How often does your life go according to your plans?
If you are honest with yourself, your answer will be, probably never.
Then, do you ever wonder, do we have control over our lives at all?
We spend great amount of our time planning for the future, knowing very well that most likely, our life will not go according to what we have planned.
We do it regardless. In fact, we spend great amount of time envisioning and then planning for our future that we think we would like.
Sometimes the future brings less than what we have planned for but often we get surprised how perfectly it all worked our.
Do we ever stop and ask, do we have control over our lives?
Should We Be The Driver?
“Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
We assume that we know how to live.
When you get on a plane full of passengers, do you go to the pilot and demand to take over?
Or, do you get on a bus, and demand from the driver to let you drive?
No, you trust the pilot or the bus driver, you trust the process that it will get you where you need to go in a safe manner.
What if your life has a driver as well? And what if that driver is not you?
It’s like my little nephew, he wanted to play a car racing game but he was too small to do that. My brother gave him a second set of steering wheel that was not connected to the game while he played the game. My little nephew played the whole game thinking that he is the one driving the car.
What if that’s us, what if we waste time and energy trying to steer our lives where we want them to go but there is actually someone/something else much more skilled at this, with an unlimited knowledge of the past, present and future, that knows better where we need to go and takes us there regarding of our efforts.
Reality Shattering Idea
“Life is like a river. The way of life is to flow with the current. To turn against it takes effort but the current will carry you if you let it. Float with joy and ease.” – Anonymous
Let’s pause for a second and acknowledge the magnitude of this idea. If you were to believe this, the world as you know it will cease to exist. A new world would emerge where you would go with the flow.
Can you imagine a world like that?
No planning, no struggle, just follow the energy (the driver) inside you.
Whenever I was faced with an important decision that I needed to make, it always occurred to me how futile that was. For example, I got an offer for another job. The job I had was great and I have been there for a while but the new offer was very exiting. So here I was, making what appears to be a very important decision in my life.
I, like most people, tried to do some sort of analysis and compare the two choices. But in the grand scheme of things, what do I have to work with? I have no way of knowing what the future will bring for either of those jobs, no way of knowing the implications of both choices, so really at this point I am not making a decision. I am making a guess and hoping for the best.
But what if there is something in me that does know all the future implications? What if there is something in me that knows everything and knows what is best for everyone involved? Would you not listen to that something?
Let The Real Driver Be In Charge
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
I know I would, but the problem is that something does not have a voice that you can hear. If you want to hear that all knowing something, you need to let go of control that you think you have in your life and let it lead you when you need to go.
I always test my crazy ideas in nature.
Does my dog control his life?
Does my cat?
Does the bird?
And they seem to have the perfect life.
Yes, I know, we were given more evolved brains than the animals to use it.
But how we use our brains, is entirely up to us.
We can choose to let go of the control and see what happens.
Related: Life Lessons From The Trees
The Driver of Our Lives – The Life Force
“Those who flow as life flows know they need no other force.” Lao Tzu
That something that knows everything, I call it the life force. If it wasn’t for the life force, we are just lumps of dirt.
So if we are just a collection of flesh and bones wrapped in a skin, what makes us alive?
There is something in us, invisible to the naked eye, that is different from a corpse.
That something gave us life, and if that something was intelligent enough to put a life in a rearranged lump of dirt, wouldn’t that something know how to live said life better than us?
I will ask the question again:
Do We Have Control Over Our Lives?
“Move with the flow. Don’t fight the current. Resist nothing. Let life carry you. Don’t try to carry it.” – Oprah Winfrey
We live our lives, we accumulate memories, knowledge, experience. Regardless of how satisfied we are with our life we are very proud of what we have accumulated, the identity that we have taken on, the personality that we have developed. And every situation that occurs on daily basis we perceive through the lenses of those accumulated attributes. Therefore, our future will always be like our past, because it is our past that we used to evaluate everything that happens to them.
I can’t imagine anything scarier than the idea of letting go of all the past that I have accumulated. The person that I think I am today is made our of my past. The suggestion to let go of that seems life threatening. And it is, life threatening, because if I was to let go of the past and what it taught me, I would become a new person. A person open to new possibilities and experiences that are not currently open to my perception.
I guess the big question is:
What Do You Want From Life?
“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.” – Epictetus
Do you want to rely on your past dictating your future?
Do you want to live you life pretend that you have full control of it?
Or, do you want the life force that gave you life in the first place take you to the new you?
Do you want to let go of the past and see what new possibilities await you?
Or, maybe the better question is:
What Does Life Want From Us?
One would argue that we do in fact control our actions, behaviors, reactions, etc.
Yes, I do agree with that but the question is once you decide on the actions, behaviors, reactions that you want to take, do you control the outcome?
No, we don’t. The outcome is unknown until the moment it happens.
If we do not control the outcome, then what do we really control?
“When i run after what i think i want, my days are a furnace of stress and anxiety; if i sit in my own place of patience, what i need flows to me, and without pain. from this i understand that what i want also wants me, is looking for me and attracting me. there is a great secret here for anyone who can grasp it.” – Rumi
The goal of this article is not to shatter your world, but to broaden your perspective. We all have times in your lives when we start questioning the status quo. If you are still reading this, then there is something in you that resonated with this concept. I can’t say that I am able to fully implement this view in my life. I would like to, but very often I get stuck in trying too hard to achieve something that I want. But then I stop and I ask myself, how do I know I want that? I don’t know the future, I don’t know the circumstances to come, how can I possible know that I want that. At that moment, if I’m able to truly let go of the illusion of the control, I will experience peace, tranquility, flow, and joy.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I’m pretty sure you have your strong opinion about this topic, please share it below. I, and others, would love to hear it.
So what do you think, do you control your life, or does life control you?