Here are some simple questions for exploring control:
(1). If I take a daily life example I seem to have control over, do I find I really have control over it?
I woke up and did a Skype session with my TW tutor this morning.
I had no control over waking up or not. (I could have died in my sleep, Overslept. Been in a coma.)
I had no control over remembering it. (It could have slipped my mind. I could have forgotten to check my calendar. My calendar could have dropped the entry, or I could have forgotten to put it in.)
I had no control over feeling up to doing it. (I could have felt sick.)
I had no control over me deciding to do it. (I could have decided I would rather do something else. I could have decided to reschedule.)
I had no control over the computer or Skype connection. (The computer could have died. The internet connection could have been down. Skype could have not worked.)
I had no control over the other person. (She could have forgotten it. She could have written down another time. She could have decided to do something else.)
When I say “no control” here, it can be read as “no absolute control”. It’s clear I don’t have absolute control over any of these things. And if I look a little closer, I may find there is no real control at all.
(2) . What’s the me or I that tries to be in control?
It’s the part of me that thinks it’s in control, that tries to be in control.
It’s the dynamics created when certain thoughts are taken as true:
It’s better to be in control. It’s possible to be in control.
I am in control. I can control.
It’s an image of a me, a doer, a controller.
(3). Where does the guidance for the control come from, the ideas of what’s good or helpful?
When I brush my teeth, where does that impulse come from? I was told it’s good by my family, dentist, and culture. I just do what I am told.
When I did the tutoring session mentioned above, I did it because it’s part of the certification program, and a couple of friends recommended it. I also did it because it fits the model or idea of how we learn and get trained in our culture, and among humans in general.
I try to stay alive. I eat, breathe, sleep. Go to the doctor. All of that can be seen as coming from a biological survival instinct, and also what I have been told – often without words – by family, friends, culture.
(4) Taking it a little further, where does the impulse to do anything come from?
Why did I chose to sign up for tutoring? To schedule the session? To go on Skype at the time we agreed on? I really don’t know.
I can come up with a number of plausible stories, and if I am honest with myself, I see I really don’t know.
(5). What do I find when I investigate some of my thoughts about control?
I have control. It’s better to have control. I need to have control.
If I don’t have control, something terrible will happen.
What do I find when I (a) find a specific situation where I had one of these thoughts, and (b) investigate it from that situation?
With any of these questions, I can look at them in a general way and that may be helpful to help my conscious view realign. And yet, if I want it to go deeper, if I want to really see what’s there, it may be more helpful to look very closely at very specific examples and situations. What’s really there? Read More