Tell me if I’m wrong…we as human beings focus so much energy, work so hard and give so much attention to controlling our lives. I’d actually love for you to tell me I’m wrong, that we actually just coast dreamily through life, going wherever the wind may blow us. How’s that for an image?
For the vast majority of us, life control is a constant. It’s a mistake we collectively make, believing in this false notion that we are in control of the events of our lives. We let ourselves think we are in the driver seat of what happens in the universe because, frankly, the alternative is quite terrifying. Anything could happen to me at any moment and I’m powerless to stop it? Just the thought makes my stomach flip flop.
I certainly don’t mean to paint a picture of passive, limited human beings with no say in the world or our lives. We are far from that. We are, in fact, the most powerful beings on earth. We have free will. We have cognizance. We have drive, determination, perseverance. We have opposable thumbs, for goodness sake…okay that doesn’t have much to do with any of this, but somehow felt relevant 🙂
We are not limited, in fact we are limitless. We are powerful, commanding, sentient beings with the capacity to generate great change in the world. We are energy and with careful attention and surrender to the unknown, we can energetically direct our lives, drawing to us what we dream of and desire. This is different than control. We cannot predict nor can we secure the future of which we dream. There are just too many outside forces at play. That is not the problem, however. The problem lies in our expectations of ourselves.
For some reason unbeknownst to me, we seem hell bent on setting these astronomical, frankly unattainable standards. Standards most mortals simply can’t live up to, like the ability to control what does and doesn’t happen in our lives. All that we can control is ourself, our one, singular being. With practice we can control the thoughts that go on in our own minds (some of the time), we are in control of our own do’s and don’ts, and of the general functionality of our own existence. But, beyond that, we cannot control how long we’ll live, what the weather will do, who will love us back, if something will last forever, even if tomorrow will come…we are simply not in control. I don’t know about you, but that just makes me queasy.
That queasiness is what fortifies my practice. A deep, pulsing urge in my belly to be content with the not knowing, with the uncontrollable nature of life. To be still in the chaotic movement of the world, my own safe harbor amidst pandemonium. This is what strengthens my resolve to really come to know my own true nature. The yoga practice is ultimately about calming the mind, really controlling the mind. I imagine that has much to do with the inevitable fact that nature cannot be controlled, nor can it be contained. But the mind can be. We can regulate our thoughts and, ironically, the more controlled our mind practice becomes, the more apt we are for expansion.
When we draw our focus inward, harnessing that urge to control, and hone in on what we actually have a say over – our own thoughts – we have the capacity to become very powerful in manifesting our own intentions.
Sitting and fretting over whether or not something will end up as we hope is not going to change the situation’s outcome. Drawing that energy inward and fortifying the Self so that we are strong and stable no matter the outcome may not change the impending sequence of events, but it will certainly have a beneficial effect on our person, holistically. When we engage in fear, which is often the root of our urge to be in control, we leak our precious energy. When we go inside and focus steadily on what we are, releasing all need to be in control, our energy becomes like a beacon of light…a pole to which all that we are meant to seek is drawn magnetically.
Focusing on the fearful desire to control is like asking a car to drive itself cross-country. Turning attention inward and releasing the need to control is like giving that car a good, thorough, loving tune-up…so that, wherever the journey make take it, you know it’ll be running smoothly and steadily. No matter what detours might lie ahead, you’re certain it won’t break down.
That’s all we can ever really do, in this life. We are human, we can’t control the future, we can’t even control the past. We can only control our reaction to the events of our lives. But there’s something far more powerful about the latter. Life is a mystery, and we get to enjoy that. We get to luxuriate, if we so choose, in not knowing what’s going to happen. We get to be surprised. When we simply embrace this truth, we can fully dedicate ourselves to the part of our life that truly matters, our spirit. Our essence. When we stop trying in vain to manipulate powers outside of ourselves and do the work on ourselves, the work that on one else can do, we can make a very sacred home for ourselves…right here inside.
Only when we’ve nestled into this space can we really be open to hearing our souls’ deepest whisperings. I mean really hearing them. The murmurs that tell us what’s really important, the ones that remind us we are safe and secure no matter what happens outside of us. The ones that give us courage; the ones that light our fire, keep it burning. The ones that bring a quivering, vibrating stillness to our core and radiate our intentions outward. The ones that reflect to us the powerful nature of our very own being; a self-governing beam of light that is unaffected by the illusion of control. Shattering that illusion, like a billion fragments of razor sharp glass, is the release we seek. That outpouring of overwhelming truth is the satisfaction we crave, not the unattainable expectation that we could control the world in the first place. Finding a safe haven inside of ourselves, a place where no outside influence could possibly sink our ship, where expectations don’t exist and our pure, unadulterated potential can thrive and bloom without the restraint of such pressure…that’s the antidote to fear. The pacification of the urge to control. That is what we call home. That is what we are living to discover.
May we all have the courage to ever seek that sacred space.