The world is out of control. It’s frustrating, aggravating, infuriating, and heartbreaking. Everything would be so much better if you and I could just take control of it all. If only we were the ones to call the shots, to make the rules, to set the pace.
Our lack of control over things in the outside world is the cause of all of our aggravation. It is our unfulfilled desire to control the situation, the outcome, or the actions of others, that makes us so frustrated.
We all want to control the flow of things. Let’s take traffic, for instance. It’s an easy example for me, as a (mostly) former Road-Rager. George Carlin used to do this routine about driving. He said that whenever someone is driving slower than us, that person is an idiot. Whenever they’re driving faster than us, they’re a maniac! We are the only ones going the right speed. We all want to control the flow.
We have expectations when we get in the car. We need to arrive at our destination by 6:00. So we leave early, with plenty of time to spare, and set out on the road. Our mind is attached to the goal of 6:00. If someone gets in our way and slows us down, we get frustrated, aggravated, perhaps infuriated.
We set out with an expectation, and we want to control the flow along the way. But there are hundreds of other people on the highway, each with their own goals, their own expectations, their own desire to control the flow of their world. Complete strangers, with completely different flows.
We also engage with complete strangers on social media. We argue (in our heads, or on the screen) our points. We feel the need to state our opinion. To complete strangers! What is our intention? Do we simply need to be heard? Do we expect to change someone’s mind? Do we want to steer the conversation? Control the flow of ideas? It’s frustrating, aggravating, sometimes infuriating, and more often lately, even heartbreaking.
It’s all the more frustrating when we’re dealing with someone we care about, if they can’t see our point of view. It’s even more aggravating if they can’t respect our goals. Even more infuriating if they don’t live up to our expectations. Even more heartbreaking if they don’t live their lives the way we want them to, the way we think they should. Their lives could be so much better if they’d just do as we say. If only we were the ones to call the shots, make the rules, set the pace.
But we don’t set the pace. We don’t call the shots. And we don’t make the rules. We are not in control. We only have the illusion of control. And each time we realize that we’re not in control, that illusion is cracked a bit more and we become frustrated, aggravated, infuriated, heartbroken.
We need to shatter the illusion of control once and for all. We must always be mindful of the fact that we are not actually in charge. We do not control the flow. We go with it. We release into it. We let it be whatever it is at any given moment.
Let everything outside of yourself be. You are not in control of anyone or anything but yourself.
And how’s that working out so far? Are you perfectly fine? And everyone else? How’s their flow? Are they still just a bunch of idiots and maniacs?
A Quick & Easy Meditation Practice for Releasing
Sit up straight
Inhale slowly through the nose.
Exhale slowly through the nose.
As you breathe in count slowly to 4
As you breathe out count slowly to 4
As you breathe in count slowly to 5 making the breath a little bit longer.
As you breathe out count to 5
As you breathe in count to 5
As you breathe extend the exhale, and count to 6.
Inhale for 5
Exhale for 6
Inhale for 5
Exhale for 7
Your inhales are longer than your exhales. You are letting go of more than you are taking on.
Letting go with each exhale.
Inhale for 5
Exhale as long as you can, counting as high as you can
Exhale, count as high as you can.
Exhale, count as high as you can
Releasing more and more with each exhale.
Emptying your lungs. Letting it all go.
Close your eyes and continue breathing this way for a few cycles of breath.
Then return to your natural breath.
Stop counting. Just breathe.
Any time you feel yourself frustrated, any time you feel like things are out of control, bring yourself back to this practice of letting go.
Take control of your breath and release your need to control outer things.