Surrender to Another Person: The Case of a Spiritual Master

Amir Freimann, Ofra Mayseless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The experience and posture of surrender has been espoused by religious traditions as key to spiritual life and development for millennia. Within psychology, on the other hand, surrender’s position has been likened to an “unwanted bastard child,” and its research has been neglected. Moreover, when occurring in the context of a relationship with another person, the terms “submission” and “obedience,” laden with negative connotations, have been commonly used. We propose that psychologically and spiritually developmental surrender is a common experience both when it occurs in relationship to “reality,” the Self or God, and in the context of relationship with another person, as in love, sex, patientship, followership, and discipleship. We focus on surrender to a spiritual master, which is in some respects the most extreme form of surrender to another person and the most challenging for the modern secular worldview to accept and suggest that, with all its complexity and potential pitfalls, it can be a powerful enabler and facilitator of the search for the sacred, self-transcendence, and spiritual integration.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Humanistic Psychology
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • agency
  • psychology of religion
  • religion
  • self-transcendence
  • spiritual integration
  • spiritual master
  • spirituality
  • surrender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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