Thursday, May 7, 2009

Letting Go of Control

There are relatively very few things outside of ourselves that we have control over, yet we spend enormous amounts of emotional capital on things we cannot change. If we look closely we may find that this is nothing more than a way we distract ourselves from being present. By transmitting our energy onto something or someone else we push our minds away from whatever emotion we are feeling in the present moment.

Focusing on controlling the actions and thoughts of others moves us away from dealing with our own issues. We make the excuse, "I will deal with my problems once I fix theirs". In the end, this thinking comes with the risk of doing more harm to both ourselves and those we are focused on.


Much of the Buddhist practice is centered on letting go of the hindrances our minds cling to. Letting go of control is one of the most difficult tasks most practitioners face. We think we feel safe when we are in control yet the truth is that when we are controlling, pain and conflict are never far away.

Learn to let go. Peace comes from learning that we not only cannot control all the things and people around us, but also in the understanding that we do not need to. Next time you feel the urge to control someone, stop yourself and just observe. See what happens when you just let things happen.

As you practice letting go of control, you will start to realize how unimportant much of what has happened in the past really is. The things you held onto so tightly will reveal themselves as nothing more than stories built within our own mind. We will enjoy better relationships with all that is around us, letting us focus in the present moment where all happiness lives.

16 comments:

dcrelief said...

Greetings Roger!

You have a wonderful posting here.
My life has involved a great transition from co-dependant to self-focusing behavior. In opening up my web site to “reader comments” I almost returned to the old web of “I’ll fix you.”
Instead, I stay in the present, take off the mask and just breathe.
I agree with your statement: “We will enjoy better relationships with all that is around us, letting us focus in the present moment where all happiness lives.”
Where all happiness lives!
In peace, Dixie

Julie P said...

Hi, Roger. You're right and we shouldn't stress about things that are beyond our control - easier said than done though sometimes, I think. Learning to let go is one of the hardest things to do.

Take care. Julie.

Lee Ann said...

Roger -

You are so right and this is so difficult for most of us. I find that I struggle almost on a daily basis with this, but I'm grateful that at least I'm aware of my struggle.

Thanks for this excellent post, and the reminder that the quest for control is a folly. We truly are happier and more content in the moment.

Tess said...

Why am I a master at building stories in my own mind. I'll practice more observing and I'm sure I'll be more peaceful.

morrow said...

Letting go for me is tricky. I grew up in a household were things were always being "let go", but there was never any change or things getting fixed. So I realize now that I have a lens by which I view that term letting go that I need to reevaluate.

I struggle w this whole idea of nonattachment and letting go of control and being in the present moment, but at the same time I think any philosophy can be used for the wrong reasons...

and for me too much staying in the moment etc and it turns into (I think) procrastination and a place to hide.

klahanie said...

Hi Roger,
I totally agree with what you have written here.
I have learnt not to try and change the way other people react to fit into my ideals. I believe that working though my own issues is much more conducive to my own well being and inner peace. I cannot expect others to live up to my perceived expectations.
I live in the now, yet I also look forward to the future with a sense of realistic. positive anticipation. That fills me with contentment.
Peaceful wishes to you, Gary.

xgenesis007 said...

Wow I think I need this one in my life. I thank you for sharing this really profound piece of writing.

I hope I can enjoy more of my present and learn to let go of unnecessary things in life.

Thanks again for the post and more power to you :)

The Buddhist Conservative said...

This is an issue that most of us deal with everyday. When we learn to let go, we are giving ourselves permission to move into the here and now.

No matter how much we may try, we cannot control everything (or anything really) around us. We will find ourselves in a much happier place as this message sinks in.

Butternut Squash said...

I live in constant series of changes. For the most part, I enjoy the ride, but sometimes, it just makes me weary. Peace.

DESPERADO said...

learning to let go has been one of the most difficult and liberating experience for me.

Carole Anne Carr, member of the Society of Authors said...

Greetings and thank you for taking an interest in my little blog. The tension between my drive for worldly perfection and my spiritual beliefs has always been a problem, despite many wonderful retreats over the years. Carole.

Mandy said...

Love your blog..thanks for this wonderful post. Let go..is my mantra for today!

Miss Attica said...

Letting go, and staying in the present! Great advice, Roger!

Kimberly Drever said...

Roger

It's funny how whenever I come to read your blog your postings are always what I need to hear and are inspiring. I got a "Lemonade Award" that I'd love to pass on to you. Hope you get a chance to stop by and accept.

Namaste,
Kim

Hazelmarie Elliott (Mattie) said...

Roger,

One wonders how much 'control' we really have over life. Some of the biggest issues we experience evolve without our having any control over them. Sometimes, fate has the winning hand and we have to 'fold' and move on...

I say enjoy the little victories we have in life and offer the same advice to others. Control is only in the eye of the beholder. The question is, is it really an issue of 'control' or is it just a realization and acceptance of what truly is...

Great work with this...

Namaste,
Mattie

Amanda Linehan said...

Hi Roger - Life is scary and can seem so random at times, with external forces acting on us seemingly with no purpose. At times, it seems like trying to control those external forces seems like the only way to keep ourselves safe and happy, and yet, attempting to control really just leaves us exhausted. This is a difficult thing to practice, but the rewards are great.