This goes out to all the control freaks out there and to the control freak that lies within us all.
Control is like trying to grab an eel swimming through an aquarium full of vegetable oil. It elusively works against itself. The harder we work at asserting control over any situation the less control we actually have over it.
Think of the times when we felt if we could only get everything in order, if we could get everyone to cooperate with the plan (the plan of course being our own plan), if we could get all the pieces to stay in one place. We feel like we’re trying to figure out how many dollars we have but we’re trying to stack it into neat piles while in a wind tunnel.
The less control we feel like we have, the harder we work at maintaining control. We apply a greater assertion of our will, we lay down more decrees and demands, we build a higher wall and a deeper moat to keep the critters more tightly contained and the predators at greater bay.
What we seem to fail to realize is that the more we exert our control, the less control we really have. It’s an ironic oxymoron wrapped in a contradictory dichotomy. Ever watch someone try to organize an event to their level of expectations that needs to be measured with a micrometer? They run around frantically, dashing from place to place, task to task, lackey to lackey like a pinball between bumpers. To step back and view the panorama of control corralling, it never appears they have much of it. In their attempt to have everything perfectly set and timed they behave like a mechanical whirling dervish that had coffee spilt on its motherboard.
To continue this concept of contradiction it is when we lighten the reins and loosen our grip that we exert the greatest control. True control is moving the greatest weight with the least effort. When we exert our will over others despite their wishes, our demands are met with inherent resistance beneath the surface, which maintains and accumulates pressure over time. However, when we align our will with the desires of others, we will find that we hardly need to exert much energy at all to accomplish what we desire.
True control is found in the midpoint of the fulcrum. It is found in the place of balance of any situation. On one hand, there is effort required on our part, but there is also required a release as well. It feels so counterintuitive to gain control by letting go, but this is all too often the case.
If we want to guide a situation in the direction of our intention, we have to not only know where to apply our energy, we have to understand where we need to pull our hands away from it. This points to the most often overlooked yet important aspect of maintaining control of any situation; it is in the act of self-control. It is knowing when our efforts are best applied and knowing the point of where our efforts yield very little. Beyond this point we are only applying our efforts to avoid feeling helpless when the situation is beyond our influence. We are simply reinforcing the illusion and expending our precious reserves. The practice of self-control has at its center the act of acceptance and allowing, which is one of the most challenging truths for any control freak to embrace.