Control: Everything in it’s right place.
“Man, when he is merely what he seems to be, is almost nothing.” -Antonio Porchia
From the moment we are born, the world gives us the impulse–and many times forces us–to have control over our lives. Emotions, behaviors, thoughts, everything must be regulated. We enter adulthood having learned to judge every detail of our existence, evaluating ourselves based on how much control we’ve acquired in the different areas of our lives: our bodies, job, bank account, interpersonal relationships, housing, etc.
We identify all situations where we feel we have no control as problems or difficulties. We also tend to categorize people and situations that aren’t living their lives within the proper parameters of control as dangerous and to be avoided.
In Colombia, my country of origin, there’s a saying about this: It is better bad and known than good and unknown.
The paradox resides in the fact that the more we believe we have control, the less prepared we are for the times where having it is just not possible, and we feel like victims of circumstances.
Our beliefs wear down and with them our capacities to accept ourselves wither away. We all know people who seemed to be very solid in their lives, but suddenly during an unexpected moment they succumbed to madness and lost all the apparent control they had over themselves and over the lives of others.
The father of a close friend of mine–after being very proud of the way he raised his family and thinking that his sons were under his control–became very aggressive and later depressed after one of them revealed that he was gay. The man blamed his wife, the school system, and finally himself for his son’s sexual preference.
Although, if we reflect about what having control—over our bodies, our minds, our environment and the people around us—means, what we find is that it’s related to our ability to accurately predict the future. My friend’s father thought that by controlling his son’s daily routines, schedules, and attitudes, he could prevent or minimize unexpected and undesirable future situations, but of course, he couldn’t.
This raises many questions. Is having control over things a guarantee for the future? Is life predetermined? Are acts of control and repression necessary to ensure a predictable future? If so, is it satisfying and desirable to always know what the future holds?
In my own life, a powerful urge to control my physical appearance required me to repress emotions and behaviors that seemed to be against my desire for control. Ideas about my appearance dominated my mind. Whenever the scales and mirrors didn’t match up with my ideals, I felt weak, useless, and unable to accomplish anything in life.
Our lives are always transforming and will continue to do so for as long as we live. False ideas about control can make us lose our heads when reality doesn’t live up to our expectations.
Many times, the desire to control is nothing more than a desperate attempt to avoid or alleviate our underlying sense of uncertainty, which is one of our greatest fears.
Despite our best efforts to dodge the impending insecurity, all our intents to repress, dominate or control inevitably lead to disappointments and failures.
When certain of my relationships came to an end, I felt very disappointed, because I had believed that trying to control everything I could about myself and my partner would somehow guarantee that it would last forever…
Much of our beliefs about control come from distorted ideas about how life really works. It’s a lie. We think we’re in complete control of our lives, but then something unexpected comes up to disappoint our best efforts (which is going to happen at some point no matter how much we try to avoid it). Then we experience feelings of guilt and shame, which perpetuate an endless cycle of trying to control, falling apart, and then trying again over and over.
The reality is that we’re not controlling anything in this way, we’re just following instructions, obeying an external authority who gave us the erroneous beliefs in the first place. And while we’re too busy trying to control the uncontrollable, our own lives are being governed by others, and this is where we are losing the only real thing we can be in charge of: being ourselves, connecting with our own truth.
Welcoming the uncertainty, learning how to flow in all situations in life, connecting with ourselves and with the rhythms in everything we experience, and living from a position of genuine curiosity rather than from fear and obedience; these are the keys to being empowered and letting of the belief that we’re victims of our circumstances.
Working with Command Z and doing the undoing exercises every day has been leading me through a process of re-discovering myself. I’m learning to navigate the different aspects of my life without the fear of losing control. What before seemed abnormal or chaotic, I now see as essential parts of my development.
And I’ve discovered that it’s more exciting to not know what tomorrow brings than to try to control or anticipate it. I don’t care much about divination anymore because now I know from my own experiences and sensations that there is nothing to control, everything is as it is, in its right place.