A perfectly normal human emotion is the imagined need for ourself, or the wish for others such as our partner, to be in control of life, to have/get life in order, to have life go the way you want it. Most of the time this desire makes us believe that we should have a strategy on how we want to live life, that we need to set a plan so we can make money or fulfill any other socially regarded as acceptable role so we can act as a responsible member of society.
My life, which is sometimes by others perceived as erratic and irresponsible, has at times been criticized: “Patrick, you should get your life in order. You’re 42 years old now. It’s time to be a responsible adult.” And seen as I play the role of a father to a 5 year old I fully appreciate this generally accepted understandable concern and for long have tried to squeeze myself into this control box. However, I have always had the feeling something was off, as if I was a circle trying to be squeezed through a square.
I have truly tried to conform myself to the wish of others to get my life in so-called order so it would be seen as satisfactory by society, and those around me would feel more at ease themselves in their lives knowing I was conforming… But this whole idea of being in control of life has never resonated with me and the more I have tried to control and steer my life, the more frustrating it seemed to become. Any time I tried to follow that well-meant advice, I felt like I was distancing myself even more from life, trying to juggle with ideas and desires that were all future based and therefore automatically came with fear and anxiety. It just felt unnatural. And so I dropped the idea that I should have my life in order and trust that at any give time life is always in order, and the flow of life is always perfect, even without my personal interference. There’s literally nothing I can do to improve what already is.
The question remains however, why do we have this desire to control life but at the same time we keep on being frustrated as deep down inside there’s a quiet realisation we can’t control anything? What is it truly that we are trying to control? How come we always carry this nagging feeling in us that life as it shows up, isn’t sufficient? Why do we feel that we need to change things in order to be better off?
The idea of controlling life is based on this accidental mix up that there is you, and there is life, living side by side as two separate entities. A situation where one needs to dominate the other in order for you to live happily and comfortably. And this innocent mistake makes us believe that our life would be a disaster if we didn’t exercise control over it, unconsciously believing life is our enemy and needs to be tamed.
Have you noticed that the opposite seems to be true? Have you noticed that the more we try to control and steer our lives, the more obstacles seem to arise and the more options and choices we need to juggle with. The more we try to control life, the more we pretend we are separate from life. Like a dog chasing its own tail, we are running around in circles and get stressed when life isn’t going our way.
When we come to realise that we ARE life, that there is no ‘you’ and ‘life’, we quickly start to understand that the idea that we need to be in control of our life, is a contradiction in terms and understandably results in massive amounts of frustration. Dropping the non-existing control allows for life to flow, to do whatever is best and needed at any given time, which is always now. Life will always chose the best path for you, even when you believe it isn’t. Life will always be your cushion. Amazing things only happen when you fully trust life, simply because it means you fully trust yourself.