I have just concluded the EGO weekend and one of the important teachings in EGO is all about the importance of letting go. The question is, what do I need to let go of?
In a word it is ‘control.’ I am holding on to some deep need to make perfect sense of every question in my life and somehow orchestrate all the challenges without error. When I perceive that I am not juggling all of life’s balls well, then I feel frustrated, overwhelmed and a failure. What accompanies these feelings is a generalized sense of anxiety that can reside with me for days, weeks and months at a time. Often my strategy for overcoming this anxiety is to bear down and create more control. I will usually begin with cleaning my closet and drawers, making sure to rearrange my clothes so that t-shirts and underwear are in one drawer, the golf shirts are in another, the sweat shirts are in one, my pants are in another and socks are in the last drawer. And that is only the beginning. I think you get the picture.
It is this perceived need for control that baffles me. It reminds me of what Neo says to Morpheus in the movie, “The Matrix” when asked if he believes in fate. Neo’s response is, “No…Because I do not like the idea that I am not in control of my life.” Neo is afraid that there are unseen forces in the universe playing a role in determining outcomes in his life. Instead of seeing this as something positive, he is fearful of it. He chooses to trust his ability to guide him through life rather than believe there are forces helping him in his journey. However, like many of us, he does not appear to be doing it with a great deal of confidence or success.
Denise Breton and Christopher Largent in their book, “The Paradigm Conspiracy,” tell us the purpose behind this great need for control. They say that, “we must have control over our external environment to feel safe and valuable.”
They go on to tell us that this kind of external control is an illusion and that it creates a very dependent, addictive society. Considering that mankind spends more money on illegal drugs than on food, it is hard to argue with their conclusions.
The real illusion is that this external control creates a sense of safety and value. My pursuit of it reminds me of how little control I do have and how insignificant I feel in a big world filled with uncertainty. Placing my sense of value on my ability to control my external outcomes leads to frustration, disappointment and constant sense of anxiety. When I attempt to create safety through control it seems that my life becomes rigid and inflexible with little freedom or joy.
So; here are a few things to consider in overcoming your need for external control;
- Control the one thing that you have any control over…how you choose to respond. Self control is more desirable than external control.
- Always make your best effort and let go of the rest. Just because you are not always creating exactly the kind of results you want does not mean that you are doing something wrong. Sometimes the universe (God) gives us what we need, not what we want.
- Focus on the present moment. Do not fixate on your past failures or your future concerns. When I swing a golf club, I want to enjoy the pure joy of a good swing and let go of the outcome. I’m still really working on that one, especially on the putting greens.
- Embrace the Mystery. You are not meant to know it all.
- Trust the Process…Consider the possibility that there is a universal intelligence in control. This is the nature of faith. My happiness is not dependent on me being in control.
And finally; just let it go. It is a choice.