Controlling our freedom
When we relinquish control we are experiencing being, which is where the magic lies!
Of course we need to establish the line between healthy control that serves our wellbeing and neurotic control that spits our unhealthy patterns back at us. Some level of control is absolutely necessary other types of control are repressing us and hindering our growth. We can ascertain that healthy self control and societal control is to prevent havoc reigning, ok it is necessary to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe , but where do we draw the line ? When is it crossing over into manipulation and how do we recognise it and work through it? There are many instances of unhealthy societal control which tends to have its roots in many people’s prejudices and judgments be it race, class, religion etc. We have to deal with our own unhealthy desire to control aspects of our lives or other people’s lives.
What is necessary control or healthy control? Control over our lower natures, control over our bodily functions, control that keeps us alive and healthy. For instance we have to control certain aspects of our life to be productive. Our instinctive control over our nature and our environment that fosters continuous growth and aides the cycle of life. Controlling our young ones and their own health and positive development in a primarily instinctive manner is healthy. It becomes unhealthy control when it crosses over into how they learn, when we don’t allow them to make a mess or experience life we are exhibiting unhealthy control. There is a time to step in and we have to know the perfect time this comes from observation in a subtle manner. Having open healthy dialogue about life and the processes of life, talking about sex in an open, honest way, we have to stop making up stories about storks and magical hugs, tell them about their bodies and the amazing things our bodies can do from the moment they are asking because they asking for a reason.
Unnecessary control in whatever form is an act of desperation or fear of the unknown and of failure. If we try to stop controlling whatever aspect of our lives we are, be it a loved one, a situation, creativity, a project, the future etc. we will in that moment experience true freedom. Unhealthy control is our own imprisonment in the end. How do we break lifelong controlling patterns? Being really aware of our thoughts and actions, for example I might say to myself “I am about to say or do something that is more for the purpose of controlling this persons experience of life or their opinions of me. I’m not going to say it or do it or I’m going to choose different words/ actions or I am going to let it go.” It requires slowing down, a lot, the term control freak is often used and people are not ashamed of it but if you need to control everything you are going to also be controlled by something/someone or your own desire to control is in itself controlling you. That’s why control freaks usually feel trapped or under a lot of pressure, it’s not an easy pattern to break but it can be done. If you allowed other people to feel what they naturally want to feel you experience magic! It always comes back to stillness and awareness, right ? If we slow down we can observe our patterns of control, control usually stems from childhood experiences of being controlled or seeing people “out of control” and not wanting that to happen to us so we decide to adopt the opposite actions to refrain from making the same mistakes. Or we are severely controlled by a parent/s and we adopt the same traits. It however does not serve us, but in our society we praise it, people who are extremely successful and prosperous are deemed an example of how to be. Why? Do they exhibit healthy control to make their projects successful and drive others or are they exhibiting unhealthy control and becoming tyrants in their desperate desire to be successful or create something “successful.” The point is a great emphasis is placed on being successful and not how to be successful in a healthy manner and along that journey promote success in others and uplift others.
When there is too much control or desire to create something that is successful we have already failed the expression of our own experiences, we have already lost the magic. Sometimes even in meditation we try to control the process of having inner experiences. The magic happens, the spiritual experiences happen, the passion comes alive, when we surrender to the unknown in the knowledge and wisdom that we do not know nor does it matter. The most wonderful moments in our lives are the ones that were spontaneous, they evoke an emotion in us we cannot explain, why? Well there are brief moments or experiences that we, with or without realising it did not try to control. We are most frustrated when things are not going our way because we do not have control anymore and it drives us crazy. We created an entire society based on control. We control our children, what we want them to become how we want them to get there. We control our partners or children when we expect things from them, expectations are a form of control, it affects our behaviour, if you expect me to be this and that I will try my best to meet your expectations or be punished when I cannot or do not. Letting go of expectations is an important part of changing the habits of controlling behaviour. Letting go on the whole is the answer.
I was guilty of it, playing with people’s energy to manipulate situations in my favour. Especially with men, I have learnt in being alone for a long time these behavioural patterns have to stop with me. I trace it back to where it comes from, a desire to be loved and accepted by anyone or everyone combined with a false sense of self, not knowing who I was or what I wanted in an authentic way, this is form of low self esteem, which was coming from my lack of self worth and love. If we practice a raw self honesty/ self awareness we will see how many things are our desperation to control and how in that prison sentence we place on ourselves we are in fact being inevitably controlled by these desires.
How to stop it? When I found Arhatic Yoga through the daily practice of analysing my behavioural patterns I became more aware of my faults and weaknesses, I was able to spot them because I made a conscious choice to focus my attention on them in daily life. In my own experience it started when I started listening to people, really listening to what they were feeling and not judging, nor wanting anything from them, trying to see others as compassionately as possible, when I found myself making judgements saying to myself “Hey you’re actually inflicting your own personal experiences on them by not truly accepting them for who they are or what they want, where is this coming from? Why are you feeling insecure?” Also I have always been a perfectionist I was raised by two perfectionists in their own respects so I in turn adopted those types of patterns. I would not release emotions or talk about things because of this. Not that it is my parents fault they are amazing parents and did a great job and they did all they know, certain social behaviour was not open for conversations back then. Also I incidentally chose these parents anyways to work out these qualities in my own self before I chose the body and the circumstances to be physical under.
So my solutions came in my own slowing down, I was really fast with things when I was younger, my speech, actions, the way I carried out tasks was always really quick. I would learn something and then just do it at lightning speed. I learnt in retrospect to slow the whole thing down, of course I’m not always like this and my abilities to learn and do things quickly serves me in some aspects of life. I also learnt this fundamental truth through meditations, physical yoga, healings and my amazing spiritual teacher that I am identifying with my body and emotions too much and actually I’m not the body, nor emotions, nor the thoughts nor the mind when I actually experience the soul, who I truly am, I understand life from a higher perspective and the desire to control ceases. I would love to say I live this way everyday! But I do not, I am imperfect and I make lots of mistakes but I do not beat myself up like I used to, I analyse my behaviour now I accept my faults and I do my best to work on them!
I most of all listen to what people think of my behaviour when it’s not very constructive to someone else or even to myself, I take it on board even when I don’t agree and I know that there are certain things that are put in place that need to stay in place for order and peace to be aligned, whether I understand it at the time or not. Knowing when to exercise acceptance, not everything needs to be controlled or changed.
It never really ends, the journey to self realisation, I still learn a lot from people and situations around me, the music, books and art I love, doing healing on people, the type of people I attract who want healing, meditation, movement and experiences in everyday life big and small . Acknowledging I am a perpetual student of life is important.
What I can say is this, in my own relinquishing the heavy burdens of a self imposed control freak with my own life my biggest moments of realising how to find the sweetness of surrender that I longed for was to start listening not only with my ears, with my whole self and not just to what I liked but also to what I did not like, really listening to nature, to people, to children, to life, when I really started listening I learnt that unhealthy control is crippling and it crippled me for many years. In the surrender, I found freedom in uncertainty. I could finally experience being. I also found depression subsided gradually, I found pleasure came sometimes in sadness and sometimes in joyful moments…