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 *