“Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Sometimes heading in a new direction can be scary until you realize you’re headed toward a new and exciting destination.” – Susan Gale
Think back to a moment when a life situation did not turn out as planned – imagine the details as best you can. There may have been an expected outcome you had hoped for. You may have witnessed your well laid-out plans crumble before your very eyes. Take comfort since life does not always go according to plan.
The premise of this article is grounded in the biased view that we have the final say in life’s unfolding events. In many ways suffering is provoked by the assumption that we have complete control over our lives. In his book The Five Things We Cannot Change, author David Richo suggests we reframe the notion of assuming control by adopting an alternative view, “we do not let go of control; we let go of the belief we have control.”
Determinist’s and fatalists concede there is a greater force working behind the backdrop of our lives, which is beyond our limited perspective. We are mere puppets in a well-orchestrated drama of unseen influences acting upon us. Whilst we have free will, ultimately we have very little control once the die is cast. In his book Way of The Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman cleverly highlights the analogy of detachment as a means of surrendering control, “…once aim is taken and the arrow is loosed from the bow, we can only wait in anticipation to see where it may land.”
Control vs Faith
The notion of control in an ever-changing and expanding universe is irrational in the context of outcomes. Those who seek control realise that it is like chasing a stubborn cat. By yielding to external forces, we allow life to reveal herself through us. We realise that every experience; every thought and emotion is in perfect alignment with the synchronous fulfilment of universal intelligence coursing through us.
Spiritual masters underscore humanity’s unwillingness to think from the heart instead of the mind. As we evolve over the coming millennia, this will become more evident as we awaken our sixth sense – thus attaining spiritual harmony. You needn’t be spiritually evolved to work with universal forces. However, aligning with your heart invites you to become acquainted with the silent inner voice within, instead of the egoic mind.
In the West, the notion of surrender is met with a sense of hopelessness and vulnerability. It may also be construed for inaction and apathy. It is quite the opposite – letting go of how life should play out allows the orchestration of infinite possibilities to flow unimpeded. It may be viewed as having a wider range of possibilities arrange themselves for your benefit, instead of a limited few.
Handing over control requires faith and trust. Faith that all your needs will be met in due course. Trust that they will arrive when the time is right. How can this benevolent universe not deliver on its promise to look after you? Afterall if you’re reading this, you have no doubt made it to this point as a result of the choices you made. You have handled every problem, disaster or tragedy and will continue to do so.
Faith is comparable to the inner knowing that your heart will pump oxygen-rich blood, with acute precision to your organs each and every day. You needn’t be concerned that it won’t perform its task or that it might oversupply the arteries and organs. It delivers more blood to your working muscles when you exercise and less blood when you’re asleep. How does it sense the variation in activity? What is it connected to or receiving instructions from in order to continually manage these resources?
Change and Impermanence
Life is subject to perpetual change based on the law of impermanence. Nothing remains the same, not even the cells in your body which have a finite lifespan. Knowing this we can take comfort in the fact that transformation is inexorably linked to the human condition. Rather than oppose it, learn to work with it. The more you oppose the forces of life, the less control you have.
The essence of this principle is contained in the following passage, “Life is like sand held in your hands. Held loosely, with an open hand, the sand remains where it is. The minute you close your hand and squeeze tightly to hold on, the sand trickles through your fingers…” Rather than clutch tightly, yield to life’s forces. Go with the flow. Albeit, this does not imply complete resignation nor indifference. If anything it implies inner detachment.
If you are struggling to manage a life situation, release your expectation of an intended outcome by inviting a higher solution to permeate through your life. Rather than surrender to it, yield to the forces of life by allowing life to take you where it needs to.
Sometimes in life the wrong turn can and will deliver us to the right place in time.