Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Studies have shown that people feel happy in relation to how much control they feel in their lives, which makes sense because none of us enjoys feeling at the whim of something outside of us, and unable to create our own outcome.
This speaks to the interesting paradox of control: how much do we really control, and does control actually create a happier and more fulfilling life? William Martin in his book, A Path and a Practice, states that “Attempting to control external events will never keep us safe. Control is an illusion.” Life lives itself through us in its own way, and on its own terms.
He goes on to say that “Our life is an expression of life itself. Our true nature expresses itself in everything we do. Success and failure are seen as part of a seamless, joyful whole. Each is accepted and fully lived… It seems natural to avoid loss and seek gain, but on this path such distinctions are not helpful. There is no gain without loss. There is no fullness without deprivation. Who knows how or when one gives way to another. So we remain at the center and trust events instead of forcing them. This is the heart of all spiritual paths.”
How do we trust events instead of forcing them, when this human experience fairly demands that we make choices and take actions that further our own agendas and perspectives? How can we not choose to step in to right a wrong or clarify a misunderstanding or push for an outcome that feels right to us?
My dear and very wise husband navigates this paradox by focusing on his ability to influence an outcome, rather than control it. At the end of the day we are really never able to control outcomes. We have no control over other people’s priorities or perspectives, but we can contribute our influence in creating the best outcome we are able to envision. We can state our opinions clearly and even forcefully if we need to, knowing that we can’t control the outcome but we can let our unique voice be involved in the situation. We can take actions that feel right to us, knowing that we have done our best for all involved, and that what happens after that is up to Divine Wisdom. We can live as an expression of our best selves, while allowing life to live itself through us. We can let go of outcome.
I had the pleasure of hearing a speaker at Unity last weekend who said a few times that no matter what she thinks or how much she resists, life is going to happen anyway. How true. We can choose our own expression and who we want to be in response to everything that happens, but how each individual expression interacts and contributes to the whole is in the hands of ongoing Creation in all its perfection.
May you know the joy that comes from letting life live itself through you in its own perfect way, and may this tool be a blessing. . .