Our human existence can be characterized as a series of challenges. Life presents us with one situation after another in which we must choose among many possible courses of action, one of which is not to act at all. Behind those choices is another very important choice, which is whether to be guided by ego or by Spirit.
Ego almost never chooses inaction. Ego's modus operandi is to stir the pot, to find threats in every situation. Because it is convinced that the Universe is hostile, ego reacts either defensively or aggressively, whatever it believes will best serve its own perceived needs without regard to the needs of others. Ego scorns inaction as passive surrender to the omnipresent enemy.
Spirit, on the other hand, inhabits a cooperative Universe in which love and acceptance are the moving forces. It does not feel threatened because it knows that it is immortal and unchanging. As manifested in us as individuals, Spirit counsels us to act for the benefit of all. In many cases, this means allowing events to play out rather than intervening in order to direct them toward an outcome that favors us at the expense of others. Almost always, it means taking time to assess the situation and to formulate a thoughtful response. Ego contemptuously labels this measured approach as weakness.
In order to choose mindfully between courses of action, we must pause long enough between stimulus and response to become aware of what our choices are. Ego's reactions are often reflexive. They are based on prejudices or the preconceived notion that every interaction is an attack. Quelling the urge to react in a knee-jerk manner is the necessary predicate to adopting a spiritual rather than an egoic response.
Spiritual teachers may refer to this practice as surrender. Surrender in this sense, however, is not the passive acceptance of events and circumstances. Instead, it is the recognition that Spirit is the most dependable source of guidance in any situation. It represents the choice to be guided by the calm Voice that comes in stillness rather than by the shrill rantings of ego.
In order to hear that Voice, it is necessary to cultivate the ability to establish a zone of internal peace even in the most tumultuous surroundings. This is accomplished by regular meditation practice, and by seeking to live every moment in the awareness of Spirit. If we put spiritual principles to work in the routine activities of our daily lives, their use will become a habit that will serve us well in times of crisis.
In our calm center, we know that we are safe and that we already possess everything we need in order to be happy. We know that these things cannot be taken from us because they are the only eternal truths in the Universe. By surrendering to the Voice of Spirit not just daily, but from moment to moment, we bring serenity into our lives and, in some measure, into the lives of those around us. Spirit will never guide us into discord and pain, though it may guide us to confront controversy, rather than avoid it, in order that it may be resolved. At the very least, we can contribute peace and loving coexistence in every situation. Perhaps the most important action we can take, in the long run, is to demonstrate by example that actively choosing spiritual surrender is the surest path to happiness.