Patanjali, in the Yoga Sutra, famously describes the observance of Ishvara pranidhana—literally, surrender to the Lord—as the passport to samadhi, the inner state of oneness that he considers the goal of the yogic path. Among all the practices he recommends, this one, referred to casually in only two places in the Yoga Sutra, is presented as a kind of ultimate trump card. If you can fully surrender to the higher will, he seems to be saying, you basically don't have to do anything else, at least not in terms of mystical practice. You'll be there, however you define "there"—merged in the now, immersed in the light, in the zone, returned to oneness. At the very least, surrender brings a kind of peace that you don't find any other way.
You probably already know this. You may have learned it as a kind of catechism in your first yoga classes. Or you heard it as a piece of practical wisdom from a therapist who pointed out that nobody can get along with anyone else without being willing to practice surrender. But, if you're like most of us, you haven't found this idea easy to embrace.
Why does surrender create so much resistance, conscious or unconscious? One reason could be that we tend to confuse the spiritual process of surrender with giving up, or getting a free pass on the issue of social responsibility, or with simply letting other people have their way.