Monday Meditation: Control, and the Art of Surrender

Monday is usually the beginning of the work week for most of us. It's become popular to dread and demonize this day throughout the world. Monday is going to come, whether we like it or not. Things are going to happen that are out of our control. How we view them will make the difference.

The dictionary defines control as exercising authoritative or dominating influence over; to direct.

Control is mostly an illusion, and there are many of us who have a hard time accepting that. We like to call ourselves "control freaks". We get stressed out over things that are totally beyond our scope of responsibility or sphere of dominance. I purposefully use the word 'dominance' as it is an integral part of our species' personality- to dominate or have dominion over things.

We spend a lot of time worrying over things that are not within our control. We cannot control the actions and behaviors of others. We may be able to influence, but we do not control them. What they do is really their choice, and you can only choose to control your own response to it.

I've always taught my children that those who cannot control themselves attempt to control others. I've seen that bear out in my own life, as well as in the lives of others.

Our "span of control" is much smaller than we want to admit. We don't even have total conscious control over our own bodies. We do have control over our choices (to a degree. Given the choice between two undesirable things, it may not be much control),  and can work on controlling our responses and emotions.

We attempt to control things because we have worry over the outcome. We worry that we know what's best and we become attached to a specific outcome, thinking that, like The Highlander, "There can be only one."

There is a lovely Buddhist philosophy called 'The Art of Surrender.' It speaks to that place inside you that keeps fighting yourself, the Universe, the rest of the world. You surrender your worry there.

This isn't about not acting, or just sitting around waiting for something to happen. It's about relaxing.. letting yourself be okay without having to control it all, or stress over it. It comes from a place of peace within and trusting that it's going to work out.

So, just for today, let's make a pact to practice The Art of Surrender. When that 'need to control' pops up inside, we'll imagine ourselves just letting go, trust falling into The Mystery...take a deep breath... now, smile and be at peace.

That in itself is a form of control ;)

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