Surrendering control means to allow, accept and know that all is well. It sounds easy. It is easy to do when you are sitting here reading those words. You can close your eyes, sigh out a breath and feel momentary relief. It’s a different matter when you are trying to change someone’s behavior or ensure that a specific outcome happens. Surrendering control is the last thing you want to do.
But what if you discovered that the key to getting an even better outcome is by letting go of the need to micro-manage every situation? What if you found out that stress disappears when you let go? What if your whole life could dramatically improve if you surrender control?
Why Do We Need to Control?
Dr Amy Johnson, writing at the Tiny Buddha, says that the desire for control is rooted in fear. That we fear we won’t get the outcome we ‘need’ if we don’t oversee the whole process. Our minds construct all manner of dire consequences so we work, scheme, meddle and act in order to prevent the end of the world as we know it. Because, if you don’t have the house absolutely perfect for your mother’s visit, the universe is going to implode.
Control Equals Limitation
What if by imposing your will, your control over every life situation, you are preventing beautiful life-enhancing possibilities? You are shutting the door on the delights of the universe, aka serendipity. When you release control, the energy is free to flow creating so many ways for your dreams to be realised. Why would you place limitations on the universe?
Belief in Your Personal Thoughts
Most of us give too much credence to our thoughts; the mental monologue that chatters on throughout our waking hours. We sift and judge and let habitual thinking drive us. We construct all kinds of scenarios and outcomes in our own heads and they become a blueprint of ‘what must happen’. When other people don’t comply we become frustrated. When circumstances won’t mold themselves to the blueprint we feel powerless. Our own personal thinking prevents a connection to the well of goodness that is fundamental to our natural state of being. Read that again. Your thoughts keep you apart from your own well-being.
Benefits of Surrendering Control
- Decrease in fear and anxiety
- Deeper self-understanding
- Less anger, irritation and resentment
- More time
- Peace of mind and contentment
- Greater immersion in the ‘now moment’
- A sense of wonder at the power of the universe
- Better relationships
- Mental clarity
- Trust that things will always work out
- A return to a balanced state of mind
Working to Surrender
Actually, there’s no work involved at all. None. Although the process of surrender can be a lifetime’s goal, it’s important to know that it is effortless. There are no exercises, no homework, no steps to remember. It can happen right now in this moment. And the next. And tomorrow, next week, next month. Forever.
There’s no need to monitor your thoughts and subsequently beat yourself up because you found yourself attempting to control the universe. You don’t have to feel guilty or fearful because you aren’t choosing to think the ‘right’ thoughts.
Your Thoughts are not Important
Really? It’s true. Your thoughts come and go, repeat and re-repeat over and over. What you think about that person isn’t important to their well-being (and neither is what they think of you important to yours). Your thoughts aren’t serious. You can pay attention to them or not. When you realize that most of them are nonsensical background babble, you lose attachment to them. They float in, and they float out.
There are other thoughts that are worth paying attention to. They are ideas, insights, challenges and understandings. They move you to create, interact and relate. They are different from the babbling brook of your inner monologue. You will learn to recognize them when they appear. Those purposeful thoughts have power. Thoughts that you deliberately think in order to clarify something that is important, or to refine a goal are like a sculptor's chisel. Use them wisely and then let go of them. The universe is listening.
Surrendering Control is Easy?
How can that be? Surely there are things for me to do? Nope. Nothing. All you need to know is that:
1. You are not your thoughts.
2. You are already in a state of wellbeing *underneath your thoughts*.
But what about emotion? We are always being told that our emotions are important. That they are energy. That we can create or destroy with our feelings. That emotional happiness is hard to achieve. How do they fit in with the idea of surrendering control?
Life coach and author, Dr Amy Johnson talks of ‘default factory settings’, i.e. the simple state of emotional contentment we were all born with. If you accept that our default emotional setting is contentment in the moment, then a swing either way towards despair or full-on joy is always temporary.
Therefore, just knowing that a dark feeling of grief will pass if we let it. Knowing that our momentary anger will dissipate like a thundercloud in the wind. Knowing that this wild excitement will subside into gentle happiness means that we can always anticipate a return to contentment.
Those emotions, while useful, are not who really are. They are fleeting, transient and definitely not our default setting unless we insist on focusing on them. Talking about them and giving them more importance than they deserve can turn them into a default setting.
We hate to surrender our emotions – they feel like a thing. Almost as ‘thingness’ as our thoughts. Indeed, emotions are one hundred percent thought driven. Yet, you can surrender them, simply by acknowledging that “this emotion I feel is temporary.” Yes, feel it, acknowledge it, and know with a little patience you will return to your default factory setting soon enough.
Let the Universe do the Heavy Lifting
When you understand that under your thoughts, you are always in a perfect state of being, magic begins to happen. The energy that surrounds us is allowed to flow. Events are orchestrated in our favor. Friends present us with opportunities. Our children give us moments of deep wisdom, synchronicities occur and people around you smile more often.
Once you also understand that your default emotional setting is one of contentment, you can allow the pendulum of emotions to settle into a resting state easily. Your negative feelings of fear, guilt, despair, fulfillment, etcetera, are temporary and not who you really are. Embrace the knowledge that you are a whole, perfect human being living a whole, imperfectly perfect human life.
Just surrender control and let the universe take care of it all.
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