Control robs us from living
I’ve been thinking a lot about control lately.
Why is it that we keep craving control over the things we are unable to control, like how life happens?
We even tell ourselves anything we have to, just to pretend we’re still in control.
This narrative keeps us “safe”.
While we base our personal happiness on things entirely outside our control.
Can we control what fate has befallen us? No.
Can we control what our clients do or don’t do? No.
Can we control whether it will be sunny outside or not? No.
Can we control whom we fall in love with? Who our birth family is? Our race, sexuality, height?
Yet, we try. We try so hard. We try so hard to the point of making ourselves physically sick. We try to control everything, from the smallest to the largest stuff, often by fighting it, actively denying it, or pretending it isn’t there.
The truth is, disillusion comes sooner or later. (Think: midlife crisis, for example.)
But even as we know this, we still try, consciously or subconsciously, to control.
Because we’re resisting the process of life.
We do not surrender to the present moment, because that requires deep vulnerability, ruthless honesty, and radical self-acceptance. And forgiveness.
So instead, we quarrel with the past and project our lack of self-acceptance into the future by expecting happiness to arrive when “fill in the blank” goal is achieved.
Have you ever met a person who is still chasing what they didn’t have in childhood, like an ideal family, or money, or the love of a parent who will never give them that? And who then projects that onto the people around them?
Or someone who is desperately trying to deny who they are or change their essence by ignoring it?
Whenever we act out our past in the present moment or project it into the future, it means we have not really healed whatever wounds we have acquired.
Whenever we keep missing what’s staring us in the face, whether it be an extraordinary experience that we deny or a struggle we ignore, and replace it with obsession about the past or the need for getting the “ideal” in the future, we are only keeping ourselves “safe”and in the illusion of control, and not really living.
Most of us have been there.
Whenever things don’t happen the way we were convinced they should have, we resist mightily to whatever does happen, because we still want those things to appear, in another form. We haven’t let them go. In the process, anxiety, anger, frustrations, confusion, and obsessiveness arise.
And then, we either experience deep anxiety or profound numbness. Often times, both. Then it feels like life has stopped, and we’re going through motions.
Then, we wait.
We wait for that perfect client, perfect partner, perfect job, perfect experience that will change it all, give us what we want; save us.
Yet, whenever some of that arrives, we don’t let it enter, because it didn’t arrive on our terms. We often don’t see opportunities that are in front of us because we are blinded by craving to control how life happens (i.e. it must happen this way!)
As a result, we often make bad decisions.
Then we get frustrated.
Then we rationalize and make excuses to feel better.
Then we chase some more of the things we think will make us happy, in the future, once we get them.
Then, we keep waiting some more.
And on it goes, most often subconsciously.
Control is seductive because it gives us an illusionary sense of safety and confidence; we think it keeps us protected from pain. “I don’t want to experience that ever again, so I am going to build a tower around myself,” says subconscious. This is why many of us have ran away from our true feelings, building false identities and disengaging various parts of ourselves, in order to build a house of cards that feels safe even if it is just that, a mirage.
But to deny any part of ourselves is to open doors to madness.
Think about “falling in love” and how rarely we advise that (or do it!) as we get older.
To love is to lose control (i.e. we might get hurt).
It’s much the same with life.
To love life means we need to lose craving for control.
When we no longer crave control, we are freed to seek an experience of life instead.
Nothing more and nothing less.
After all, life is meant to be lived, not controlled.
This is where bliss comes from.
What if we woke up every morning curious about what life has in store for us?
What if we embraced the things that were before us, and let go of resisting them, but observed them instead? Is this the turn my life is fated to take? Let’s try it. I might like it!
What if we didn’t resist life?
This doesn’t mean we don’t set goals or follow dreams; it means that we dance with our fate, instead of faithlessly trying to control it.
Being authentic and letting go of the illusionary control allows for this to occur.
We absolutely have no control over life, what happens to us, our fate.
What we do get to control is how we respond.
That’s the ultimate free will.
We always have a choice to let fear rule, or we can lead with courage.
We can respond by fighting what is within and in front of us by trying to control it, explain away, fight, rationalize, deny, deflect, or run away ... and sometimes we will feel like we’re succeeding (until it all comes down crashing…).
OR, we can love our fate.
We can choose to experience life, with free and full abandon, and invite life to reveal itself as it might. No desire to control; only embrace.
Think what a freedom like that does for the soul!