The Power of Surrender: A Book Review

I really enjoyed reading this book. From the very beginning, starting at My Initiation Into Surrender, to the end, Embracing Ecstacy, I found that I could hardly put the book down.
I found this book to be of interest because of the author. Dr. Judith Orloff is a bonafide psychiatrist. However, unlike psychiatrists that I’ve come across, she is a very spiritual person, and even dedicates this book, The Power of Surrender, to her spiritual teacher. So this isn’t just a clinical type of book, where techniques of mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy, or conditioning isn’t the only thing explained, but it is mixed with the warmth of spirituality and really looking inwards, where most of life’s answers lurk and where true love can really be found. The author’s work here sort of reminds me of the works of William James, a psychologist who believed that, in order to properly diagnose someone, one must look at all aspect of the client’s life, including the spiritual side. Dr. Judith Orloff is modern and crisp at her approach to psychiatry. I can only wish that more psychiatrists would follow this path instead of giving us clients the cold shoulder and endless medications that do not work and create more side effects within our bodies.
Dr. Judith Orloff starts the reader off with explaining what her experiences were when she began to put the power of letting go in the section entitled, “My Initiation Into Surrender.” I found myself relating to her almost rebellious yet kind nature and her need to get out of society’s status quo. Her need to be different, albeit following the footsteps of her parents, led her to discover a different aspect of psychiatry and medicine that her parents were unable to tap into in their time. This has helped Dr. Orloff not only experience the ecstacy of letting go, but also has allowed her to help countless other people in this process. And she reminds the reader that she is there with you every step of the way. Dr. Orloff reminds the reader to be “someone who wants to become everything you were meant to be and more.” Who doesn’t want that?
Dr. Orloff goes on to explain that surrender does not equate weakness, powerlessness, or being a pushover, in the section “An Introduction To Letting Go.” She talks about assertiveness at the right moments, regaining control of your life, and letting go of what no longer serves you. She explains the issue of reconditioning oneself, or reprogramming oneself from old habits and beliefs, letting go of drama, looking within oneself (which is probably the most challenging aspect in this book for most people), and recognizing that you are not what you thought you were in the negative aspect.
Dr. Orloff separates “The Power of Surrender” into parts. The author explains that these parts are the areas of most interested to the majority of people and she couldn’t be more correct. She starts off with Part One: Power and Money. Many, many people may find these subject areas quite daunting. And she explains exactly what kind of people find them daunting by writing about specific money types followed by useful meditation and surrendering techniques that will help these types see money and power in a different way.
Part Two: Reading People and Communication explains that reading people is not a personal thing, rather an exercise into understanding what the next person is going through without bias or judgment from your part. In other words, keeping an open mind when faced with people from different backgrounds than yours. The author also provides helpful surrendering techniques to be able to read people accurately. The author states, “People who read others well are trained to read the invisible and fine-tune their senses, including the sixth sense.” She goes on the explain the importance of communication and how potent it can be in everyday life. Again, the author provides useful surrendering techniques so that one can become an effective communicator. Dr. Orloff explains, “Impeccable communication means relating to others with compassion, flaws and all.” For some people, that can be a hard pill to swallow. Here she outlines the different types of communicators and asks that you be as honest with yourself as possible without judgment.
Part Three: Relationships, Love, and Sensuality delves into an ever popular area of the when, why, and how’s of relationships of all kinds. Dr. Orloff begins this part with an introduction of the Sixth Surrender: Honoring Soul Mates, Soul Friends, and Animal Companions. Yes, folks, animal companions. Here is where everything gets even more deeper. Indeed, the author forces one to look deep, deep inside to recognize all of the barriers one might have built against true love, by recognizing obstacles we put up ourselves and why. One of Dr. Orloff’s techniques here is the Surrender Old Relationship Rules, Create New Ones where the reader is again made to look at their own behavior towards relationships and take old bad habits and replace them with effective techniques. She also explains surrender strategies for soul mates and soul friends and animal companions. This part also touches the subjects of the Seventh Surrender: Exploring The Divinity of Your Body and Sexuality, where it explains how to pay attention to what your body is telling you (for example, if you’re sad, cry) and surrendering to the subtle energy in your body or your chakras. The authors further talks about surrendering to a positive body image, something most people have a problem doing. The Eighth Surrender talks about igniting sexual power. Here the author explains how to “get out of your head” and allow passion to flow. She lists the Ten Qualities of a Good Lover and Common Killers of Passion and goes on to explain how “orgasm is the crown jewel of surrender.” Here there are many surrendering techniques to look into. The Ninth Surrender requires the reader to look at the natural world and its sensual essence. Yes, the natural world is sensual. Here the author teaches how to look at the world around you with a different perspective: Night and Day, the trees, flowers, the sound of birds and frogs, stones, caves, earth, water, fire, the air, in short everything pertaining to nature. This third part will have you looking at yourself, and the natural world around you, in a very different way.
Part Four is dedicated to Mortality and Immortality: Cycles of Light. The author helps the reader to see illness and pain by providing surprisingly common sense strategies and five ways to heal yourself by surrendering to intuition (page 292). The author states to “use these along with information your doctor offers about various treatment options.” I found this part very useful, as I am currently dealing with a degenerative illness and I have faced depression, fear and have been “frozen in inertia” because I went from being vibrant and active to nearly bedridden. The Eleventh Surrender explains experiencing radiant aging. This surrender helps the reader to accept the changes that the aging body requires, to deal with the mental and emotional aspects of aging, explains the several factors of aging, and spiritual aging. The Twelfth Surrender refers to death and its concepts, includes a meditation journey into death, mourning and surviving loss, and even asks what is your perfect death.
Part Five entails the final surrender, embracing ecstasy, basically celebrating the blessing of joy. Dr. Orloff states that “being joyful is a courageous choice which makes your path of surrender vital and thrilling.” She continues by saying, “By consciously embracing joy…you’re declaring, “This is the person I want to be and can be.””
I read this book from cover to cover. I found that most of the surrender meditations were more useful to me if I recorded them with my own voice and listened to them at my highest relaxation state, before going to sleep. It helped me to see a part of myself that was always there, once I got out of my own way, and quieted the constant negative chatter in my mind. I recommend this book to anyone who has tried conventional methods with little to no results. While Dr. Orloff suggests that one can read this book from any starting point, I recommend reading it from the beginning. It is meant to change the reader’s perspective not only in the areas mentioned above but also from how one sees oneself. She also suggests not to judge oneself and to keep an open mind. I agree. The techniques in this book will help the reader see a different side of themselves, probably in a way they have chosen not to see. Like the Bible says, “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” I hope you enjoy this book as I did.
I received this book on September 14, 2015, via UPS Ground, in really good condition (paperback version), from Blogging for Books for an honest and unbiased review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s