Have Trouble Giving Up Control?

Releasing It Can Enrich Your Life


Do you need to exert perpetual control over all aspects of your life? Are you a “mood manager,” who even tries to exercise control over how others feel, speak and act? If you have this kind of personality, you know how exhausting and frustrating it can make your life. Who knows? Maybe this was what drew you to yoga and meditation in the first place– you recognized your need to deal with this aspect of your personality.

What drives our “control issues?” Well, consider the fact that our very presence on the planet is the result of a confluence of events over which we had no say. The mutation of cells, or some other random event, will likely bring our lives to a close. In between, as children, we grow up learning that we have little power to influence the way things go. For many people, this sense of powerlessness continues into adulthood. Aging then returns us to the relatively dependent state we experienced in childhood. All this being the case, it is hardly difficult to understand why we would try to exert control over the things we can.

Of course, not all of this influence-seeking is unhealthy. As adult, autonomous individuals, we actually have a responsibility to guide the course of events in our sphere of influence in a positive manner. But of course there’s a big difference between offering a guiding hand and demanding absolute control. At the latter extreme lie serious personality disorders and all manner of pathology.

Meditation is a wonderful means of confronting our control issues. Rather than trying to eradicate them — a futile exercise — we sit with those issues and look deeply into their genesis. Contemplation can lead to understanding; in the deeply relaxed, receptive state of mind that meditation induces, we can recognize these predilections, smile at them, and allow them to be. This avenue can bring release, whereas a conscious effort to eradicate our desire for total control often backfires. It can cause our habit energy to be engaged, making our minds double down on old, unhealthy patterns.

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