“The one who loves the least, controls the relationship.” … Dr. Robert Anthony
“The closest to being in control we will ever be is in that moment that we realise we’re not.” … Brian Kessler
Letting go of control is a very important part of the spiritual journey. At the core of each human heart is a desire to gain control over another, and the environment at large. The race for political control on a global level is a reflection of the desire on a personal level. The only way to unity is through complete surrender to the divinity of the heart and mind. This surrender can only come when we recognise each other as divine embodied beings, whose spirit essence is the same, in spite of the apparent dissimilarities. Peace and mutual respect is still being threatened by old attitudes that place distance between ‘us’ and ‘them’ through our speech, thought and action. These strongly held beliefs are exploited by religious and political leaders to gain control over communities and deliberately create divisiveness.
At the root of every fundamental social system is one human being – YOU. It is you who determines the consciousness of society. Consciousness changes levels only when there are enough individuals that not only think alike, but have the will to live by a new set of rules.
My dear friend, you are working so diligently at integrating the energy of love into your daily life, but how much have you really let go of? If you do not know the answer to this, look around at your close environment and question how much you are controlled by another or others. How much freedom do you experience you have? That answer reflects your own need for control and your inability/ability to let go. The liberation that you seek lies within you; the more you let go of, the more liberated you are, and the more free your external environment makes you feel.
Many have questioned: what is control? Control is the exertion of your power over another, either subtly or overtly. It is the attempt you make to force the flow of energy/life according to your desires, your beliefs, your programming of what brings you security and what is acceptable. Lying at the root of control is the fear of not being accepted, not belonging. At a very early age we are taught good habits and socially accepted norms by our families, educational institutions and society at large. If we dare to question these, we are immediately faced with the threat of being shunned and rejected.
Deep within our psyches we hold memories as ‘images’ of the outside world. Thus you have the image of the perfect son, the dutiful wife, the obedient child, the strong father, the strict teacher, the successful business man, and so on. These images make us control others through our expectations and judgments of them, and place upon our shoulders heavy burdens of self-expectation. When these images cannot be lived up to, even momentarily, you strike others with deathly blows of condemnation and scorn, and turn upon yourself with the harsh acridness of guilt and shame.
Often surrender is understood as non-action, submission and passivity, whereas it is a way of Life, a way of Being, in which trust takes the helm; trusting that life will fulfill your needs and desires in a manner that is best for your soul, and as directed by your divine will. Letting go is not giving up anything or being deprived; it is not being forceful or manipulative. Surrender is always followed by clarity and an instant knowingness of what is, was and will be. The divine flow of life brings to you contentment and happiness, even when what you expected to be, is not.How often have you been caught in a recurring situation and said ‘I cannot deal with this any more. I am just too tired to continue with this struggle.” Beloved tired warrior, surrender is about not struggling any more. Can you not see that the word ‘struggle’ itself suggests resistance? Do not resist the flow of life. Accept what is in your life right now and be present with it. Being present with it means to be in awareness of self through the mirror of what is in your life right now.
There are many self-imposed hurdles in the path of trust and surrender. The first hurdle is your belief of who God is. Though a significantly large number of us have given up the belief that God is a harsh and punishing being, we have not given up punishing others and standing in judgment over them for hurting us. In our ‘godhood’ this punishing god still lives on. In your condemnation of self for mistakes made, this rigid and unbending god still lives on. In your highly moralistic conditioning of right and wrong and good and bad, this narrow-minded and non-progressive god still lives on. As long as you believe in an authority outside of you, a power higher than you, you will, at a deep level of the unconscious, hold on to the false image of the ‘traditional’ god. Instead of paying heed to strident religious and spiritual discourses about how to live a life ‘free of sin’, listen to your heart’s urgings.
Through your emotions, yes, even the so-called base ones, your soul is communicating important life lessons to you. Those emotions that recur and absorb your time and attention, are the ones to pay the greatest attention to. Be honest about your emotions, but kind to yourself at the same time. What does your anger tell you? What is hidden behind your jealousy? What truth lies concealed behind your resentment? What fear makes you cold and unapproachable? Every emotion is an expression of your soul wishing to articulate itself through your daily living moments. Emotions are the language of your inner child and are, thus, very important portals of transformation, as you begin to understand the dynamic and whole relationship between your soul and you.
When you wish to understand an emotion, visualise it as a child. Talk to this child and listen closely to its answers. The visual imagery of the child, and the communication with it, opens up doors of intuitive understanding. Start by embracing the angry child within you, by acknowledging the envious one, by recognising and loving the malicious one. This inner communication is far more vital than the connection with any master or guide that you may choose to flatter yourself with. Seek not empty ‘truths’ that give an intellectual boost to your ego. What use is a knowledge that you cannot apply or live by?
This is the second hurdle. The teacher who teaches you only of the outside world because he, himself, is ignorant of the inner one, is worthless, for all he can offer you are empty platitudes, non-productive information, and new dogmas and rules. A true teacher does not waste time in propagating ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’. He turns your vision inwards, so that you live by your wisdom, not the barrenness of inner ignorance.
The third hurdle is society itself. So much of our energy is expended upon living by the norms placed upon us by outside influences that we have very little left to be our true selves with. Our external appearance and behaviour is steeped in politeness and acceptable patterns of conduct, while our inner beings are left untouched for fear of seeing just how unacceptable they may be. Once again your behaviour towards others provides you valuable insight of your self. What is the level of socially acceptable propriety and decorum that you expect from others? The higher your expectations, the greater is the ‘cover up’ you are caught in. These expectations come from an unreal image that you have about yourself. Be aware of how many times you are accused of things which you strongly deny?
How many rules of behaviour and ideals do you expect your friends and family to live up to? When another steps outside the well-trodden track, how restless do you get? This kind of control suffocates your spirit within and stifles those whom you are with.
Visualise yourself as the image you would like to portray to others. Make it as clear as you can, including as many details and situations as you can think of. This imagery will provide to you the vital clue of how heavily burdened you are within, and how much you are hiding from yourself.
A fourth hurdle is that of pity and getting enmeshed in the pain of others. Do not misunderstand, dear friend. I am not advocating lack of compassion and empathy. These give you the strength to stand back and extend help to the one in pain. Pity draws you into the area of conflict and makes you useless and non-productive. It does not give you the balance required to aid the other to let go. Getting drawn into the other’s pain comes from the need to escape your own. It also stems from the desire to make another emotionally dependent upon you, giving you a great feeling of control and power. True guidance lies in not solving another’s problems, but helping them see why the problem exists and then supporting them in their personal search for the solution.
Relinquish the tight holds that give you a false sense of security. Submit to your spirit and the ego will willingly capitulate. This is the moment when true love enters your life, when there is freedom to release and strength to be vulnerable. Look clearly and you will see that the prisoner and the jailor, both, live behind locked iron gates.