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Is Anyone In Control?

The Drama of the Illusion of Control

"Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself." Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Can we take a moment and ponder this deeply mysterious yet profound invitation to live in a completely different way than we have. And, the polar opposite of the society that we have created

Today it is all about control; control of the media, control of politics, control of economics, control of the environment, control of women but, most importantly, control of the mind. The result is a subtle, underlying sense of anxiety. And, in the realm of primitive organism that is the body, that signals the potential of the loss of one's life.

While I could go on for quite a while about the repercussions of this state I would prefer to get right to the heart of the matter. To me it is the most important thing to consider and, upon close examination, we find it is the solution to the dilemma.

As Lao Tzu put so succinctly, "Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself." And, I might add, that only when you are yourself do you lose the need for control.

And now the punchline!

Control is an illusion. None of us are controlling anything! I know, this is a radical thing to suggest but let me explain.

Early on in our lives, as young impressionable children, we are literal energy sponges. We soak up everything around us. But we don't do that primarily through what is said to us. We do that by energetic osmosis. We pick up the energy of everything around us. By energy I mean the unconscious, automatic behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, morals and assumptions that are producing the thoughts, feelings and actions of our parent. This all happens automatically. it is simply the way the human life works.

By the time we reach a level of maturity where we can discriminate and compare and thus assess the quality and accuracy of what is being transmitted, it is way too late. The die has been cast. The foundation of all future actions and decisions is already operating. The context with which every thought, belief, attitude and behavior is accepted or rejected has already been established deep within that part of us that operates on autopilot.

In other words, any control you are exerting is a total illusion. You are not in control at all. You believe you are, but in fact, you are simply acting out exactly as you have been programmed to act, all the while being told it is free will, you are choosing it and you can take credit for all the successes and the blame (and punishment) for all the failures. Mistaking conditioning for actual choice, unaware of what is really driving it, is the illusion of control. that is what an illusion is, believing something is one thing when, in fact, it is something else.

So, how do we extricate ourselves from this quagmire... and is it even possible to do so?

The answer is, not surprisingly, "Yes" and "No." Let's start with the "No." Since we don't have any control there is nothing we can do. Thinking we can is part of the illusion. But the "Yes" comes from something else altogether.

When an illusion is seen as an illusion, it loses its influence, which was only sustained by our belief in it. So coming to see, is the only way out of the total lack of control. That kind of seeing requires some training, although the very fact that you are reading this and recognizing the validity of what I am saying means that the kind of seeing I am referring to, is happening in you. it only needs to be cultivate and this, of course, is exactly what spiritual teachers show you how to do.

So then, is some great control over events the end result of this? Well... no. What is discovered is that no control is needed because everything is operating perfectly. A key part of the illusion of control is the unscrutinized belief that we actually need it. We don't.

This seeing is the Tao, the way things are, the natural flow of life, the universe and everything which we no long seek to control but instead harmonize with. And, not needing to control something is way better than having to. it makes life effortless and sets you free to put all that energy and angst into that power of self-expression. The Tao is living you! And that frees you to give yourself fully to life and to reap its unlimited rewards.


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