Consent and the Illusion of Control

Peace doesn’t just show up without permission. Someone has to allow it. The caveat to that statement is human beings are the only thing it applies to. Nature is nature. Trees do tree things and wolves do wolf things. As far as I am aware we are the only things on earth pondering our calling, attaching to pain that has or will pass (unnecessary suffering), etc. When I say someone has to allow peace I mean some human being as to allow it.

Peace can be present in pain. Peace can be present in the wrong places. It can even be present in dire circumstances. The key is, the person experiencing it has allowed peace to permeate them. I’ve talked in previous posts about peace existing all along our journey through life. It’s just waiting to be discover and invited in. It has to be given permission. I think this is what I’ve been trying to get at by talking so much about empathy the last couple days.

Just like empathy requires consent, so does peace. There is something about letting go of control that brings peace. That’s not right. There is something about letting go of the illusion of control that opens a door for peace. So much turmoil inside us is caused when we try to micromanage every aspect of our lives and the lives of those around us. It’s all futile. I want my kids to play music. Not all of my kids are interested. I’ll make them while they are kids, but once they are teenagers there’s nothing I can do to make them do anything that won’t also put up walls in our relationship. The illusion of control is one reason we get so upset when politicians don’t fix our problems. As much as we love the idea of laws, in the big picture, their kind of imaginary, especially to those who don’t agree with them. The intent is usually good, but we can’t really legislate morality (prohibition, gun laws, anti-abortion laws, etc). They don’t work. The illusion of control is why “law and order” candidates scare me, and why lots of people vote for them. We need laws and governance, don’t get me wrong. I’m no anarchist. This is getting ranty. Let’s change gears.

The illusion of control is a burden we all carry to some extent. We suffer because we want to control and we cannot. We spend time with thoughts like, “I’m in pain. Go away pain!” or “I’m so happy! I want this feeling to last forever!” Instead of being present in both feelings with thoughts like, “I have pain” or “I am happy”. Do you see the difference. When we attach to feelings or experiences it closes the door to peace, which is like in nature, our default state. The very thing we want is the thing we push away by not allowing ourselves to move through our feelings and experiences without attaching to them.

When we don’t attach, we start to see that when we’re sad or in pain, soon it will be over. The same goes for pleasure. We attach to it because it’s good and we’re afraid there won’t be anymore. There is a phrase people use in hard times that’s conveniently overlooked in good times. This too shall pass. Life seasons are inevitable but with some hard self-work, peace can be found all along the way.

Our consent is needed for peace to exist. The illusion of control is a deadbolt on the door peace comes through. Unlock the door, open it, and take it off it’s hinges. Let peace in by allowing and being present in your feelings as they flow through you. Through being a key word.

-Adam

*Disclaimer: I don’t mean to trivialize anyone’s trauma. All of this is easier said than done. I have hope that every person, no matter what they’ve been through can and should pursue peace, with all they have. If that’s you, may you have the strength to find peace. When you don’t have strength, may you have people near you to hold you up. If you don’t have anyone, know that I am in your corner quietly rooting for you.

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