Regular readers of my blog, and anyone who talks to me, will note that I am big on eliminating the idea of control. Anything that seems within my control, even simple actions like typing this post, depend on so many factors outside of my control that it is utterly ridiculously to pat myself on the back for controlling it. To me, I would only truly have control of thoughts, feelings, or actions if I perfectly controlled the process of those thoughts, feelings, and actions AND everything that goes into allowing me to create those thoughts, feelings, and actions. For example, my mom and grandmother have essential tremors. Their hands shake, which has a very large effect on how their hands and fingers work. They do not control that they have it. I do not control that I don’t have it. If I get this condition someday, perhaps today (perhaps the condition is lurking in my DNA and is going to strike before I finish this post), I’ll lose the excellent command of my typing that I currently enjoy, shattering any sense of control I had. Seems like I’m in control, but I know I’m not.
So what’s the big deal? Why do I harp on the issue of control? It’s simple. I’m a psychologist. So much of the reason patients seek me out is that they don’t understand their lack of control. They think they can control what they can and leave the rest to the control of other entities.
What’s wrong with that? Life and the world do not work that way. Everything depends on influences, thousands of them, perhaps millions or more if we really got technical. Our very awareness of existence, and everything we do, think, and feel, depends on influences, none of which we control completely, because each one depends on all the others.
Let’s back to my question: So what’s the big deal? Most people seek control for a sense of power and influence. Yet when they buy into the idea that they sometimes have control, or that they have control over certain things, they also tend to give away certain power and influence to other people and things. When their intentions aren’t matching the outcomes they want they say, “Well, I don’t control that. Such and such does.” We do this all the time when we blame. Blame is the main power drain from what I can tell. This is a phenomena I call passing the control baton. It appears that sometimes I have it, sometimes someone or something else has it. So essentially, in our search for power, we create this illusionary concept of control, yet we give away our power every time we cast blame.
So most people do this dance of trying to create power by seeking control, then they shrink their power each time they cast blame. What ends of happening is that they end up confused and holding the reigns of very little power at all. In essence, in seeking control, they give up their influence over thoughts, feelings, and actions when they believe to be under the influence of someone or something else. When you add up all the control they give away, you can see how people throw away influence that they could otherwise tap into in order to gain a sense of empowerment.
The solution is to simply see things more clearly. Everything that happens, including me being able to type these words, is dependent upon more influences than I can count. I am in reliable command of some of them, or in other words, I have a high degree of influence over them, but to call that control would just be giving into an illusion that is temporary at best and would eventually lead to a catastrophic failure, a shattering of that illusion at the time I most desperately need clarity.
Perhaps the most powerful influence we have is perspective. We are free from external control and we. We’d not blame ourselves our kick ourselves when we are and find that we have forgotten we are wonderful and beautiful because of our flaws. A change of perspective, a change of heart can change the world for us. That’s influence. And that’s real freedom and power.
Leave control behind. I think you will find yourself feeling more empowered and grateful. It will flow automatically and effortlessly as you begin to open your eyes to the common miracles of the little things we do not control, yet somehow, countless influences come together to create something that seems to be going our way. This understanding will ebb and flow with various influences that come bear on it because we don’t control awareness either But going with the flow and understanding that even awareness doesn’t control us is part of the beauty of navigating this world.
My peace and love to you and yours today. Do what can to make plays today.