Obsessive control stems from a lack of trust
Stubbed your toe on a piece of Lego. Boss just dropped random BS on you for unpaid overtime. Car’s not working. Your pet fish died. You feel like slow, dense, and extremely tired for no apparent reason. Shit happens.
The typical follow-up to shit happening in older times hinges on a compulsive attitude toward control, re-doubling effort to brute-force our way through the situation, or to impose some measure to keep things under control. In essence, we attempt to (metaphorically) put the situation into a box so that we can have a sense of control over it. We see this around us: the pedantic bosses who micro-manage, the folks triggered by semantics on the internet, the dictators-in-disguise running countries, and so many more.
We compulsively crave control over our lives because we’re terrified that we’ll be destroyed otherwise. It’s far easier to contract, to hunker down, to get angry and lash out with control mechanisms or rhetoric than to be vulnerable, because it means death on a primal level.
But vulnerability is a wonderful thing.
It is a willingness to accept things as they are, to be open toward the world as you are, and to admit hurt where things go horribly. It is an attitude that belies trust, that the universe has your back in some form (family, friends, random stranger etc.) And with that trust comes a newfound strength that things will work out no matter what.
More beautifully, trust opens up the possibility for miracles because it asks you to surrender whole-heartedly, and be one with the universe in return.
Enlightenment is not a state of mind
Our saints nailed it: masters that were perfectly at peace with themselves no matter what, with a sense of humor from time to time. Literally the polar opposite of the ordinary person. We attribute that quality to being enlightened, as if it were a state of mind that can be achieved.
But if enlightenment were a state of mind, it would be an exclusive state of mind.
An exclusive state of mind that would leave no room for anger, surprise, amazement, shock, hope, sadness. Put simply, boring as fuck after throwing out an entire spectrum of emotions. And it’s an idea that’s stuck with people.
Enlightenment can be broken down as such: ‘en-lighten-ment”. ‘En’ being within, ‘lighten’ being to make light of or to unburden, and ‘ment’ being a process.
Objectively speaking, it’s a process in which the mind frees itself from identification with its biases and limitations, thereby purifying itself through acceptance and understanding.
Enlightenment means being at peace not because we don’t feel anger, but rather we feel it deeply but do not lose sleep over it. It’s what Jesus meant when he said to run the other cheek, or why the lotus flower is the symbol of Buddhism. It’s what the sacred masculine is founded upon: the ability to remain at ease in life no matter what happens.
It begins with recognizing that you are not the body-mind, but rather that which observes the body and the states of mind. The understanding that what you essentially are; pure spacious awareness, eternally at peace, despite being intimately present in every moment. That is the essence of meditation as a practice, for you to see yourself as you are, an ever-continuous process where one learns to be happier day-by-day.
The best part? You only need observe at any given moment.
We only truly see ourselves in our partners
Projection is a phenomena in which our minds impose our labels, associations, and limitations onto the world. It is a natural function of the mind because our own frame of reference (experience) is the only one that we are aware of.
Put simply, what you see in others is what you see in yourself.
It’s easy for a selfish person to blame the world for being selfish because it’s all they know. How is this possible? Because you don’t know what you don’t know. If all one knew was a harsh environment where greed was king, competition was everywhere, and kindness meant death, would it be a surprise that a selfish world-view was the outcome?
The same can be said when we’re in love.
When people fall in love, they see their significant other as loving, kind, compassionate, patient, and all sorts of good things even if that isn’t the case. Objectively, we don’t know their frame of reference, haven’t lived their life, didn’t experience the things they have, and yet we gallantly make such claims about them.
They say love sets people free, and here’s the reason.
We can project such loving things unto others, think of them as loving ,kind, compassionate, and patient despite us never knowing them speaks volumes about ourselves. We do such things because we know the love, kindness, compassion and patience that constitute our experience within. The consequence is that the criteria in which our lover embodies those qualities, is the byproduct of us labelling them as loving, kind, compassionate, patient based off our own reference frame.*
It truly speaks the powers of the human mind, to be able to project meaning, love, and hatred unto the world based off its own reference frame and experiences. Put simply, in doing so we literally have the capability to create our own reality, and one filled with love is simply beautiful.
More importantly, it means that you are quite possibly, the kindest, most compassionate, patient, and loving person that you know.
*That being said, projecting is a whole subject unto itself and deserves a different post, so you can look forward to it.