Surrendering Control

Everything about our society encourages us to think of the future. We work for the bills we will have, we place on a calendar where we will be in the future, and many times we take courses and jobs not for themselves, but as a way of working toward a future we’ve imagined is ours. Even the hourly news speculates constantly on what might happen.

924 Relax and Succeed - I don't know where I'm goingHere’s how the future is a dangerous thing: there’s other people creating it too, so the combination of your efforts will not always take you where you want to go. It may take you somewhere better, but even if it is better you’re likely to not want to go there if it’s not what your expectation was. If you stop and think it’s not hard to find examples of things and people that you didn’t expect to like but you ended up loving them anyway.

You’re actually not very consistent at picking what you’ll enjoy most which is why when you’re more enlightened one of the things that will happen is you’ll be a lot more okay with the unexpected events. Rather than thinking you’re now off-target, the enlightened person realizes the odds are just as good that the unexpected events are an improvement. So they just wait and see while others start using words and actions to push against the unexpected and toward the expected.

Can you see that one is flow and one is resistance? It’s like the God-Universe is an octopus and each bit of reality is a tentacle on this magical octopus. So “you” are like one tentacle who feels separate and distinct from the other tentacles and yet if we had enough vision would could follow your own creation backwards until you came to realize that we’re all a part of the same being. That’s what the act of becoming enlightened is. It’s a slow realization that you are one with everything.

924 Relax and Succeed - Let go of what you can't controlSo if the Universal Octopus wants us to create, each tentacle will grab a piece of Lego and with the legs closest to itself it will appear to cooperate to create new things in the universe. New experiences, new friends, new creations, new ideas. It all counts. So we use our creativity to form an idea and then we attempt to realize it with the Lego.

Only the other tentacles aren’t so much cooperating with us as they are also, through their own pure creativity, becoming aligned with us. They’re not so much cooperating as they’re like two boats that happened to be on the same course. That still makes them close enough to be able to work together but they will always maintain the ability to surprise each other.

So one tentacle thinks it’s building this out of Lego and the other tentacle thinks it’s building that out of Lego. They’re working together because it appears they are going in the same direction. Eventually we find out that we’re still individuals even though we’re all connected and they may not be ultimately building what we were. Especially when this happens in a relationships, we experience this realization as anger, disappointment, betrayal, frustration and fear.

924 Relax and Succeed - Breathe the universe is taking careIf we think we’re an ego–a tentacle–then we use our thoughts to create the separateness that allows us to feel we can come into conflict with another tentacle. We can feel it has let us down by not building the same thing we thought we were building. Of course it’s important to note that they feel exactly the same way; that we’ve abandoned their creation.

Only the Octopus knows we’re confused so the weird thing is, we don’t know enough to really lead ourselves through something so infinite. Which means that thanks to the Universal Octopus, sometimes these “mistakes” end up leading to a creation far superior to the one we had planned. Early on we tend to credit the other tentacle for this success but eventually we come to realize that we deserve credit too. We just have to temper our credit in the same way that we temper our blame because the creation didn’t come from just us, just as any failure doesn’t come from just us. There’s a lot of cooks in on this broth.

So stop thinking you can decide your own future. You’re not even able to comprehend what might be good for you because you have no idea who you’re going to be as a result of the experiences you have between now and that future. All you can decide is what you put in. There are no guarantees after that. But even if someone “fails,” we have no idea– that failure might actually be pushing them toward something much better.

924 Relax and Succeed - Rather than remove your desiresIf this all sounds like– well you just never know anything then! –then you’re right. It is that. But that’s not bad news. That’s good news. That means you can surrender. You can relax. You can stop trying to get somewhere in your future and instead just focus on being an octopus now. Rather than try to create what you want, you start to wonder what it is this other tentacle is creating. And so you try to get in alignment with it rather than trying to get to align with you.

Eventually you come to understand the other tentacle enough that if you both have surrendered control then you both are acting on behalf of the Universal Octopus and then you’re cooperating on a whole new level. Eventually all of the tentacles will do that and we will again have singularity. We will be One.

If you stop to think about it some of your best friends and jobs and activities grew out of things you did not want to do. So rather than resist what’s happening, start flowing with it. Because your friendships are great examples. Those have no plan, which is in part why they go so well. In friendship you’ll actually let the Universal Octopus run things. Because in the end what you build with the Lego doesn’t matter. But the building of it is your life, so put your energy into enjoying that process rather than waiting to enjoy what you hope your outcome eventually is.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Point of View

Your ego thinks it’s an individual. Your true self knows you are a point of view. Your ego sees itself as separate from everything. Raised in the shadow of Aristotle, you see everything as subject and object. So much so that even though you can intellectually understand that other people have the same emotions you do, you still persist in thinking that your experiences are unique failings of yours or the world around an individual you, and that it is impossible for anyone else to understand you or your situation.

797 Relax and Succeed - You don't have a soulYour spirit however takes everything far less personally. Why would a point of view care one way or the other? You are fundamentally simply a way of seeing things. Descartes’ I think therefore I am axiom in action. But way before Descartes, Aristotle had already accidentally screwed up your chances of being peaceful when he unwittingly helped create your ego when he separated you from the rest of the world with that whole subject and object concept. (The “water” we swim in.) Once you have separation then value judgments inevitably ensue. This of course leads to most of the bad things that humans do to each other and the rest of the planet.

But it’s not like the place that exists before those definitions and value judgments vanished. It’s still there. The Kingdom of Heaven is nigh, so to speak. Eckhart Tolle wrote a book about living there called The Power of Now. It’s entirely attainable. You’ve already been there. Every infant lives there. And anyone can go back at any moment, and most people go back and forth with whatever regularity matches their awareness. Conscious people are mostly now-ish and egos are focused on futures or on histories.

Yes, you have this physical body. But not much of it is even yours. Cell wise you’re outnumbered by the creatures that live on and in you by an incredible 10 to 1. That’s 10 of them to 1 of you. 60% of your bodyweight is the creatures that allow you do everything from digest your food to clean your eyes when you sleep.

797 Relax and Succeed - Looking for consciousness in the brainSo “you” (unbeknownst to you) was never as much you as you thought. You’re more like the driver of a planet of cooperating creatures. Let too many of them die and your whole spaceship goes. Just ask someone with Crohn’s Disease if the creatures that comprise your gut are important to your healthy survival.They know what it’s like to suffer that imbalance. This is why you’re supposed to be careful with antibiotics. They don’t just kill the bug, they kill part of you too. It’s like micro-chemo.

Okay, so you’re mostly a bag filled with cooperating cells and you can think. You can take I think therefore I am more than one way. For instance, it can mean: Because I am able to pose this question I know that I am some sort of entity which can do this. Or it can mean: I am the way I think I am. In the latter case, that is another way of saying God created man his own image. God makes man free. So man (and obviously women) are free to create any image of themselves to portray. Even insecure or angry or unhappy ones.

Your thinking emerges from the living of your life. Your experiences, culture, society, fellow citizens, friends, relatives and family will all shape your beliefs. Grow up in a family of photographers and you’ll all cherish your brand new state-of-the-art cameras. And yet you might die of thirst in the tropics. Meanwhile a native who lives in the tropics might easily and happily destroy the cameras by smashing them repeatedly into coconut shell to get the liquid out. So was it a camera or was it a rock? It was both because after-now ego realities are always separate.

797 Relax and Succeed - You are the books you readThe value of anything is context dependent and value dependent and you construct both with your thinking. An example would be if I walked you to the Canada US border and then I blindfolded you, walked you in circles and then took the blindfold off–without any of the markings you had been taught, you would have no idea which country you would be in because a border and a country are ideas, not things. You can’t feel Canada or the US. You can only feel your thoughts about them.

So you can easily see how two people can have a war over seeing one place under two different names. When people were Yugoslavians they got along. Then a few people suggested that now they had different names (like you can’t have more than one) and suddenly average citizens were killing people they had been friends with. What changed from seeing someone as a friend to someone worthy of immediate death at your hand? Perspective. Point of view. Who you thought you were. But the separateness is always in the thoughts and not in the people.

Respect all the creatures that make up you. And respect all the other creatures that make up the rest of the world and your society. No one can be wrong when all there is in the end is perspective, because perspective can always change. People very often end up believing very different things at death than they did when they were young.

Spend the rest of the day trying to catch yourself enacting your point of view. It’s a very healthy exercise and it will keep you away from ego. But don’t get upset if you do find yourself in ego. Just recognizing that your separation is your creation is all you have to do. The rest is your nature.

Have an absolutely wonderful day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.