As we go through our lives, even though we seem to understand at some level that we are constantly being subjected to unknowns and anything can happen at any moment, most of us seem to believe that we have some sort of ultimate control over every aspect of our day to day life. We like to believe that we can control our destiny with absolute certainty. And of course, when things don't work out the way we had planned, we find much dis-harmony and stress in our lives.
Our outer world is filled with constant change and movement in often unpredictable directions. We forget that there are no absolute certainties in life. We make plans for our life to move in a certain direction, but then something unexpected happens and we become very stressed and agitated. We can build a great deal of mental anguish and pain around events that don't go our way.
When we allow our mind to become engaged in the stress of not getting what we want or expect, we find our mind can either wander into the past, as regret (If I could do it all over again I would do it this way) or into the future as anxiety, fear, anger, and worry (What if it happens again? Next time I will do this! or Oh No! How will I handle it the next time).
A mind that falls under stress quickly begins to feel helpless and trapped. We can even begin to feel like others are out to get us, or some unnkown force is at work disrupting our control over our own life.
Meanwhile, all of the inner turmoil our mind generates when this happens is accepted as something we have no control over. We look to outside places to lay the blame for why we feel the way we feel, or why life seems to be treating us unfairly. We can always find a place to lay the blame; if so and so hadn't done this, or if only that had not happened.
The single greatest cause of all of this inner stress, whether it is anxiety, fear, worry, anger, hatred, regret or any other stressful emotion is a failure to recognize what we can control and what we can not.
We think we can control our outer world and feel we have no control over our inner world, believing our inner world is shaped and molded by the external world. Both assumptions are incorrect. We have it quite backwards.
When we learn to accept the outer world for the way it is, and watch our inner world with complete self awareness, we learn we have control over our inner world. We can choose how to react, or choose not to react, to external circumstances. When we realize we have no control over what happens outside of us, we find inner freedom.
The ability to control one's outer world is an illusion. Believing it is possible is a source of great dis-harmony and stress in one's life.
The in-ability to control one's inner world is also an illusion. Believing it is impossible is an even greater source of dis-harmony and stress in one's life.
|Michael L. Fournier|