On a recent trip to Japan I had the opportunity to practice Surrender. This came in the guise of a lost passport. My own!
After touching down in Haneda international airport, we emerged from customs and headed for the domestic terminal to catch our connecting flight to Nagoya.
Standing at the check-in counter, boarding pass at the ready, I realised I couldn’t find my passport. A search of my bag revealed it was missing .
Members of the group went through the bag hoping in vain for a different outcome but alas, the passport was well and truly absent.
We informed the tour guide who called the international terminal to report the situation.
In the meantime the group had a few suggestions of their own.
Having known each other for many years, the banter was light and humorous. “How’s your Japanese Deb?” one friend asked. “Why?” I replied. “Because you might have to go to the Australian Embassy in Tokyo to get another passport”.
Surrender occurred in spite of myself
However, the point I’d like to make is this.
In the midst of a lost passport, being in a foreign land and not speaking the language, I noticed I was taking the whole thing very calmly.
I felt no panic or fear. I thought “Okay, what’s this about? What am I supposed to learn from this?”
At no time did I feel alone. I trusted what was happening completely.
To be honest, up until then I didn’t know I would be able to do this!
In the past it would have been a very different story.
In no time flat I would have seen myself living under a bridge in Tokyo somewhere, homeless, hungry, alone, without money, passport or Japanese speaking friends, who would be on their way back to Australia without me!
However, I seemed to know instinctively there was a deeper reason for this arrangement, beyond that of a lost passport. This trip was a spiritual pilgrimage, if you will. This was an opportunity to deepen my practice and abandon myself to the moment.
I felt the need to reflect
So I separated from the group momentarily and thought back to the last time I’d seen the passport.
It was when I was going through customs. I remembered that as the girl was handing it back to me I was being a tad judgmental about an incident which had happened moments before.
Ah, judging! I closed my eyes and apologised. Judging is a practice that I’m trying to give up, so I was grateful for the opportunity to see it.
I rejoined the group and shortly afterwards the tour guide came running towards us waving his phone and shouting that the passport had been found.
Now if you’ve been to Japan, or more precisely, Haneda airport, you’ll know how large it is. It’s absolutely enormous! That the passport was found 20 minutes after losing it was a miracle in itself and reinforced what I already knew – this was an arrangement from a higher, unseen dimension and all would be well.
I’d have to wait until we returned in a week’s time to collect it however, as the domestic flight was ready to leave and there wasn’t time to fetch it.
Still, the awareness of acceptance and peace prevailed.
Give up the need to know why things happen
So I had my week in the beautiful Japanese Alps in a little city called Takayama and it was an awesome time. The passport, or lack of it, didn’t interfere with my enjoyment or peace of mind once.
It was an arrangement and a wonderful experience.
When we returned to Haneda airport I was taken to a small office and my passport was returned to me. And that was that.
We can never know why things happen but if we surrender in the moment to “everything is to teach us something” and remain calm, miracles can happen!
“Always say “yes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life — and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle