you are not in control

Today we ask that you release your desire to control.

Release your desire to control.

This is a very difficult thing for humans.  

It is natural to wish to control reality and make it do what you want.  It is natural to wish to control other people and make them do what you want.  It is natural to believe that if only you could control things, you would be safe and happy.

But this is not true.

Your true happiness and your true safety lies in doing just the opposite: releasing, at last, your need to control.

Many of you know intellectually that it is not good to be a controlling sort of person.  Certainly you do not like it when someone else tries to be controlling with you.

And yet even very spiritually open-minded people are controlling.  In fact, spiritual pursuits are for many just another way of seeking control over reality.  They think that by meditating and learning about energy, they will become wizards, of sorts.  Of course, they will be good wizards!  They will use their magical spiritual powers for good!  But still, they desire control.  And that desire does not lead to good things.  

The desire for control always paves the way for darker impulses.  In this way many religions, even when they begin in a place of deep wisdom, over time grow corrupt.  It is because religious leaders seek control over men.

It could be said that if humans are here to learn any one thing, it is this: release the desire to control.  Let go, let go.

There is one story in the Bible that gets to the heart of this matter, and it is a story that people do not like.  It is the story of Job.  Most people think that this is a story about enduring suffering with faith, but this is not so.

At the beginning of the tale, Job is a fellow who thinks he is control over reality because he is very rich and fortunate.  He is a virtuous, charitable wealthy man, and pious in his religion.  He has taught his children also to be pious — although he fears that they are not pious enough.  In any case, he attributes his good fortune to his good deeds and upright morality.  He is a good person, therefore he deserves good fortune.  Most people believe as he does.

Then, as the story goes, one day Job loses everything: his fortune is lost, his family destroyed, and he is afflicted physically.  His “friends” tell him that surely he must have done something wrong in order to deserve this terrible fate.  God must be punishing him.  This, too, is what many people believe, even if they do not believe in God.  When something bad happens, people generally look for someone to blame.  Some might say that Job “attracted” his misfortune.  Others might say it is bad karma from another life.  

But Job cannot see that he has done anything to deserve this.  So he angrily confronts God: I am a good man, there must be a terrible error here.  God, you have made a mistake!

And then Job receives an answer: he is given a glimpse of the utter vastness of the universe, of things far beyond Job’s understanding.  Job falls down and admits that he knows nothing; he was wrong to question God’s will.  

This is the part of the story that many people do not like.  It seems like the anthropomorphic God of the story merely bullies Job into submission, into saying “Yes, God, you are right.”  And then in the end God gives Job back all his “stuff” — his fortune returns, he starts a new family.   

But this is not really what the story is saying.

What Job discovers in the depths of his despair is that he is not in control of anything, that he was never in control of anything.  In that moment he releases his desire to control — to control even God — and so becomes “enlightened,” in the Buddhist sense.  And so he enters into a place of deep peace.

Before Job experienced loss, he was successful — but he had no peace.  He believed that success was the product of his good behavior, and thus contingent on his continued good behavior.  He worried that his children were not pious enough.  That is how life is when you are trying to control everything.  There is never any peace, there is always worry.  So when Job learns that he is not in control, that he was never in control, there is a part of him that finally relaxes and knows peace; a part that has never known peace all his life.  He understands that no matter how “good” he may be, he cannot control reality.  He cannot prevent himself from experiencing change and loss.

So let’s look at this.

Many people believe, as the Job character does at the beginning of the story, that if you are a good, moral, hard-working person, then you will succeed in life.  If you are religious, you may be more focused on the “moral” part of the equation, according to the tenets of your religion.  If you are moral and God-fearing, then you will be safe, you will go to Heaven.  If you are non-religious, you may be more focused on the “hard work” part of the equation — if you work hard, you will achieve your worldly goals, and thus be rich, successful, and secure.  Some people on the spiritual path have their own version of this: if you clear all your energetic blockages, then you will be secure and fortunate, you will be able to “manifest” your desires.

But as comforting as these beliefs may be, often life does not seem to work that way.

Some people work very hard at things, and fail.  Some people are very pure and moral, and lose everything.  

Well, then: those people must be “doing it wrong.”

They must not be working hard enough.  Or even if they are working hard, they are not smart enough, they are not making the right decisions.  If they are religious, then maybe secretly they are sinful and immoral.  If they are on the spiritual path maybe they have energetic blockages or bad karma.

In any case, the story always is: the reason you cannot control reality is because there is something wrong with you.  Whatever you are doing, you are doing it the wrong way.  Maybe your parents are to blame, but still: if you are not in control, it means there is something wrong, and you must redouble your efforts.  You must work even harder, you must be even purer, you really need to clear out all those energetic blockages.

 But what if none of this is true.  What if it is a great lie.

What if, quite simply, you are not in control.  And nothing you do will you give you the control you so desperately crave.  No matter how hard you try, control will always elude you.  Because it is impossible.

What if the very thing you want most will happen only when you let go of trying to control everything?

Most people think this implies a kind of weak passivity.  If you are not working very hard to become a master of reality, then what are you?  A lazy person who sits around not trying to achieve anything.  A worthless person.

But this is not true.  It is a lie.

It is very possible to release the desire for control, while still being incredibly creative and active in the world.  In fact, releasing the controlling urge is what allows this creativity to bubble forth.  

Creativity comes from a place of relaxed awareness.  Not vegetative passivity, but a relaxed, peaceful state.

And the doorway to that relaxed, alert, creative place opens when you admit and acknowledge that you are not in control.  

It means no longer perceiving yourself as broken and defective when things don’t go your way.

It means acknowledging that yes, even if you work very hard at something, you may fail — and that is okay.  

You are not in control of reality.

And that other person over there, that homeless person, that person whose life you judge to be a mess — he is not in that place because he didn’t work hard enough or because there is something defective about him.

He can’t control reality either.

Any religion, belief system or guru who promises you that you can control reality if you just do all the right things is lying to you.  The guru may not know he is lying, but sooner or later he will discover this truth for himself.

There is no guru, alive or dead, who was ever in control of reality.

Reality cannot be controlled because — as Job perceived — it is far, far, bigger and far more intelligent than the little ego mind that wishes to control it.

Consider the vast scope of the universe, how grand and beyond comprehension the workings of the cosmos.

Now, do you really think you can control that?

You cannot.  it is not possible.

But please be assured that the universe, in all its vastness, is intelligent — intelligent beyond your current capacity to understand — and, more importantly, it is loving.  It is a loving reality that you dwell in, even if it hard to perceive this.  

In this intelligent, loving reality, you do not have to prove your worth.  Every baby born is infinitely precious, though he has achieved nothing.

In this intelligent, loving reality, there is nothing wrong with you, there is nothing defective about you, even if you have been brainwashed into believing that you are a failure according to your culture’s arbitrary standards.

When you finally stop trying to control everything, you will begin to perceive the intelligent, loving nature of reality.

And of course it is okay if you keep trying to control things.  It is a difficult habit to break.  Nothing is wrong with you because you still want to control things.

But if you desire peace, you may wish to observe the ways in which you seek and try to maintain control over reality.

Has it ever worked?  Have you ever truly been in control?

Really sit with this.

Understanding this will not give you control.  But it will give you peace.