Illusion of Control
Spurred by the need to win at any cost, Power-Over control guarantees dominance and division.
Control attempts to dictate what is good and who is right. Control is the effort to influence, direct, or restrain a system, behavior, choice, belief, or an individual or group.
Within power dynamics, life is a game to be won by any means and at any cost necessary, thus, control is a must if the promised outcome tomorrow is to be perceived as guaranteed today.
For Power-Over, control is the primary means to assert agenda, manage the unknown, and counter all threats to successful domination. Control also is the overall approach to displace belief, diminish self-worth, instill fear, and create a field of engagement meant to guarantee success of the ultimate authority. The engagement with control creates a path of escalation from fear to blame to hate.
For Power-Under, control by Power-Over establishes the boundaries of good and proper behavior and belief. Control demonstrates to Power-Under how to respond to those unknown and outside – those who have refused the rightness of chosen authority. Within the perception that these assumptions are correct, control becomes the foundation for all social behavior and exchange.
Control is also the platform to eliminate threat to goals, and to combat and avoid the possible future ignited by fear and the possibilities of failure. This response to fear trickles down to the individual and confuses control with the choice inherent in personal power. The erroneous belief maintains power emerges through the ability to exert control over others. All control is wielded to tame uncertainty and bring the unknown into submission.
The Illusion of Control tries to ignore the overall motion of the unknown existing beyond influence. The unknown, fate, destiny, tomorrow are all inherently beyond prediction, beyond certainty in this moment, beyond direct guaranteed influence. Though the Illusion of Control will try to convert followers by pretending otherwise.
Within power dynamics, the urge to control is ignited by fear in its rawest form as a threat to survival – fear as failure to protect, to eliminate threat, to survive.
Fundamentally, the presence of threat and fear can make control appear as reasonable and beneficial. However, for control to work, its positive perception must be believed. Control cannot exist if there is no belief in its efficacy or necessity.
At a personal level, the mistake is to think control is the best path to handle a lack of self-trust and the presence of fear. From a personal power perspective, no matter the external environment or the internal fear, the most effective motions in the face of the unknown are self-trust and self-choice rather than control, fear, blame, or hate.
The control of external authority wants to maintain the fallacy of poor self-worth and absent personal choice and belief. If this fallacy can be maintained, Power-Over secures its authority where actions will not question the fallacy of its claim of control as the guarantee to conquer threat and fear.
Whether the desired outcome can be achieved, control over keeps Power-Over in the position of power poised to win at any cost. Ultimately, control is about dominance and the ability to maintain this ascended position no matter what guarantee is made about tomorrow. The guarantee is its own form of control and exists as a deflection to win no matter who is hurt or defamed.
My Story about Control
In my early life, control was the focus of all behavior.
Control my body.
Control my emotions.
Maintain control in every moment.
Much of this was training in self-care centered around how to engage socially and ensure acceptance by others. As I got older, I also faced the implications of ambiguity as external advisors maintained there was no such thing as control.
For example, as a kid, I was often told to control my feelings and not cry. I took this to mean if I was feeling something negative, I was out of control. A reasonable assumption for my small self because the authority around me showed little feeling while maintaining tight control.
Getting older I was asked to keep control of my younger sisters when my parents went for a night-out. My sisters had a different idea about control. This was problematic for me (and not for them) when it came time to report on the evening’s activities to my parents. The conversation went something like this when asked about bedtimes. No, she did not get to bed at 8pm as you directed. Why? Because she refused. I am not her mother, she had retorted. Well, you should have gotten her to bed, nonetheless. We left you in charge. Their words throwing a big dose of disappointment at me which I converted to a harsh kick of self-judgment.
In college, both inside and outside the classroom, discussion often focused on autonomy and the rejection of external control. Yet the continual demand for papers and passing grades to prove academic excellence and personal worth seemed like I was in a meaningless race where I was not in control of myself and my life. I was, instead, controlled by an external structure which felt more like a game than learning. Thus, the answer upon graduation was to exert control to make my life my own where I chose my hopes and dreams.
When the dreams did not materialize and the nightmare of an abusive marriage made me question the fundamentals of my life, I was greeted with what felt like condemnation for both a lack of control and a lack of understanding that control was impossible. Life will be better, I was told, when I understood control is an illusion – something I should get to when I get my life under control.
Looking back, I’d say the concept of control as presented was at best ambiguous and, in looking back, missed the point. The issue isn’t whether control exists. Instead, further inquiry is about understanding where and when you have influence and choice, both internally and externally. Thus, to wrap my head around control, I had to begin with me and examine where and when control existed for me – if at all.
Control can be offered up as a panacea for trouble in the moment – a quick fix to avoid understanding or addressing the underlying issues. However, sugarcoated pills don’t fix anything. Using cliché to ignore and deny personal truth and the underlying issue demeans and diminishes, attempting its own form of control.
Yet, there are certainly moments where self-restraint is appropriate and beneficial when exerted from a perspective of balanced personal power. Choosing to be friendly, respectful, and loving toward self and others is not external control getting its way. This is choice as inner experience based on how I want to move forward in my life. Thus, choice I make for myself about how I want to live my life.
To drill down to deeper layers, I asked myself, “Who can I control?”
The bottom line: there is only one person in the entire world for whom I have control. ME!
I may think I can control others. However, at the end of the day, it’s just me. In any moment, no matter the circumstances, I am the only person who I can reliably influence, direct, or restrain.
To think I have control over anyone else is deeply self-deceptive. Every person has personal choice to exercise self-determination. I can make requests and I can make suggestions. I can even try commands. But whether any are followed by another person is that person’s choice.
Only through manipulation, fear, blame, coercion, or violence does one person come close to restraining another. Threat and instilling of fear do not inherently eliminate choice, though either may appear to drastically narrow the range of possible choice.
For Power-Over, control is the initial attempt of obtaining influence and power over. Convincing you that you have no choice undermines Power-Within and shifts you to making choices within Power-Under.
However, no matter the controlling efforts of another, obeying is still a personal choice. Choice and self-determination disappear only within the personal choice to allow or submit. Denial and ignorance of control are also choices.
Plus, there are those moments of life and death where even if you would really want to make a different decision, you get the reality of the situation. Facing an oppressive, violent force focused on coercing domination over you, personal choice is shackled and can be denied or obliterated by that outside force. This forces choice into a very narrow, tight grip which is the intent of the violent reaction.
As I investigated the nuance of control for myself, I became more aware of my relationship with control and where it exists for me as an Inside-Out approach. For example, I have control over my response. I have control over any request I want to make. I have control over my decision to stay or go. I have control over who I connect with and how. I have control over my decisions.
These opportunities help me see what might first appear as control is actually the presence of personal choice and my personal power.
While I may not be able to control others, I can always have direct influence on my choice. I choose my response within the interaction with others and whether I want to continue the connection.
Viewing control through the lens of personal choice creates clarity. Yet no matter the circumstances, the Illusion of Control attempts to counter the fact that the flow of life comes on the wings of the unexpected, and often the unwanted.
This is uncertainty – life is uncertain, unknown, unexpected.
However, in any moment, there is a transcendence which surrounds, envelops, and dwells within, unknown and beyond clear understanding. We can only see and experience portions, never the whole, never the entirety. The transcendence is the uncertainty and the unknown. The transcendence is beyond dependable prediction or description.
But this doesn’t keep life from happening any way. Shit happens. Life happens. No getting around this certainty of life.
On a personal level, control is the illusion that if you do everything just right, you will get out ahead of the uncertainty, tame it, manage it, subdue it. Control becomes the process to get what you want because you think you are smarter, faster, wealthier, and possess the secret no one else has been smart enough to grasp.
Over time, I rejected this illusion of control. I found myself sick of the run around the constant chase, and the false promises. The effort of control took more energy to manage than just a simple focus on me and what I can choose and influence.
Living life for me has been the choice which has served me best even when the transcendence delivers the unexpected to my front door. I don’t know what to expect – instead I find joy in the excited anticipation of the unknown.
The Illusion of Control
Within the perspective of Power-Over, the exercise of power is a high stakes game. The only intention of this game is to win, to gain more power than any other and to amass all elements of power, including wealth, status, and domination over all.
Said another way, the conduct of Power-Over is a competition to gain authoritarian control – to become the one and only authority of what is considered right, legal, and true. While this may be claimed to be a game to benefit everyone, no benefit will be attributed until the dominant power structure gathers its reward first before all others.
As already discussed, Power-Over exerts influence first by defining who is acceptable and who is antithetical to its power. The next step is a promise to the acceptable of the positive future outcomes to be sought by power’s agenda. Within this is the alluring promise of enough only for the chosen. Also within this promise is the guarantee of dominion over the threat of outsiders, especially those who refuse to accept the exclusive authority of the dominant Power-Over structure.
To maintain authority, Power-Over feeds society with information to perpetuate the authoritarian truth of its agenda, defame any who dare challenge its efficacy, and declare a win of all agenda items regardless of outcome. To defend against failure and uncertainty, Power-Over will also create threats based on problems with systems, situations, and people declared as broken, illegal, or immoral. The control of Power-Over always has scapegoats conveniently waiting in the wings.
To win the game, Power-Over uses several mechanisms which pressure conformity to its agenda.
As already briefly described, control is the effort to successfully manage all aspects of the game so all advantage and authority is won by the power structure today, tomorrow, and always. This is a game of influence, restraint, and explicit direction and domination.
If something about the field of play is not to the liking or benefit of the dominating power structure, then the field, or the game itself, will be adjusted or re-created within the elements of control enforced by the power agenda.
Control works within the defined standards of what is worthy and beneficial according to the dominant power structure. Often this control is exerted in the name of a chosen few, even though the control doesn’t always result in a positive outcome for these few.
Authoritarian power structures don’t need to prove positive outcomes for its protected group because all failure will be blamed on those who do not agree with its authoritarian structure. Power-Over always has a built-in excuse for all failure: THEM. Even though Power-Over is ultimately driven by fear of losing the game to the enemy, to THEM.
Control is the attempt to guarantee a constant winning state, a constant influence over the unknown and unpredictable.
By controlling all aspects of the playing field and all of those who enter the game or are protected by the game, Power-Over is attempting to guarantee all outcomes in its favor.
The unknown is enemy. The unknown is what must be fought against by all means necessary. To fight the unknown, the desired end justifies all means – as long as the end is a Power-Over win.
Another enemy threatening the game is those who do not embrace the wisdom of the Power-Over agenda. These people become part of THEM and are vilified and mocked.
The third enemy group is those who are deemed broken or wrong because of an inherent quality such as skin color, sex, sexual preference, or gender identity. Here the enemy may exist because of spiritual preference, career, economic background, or political belief. Any perspective not in alignment with the desired attributes of Power-Over is pushed into the holder of all enemy and foe: THEM.
If the enemy is allowed to flourish, then the death of US is inevitable. Or so Power-Over maintains to secure control over all.
The feeding of Mass Consciousness will fabricate story, myth, and lie to serve the game’s win by the power structure, and that structure’s chosen few. Mass Consciousness will also reinforce the belief that Power-Over understands best and can always predict the surge from the unknown and the unexpected. The acceptable standards will support the fabrication. When all else fails, the Future is All steps forward to continue the lies and delay gratification and rewards. The Illusion of Control separates and disconnects, dividing life into two camps: the acceptable known and the bad, dark unknown, US vs. THEM.
Thus, fundamentally the failure of control comes in its initial response to the chaos of the unknown. Power-Over acts as if any motions of control will avert all dangers of the unknown. The desire for control comes in framing the unknown as dangerous and damaging not only to the game it intends to win, but to life itself. The belief is that if control of all aspects of the playing field are maintained, then the ill effects of the unknown will always be avoided.
Within the chaos of the unknown, the emotional desire of Power-Over is to survive. To do this, the unknown becomes the enemy which must be vanquished or neutralized. Anyone, or anything deemed to be in opposition to this objective is demonized, dehumanized, and blamed for all failure.
The motion of this effort to counter the unknown is cloaked in fear and the belief that self is worthless. Thus, fear and a lack of worth are what are thrown at the weak, the stranger, and the unknown.
The Fallacy of Control also begins within the false belief that control will guarantee the desired outcome. However, often within the power dynamics of domination the stated desired outcome is just an excuse for the control. Power-Over uses control to keep itself in the ascendancy not because there is genuine desire for its followers or Power-Under adherents. For Power-Over, control is the end game. There is no honest desire to deliver on promises. There is only the desire to win, to control, and to maintain ascendancy in the dominant power structure.
However, this creates a weakness which can be exploited, an opening to potential failure and, perhaps, its own destruction. The Fallacy of Control begins in maintaining a belief in the ability to guarantee the future. Yet at some point, control will fail simply because prediction can never be 100% correct. Prediction may get some aspects correct. But there will always be an unseen element. Prediction can take in much, and often be true and correct. However, until the event or experience occurs, the unknown remains unknown, a moment without guarantee.
The belief in guaranteed prediction breeds arrogance and resistance to acknowledging truth. There is both a desire to avoid chaos and to inflame chaos. In either case, control will be welcomed by those agreeing to abide by the warped future vision embroidered by Power-Over.
Uncertainty is the essence of chaos – and chaos is a declared enemy. Within a local, static view of the world, the unknown is beyond the known neighborhood, beyond the defined boundaries of the playing field. The unknown is strange, different, and, thus, untrustworthy.
However, in viewing the world from the perspective of nonlocal connection, the unknown doesn’t hold the same perspective of fear. Different isn’t dangerous. Strange doesn’t necessarily equate with assured destruction. The playing field fades as connection is recognized and elevated.
Within the openness to learn about the unknown, the world shifts from dangerous and guarded. Gone is the need to exert control constantly and continually.
In the face of self-trust is the belief that there is no reason to fear the unknown. There is no reason to always make every motion in the presence of the stranger a defensive action to control and dominate.
By acknowledging the false statements and controlling intent, the controlling intentions of Power-Over can be identified, made public, and side stepped.
When you trust yourself – especially when you trust yourself to get to your truth – you can ignore the attempts to exert control. Control can only be successful if you agree to the control.
This is the ultimate failure of any attempt at control. For control to work, there must be agreement and acceptance. You must willingly give up yourself, give up your life, and give up any hope for a future you envision for yourself. You must give up your personal power.˜
With a clear sense of worthiness and self-belief, with self-trust and self-presence, with a willingness to reject fear – you have the capacity within – your Power Within to say no to control. You have the power to ignore and live beyond any attempts at control.
In the face of adversity and insecurity, each individual wants to believe in the personal capacity to direct, regulate, and exercise authority with self, keeping other, and the surrounding environment at a safe distance.
More importantly, the goal is to feel personally in control of whatever comes, responsibility and obligation protected.
Part of what fuels Power-Over is the Illusion of Control –the belief that control guarantees with certainty that today and tomorrow you and yours will remain safe and prosperous. This guarantee is the fulcrum of control – that which encourages maintaining the illusion.
Very simply: there are no guarantees for the future.
A Power-Over structure offers the potential of guarantee as bait. But the guarantee is empty promise. There is no certainty about tomorrow. But the guarantee is extended to induce you to give up life and accept the shackles of coercion and domination. In this situation, the only certainty is that in exchange for a false security, you have given up self-determination. Someone else now has accepted control of you.
The choice of this situation enforces within a sense of determining outcomes and answers and guaranteeing success, proving worth. Believing this is control gives the illusion of Power-Over others and a productive capacity necessary to avoid scarcity. Feeling in control, fear can be conquered. Control can exert Power-Over. Control, driven by outside truth, is mistaken as connection.
Within the specter of control is the threshold at which control occurs: boundaries – the point within where external control pushes to win and personal power flexes muscles. Personal autonomy is both control and boundary.
Power-Over wants to draw personal boundaries as public and controlled by others. Drawn deliberately to challenge autonomy, control will ignore the threshold of Power-Within and dismiss personal autonomy.
Because control works Outside-In, boundaries, autonomy, and choice are challenged, ignored, and defeated by external action and belief. When self-worth and self-belief are flimsy, personal boundaries are at best unclear and often unidentified. Without boundary, the blame inherent within control wants you to identify and behave as victim to the outside stranger, to THEM.
The control of Power-Over is exerted with the intention that you only understand yourself from the Outside-In. Control wants you to see your personal boundary through the misperceptions of control so you identify yourself as through the beliefs of Power-Over and where boundary exists only at the threshold between US and THEM. Power-Under pushes connection to exchange only with US.
Nothing else is allowed or encouraged. The world becomes flat, limited, and impaired. Fear, blame, and hatred become the only acceptable currencies of behavior toward anything deemed unacceptable to the power structure. In this state, your problems with boundaries become the fault of THEM. Plus, with externally set personal boundaries, it’s difficult to believe in yourself and your ability to determine your life for yourself.
Control will push directly at your sense of self and your sense of where you begin and where you end. Control seeks to eliminate boundaries and any sense of personal autonomy. Diminished or destroyed without boundary, self-responsibility, self-determination, and self-worth are relinquished by blame, fear, and hatred.
Within the urge of your personal power is the urge to be aware of your personal boundaries. Power-Within is boundary clearly understood – or at least the urge to see and learn to learn. Personal boundaries begin within you and your sense of self. Clearly established boundaries support your willingness to connect with others and the world.
Boundaries firmly held support openness to the motion of life within you and around you. Within this clarity of self is the ability to allow connection, to allow exchange without the sense of losing self. Clear boundaries support you as you receive and exchange within a sense of excitement rather than dread.
Contrary to the push of Power-Over, clear boundaries are neither selfish nor dangerous. Boundaries within your sense of self help you further establish personal power and delineate a clear sense of self responsibility. Boundaries assist in releasing false obligation and outdated habit. Others may labor in the restrictions of US vs. THEM. Clear boundaries help you dance in the connected joy of WE.
Daily Life within the Illusion of Control
In my work with others, the worst examples of control are seen in domestic violence. This is not just an experience for women only. Anyone can find themselves stuck in the control of a partner or spouse, a child, or other family member. Harold, a prominent business owner in his community, found himself in a situation of manipulation and control by his wife of thirty years.
“She has always wanted to be in charge and make decisions for everything in our life. In the beginning, we made decisions together. Over the last couple of years, her words to me about me have become very hurtful especially when I’d like to make a different decision. I find myself doubting me. She takes what I say and turns it against me, making everything my fault. I get it she is scared, but this is too much. I’m exhausted and I feel no happiness around her at all.”
Harold knew his boundaries were being attacked. He felt the disrespect of demanding and enforced control. He resented the attempted takeover of his life. “It’s gotten to the point where I feel love is gone. All I feel is the need to defend against constant attack. I’ve asked for us to go to counseling, but she said no, it wasn’t necessary. What do I do?”
In a similar situation, Suzie had trouble with her 20-year-old son. She described a constant battle where he mostly ignored her, though any word spoken was harsh judgment of her failures and mistakes.
Words twisted and thrown back to inflict pain and despair. This is a common tactic of control especially when fueled by fear and emotional and psychological manipulation. There is no effort to reach common understanding. There is only blame and condemnation, derision and disdain.
“He has always been a bright kid. Now he’s taking his perception and throwing it back at me like he is throwing knives. By the end of the day, I feel sliced into pieces. I’m losing myself while feeling I’ve already lost my son.”
For both Harold and Susie, the path was to set boundaries within. To be clear about personal responsibility and what can and cannot be a matter of personal control. The next step is to approach the other person to see if there’s a way to reconcile and shift the situation.
“When I approached my son about joint counseling, at first he said no. But several days later, as if I said nothing, he made the same suggestion. I’ve since learned, on his own, he had sought support and found out he was dealing with a deep sense of depression. Things are changing. He is learning to deal with his fear without trying to dump it on me.”
Harold’s situation went a bit differently. “She refused. She refused everything. I don’t need help is what she said. Broke my heart. But, after some serious thought, I decided I wanted my life to be different. So, I filed for divorce.”
A hard decision for most to make, Harold chose himself and his happiness. “I’m the only one who can choose for me. I’m the only person responsible for me.”
When control escalates into physical violence the stakes can become life or death. However, the underlying tactics are the same. Psychological manipulation, blame, deflection of responsibility, and emotional detachment are focused through physical attack. The hits, slaps, objects thrown – all represent words of attack. Words become even more weaponized as they accompany the physical motion of body attacking body. No longer theoretical, fight or flight comes from real physical threat. The shock of attack makes freeze frequent.
Teresa, a quiet 30-something, said, “On our wedding night he hit me. He told me it was my fault. I believed him. Now I’m not so sure.”
Domestic violence will begin by blurring any sense of self-worth and any sense of personal control. The threat, the innuendo, the real attacks are explained as the fault of the blamed because somehow, they have failed, are at fault, and therefore responsible for their pain and suffering. This is the ultimate perversion of control. To defend and excuse the perpetrator, blame is laid at the feet of the person attacked.
Domestic violence isn’t the only situation where the inherent qualities of a person are used against them to exert control and win dominance. When standards of Power-Over are used to draw the lines between who is acceptable and who is not, the standards become reasons for control and reasons for attack. The attack takes a seed of truth and flips it to attack and to defend the attack and to dominate in a way which can break awareness of self. Control begins the elevation of manipulation into a knife meant to slice into non-existence any sense of self.
“He worked in subtle ways to make me doubt myself. I would have dinner at 6 and he would quietly say I was wrong. It was 7:00 PM. Looking back, I see me losing me. I see him slowly dividing me against me. I wanted his love, so I followed.”
I asked Teresa what changed. “I don’t know except that about three months ago, I woke up and just said to myself: no more. Two weeks later, I moved out while he was on a business trip.”
The inner shift away from the imposition of control can be subtle like Teresa. From one moment of abiding by another’s control without conscious thought, to the next moment, when awareness shifts and the approach to life changes.
What is common through each of these people is the shift to living life Inside-Out. Getting in touch with self-awareness, personal understanding arises or deepens. No longer content to allow external control to rule, the self turns inward, towards personal power and any intrinsic sense of self-worth, self-belief, or personal choice. As worthiness expands, so does the ability to believe in self. Both contribute to a stronger ability to exercise self-control and deflect external control.
Living inside-Out includes a process of declaring and setting boundaries for self. Control is perceived at the threshold of your power and denied entrance. Releasing the influence of external control aids in defining the parameters of personal control. You learn to do you and only you. The most difficult aspect of control to discern is the habit it instills. The habit of deferring to external control is a habit to deny, to shut down, to refuse assistance, and refuse self.
“Growing up my mom had to decide everything for me. Everything. When I was in high school she still told me what clothes to wear to school. How and when to study. There was no detail too small for her input. College was freedom. The first time in my life I was able to get away.”
Sandra, a 40-year-old mom and business owner, smiled at me with a sadness stuck in her eyes and the edges of her words.
“I’m glad I’ve got my life to myself now. But I still feel absent. Like it’s a puppet living my life. I go through the motions because that’s what you do. But who am I? I don’t know.”
Habit. Sandra was struggling with the habit of control she developed in response to her mother’s hoovering. When you can’t stop the overreach of control, people, especially children, will step back, frozen, not able to be self-aware because of the circumstances. This habit will interfere with the ability to be open and receptive. The habit shuts self down.
Even when the control agent is gone, the habit of control can remain unless challenged and reversed. The habit has insinuated itself to such a degree, often it is not recognized. The person believes this is how life is lived: cut off from self and from a sense of connection with others.
This habit compromises self-trust, compromises openness to the natural ebb and flow of life. Especially when the push to validate self becomes focused on giving-giving-giving, the ability to receive is shutdown in self-defense. The habit of control maintains the shutdown.
“I’ve known I’ve needed help for a while. I’ve known that I need to reach out. But when I was little and my mom was the only person, I learned the price of asking for help. And now I just feel stuck and … well, stupid.”
When Sandra considered her life through the lens of habit, her attitude towards herself shifted. She saw choice in a new light. She felt able to open without an impending sense of frustration and overwhelm. Essentially, she let go of the habit to close down as a response to any moment of life. She also felt able to receive from others without questioning motive and intention.
“I didn’t realize how shut down I was. I have found I am way less suspicious of everything and everyone. It’s been a challenge because letting go of the habit has restructured my work and all of my relationships. But, most importantly, I no longer feel absent to me.”
Remember it’s not so much about getting rid of all habit. There will always be a personal motion to your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Rather it’s about awareness of what works for you and releasing whatever no longer serves you. Open to receive, allows the truth in personal awareness to guide you away from thoughtless habit into conscious choice and heartfelt trust.
The Release of Illusion of Control
In the face of adversity and insecurity, each individual wants to believe in their personal capacity to direct, regulate, and exercise authority with self, keeping other and the surrounding environment at a safe distance. More importantly, the goal is to feel in control of whatever comes, responsibility and obligation both protected.
Part of what fuels Power-Over is the Illusion of Control – the belief external control guarantees with certainty you and yours will remain safe and prosperous today and tomorrow. This guarantee is the fulcrum of control within the power game and encourages maintaining the fallacy.
Very simply: there are no guarantees for the future.
Power-Over structure offers guarantee as bait. But the guarantee is an empty promise. There is no certainty about tomorrow. But the guarantee is extended to give up life and accept the shackles of coercion and domination. In this situation, control over you is the only certainty. In exchange for false security you have given up self-determination. Someone else now has control of you, even though you may believe you are in control.
On a personal level, Blind Production can push self to accept external control. By releasing personal autonomy, the belief is that you can finally prove your worth. Accepting external control can also bring a sense of perfection and be seen as an answer to scarcity and fear. The illusion maintains that yielding control proves personal worth. Control joins with external truth to create a sense of connection, purpose, and direction but all experienced externally and not within the true, essential self.
The Illusion of Control keeps focus on self-production or self-doing as remedy to all. Doing enough, fast enough, all the time, is the way to stay ahead of adversity and guarantee outcomes. The push becomes relentless, all consuming, and delusional. For the doing is deceptive and pushes to accept the dictates of Power-Over, and the falseness of Blind Production, fear, scarcity, and standards. Buying into the false structure, there is not enough hard work that can be done to guarantee anything. Yet the buy-in propagates more effort, and more effort. Until one day, hopefully, the futility of all this effort becomes clear.
The Illusion of Control breaks down when what is expected from external control doesn’t materialize. Life doesn’t go as expected and the belief in control begins to fall apart.
This moment of realization may be painful, filled with disappointment or anger. At self. At others. At the situation. At the lack of certainty.
Yet the realization is, inadvertently, the first step away from the illusion. What is real and what is true is beginning to come into view.
As the Illusion of Control releases its tight hold, life waffles between the push to do and the opposite motion of allowing.
Control is the impulse to make things happen in a certain way with a specific, desired result.
Stepping back from the push to control, choice can be exercised in a different manner. Instead of being hampered by fear and coerced by Power-Over, choice becomes an expression of and emerges from the trust within self-awareness.
Choice within this aware perspective can be made within self-truth, free of manipulation by outside agents.
Without the urge to control, the urge for insistent doing fades. In the place of push comes the necessary time and opportunity to focus, understand, and choose.
Often, the remedy to control is surrender. Let go. Yield. Release desire. Let go of attachment. Some forms of surrender are hidden attempts at control designed to encourage you to let go of personal choice and self-determination. Surrender can turn self empty, freeze action, and divert personal power. Surrender can be yielding to the habit of control.
The step away from control is not giving up on self or others. The step forward into personal power is threefold.
While the Illusion of Control wants you to limit interaction or ignore connection, the process of being open encourages positive interaction and awareness of all. Fear subdued, to open is to see a door between you and everything in your life. To open is to open this door, step up to its threshold, and acknowledge conditions. To open is to create the opportunity within you to be aware of both internal and external experience as well as personal thought, feeling, and sensation. With this open door, you have the opportunity to be aware of what life brings and what you are willing to receive in any moment.
Allow is opening to opportunity and truth. Instead of ignoring or denying the potential of being open, to allow is you acknowledging you and your inherent presence and self-determination.
To allow helps you to not respond in fear within every moment of your life. To allow moves you past judgment and criticism of everything and everyone. To allow opens your awareness to what is real and true for you. To allow demonstrates trust and belief in self. To allow you aren’t worried you can’t because you trust you can. No matter what comes through the door, you can allow yourself to be you.
To receive requires you feel worthy to do so. With the emphasis on giving to prove worth, receiving can feel selfish, like you are depriving others by accepting. To receive you acknowledge connection, you acknowledge awareness. You accept your place in your life.
Hand in hand, open and allow leads to receive. Together the three connect you with the inherent flow of you and your personal power. Open, allow, and receive you for you just as you are.
Surrender can feel like a choice to back away from life. The process of open, allow, receive is a conscious motion to engage with life and allow the motion of the universe to move toward you. You are open to allowing yourself to receive. You’re not standing in the river telling the flow to stop. You’re becoming part of the flow. Open to claiming your place, allowing yourself to receive. If you try to determine exactly how the universal flow should be, you are stepping into control.
As you open, allow, and receive, new doors to deeper levels of awareness appear. You are open to learn and explore, open to however the flow of life moves toward you.
In this opening is the illusion of control. Control attempts to mediate open, allow, and receive. Control scares you that you can’t be safe if you are open. Allowing must be avoided and limited to only that which is approved. Receiving is both dangerous and selfish.
By releasing the push of external control, time and opportunity now have the chance to step forward and make themselves apparent within your awareness.
No longer extorted to focus on certainty for tomorrow, this motion of allowing and receiving becomes possible.
Now your focus is truth in this moment and choice about the next step.
Moving beyond the fear of losing control, brings the awareness that control is an illusion. The dynamics of control is an illusion bound to the path of Blind Production, ensconced in a life without connection to personal truth nor empowered by self belief.
To allow life to move from truth at center, free from manipulation, is to allow self the support and love of connection felt within and with ALL.
Life expresses direction within the flow of allowing and within conscious choice. With open, allow, receive, life naturally finds direction.
The need for control fades into the background is no longer needed or relevant.
Further, allowing and receiving is your trust of yourself. This is also you without limitation, you not imposing the limits of control on yourself. Instead of being worried you must exert control, you are free to see the possibilities through the open door as welcomed opportunity.
Beyond the limitation of control, you can now see the illusion of separation. You are not divided from yourself, and you are not separated from all.
Within feel your integration on all levels, body, mind, heart, and soul. An integration with the boundlessness, with the transcendence. An integration fully present in this moment.
The process of open, allow, receive is made easier when you shift your relationship to the unknown and the unexpected. The habit of fear towards the unknown is instilled early in life as a form of protection. As a child, unaware of all the possibilities which can come, there is perhaps some sense to treat the unknown through fear.
However, as you mature, the impact of this belief inhibits personal power and inhibits your ability to open, allow, and receive.
Instead of equating the unknown with fear, the opportunity is to shift your inner response to one of anticipating opportunity and new avenues to learn and expand. The challenge is to move away from shut down and limitation to the opportunity of an open door.
To answer this challenge, there are two links to release. The first link is between the dark and the unknown. The dark is nothing more than what is hidden from awareness. The dark is not inherently bad or deadly. The dark is simply not known.
The second link connects fear with the unknown. Like the dark, the unknown is whatever has yet to be revealed. To assume danger always lurks in the unknown creates limit and restriction where none may exist. To assume the unknown must be feared is done through a lack of self-trust. The dark unknown is a dilemma which, in the struggle of power, is dealt with as if the dark and the unknown will be bad and require control.
When you are no longer afraid of what might come through your open door, you trust yourself to respond. If what comes is attack or an attempt to control you, you can recognize the truth of the situation and take care of yourself. This allows you to receive the opportunity and benefit which will make it through your door as well.
Personal choice can respond and frame the interaction. Instead of being caught in fear. Choice can deal with the reality of the moment.
By opening to a new view of the dark unknown, connection is restored within and without. There is no need for a scapegoat to blame. There is no need for a faulty place or person to justify control.
Instead of feeling pushed to the brink of catastrophe, there is room to breath, room to be, room to choose based on what you determine is best for you.
In this room, your door opens. You allow truth. You receive no longer restricted, no longer compelled. The habit to defer to external control is released and vanquished.
Now you trust yourself to step into the unknown of life with joyous anticipation.
The game of life has shifted into an exploration of life and all life offers. No longer needing to win at any cost, you are free to open, allow, and receive.
Within trust, habit can release control. The dark and the unknown are held in a place of trust that whatever may come forward can be allowed and received into awareness without judgment on self.
Of course, if the unknown is unwanted, choice can’t get rid of this flow. Choice can respond. Choice can frame the interaction. But instead of being caught in the fear of what might be, choice is dealing with the reality of the present moment. The new frame for the unknown and the dark brings light to see beyond the fallacy of separation and the illusion of control.
Five Questions To Do Your Work: Illusion of Control
Question 1: Within the illusion of control, what no longer serves, resonates, or is in alignment with me?
The process of understanding your personal issues of control is most likely a lifetime journey. I don’t say this to defeat you. I say this to help you learn that it is OK to pace yourself, to take small steps, to bite off manageable bits. To do your work as a journey especially when getting through the highs and lows of control in your life.
Start by making a distinction between the ends and outs of control for you. This means looking into control externally separately from how you can or do control you. What does control feel like? How does control force separation from your awareness and experience of self?
Taking a look at the separate experiences will help you begin to see the assumptions, the enforced habits, and the thoughtless reactions and how external control might be jerking your chain.
This is an important first step: as best you can, take a step back and try to look at your life like a third-party observer. Witness you and how and from what direction control rears its ugly grin.
Question 2: When it comes to control, what fear is holding me back?
Take a deep breath. As best as you can bring awareness of control into your thoughts. Complete this sentence for yourself: I am afraid of control because …. Or journal or meditate on how you want to finish the sentence.
Initially, you might want to edit what you feel is honest or truthful. Don’t. This is between you and no one else. Find the courage within you to name whatever the answer might be. Sidestep self-judgment. Sidestep self-condemnation. You can come back to personal responsibility. First, get that truthful, in-the-moment response, out, now. Until you look. Until you name. Whatever it is will lurk in control of you.
And that’s the point right now: name your fear to release control.
I know this is exactly where folks get stuck. Usually because the answer – the real answer – seems silly, or ridiculous, or just plain everyday irrational. Why would my XX year-old-self have a control issue related to the brown bear who ate my homework when I was 10? Or something equally wild.
However, making sense at this point is not required. What’s required is simply this: naming the fear that’s holding you back from dealing with your control issues.
Note to self: this step will be repeated time and again as I work with and name my control issues and control trajectories. Ask. Name. Repeat.
Question 3: What releases this fear?
Here’s where you get the payoff from naming fear in the previous question.
When you look at your life and your fears honestly with little flinching(which itself is a learned response) you often see how to let fear be a thing of your past.
Sometimes just the naming/seeing/understanding process is also release.
Sometimes you know what to shift, do, or rethink, to show the control the way out.
And if not… no worries! Think on the issue. Let it bubble. Let it percolate. Awareness will come and release will manifest.
Question 4: When it comes to control and its fear, what is my truth today?
If I ask this question within my Akashic Records, response may emerge quickly. On my own, response is like a rose. The first thoughts are the bud emerging. As I consider over minutes or days, the bloom begins to open releasing new perspective and new fragrance. This is a process which doesn’t like control. Because it’s control you’re releasing, sit back and enjoy the blooming. Let the opening come to you. Let the rose mature and then stand in awe of its – your – beauty.
Revealed, truth becomes plainly accessible without frills or fanciness. Just as it is, your truth steps forward just for you. There’s magic in its unveiling when you allow your truth to come to you. A rose is a rose. Your truth is your truth.
Question 5: What is my next step?
Since you are already in a place to open, allow, and receive, your next step will cross your threshold when you are ready to receive. You might need to sleep on it. You might even be at the bus stop of light waiting. Whatever your rhythm, your next step will appear.