On a recent trip to Japan I had the opportunity to practice Surrender 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?” my 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
It was a scary situation but the point I’d like to emphasize is this.
In the midst of a lost passport, being in a foreign country 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 scared or 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 my Japanese speaking friends, who would be on their way back to Australia without me!
Yet I instinctively knew there was a reason for what was happening, beyond losing a passport. This trip was a spiritual pilgrimage, if you will, and here was an opportunity to deepen my practice and abandon myself to the moment.
I felt the need to reflect
I thought about the last time I’d seen the passport.
It was going through customs. I remembered the girl handing it back to me and feeling a tad judgmental about an incident that happened moments before.
Ah, judging, the very practice I’m trying to give up. I was grateful for the opportunity to see it.
Shortly afterwards the tour guide came running towards us waving his phone. The passport had been found.
Now, Haneda airport is absolutely enormous! That the passport was found 20 minutes after losing it was a miracle in itself but it reinforced what I already knew – the universe had sent me an opportunity to learn, and all would be well.
Acceptance and peace prevailed.
Give up the need to know why things happen
I had a wonderful week in the beautiful Japanese Alps in a little city called Takayama. The passport, or lack of it, didn’t interfere with my enjoyment or peace of mind once.
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 do 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