How to take back control by realising you do not have to control anything

The power of surrender

For thousands of years humanity has been terrified of almost everything around them. Wind the clock back some 50000 years and not only was life expectancy extremely low compared to modern standards, many things were true threats to our existence. Wild animals roamed the land, random tribes would have killed to steal your resources and remove potential threats and the constant hardship of being exposed to the elements could have placed incredible burdens on the tribe

Arrive at the modern day and we are the only species that can completely transform the landscape to our will. In fact, the only way this could ever have been achieved is because we are the only species that can organise in incredibly large numbers. Almost all threats have been removed in the modern concrete jungle. Aside from accidents, probability and not paying attention, most of us are very safe most of the time and easily forget that fact

As a species, we have always craved control. In fact, it makes sense as not being in control, knowing what is going on, or safely being able to manage random events will greatly impact our survival chances. However, in the modern world our biggest threats are our own stupidity, lack of awareness or random and emergency events

Fast forward from our cave-dwelling history and you have the birth of mythology. The personification of random events and aspects of life that represented us at some level and that hopefully we could even interact with because of their familiarity and humanity as godheads. There were gods for everything in most mythologies and this was actually an early attempt at science – understanding, prediction and control. If we could offer a sacrifice, or payers to the gods then maybe we could capture their favour and they might help us with a good harvest, success in battle, or in the safety of our community

While many mythologies have died out with the arrival and growth of the more traditional scientific approach, we do still crave control and largely being exposed to minimal events that will challenge us, take us by chance and lead to catastrophe. Think of the government agencies and systems set up to monitor, forecast and therefore hopefully predict catastrophes such as extreme weather, meteors and acts of nature such as earthquakes and volcanoes. The bigger issue we face is wanting this level of control in almost all areas of life and it is simply not possible

Think of driving to a destination. No matter what you face, you know you will get there. Any roads closed and you change route. Any traffic jams and you pass eventually. Any accidents and whatever the emergency services to do manage this you will be ok. The same is true of life – walk your path and adapt to what you face as required. This does not mean walking through life with the arrow in the bow and drawn back ready, but with the toolbox to hand to assist you when required. Pre-empting and trying to prepare for what you may face is exhausting and also stops you from being present as your mind is almost always somewhere else

This is why surrender is crucial for inner peace. Inner peace is always here, but we are often somewhere else. Spinning plates, worrying about tomorrow, angry at yesterday, certain we are not good enough and putting on a brave face while inside we are crying and lost at sea. The one thing to focus on if you are obsessed with control is the only control you actually have. You are responsible for what happens next. The random events of the universe unfolding are largely chaos and all you can do is manage how you respond to them. Prevention is definitely better than cure and this is why we visit the dentist, service the car and boiler and ensure things run smoothly. This is not how life on the stage unfolds as you are exposed to random events, millions of other people and how they feel in this moment based on many factors that frequently change. Your ability to respond better, or walk past most things having nothing to do with you is how you reduce the noise in your life and realise inner peace has always been an option for you

The difference is in the way you travel. You will never stand in the ocean and stop it. Likewise, you will never be in control of much more than your choices in any given situation. Peace largely comes from letting go and exhaling. Realising the dynamics of life, the cause and effect of random events, chaos, sadness and struggle, but realising that it is not only ok but the normal order of things. You do not scream at the weather because it is wrong. You adapt your clothing, or stay at home because the power is with you and not the weather. Remember, you get to choose what happens next – not what happens at the cause level with things you did not start