I have a tendency to be slightly controlling. Or so I thought until reading Judith Lasater's chapter on Control in her book Living Your Yoga. Turns out I have some control issues on which to work.
For instance—letting go of situations that don't go my way—not my strong suit. Case and point: Today I missed the post office closing by thirty seconds, popped my bike tire on the way home, and fretted about my continuing difficulty in finding a job. I desperately want to control these things. And not only that, but I tend to latch onto them—things that are completely impermanent and small-picture—and I'm still thinking about them seven hours later.
Here's a couple gems of wisdom from Judith that I should keep in mind as I try to to control my lack of control.
"Control is our attempt to keep at arm's length our feelings of being out of control. It springs from that fear that unhappiness and death will overwhelm us." (p. 58)
Ah, that tricky death again!
"The more we try to control our world, the less control we have. The more we are willing to let go of control and simply stay present with what is, the more control we have." (p. 57)
This is the ultimate truth for me. I take so much satisfaction in the routines of my life that when trouble arises, I instantly cling to what I imagine in my mind to be "better."
But of course that is a mind game! A simple matter of grass is always greener.
The true practice of life is not about controlling one's surroundings to provide a safe environment in which to live, but rather adapting to possibilities and opportunities for practice with which we are presented. Through this practice of life, ultimately we are living out each present moment one at a time.