When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
~Joseph P. Kennedy
I got to thinking about that statement this morning, wondering what it means. Upon reflection I can see the truth of that in tough situations that require action (“going”). For example, when someone takes immediate initiative in a crisis, providing quick and clear direction to others, or when some average guy can suddenly lift up a car or move a huge chunk of concrete to free a trapped person. I beleive that is the power of ‘presence’ at work, where the mind really doesn’t have time to think and figure out what to do, and so whatever it is that is beyond mind (consciousness) simply takes over and guides a person to take appropriate action without thought.
But what about tough situations where “going” isn’t really the appropriate answer? Where action isn’t required, at least initially…
I believe surrender is the answer, as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie suggest. Acceptance of what is, and then from within that the ‘space’ to wait for and allow the appropriate answer (or action) to arise. I have sometimes wondered if surrender is the same as resignation, but I am finding that there is a distinct difference between resignation and surrender–at lesat for me. The former feels like giving up and the latter feels more like giving in.
To me, giving up means that you cease efforts to accomplish something; I envision sort of turning away from the challenge in frustration, despair or resignation. Giving in, on the other hand, implies that there is another to whom you are acceding or acquiescing, or rules or circumstances to which you are (perhaps after initial resistence) accepting, without a fight or internal struggle.
So to me, giving in is accepting what is. I believe that results in a quiet, calm expectancy that is without anxiety. And from within that expectancy action arises (if action is required).