Most of us grew up trying to control what we can't actually control—such as other people's feelings about us, or outcomes and events. We have become addicted to the illusion that our control is working for us instead of causing us harm.
A client of mine, Gabriel, is dealing with control-related issues. He recently asked me this question:
"I'm struggling with fear right now. I have been a textbook case of a controlling person for many years. I now understand that it is harmful, and might even be ruining my life. But it is scary to move forward because I don't 'know' for a fact that being open to learning instead of trying to control everything will work out and be better. How do I know this will work? How do I learn that it will really all be OK?"
What we can control versus what we can't control:
Of course, this question indicates that Gabriel still hopes to have control over the outcomes of things rather than learning to live with the uncertainty that is a fact of life for all of us. Yet he is beginning to understand that we don't actually have the control we like to think we have—at least not in the way we think we have it.
What we DO have control over is our own intent—to try to control to avoid pain, or to open to learning about what is true for us and what is loving toward ourselves. The irony of this is that when we open to learning about truth and love, we are then able to tap into our intuition—our inner knowing and divine guidance. THIS is what keeps us safe and supports us in manifesting our dreams.
Our wounded, egoic mind thinks it can figure out how to be safe and how to get what we want, but it has no access to any source of truth or wisdom. We access wisdom when we allow the truth from our divine source within and all around us to inform us.
Years ago, I read the Carlos Castaneda books about his experiences with the Yaqui sorcerer Don Juan Matus, who became his teacher of shamanism. One day Don Juan claimed that he would pick the time and place of his death. Carlos challenged him: What if someone was hiding with a gun and shot him while he was walking in the chaparral? Don Juan's answer was, "I wouldn't be there."
This statement had a profound impact on me. I understood that he wouldn't be there because he was so connected with his divine guidance that he would know not to be there, and that this is what creates safety. His mind alone couldn't know this, but when he is open to accessing the truth from his spiritual source, he can know what is safe and what is dangerous.
Over the years of practicing staying open to learning from my divine source about love and truth, I've had numerous experiences of my spiritual guidance actually saving my life. I know firsthand that trying to control things only serves to obscure the truth that I need to know.
However, as Gabriel is currently feeling, when you have no experience with the power of your higher guidance to steer you in the right direction for you, it's not easy to let go of trying to control everything. Telling yourself to "Let go and let God," is easier said than done. Sometimes we need to become aware of how much trying to control is ruining our lives before we can finally take a leap of faith and open to our higher source of love and wisdom.
For me, it's been a huge relief and a powerful source of joy to relinquish control to my inner and higher wisdom. My life has been so much more peaceful and rewarding since I've been guided by spirit rather than by my own limited, programmed, controlling mind.