Monday, January 11, 2010


I have come to believe control is an illusion. At least, my previously held notion of control. The one seemingly anchored in emotional wellbeing and inextricably linked to perception, mood, and all matter of day-altering filters. Control as will. Control as attachment. Control as power over other.

This type of control, I have noticed, is a means by which I experience failure repeatedly. It's a set-up for disappointment... because events, nature, others, whathaveyou don't tend to actually be swayed by my whims, whines, or wishing. Nor are these things impressed by my knowledge, intelligence, dedication, or effort.

It's like the concept of variables in statistics and research. Typically, in stating whether one's research has yielded a result or finding that is statistically significant, one aspect to address are the variables over which one had no control... the extraneous variables that might have influenced the process in such a way that the findings are a bit muddied and therefore must be interpreted within a larger context (with room for error).

Within this error lies chaos. The very heart of life. We use the name chaos for things we cannot control. We ascribe chaos with negative connotations and anthropomorphize potential error as horned or fangy, dark and sinister, snakelike and lascivious with ill-intentioned lips curling below smoky, piercing eyes filled with mean naughtiness.

My little epiphany today was the culmination of a slow awakening to the fact that, for 37 years, I felt able (even entitled) to exert my will - and actually believed this had some sort of effect on the world around me. But it does not. The exertion is important, because it is an aspect of my experience I do control. My view of the world is important for the same reason. But my actual ability to control any aspect of my life save my own perception and making of meaning is pretty nonexistent.

It's those extraneous variables. Too many to number and downright infinite when you think about all the possible iterations involved in any given human interaction or decision you might make. It's like stepping into a quickly moving stream and expecting you will be able to force the water to move against its nature.

Rather than being a depressing realization, or something to lament, I find this new understanding of control somewhat freeing. I am/have been quite a control freak thus far, which means I spend a lot of time falling apart when things don't go my way and even more time beating myself up when what I want is not what is.

It's a big thing to let go of though... and I notice myself reluctant to truly relinquish the illusion in times of stress or difficulty. I notice I hold on even tighter - as if clenching my will around a desired outcome will somehow ensure its success. Lately, I try to laugh at myself when I do that... think about how silly I am being and use humor to gently pry myself away from a myopic insistence on an as-of-yet indeterminate conclusion.

Today, there is stillness and freedom in relinquishing control.

May you see through the facades of control and discover that which is yours to alter. May you experience freedom in letting go and letting be.

No comments:

Post a Comment