Monday, January 22, 2018

Controlling and Letting Go

Controlling and Letting Go

Thanks to our artists, we all pretend well; but deep down the layer of pretense is the awareness of the underlying reality. To suppress that reality, we turn to controlling, which is a subconscious way to enhance the reality of our expectations in life.

Most of us are controlling to some extent. Thanks to our culture, underlying every one of us is the inherent belief that we should be in control of everything around us at all times. The American culture advocates control for self-independence and survival.

What exactly is controlling? Why makes people want to control others as well as their own destinies?

Controlling is a coward way of running away from everyday problems; it is a futile attempt to avoid everyday stress. Essentially, it is a direct or subtle way of exerting influence over others so that we may have power over the turns of events in our own lives. In other words, we delude ourselves into thinking that we can make things happen the way we want them to happen in our lives through control and manipulation of others, including ourselves.

Reflective Thought

Control and discipline may look similar but they are different.

Case in Point

We can discipline our children so that they may do the right things without getting into trouble. But many of us still want to “control” them even when they have turned adults; we may want to steer them away from the difficult paths we had trotted ourselves when we were young. That, in reality, is controlling. We can give them advice, but imposing anything on them is deemed as exerting control. “It’s for their own good!” is no more than an excuse to control.

Reflective Thought

Not controlling means willingness in letting go of one’s expectations in life.

Case in Point

The Biblical story of the parable of the prodigal son is a good illustration of what is NOT controlling. (Luke 15: 11-32) In the story, a man had two sons, and the younger son asked for his fortune; the father gave it to him, and he spent it recklessly on women  and gambling. When he was out of money and the land was struck by a famine, he returned home to his father, who welcomed him back with open arms. To many, the story highlights God's forgiveness of repentant sinners. But the story also illustrates the power of letting go and not controlling. 

THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING explains in simple language with common everyday examples to illustrate the essence of Tao wisdom and how it may integrate with conventional wisdom to live a life of your choice.

 THE BOOK OF LIFE AND LIVING is the wisdom in the art of living well.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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