Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Fear of Losing Control

One of deepest patterns that run in this human software is the pattern of imagined control. And losing control is one of deepest fears that ego has. By ego I mean the assumed I-entity that supposedly owns a piece of life and is in charge of running it, like a general manager of this body-mind thing.

Fear of loosing control stems from assuming that there is a controller. The mind thinks that it is its job to be in charge of what happens. It thinks that by doing this job of micromanaging what happens in the future it is useful and without its work the system would collapse. The idea of loosing control is as scary as the idea of death. But what is that mind is in control of?

In experience, perception is happening with and without belief in a separate entity. Beliefs do not matter, vision, sound, sensations are happening on their own and are not subject to being switched on or off. The imagined control over what is happening is given by default as everybody are trained to believe that. It starts when we are children and test our boundaries. We are trained to behave and trained to train ourselves to behave. We are following norms and established patterns without questioning if that is really helpful. Conformity is accepted, rebelliousness is something that irritates.

We are trained to look at others and express opinions about them. And opinions are valued like something individual and precious. Then we view the world around us through this righteous lens, of right and wrong. And we try to change and help others where they don't fall into our fixated way of how things should be.

This is the pattern that runs deep and is evident in any argument that takes place.

"Loosing control is scary, because what will happen to me if I no longer feel in charge of how my life goes."

But what does that really mean? It means stiffness, tightness, narrow-mindedness, hardness and suffering. Because life does not need us to tell what it is best for us. Life provides us with lessons, it is The Teacher, that comes in the form of whatever people we meet and situations we get into. The egoistic mind focused on being in charge is thinking that it knows best, it is right and all those that are wrong should accept the opinion and the righteousness and conform as they should.

Now this pattern is really not helpful. It is the very tension that we are trying to get rid of. We hold a belief that someone else needs to fix their behaviour for us to be at peace. So if you think that you are awake but keep pointing fingers at others and blaming them for how they make you feel- that's a kindergarten level of relating. Being adult means owning your reactions and seeing them first. Then looking at what is behind those reactions and understanding where they come from.

To be at peace requires surrender. Peace is already here underneath all opinion-stories, underneath the desire to be in charge and in control. It is noticing that we are the flow. Bruce Lee told us- be like water. That says, stop fighting what is, release the idea of a controller, soften, be flexible and nothing will touch you. Let life live as you without resistance.

We can observe patterns. We can ask questions like - is this helpful pattern, is it useful, does it serve or is it creating tension? Is it ok to let this pattern go? What can be lost?

When we focus attention on what is wrong with others or situations, we miss the gift that life is presenting to us. It only takes a shift of attention from others to our own reactions. Reactions that are happening, including body sensations, emotions and thoughts are what we are here to notice. Then we take attention from what we think is wrong and give it to our own sensations that are triggered by outside. This is the shift from outside to inside and this is where real work is- noticing our own patterns. And when patterns are seen they get to change. With and without belief in a controller.

I use this example often of being on a rollercoaster ride, sitting in the first car and holding on to a wheel. No matter where you turn the wheel, the ride is already set and the car will follow rails. It is safe to take hands off the wheel and enjoy the ride without imagining that you are the driver.
The driver is imagined, there is nothing to loose. The fear of losing something that was never ours is irrational. But there is something to gain when we step out of the role of the general manager and surrender to life. There is a joy of exploration and freedom, there are mystery, magic and synchronicity, there are openness and trusting life.

And only love remains where used to be fear.

Be like water...


  1. Thank you Ilona- simple and clear....

  2. the rollercoaster - thing is really clear and fit as an example... still Im irrationally gripping it and believing that
    I have influence nevertheless. It´s annoying and it makes me furious at times. I neither seem to have control on deleting the control impulse.

    1. The control thing is too part of the ride, part of unfolding story. And it's ok to relax.

  3. When there is pain in the body, I feel I must help the body with remedies etc. is that controlling, or would those actions have unfolded anyway and an "I" takes credit for them?

    1. Lou, when I don't feel well I go to my food store and look it over, especially the herbs and spices, but not only that. I don't think or try to remember what worked last time. Usually I see something that seems right and have some of that in some way. If nothing seems right, I review mentally what's available outside. At one time when suffering fever, I sent my wife out for cream cakes and whisky! I never know what the body is going to decide on. I don't thinkk that is controlling