Time, Control and other Illusions…




Change is a constant.  We know this to be true.  Seasons change and visible change takes place; things grow, mature, decline, die.  In light of this fact, we should question:  Can any of us predict the exact day a flower will bloom?  Do we know what will entangle the hours and minutes of our inevitable death?  Can we, in the conscience of all that is spontaneous, say we will recognize a life-changing event prior to its inception?  May we hope to unravel the complexities of connection, discourse, and influence in our own existence, and all those around us?

No…we can do none of these things…

Therefore, we are not in control.  We control ourselves, our emotions, responses, and perceptions but nothing else.  If I plant a flower, feed and water it exactly right, it still holds within it the potential to die.  Nature is uncontrolled and breathing and she does not yield to human will.  We can include human beings in the mix too, because we are of this world, this ‘nature’; unpredictable and wild, somewhat stable, but certain to change.

So why, without constants, do we still believe we exercise control over the uncontrollable?

We strive to control because we find the illusion of control comforting…our belief in the illusion makes us at least feel as though we are not given up to chance, and feelings, it seems, are quite important to our perceptions of order.  We function under a grand ideal; an ideal which preaches unequivocally that stability trumps change, order trumps chaos and preparation trumps surprise…

Yet, we yearn for all things spontaneous.  We fill our legends, music, and movies with it and we dream lofty dreams.  Silly really, since true spontaneity is literally defined by throwing oneself into the disordered, wildness of the universe with the sole purpose of experiencing the unplanned with a devil-may-care attitude.  True spontaneity is a rare thing, because the ideal prefers boundaries and borders to spontaneity.   Spontaneity must conform to the comfortable parameters set forth by our illusions.  Illusions which state we can somehow exercise a measure of control over our ‘spontaneous’ experiences, somehow making them ‘better’.

Because, of course, all we do not know makes us uncomfortable.  So what we do not know is unpredictable, and requires explanation and measurement to become comfortable, even if the measurement and explanation is illusion…

Take time for example…does time, as we understand it, actually exist?

What does time fundamentally mean to a newborn?  How does it matter to the deathbed?  And all the spaces between, which are filled, managed, scheduled, forgotten, procrastinated, or logged…what do they mean?  Is life merely a score sheet of timed tally marks in which we, as human beings, with our ‘mathematical concepts’ of time set out to measure and denote and catalog that which is, in reality, unpredictable and constant change?

It is uncomfortable to us to admit our lack of control.  We feel set adrift on a vast, dark ocean in a rowboat.  But our perceptions are the issue, not our lack of control.  If we could, in a moment, consider the marvelous nature of life; its progression, change, and interrelatedness with the rest of creation.

I’m not advocating the rejection of common sense.  I’m not advocating harmful recklessness.  Nor am I advocating that anyone should operate outside the rules of culture in which they live and make a living.  In other words, render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, but perhaps try in small steps to begin letting go of the illusions of control that bring a false sense of comfort within your own life.

I’m talking about the possibility and potential inherent in the moment.  I am talking about the release of the paradigm.  The confining paradigm that works against the notion that any given moment is beautiful in its own right, full of complex shifts between good and bad, the latter producing infinite benefits if one could only embrace the lesson.  I’m talking about approachability, sensibility, respect, and compassion.  So that every individual you meet and moment you experience is not merely factored, measured, and sized up, but rather embraced as the natural infusion of force in which we all play part.  Respect the journey, not for its measurability, but its immeasurable and untamed potentialities.  In this, the moments within the journey become recognized as awesome blessings  🙂


*image courtesy of:  http://www.cumberlandchurch.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/control.gif *


10 responses »

  1. I love the message here. We can’t control anything but ourselves. And even though we love surprise, it too comes with it’s own manner of control. However, we can experience that area of the unknown in healthy ways by taking acceptable risks.

    We can open our hearts and minds up to new adventures, meeting new people, etc. and see what may come of the experience. And that is exciting to us. We “control” that which cannot be controlled to some degree which satisfies us. And that helps us to change and grow.

    Does that make any sense? I hope so. Very thoughtful post…thanks for sharing these ideas with us!

    Have a marvelous day,
    Christian 🙂

    • Thanks Christian 🙂
      Yes, I find our perceptions about what is acceptable is the key to recognizing ‘healthy’ from ‘unhealthy’…positive changes make for positive progress 🙂
      Thank you so much for commenting!

      • You bet, my pleasure as always! You hit on another important point…”perceptions.” We all have some very different ways in which we see things. And we all accept or reject ideas and values based on how we view and/or understand things.

        What I may find appalling may be perfectly fine in another’s eyes. But there is a standard of “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” which is somewhat universal with many areas of life.

        Those are the things which are important to understand and work towards improving in our lives! Another super insight from you, as usual!

        Have a “Rockin’ ” day!

      • Thanks Christian…every day rocks! 🙂
        Too true…perceptions. The hardest and most important begin at home, with our self-perceptions. If we are unable to perceive our own inner goodness, we will be unable to see it (perceive it) around us, on the outside, in others. If we judge ourselves so harshly, we cannot avoid having a judgemental attitude toward others…
        Great point as always Christian! 🙂

      • These exact points you make are “spot on.” We tend to compare other’s behavior to what we think is good or bad.

        We tend to love/hate others by standards we have formed for ourselves. Until we realized that fact, we have a hard time being objective regarding others around us.

        You keep up your good work, lady! Enjoy your day.
        Christian 😉

      • I rock…you roll…that’s how it works best! And yes, it’s an awesome day. Smile, it confuses people…


  2. I loved this we all do have a journey of being blessed if we walk in faith of the procession of change

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