Lao Tsu, the ancient Chinese sage and author of the Dao de Ching said "Wisdom is the complete willingness to be the plaything of chance circumstance."
I can feel the entire western civilization tensing up at the thought.
But the reality is that life is truly a spontaneous outpouring of events.
Think about it, when have you ever known exactly how an event will play out? Never. That’s because you can never know. You might have an idea or an innocent desire, but the actual form your life takes will always remain a mystery until it's revealed in the spontaneous moment of creation. Consider, for example, a party that you've been invited to a couple weeks in advance. It’s at a place you’ve never been to, and while you know some of the people on the guest list, you don’t know them all. During the time between the moment of the invitation and the moment of the party you think about the party. You think about what you’re going to wear, who you might meet, what kind of food will be served. You create an image of the place and people, and even a sense of the atmosphere that you expect to be at the event. Once you arrive at the party, you find that your image was completely incorrect. The place looks nothing like you had imagined it. You meet people you could have never conjured up in your mind. And the atmosphere of the party was nothing like you imagined.
This is an innocent example of the way our minds work. We’re constantly trying to know our future and creating images that we cling to. There’s a healthy way that this can exist and an unhealthy way. The healthy way is conscious visioning, which is using our power of imagination to conjure up a feeling and vision that’s generated by our virtuous desires. It’s conscious, because we understand that the image we’re creating is simply a guide post, and that, when we’re awake, life itself will show us unimaginable outcomes that are in alignment with our desires and the goodness of the whole. This is a very fun and exciting way to be in relationship with life.
The unhealthy way this tendency exhibits itself is through an unconscious need for control. If there is one thing, in all my years of working with people and their health, that I’ve found to be a constant source of stress, it’s the ongoing need for control. It’s the need to know the outcome of all of life’s events and placing a mind-made (i.e. ego-made) agenda on life. When we place our agenda on life, we’re met with disappointment. It’s inevitable that we’ll be disappointed, because with our attention placed on our expectations, we’re blocking the acceptance of the radiant gifts that life is providing us with in each spontaneous moment. When what life is giving us is not what we’re expecting, not what our agenda is, we stay in a state of unfulfillment. Basically what we’re saying is, “Our agenda is not met, and we won’t be happy until it is!” Something is always left incomplete, and this incompleteness, whether we’re aware of it or not, keeps us from experiencing the joy and happiness that we’re seeking.
With that in mind, consider two ways of operation for our mental state. One is called “Don't Know Mind” and the other is called “Need to Know Mind” . The irony is that at the root of the Don’t Know Mind is a deep knowingness in the goodness of life. And on the same token, because within everything lies the seed of it’s opposite, within the Need to Know Mind there is the fear of not knowing. Most people operate out of this latter dynamic. Needing to know out of fear of not knowing. This is rooted in a fundamental lack of trust in the goodness of life. We want control, and we think we can find it by knowing the future, because we’re seeking something constant.
Nothing in the world of form is constant. Everything that has form is always changing and we all know this- whether or not we want to accept it is a different story. However, there is a constant, call it the Constant Loving Truth, but it’s intangible and it’s found within us when we’re willing to get quiet and still enough to connect to it. The more we can connect to the Constant Loving Truth, the more we will feel we can trust in the unknown, which is the nature of life itself.
This requires meditaiton.
The reason so many meditation practices use breath awareness is because it’s through the breath that we’re able to connect to the constancy we’re seeking.
Our breath is constant.
So meditate, and remember...
When we’re stressed it’s because we feel that we don’t have control.
When we believe that we need control, we’re disconnected to life.
Letting go of control does not mean no action.
It means being still enough to allow right action to occur at the right time, as opposed to compulsive action made out of the fear of losing control.
Letting go of control doesn’t mean total passivity, it means creating a balance between being passive and active, and when action is required, it becomes more effective, because it’s rooted in stillness.
Letting go of control doesn’t mean becoming a bump on a log, it means becoming a more active participant in life in a way that is in alignment with what brings you and the people around you true happiness.
Letting go of control is letting go of your conditioned mind’s agenda for your life, and taking a step back to let life show you the way.
It’s letting go of urgency and frenetic rushing around to get to where you believe you need to go, and taking time to be in a healthy relationship to the present moment, whatever it is.