We never knew and we’ve never been in control : and it’s OK

The Coronavirus is bringing into stark view the fact that we are not in control. Which is fine, because we never have been, we just thought we were. So now what?

I bumped into a friend last weekend. He’s the MD of a business that’s already seen significant decline as a result of Coronavirus. “We just don’t know what things will be like by next Friday” he told me.

It occurred to me afterwards, of course we don’t. We have never known. The only difference is that the shifts and changes between a “normal” Monday to Friday are relatively small. They constitute the kinds of ups and downs that we’ve come to think of as a standard week. Now the virus has exaggerated the variance, bringing it into stark view.

Confronting us with the truth that we were never in control.

What was your reaction just then?

The conceptual mind (intellect, idea of self, ego) can often hear ‘you’re not in control’ in two ways:

  1. What do you mean I’m not in control? Of course I am! Look at all the decisions and choices I’ve made in my life. Look at all the people I’ve influenced and the changes I’ve made to circumstances around me.
  2. Phew! I’m not in control!! Thank the lord for that!

Maybe even both will appear. Because that’s the nature of the conceptual mind. It bandies around all sorts of thoughts, most of which are opposing and contradictory to each other — and this is what we’ve been listening to. No wonder we’re confused and lost. We’ve been walking around on one of those wobbly-floor fairground attractions trying to find solid ground. Impossible!

Let’s explore responses 1. and 2.

In the presence of response no.1, we’ll experience difficulty and effort. Battling our way through life in resistance to what shows up that apparently needs taking control of. Something new that seems to need controlling will always appear when this is the thinking we’re believing.

With response no. 2 we’ll often experience a moment of calm, comfort, security and OK-ness. The relief of it! And shortly after we’ll go back to feeling uncertain and insecure.

When the mind notices that calm, comforting, secure feeling and then the return to discomfort, it thinks the nice feelings were coming from this new ‘I’m not in control’ game and it thinks great! I’ll start playing that game because it feels nicer than trying to be in control.

It looks like saying ‘I’m not in control’ is the route to security but this is a misunderstanding. There was never a causal relationship between the words and the feeling. The conceptual mind loves to pattern-match and correlate and all it’s done is correlate ‘nice feelings’ with a new idea of ‘I’m not in control’.

From this idea it now walks a different tightrope of life. ‘I’ll be OK as long as I stay out of control. Must not control anything!’ with the fear on its shoulder of ‘what if the need to control comes back…?’ And leading to a denial of what’s appearing. A blase, laissez faire attitude to life — Oh I don’t care, I’m not in control anyway.

This is no more true than the old ‘I’m in control’ game because the conceptual mind isn’t doing anything. It’s not in control, and neither is it not in control. It’s just a bunch of ideas floating around in the ether of the mind, some saying ‘in control’ others saying ‘not in control’ – matching the thoughts to the situation in whichever way makes it seem safe. Clinging to what looks certain, and resisting what looks uncertain. Wishing and avoiding. Hoping and fearing.

The conceptual mind’s ideas never had anything to do with life. Life happened and then it applied a storyline.

So what was going on in the moment of calm?

There was information in the glimpse of calm, comfort and security. Just not the information the conceptual mind took it to be.

The glimpse is you catching sight of your innate nature.

The moment the conceptual mind goes quiet (which it does when it thinks it’s found a way to be safe) brilliance shines through. It’s not the idea of ‘not being in control’ that makes the nice feelings appear, it’s the absence of the voice in your head that reveals the nice feeling that was always there. In hearing ‘you’re not in control’ the conceptual mind says ‘phew!’, settles down for a moment and – bingo! – nice feelings! 

The brilliance that’s always here takes the form of calm, secure, grounded, contentment, joyful, creative, connected, resourceful, resilient, compassionate, authentic, boundaried. Human.

Believing a conceptual mind that seeks control, certainty and ‘right answers’ is in fact the very activity covering up what’s being searched for. Running around, kicking up so much dust that everything gets obscured.

So how do I get more of this?

This is a question of the conceptual mind because it always wants a ‘do’. It believes everything happens by applying knowledge to life. There must be an action to take to succeed and live life the ‘right’ way.

But there is nothing to do, nothing to change, there is no right way, and any ideas of these will only continue to clutter up the natural learning system we already are.

The only thing to ‘do’ is to notice:

*Notice when you’ve been in an uncertain situation and been entirely OK – step by step laid out as you went along.

*Notice when nice feelings arise and get curious about whether they’re appearing in the absence of any ideas about how I, they or the situation should be just now.

*Notice times when you haven’t planned, maybe haven’t been able to plan, and things have worked out just fine – maybe even better than ever before.

Certainty and control – we really thought we needed them. But we never had them. And the realisation of that is beautiful!

With love, Helen

I work with people who want a quieter mind and a more fulfilling life. They’re smart, passionate people who are curious about there being a better way. They’ve worked hard to get to where they are and yet something’s still missing: ‘is this it?’. In our work we explore and reconnect to innate brilliance so you remember the real you. Find out more here.

2 Comments. Leave new

  • Everything that you have shared and stated makes perfect sense. I suppose my issue is trying to nip it in the bud before it all over takes my mind. Sometimes it’s hard to have a clear mind.

    • Helen Amery
      9 June 2021 3:19 pm

      Yes, makes sense Lois and, paradoxically, trying to ‘do’ anything to stop or clear the mind is resistance to it and will actually hold its chatter in place. Seeing that what it says is not true allows it to run or quiet down – either is fine. Who we really are loves all of it because we are unconditional love – no conditions for anything to be different than it already is.


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