Living in the rush of civilisation has forced defensive attitudes in people, the aftermath of which is the use of control in various aspects of life. We want to control to avoid failure or rejection. We often personify control with structure, a familiar set of roles where everything is predictable and safe. Fear of the unknown and new thus closes us off from the possibility of change. Control mechanisms can also be found in relationships or parenting, where loved ones become objects of projection of our inner desires. The fast pace of life also distracts people from experiencing it and locks them into a bubble of survival mode, where material well-being and stability are the primary goals. What if all the magic of life is enchanted by what is fleeting, in motion and out of control?
The causes of control
The origins of the human tendency to seek control and have apparent power over the world around is rooted in a primal fear. People are often afraid of losing their right, as well as their personal ideals, which they see as a rigid models for others. Meanwhile, everyone has the right to discover the world in their own way, to explore it according to their own value system and experience. Equally strong is the fear of change, which pulls people away from what is familiar and safe. Sometimes the fear is also related to being stuck in a comfort zone, when we prefer to control our lives, which, although they do not give us satisfaction, keep us in a sense of stability.
Dante drew attention to man's unjustified fear:
Oh, human creatures, born to soar aloft, why fall thus before a little wind?
(Dante Alighieri, The Devine Comedy)
Anxiety keeps people feeling unfulfilled at the expense of pursuing personal dreams and passions. It's easier to live other people's lives than to allow for personal exploration. There is actually nothing surprising about this, fear has also accompanied humans since primordial times, when it was a fundamental component of enemy recognition and species survival. However, by translating primordial threats into the lifestyle of modern humans, we can see a fundamental difference. We have much more material possessions as well as comfort, so perhaps this is the reason for anxiety - man has much more to lose.
Visualisation in the process of letting go
There are many methods for letting go of a sense of control based on visualisation, many of which refer to meditation, where the guiding principle is also to let go of control of one's thoughts. An example is the technique suggested by Ajahn Brahm, in which you should imagine driving a car, where you are just the passenger and not the driver. The famous author and monk continues:
Stop giving orders, let go and enjoy the ride.
(Ajahn Brahm, meditation by a Buddhist monk: kindness that comes back)
Another example of training to let go of control is the Japanese philosophy of Kaizen, which incorporates several techniques of so-called 'small steps' to form new, good habits in a person as a foundation for gradual change. One practice is the 'mind sculpting' method developed by Ian Robertson. This technique involves engaging all the senses to visualise for oneself the desired state of consciousness one wishes to develop. It is the inclusion of all the senses, visualising for oneself a particular situation, the course of a conversation, touch, surroundings, etc., that allows the brain to visually 'convince' itself that the visualised activity is really taking place. In this way, it is possible to shape one's readiness to take on new challenges that in everyday life create fear or a desire for control.
The highest form of freeing oneself from the control mechanisms of one's own life is the so-called de-automatisation, which Osho wrote about when he explained that our whole life can become a meditation, if we master this art. It is enough to consciously experience each activity, giving it 100% of our attention. This form of practice allows us to accept life as it is, gradually getting rid of expectations or judgements.
How to see the magic in unpredictability
The process of freeing oneself from the fear of loss, abandonment or failure is a long road, but entirely possible! It is worth realising, that it is the mistakes that are the learning spaces in a person's life. Human failures provide lessons and a training ground. Otherwise, we are not living life, but instructing with it. Shedding the role of 'supervisor' is the first step on the way to breaking out of the snare of control. Accepting one's own weaknesses and unawareness in relation to what changes life will bring us can be an exciting journey that is worth having a distance from. Sometimes it is worth allowing ourselves to be surprised, to give in to the current of change, moving towards the new without a visible signpost. Removing expectations as well as fears of the unknown can be very liberating. It is equally important to remove expectations of ourselves and people around us. It is a healthy distance that allows us to observe life impartially from a safe position, without judging ourselves or others.
Liberated from control, we access the truest magic of life. Many times, the most beautiful things would never have occurred to us even in our most daring dreams, so why not take off the role of director and remain just an actor? The unpredictability of life can be an academy of knowledge as well as a gift for patient students. It is in release that it is possible to invite that which has been waiting for the right opportunity to manifest itself. It is only in relaxation that one can fully create one's own life, embracing the whole package of its shades. So, are you ready for that, which will reconstruct your way of life and give it a new dimension? Fasten your seatbelts on the road to change!