Healing is not an intellectual function. No clever mind can order healing in injured tissues. The cortical monkey decorates doubt and embellishes fear. Clever thinking is of little value in coaxing rebellious muscles to abstain from excessive contraction. Individuals with pain syndromes know that the pain of muscle spasm in the back or neck cannot be relieved by mere talking. Nor does the deep anguish of depression abate with so-called positive thinking. What is needed is true spiritual surrender.

Majid Ali


The very best experiences in life cannot be willed but rather 'happen' to a person. The will-centric ideology of our culture makes most people incapable of allowing things to happen. The goal of therapy then, becomes regaining the state of susceptibility; to love, to orgasmic convulsions, to unchangeable reality, and cosmic feeling. Because our culture always points people toward control, a goal of Reich and Lowen therapy is to develop the capacity and agreement to let go of control when appropriate, that is, surrender. Surrender is not something one can do with the will since it requires giving up the will.

Alexander Lowen developed many key ways of working that 'forced' a temporary surrender on the ego so that a client could experience non-control for once. They would also experience that their worst unconscious fears about surrender would not come true. Lowen writes:

Letting go of ego control means giving in to the body in its involuntary aspect. It means letting the body take over. But this is what patients cannot do. They feel the body will betray them. They do not trust it and have no faith in it. They are afraid that if the body takes over, it will expose their weakness, demolish their pretentiousness, reveal their sadness and vent their fury. Yes it will do that. it will destroy the facades that people erect to hide their true selves from themselves and from the world. But it will also open a new depth of being and add a richness to life compared to which the wealth of the world is a mere trifle. (Depression and the Body, Chapter 10, Paragraph 53)

Surrender is the basic underlying 'ability' for the capacity for sexual satisfaction and capacity to love. In this tradition, love and sex fall under surrender.

Wilhelm Reich believed that in surrendering to the melting sensations and involuntary convulsions of orgasm, humans discharged accumulated tension fully. Without full orgasm, problems in energy and relationships ensued. Reich believed that most indirect and self-defeating ('neurotic') behavior was driven by undischarged sexual energy. If orgasms were achieved on a regular basis, a person would not act in a self-defeating manner, even if some quirky subconscious ideas remained.

Reich believed that few people had full orgasms, whether they knew it not. He used the orgasm reflex, a wave seen in the body with breathing,as a sign of the ability to have a sufficient orgasm when the occasion was appropriate. He felt therapy had been successful when the orgasm reflex was seen, because it was evidence of the capacity for surrender. It is a mistaken belief that he held an actual sexual orgasm as the goal of therapy.

The capacity to give and receive love implies an open heart, literally and biologically. Whatever else love is, it is a biological phenomenon that can be felt. But it is also unwilled and usually unexpected. Many people are unable to truly love because they do not have sufficient aggression and contact. But some, especially achievers, have the aggression and contact, but have a primary resistance to surrendering to love.


A quality that can arise out of surrender is willingness, which is the capacity and tendency to give oneself wholly to the actions (not goals) that the times and circumstances require, without recourse to self-image. Willingness implies openness to external guidance but it is not submission. Willingness includes the willingness to say 'no' Willingness is the active form of humility. Because of the hurts and betrayals most of us are subject to in development, willingness is often replaced by willfulness, but no real change can be willed.