BEYOND MY CONTROL
This morning, as I was looking out the window during breakfast, I realized that everything out there was happening without my consent or cooperation. I had nothing to do with which way the cars went, or how fast they were going. A breeze was stirring in the trees across the street, something I had no part in planning or executing. Completely beyond my control, sunlight was landing on the grass in its own distinctive patterns. Then I began to think about myself, sitting at my table with my coffee and slices of whole wheat toast. Did I have any control over the making of the bread? Did I build the coffee-maker that made the coffee? Going even further, I asked myself if I truly controlled my thoughts and actions. When the thought came that I should pick up the toast, where did the thought come from? Did I make, and therefore control, that thought? If so, then who made the thought that I made the thought? Didn’t it actually just arise, willy-nilly, beyond any real control by me, and don’t all thoughts arise in that way? I can pretend that some separate person called “I” controls the thoughts that come up in life, but the truth is that they simply wander into my life, utterly beyond my control. (Even the thought in that last sentence blew by like a passing breeze. I just happened to catch it.) I guess the reasonable conclusion from all this is that nothing is really under my control. Thoughts and feelings are just as free from my jurisdiction as are cars, breezes, and sunshine. I can play the pretend game of controlling things, but it’s only a game. What I should probably do more often is quit trying to manage it all, and just sit back and take pleasure in it.
--written in August, 2007