Controlling Life

If you know that life is going to take care of you anyway, then what need is there for anxiety?


Flight of the Beast

You do not know exactly how things are going to happen. This is true. The more predictable you try to make the “how” of things, the more you are attempting to control your life.

The more you attempt to control your life, the more friction you create between yourself and it. When you try to control your life, by making the physical events highly predictable, you are saying that you and life are separate things.

When you attempt to control a thing, you are declaring that something is wrong with it. You are saying that if it continues on as it is, by being itself, it will be dangerous and will damage you. You think that it is like a beast that will keep getting bigger and bigger, and the only way to stop this beast is either to slay it, or to trap it in a cage.

In the case of life, where life is the beast, the beast is seen as a necessary evil. As such, many people opt to trap the beast in a cage, rather than slay it—though we all have heard of someone who has chosen the latter.

We say things such as, “What are you going to do with your life?” and, “My life is over.” But what if you stopped seeing yourself as being separate from life? What if, instead, you and life were one and the same? Then we would say, simply, “What are you going to do?” and, “I am over.” Similarly, we could say, “What is life going to do?” and, “Life is over.”

When these statements get reframed through the lens of you and life being one, they take on new meaning. In particular, the 2nd and 3rd set of statements (I am over/Life is over) sound far less hostile and fearful than the first set (My life is over).

For instance, when someone says, “My life is over,” they generally mean that they failed to control life effectively. They did not make things look the way they were supposed to, nor did they do things the way they thought they had to. If their life is simply a collection of events they are attempting to control in order to produce certain results, then their life indeed may be over.

On the other hand, it would be foolish to say that life itself is over. No matter what you do or how things appear, life itself is fine. If you are still physically here, you can go right on living, making decisions and taking action. You are still a living being. So if life is fine, might it be that, you, too, are fine? And if both you and life are fine together, could it be that that the two of you are one and the same?

Similarly, the question, “What are you going to do with your life?” can create immense pressure and anxiety for people. The very question can instantly put the mind into a frenzy, whereby an answer that is sufficiently acceptable yet not too dishonest is conjured up and blabbered out. In particular, the person will try to convey a grand scheme of how he will do a wonderful job of controlling his life—just as he imagines he is expected to. After all, how the man will control his life is asked by the very wording of the question.

On the other hand, “What are you going to do?” implies more autonomy and freedom—it doesn’t necessarily call for an intention to wring life by the neck and twist it around one’s wrist. Likewise, “What is life going to do?” brings a sense of mystery and wonder. As long as life is trusted, asking this question is inspiring. If, on top of that, a person sees himself as being life itself, then he will recognize his ability to do anything of his choosing and to increase the flow of aliveness, simply by way of living consciously. After all, anything that is done is perpetuated by its being done.


Leaving the Liar

Now, here is the real question: if you and life truly are one, is there any need to trap life in a cage? Tell me—do you trust yourself? Or do you think you ought to be trapped in a cage, lest you be yourself too much and do damage somewhere?

If this is what you think of yourself, you have entered a pathetic state of existence. It is not anything about you in particular that is pathetic—rather, it is your thoughts. By your own thought, you have tricked yourself into thinking that you are a dangerous, destructive beast. This is the result of lazy use of thought—of pathetic thinking. When you believe yourself to be so ugly and damnable, you have allowed the contents of your mind to be a mess. You are not thinking or acting consciously.

When you allow the contents of your mind to be a mess, the mess grows. Now that is the real ever-growing beast—the mess of the mind.

However, the mind-mess generally demands that you try to control life somehow. As such, you cannot try to beat the mind-mess at its own game—that would only be another form of trying to control life.

Instead, you must do what the mind-mess would never do, which is quit. The fuel of anxiety is its refusal to quit. Anxiety insists that a certain thing must be thought about—otherwise the situation will spin out of control and cause destruction. Anxiety is not a fan of quitting.

Thus, to quit is to squelch anxiety. If you merely try to quit, anxiety will fight back at you, and scream louder. You must commit to quitting—quit the nonsense of fear and control. Be more powerful than anxiety by being more mature than it.

What makes anxiety the thing that it is- a terrible experience- is its conviction that you and life are separate. In other words, anxiety insists that you are not the very thing that you are. This is why it feels so bad: it stinks of utter falsehood.

With this in mind, the question remains: Are you going to listen to a liar? If another human walked up to you and lied to your face, you would be disgusted. You would think this is a crusty slimeball of a man. You would want nothing to do with him, and you would be angry that he even dared to speak to you. You might even call him out on his lie, and tell others to avoid him. In the future, you will be reluctant to trust him. Overall, you are adamant about keeping your distance from this person—you are committed to quitting him.

Treat the thoughts of anxiety in the same way. Do not allow a liar into your head. Yet, do not try to shoo him out by playing his own game—that is exactly what he wants. Do, instead, the thing he would never do, and quit. Walk out the door, and leave him to lie to no one but the emptiness.


Stop Listening

No one is listening! is a powerful statement. It is painful to be told to your face, and requires a moment of brazenness to even say. So be brazen. Be bold in your ignorance. Refuse to entertain thoughts that do not need to be thought of. Do not think about things that do not call for thought.

In other words, be reluctant to contemplate the how of life. Do so only to the extent that it is productive. If such thoughts come with anxiety and implications that you are a pathetic being, then drop them. They are beneath you. You are better than that.

Never, ever fight with anxiety. It will always win. If you take the mature path out, and you decide to quit, you may still end up in tears. But tears cannot hurt you. They are just water. They are not a sign that you have lost. Instead, they signify that you have learned, and perhaps even that you have loved. Only anxiety would make you think that producing water from your face could hurt you. Silly anxiety cannot tell up from down. It has no basis in reality.

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