Who is in control?

I have noticed a few lively discussions over issues where both sides seem to be saying the same thing. I thought about that and decided that perhaps the real issue was a need for a sense of control. I doubt that either side would have absolute control, so I will say that the need is for a sense of control, not just for control. I believe that this is more than a quest for power. I have witnessed people getting real frustrated and upset. Now I had to wonder how often do I do this myself.

I do not think that it is any secret that I have been diagnosed with a muscle myopathy. One of the most disturbing things about having a terminal illness is the feeling of powerlessness, of being unable to do anything about it. Being unable to control the illness and knowing that others cannot help either can be a little unsettling. With this need for a sense of control, I noticed that I was doing a few other things.

  • Completion of outstanding things, so I don’t have to worry about them. I started to view everything on a short schedule. I had to do it now. This was a little more than a need for control. It was a need to unclutter my life.
  • Understanding of how things work. For example, I started reading every article on myopathy I could fine. There was a naïve thought that if I had the knowledge, I could gain control.
  • Being able to see what will impact my day. I had a real focus on putting everything on a calendar. If I did not know what was happening, I could not plan. If I could not plan, I could not get control.

I started to become a real control nut! When I look around and watch what people do, I see a lot of control nuts. A significant portion of our everyday activity is related to achieving our much-needed sense of control. We have rules, rituals, and social conventions everywhere. Our values tell us what to do, what is right and wrong, what is good and bad. When everyone in the group follows the rules, all is well.

For me, this is not about power… it is about trust. Trust and control support one another. Not only does trust allow me to give up control, but the need for a sense of control drives me to trust others. That does not always work because once I determine there is a pattern of not doing what they said, trust is gone. Expectations become a burden, and I am frustrated again.

Time to get off this train. I have been looking into meditation, and most of the books refer to a set of eight pathways. The first pathway is to have a wise view. With a wise view, you recognize that it’s not your job, nor is it in your power, to control what happens outside of you. You understand that instead, you can only control what happens within your mind. It is like what we teach in our self-mastery retreats and I tend to forget.

I will be out on the deck working on my meditation skills.