leave our comfort zones. If we refuse to take any risks and close ourselves to experiences, we will leave this world unimproved and possibly worse than when we arrived.
Let’s allow the experiences to come and leave ourselves to the wind. What’s the worst that can happen? Is there anything worse than returning a magnificent gift box full of spectacular surprises? The life purpose we are looking for is actually inside that gift box, but we prefer to look elsewhere. Realizing the value of this box, is it really needed for someone else to take it from us? Instead of complaining about disease or war, let’s jump in the box before someone tries to take it from us. Our gift box will also change as we free ourselves from our resistance. One day, maybe there won’t be a gift box, because we will be the gift ourselves.
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