Some of the greatest success stories of all time have been cut short by someone's need to control everything. Of course, our desire to control the world around us is based on an illusion–we can't control everything. We finagle and manipulate, sometimes with great intentions, in an attempt to create and order the world to suit our vision. But, let’s be honest. Some of the greatest, most fulfilling moments in our lives unfolded in a way we could never forsee. It is precisely that life and energy that is larger than us that lights us up and inspires us beyond anything we could have dreamed. We have ideas of how we want our world to be. We believe that if the things in our lives were only this way or that, life would be better and ultimately we would be happier. This is the great lie we tell ourselves. It never works for two reasons.
First, we don’t have control of other people, the weather, gravity, time, the rotation of the Earth around the sun, and often times, we have difficulty controlling our own impulses. We do have influence on some things and people outside of us, but not control. You may be the executive at your company and therefore think that you can control those working for you, but that’s an illusion as well. You can’t keep them from leaving your company. You can’t make them like you. You have influence, but not control.
The second reason that having things your way is never fulfilling is much deeper. Your vision of how you would like your world to be so that you will be happier is much too shortsighted. You don’t have the broad perspective of the universe we live in that the Divine has in order to know what will be most fulfilling to your life. There are greater things than you’ve ever imagined that the Divine has in store for you, that left to your own, you would not dream of.
Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that you did have the power to form the world around you. To control all the people you would need to, the economy, the weather, and so forth in order to have things just the way you think they should be. But imagine if you were born with that power. You would have destroyed the world in your infantile attempts to have what you wanted. It would be reminisce of the incredible Twilight Zone episode, “It’s a Good Life” where little Anthony Fremont holds the small town of Peaksville, which is in what used to be Ohio, emotionally and physically hostage and banishes anyone, including the family dog, to a corn field never to return. Time listed that episode as the 3rd greatest episode ever because of how completely horrific it was. Even as we grow, we continue to see only dimly that which is possible and available to us in terms of greatness and fulfillment.
I have also found the greatest times of growth and fulfillment are usually found on the other side of a painful event. Now if we had our own choice we would probably eliminate painful events all together from our lives.
So how do you find fulfillment and happiness if control is an illusion and if we are always a bit narrow in our vision of greatness? First… Surrender. Surrender your desire to control everything and have everything play out the way you want to. Let go of the tiny ways that you manipulate events and the way others perceive you. Surrender your incredible desire to always have things your way and trust that the Divine will allow things to unfold in your life that will grow and stretch you in ways you never imagined. Open your heart to the possibility that there are outcomes you never dreamed of that could bring more fulfillment than you’re imagining for yourself right now.
Second… choose to be fulfilled right now. Inevitably people get angry with me when I say this, but, you can have fulfillment right now. You can choose right now to surrender your ego and controlling efforts and choose to be grateful and find beauty and happiness in your present circumstance. What if instead of fighting the circumstances of your life, you began to look for ways you can be grateful, have an open heart to what the Divine might be unfolding in your life, and chose to move forward with great anticipation? What if instead of trying to control your circumstance and the people around you, you decided to be connected to the Divine and from that wealth, give to everyone who comes along your way, starting with those closest to you? Doesn’t that sound like something worth living for? And you can have that.
I don’t think joy and fulfillment have to take a long time. I think it can happen today, right now, in this moment. That would be your choice. Continue spending the energy and effort trying to control that which you can’t, or choose to begin fulfillment immediately, surrender to the Divine, and move forward with great anticipation.
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"I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present. God has given me no control over the moment following." - Mahatma Ghandi
“Obsessive thinking can do far more harm than good and never actually causes any change. Once you start feeling more present, you’ll take less joy in feeding the mental drama around the situation and naturally be less willing to put up with negativity it brings.” - Chantal Houde
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” - Neil deGrasse Tyson