Friday, August 01, 2008

Out of Control

I hope you all are well. I'm sending this on the heels of the passing of my wife's uncle, who recently lost his battle with cancer. Since we have no control over when we die, what we do while we are here is always of the utmost importance. I hope the following will, in some way, help you enjoy your life to the fullest. After all, that's why I continue to share what I share.

One of the recurring themes in my readings and self inquiry lately has pointed me toward the idea that we are immersed in a continuous unfolding of events over which we have no control. What has been revealed to me more and more these days is that as things happen in our lives we impose thoughts on these happenings that make us think that we are somehow responsible for their occurrence. When in reality we can not know for sure, that we are actually responsible. It has been said many times by many different people that we are not the doer, nor are we the thinker. Our mind tells us that we are doing these things and can readily show us evidence of how true that is. But if you allow yourself to look deep enough to see the fallacy in that belief, you may get a glimpse of the freedom that can be experienced without that belief.

Byron Katie has this to say: “I invite everyone to notice where their hands are right now. Where their feet are right now and did you put them there? Did you plan it or was it a happening? You know, it could be that we are being done and everything else is just a story we’re believing and who would you be without your story? Not forever, but just right here, right now, in this moment, who would you be without your story?”

Our mind takes credit for what we do and may be uncomfortable with the idea that we are not the doer. It may think that it has to be a doer in order to get things done. The mind creates stories about what “it” does that just reinforce the illusion that the “it” doing things is the “me” I see myself as.

Jeannie Zandi poses these questions: “What if everything is always happening through you; not yours, not something you created? But is being created through you? What if it’s not up to you? What if it’s not even a little up to you?”

Eckhart Tolle points out that we are not the thinker. Instead we are being thought. In fact, our thoughts are not personal and have nothing to do with who we really are. They just arise and then disappear. When we believe them, we see ourselves as separate entities rather than the animating force behind our thoughts. His suggestion is to not take our thoughts all that seriously. Tolle also suggests that you can “choose” to step out of identification with the mind and into presence. But what is really happening when you choose to be present, is that presence is choosing to emerge. It appears that the little “me” is choosing it, but it is happening by itself. He points out that it is helpful to think that you are making it happen even though it is happening by itself through you.

Katie also has this to say, “Being present means living without control and always having your needs met. For people who are tired of the pain, nothing could be worse than trying to control what can’t be controlled. If you want real control, drop the illusion of control. Let life live you. It does anyway.”

I invite you to visualize what it would be like if you had no control over your life and where it takes you. Visualize what it would be like to know that everything that needed to be done would be done, right on time. What would it be like if every decision that needed to be made would be made through you and would be made in your best interest? I invite you to go deeply into what life would be like with the confidence that you are a puppet being guided through life by a force that knows what is in your best interest, where making mistakes are impossible. Observe that force in action as it breaths you, feeds you, walks you down the sidewalk, or drives you down the road. What does that experience look like for you?

For me it looks like total freedom. Total inner peace and acceptance of what is become the norm. From that place I could go about life following it wherever it decided to take me, without worry or stress or conflict, with a deep knowing that whatever happened was exactly what I needed. I wouldn’t become complacent, or worry about complacency, because something wants to experience this life to its fullest through me.

Michael Gazzaniga, a prominent neuroscientist, has this to say, “The left brain weaves its story in order to convince itself and you that it is in full control... What is so adaptive about having what amounts to a spin doctor in the left brain? The interpreter is really trying to keep our personal story together. To do that, we have to learn to lie to ourselves.”

Here is another quote from an interview with Byron Katie: “You know what I love about this world? No control. No control. Oh my goodness! What could be better than that? We are not the doer. We can just watch.” But when we believe the thoughts that say we are in control, and things don’t go our way, we become frustrated. When thought arises, and we see that thought as just another happening, we don’t use them to delude ourselves into thinking we are the doer.

John Sherman has this to say: “The idea that you are in charge of how this form [our body] meets the needs of others is arrogance. The idea that you are the one who is responsible for determining that just the right thing is said, or just the right thing is given, is arrogance... It is not your job to decide how you should be used. Really. You have no idea. Well, maybe you do have an idea, but ideas are useless!”

There is quote after quote I could share with you from various sources. Instead I just invite you to entertain the possibility that we are "being done" rather than "doing the doing". To do so makes surrender so much easier, and surrendering to what is is the ultimate key to peace.

When I asked Jeannie Zandi about how free will fit into the grand scheme of things, she said, “We must function with a full intentioned heart and at the same time with a sense of the futility of changing anything without the will of God. Basically that's what we surrender to - the Holy Will - and what we surrender is our own will.”

Katie puts it like this, “When you no longer have a will of your own, there is no time and space. It all becomes a flow. You don’t decide, you flow from one happening to the next, and everything is decided for you.”

Enjoy the ride. You can’t do it wrong :)


Anonymous said...

Great. thanks. "Living a life has it's ups and downs. Being lived is a whole new show." - Stuart Schwartz

Peace, Cullen

Anonymous said...

Trey, very important sharing; thanks for your contribution to our collective "freedom from the world." Imagine allowing this Divine expression to flow without holding any preferences whatsoever to form or outcomes. This is freedom, happiness, and peace.
in the light, Louis

S. M. Plastic said...

For some of us, reality is merely an imposition of another's vision, and time is but an abstract concept of little substance. I observe my life much as one thumbs the pages of another's scrapbook, still images of people and places to which I have no real connection.

But today I learned of the death of a dear friend, a mentor who had a profound influence on my life. For the moment I can perceive a sense of time, a fleeting glimpse of what was and what is now as separate entities. I feel the unchangeable reality that I have lost the opportunity to tell this man the love I have for him, and I am left with a regret for never having told him so.

With no concept of time, I travel through life in blissful ignorance, always believing there will be another opportunity to let those for whom I care so much know my feelings. Today that complacency has been shattered.

Life, by definition, is terminal. Tomorrow, for many of us, does not exist. Love must be expressed today - and every day - as if it were our last opportunity.

Anonymous said...


How are you? I read your all your entries that you send me and enjoy them very much. I am having great difficuly in embracing the idea of no control. I feel that we effect change in our lives all the time and that yes, there are other variables involved but I don't feel I am being done by somthing outside of myself. I do feel that we are often consumed by things that are out of our control, but I konw I have effected change in my life in many ways. (Is this just a left brain delusion?) Am I being too literal? What do others things couldl you elaborate on this particular entry on the blog?

You controlling friend and gentle reader


Trey said...

Let me start by saying that I certainly am not a living example of being out of control and loving it. I'm still stuck in the story concocted by the mind about the little "me" that views itself as a separate individual.

But I've noticed that the mind is very uncomfortable with the idea that we are utterly out of control. That can be an extremely frightening thing for a mind that feels in control. And ultimately the "I" that is having trouble embracing no control is the mind, which is what we rely on to feel like we make things happen. Also, I don't mean to put this concept into a "believe it or not" category, just put it into an exploratory category. Beliefs just slow you down, so rather than think of examples of how you have done something in the past, in effect searching for reasons how you have elicited change, look at this moment.

What if everytime you stood up, that's exactly what was meant to happen at that precise moment? If you raise your hand to scratch an itch, is that what was meant to happen right then for reasons we can't comprehend? What if everything we ever did in life was actually how things would have turned out had we not been relying on the stories in our mind telling us that we are the doer? What if each of us is interacting with the world around us according to a plan far more complex than anything we could ever grasp with our mind, and in order for that plan to work, "IT" had to be in control? And what if the end goal of what IT is doing is meant to bring us to a state where we can become the embodiment of IT? I invite you to experience what that would be like through meditation or, better yet, as you walk or drive through your daily life.

In effect, these are just questions to explore rather than concepts you should buy into. Instead, explore what it would be like if you did buy into them for periods of time through out the day. It's like a game of make believe that may or may not bring about some fear along with deep insights, inner peace, and acceptance of what is in this moment. I'd love to hear what you find.
In peace and love,

Anonymous said...

Hi Trey,

Thank you so much - I think this is your best article yet (and they are all wonderful). It's nice to get quotes from all these sources on the same topic. They are all saying the same thing, but from different perspectives, and I find it very nourishing!

I had a great time on the family reunion cruise and was actually able to be quite alone and quiet for long stretches, even amidst all the people around me (over 3000 onboard, including the crew!). What kept coming up over and over for me was the realization that only this very moment is real; only the experiencing of this moment is real. The content of each moment cannot possibly be "real" because it's gone in a nano-second; it just becomes "fluff" in the ethers. Like, whatever you were doing 5 minutes ago - it only exists as a phantom image in mind/memory. No reality to it at all. It's this memory function that keeps our whole "story" together, and when you really look at it, it's not real because it only exists as thought. I know, we've all heard that a million times! But I was experiencing it in a deeper way this past week. Really trippy! My wish is to experience in an ever deeper way, the "container" in which all the content appears. There is only "this", as all the true teachers tell us. "This" is that container (for lack of a better word) in which the content of our stories appears. I'm trying to keep my mind out of it, but to be honest, my mind is so fascinated by it all! But I know I am not *stuck* in my mind by it all because when I sink into the knowing of the container rather than the content, I am overcome by this quiet joyfulness. My heart sings.

Much love to you, my friend, and thank you again for your wonderful articles.