Our society places value on staying in control and creating a life that is always organized, structured, and planned. It’s a practice that can leave you stressed and depressed. Learn how meditation, love, and awareness can help set you free.
From a young age, you’re taught to make sure your grades are good, your bills are paid, and your career is on track. When you don’t meet every one of the items on this perfect-and-in-control list, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and depressed.
However, no matter how it looks from the outside, no one is ever truly in control. Our health, the family we were born to, the bodies we live in to a certain extent, are all beyond our control, no matter how hard we might try for the contrary. It can be tricky to learn how to give up control and the desire for it, but expressing gratitude, embracing helplessness, observing nature, and the other tips below are some suggestions for how to live more cooperatively with the universe.
1. Embrace Helplessness
Sometimes when you’re at your most desperate, you shine the brightest because in these moments you’ve arrived at a point of surrender. This occurs when you realize that whatever you’re up against is out of your control.
When you embrace this truth from an empowered viewpoint, not as a victim, you can draw strength from simply by letting go of the struggle, ceasing to resist, and embrace your inability to control the situation.
2. Tune Into Love
Love is the force that moves the entire universe. Love is grace. Love is helping. Love is caring and sharing. Love is disciplining when destructive behavior arises. Love is tolerance and understanding. It is so much more than an emotion; and it is always avaliable to you, if you tap into it.
By prioritizing love in your life, you will attract more of it for yourself from the universe. Practice this, and watch your life fall in line, without any control or input from you—only loving intentions.
3. Release What You Cannot Hold
Most of us live in a state of reaction. Your sense of control relates to how much of a “handle on things” you think you have. You probably already know what a self-deceiving concept this is. What is control? Is it really just how well or fast one is able to react to what we can’t control?
Enlightenment follows once you release this sense of control, according to some ancient wisdom traditions. You truly don’t know what will happen in the next five minutes of your life.
As part of your growth process, try to learn to relax and let go of your control. While you may be in control of yourself on some levels, your life is not meant to be micro-managed. Allow yourself to experience with wonderment. Let yourself be bewildered by the unknown. You may find that the unknown is more favorable than your tight hold on life. You already know what you know, why not experience something new and potentially beneficial?
4. Observe Nature
Jesus is quoted as saying, “Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28-29). One can use this wisdom as yet another lesson to learn from nature.
Look at how bountiful and giving nature really is. Observe the beauty and synchronicity of it all. As much as you may feel like a stranger here, you and your life are no accident. This entire universe has conspired to give you experience. This force is in and around you always because you are part of this universe, too. Try to see yourself as part of the works instead of as an outside observer.
5. Show Gratitude
When you express gratitude, the world will naturally soften and brighten for you. There is something powerful about being authentically thankful to the universe. When this is turned inward it can be transcendent. Be thankful for the small graces that pop up in your life. These are signs that you are supported. The more gratitude you show, the more your life will open up to this kind of relationship with the universe, and trust will develop.
6. Increase Self-Awareness
Awareness of your thoughts is important to all self-evolving practices. The more you listen to your own mind, the more you will realize the role it plays in your life. Many of the trappings of our life start there. As you learn to trust and cooperate with the universe, you must move beyond these inner limitations.
Meditation is particularly helpful to increase your self-awareness. As your meditation practice grows, you may notice the adversarial nature of thoughts. By working on yourself to clear these negative thoughts, you naturally will begin to trust more. This comes from the realization that many areas of your life are organized and enjoyed through a force bigger than you.
Witness the confusion and randomness of your mind and be thankful for the grace and synchronicity that you experience. Let go of the details, focus on self-evolving, and the universe will take care of the rest.
7. Listen to Your Intuition
Your intuition is an inner guidance system for your life. Since it comes from a higher, more subtle part of your consciousness, it is often ignored, unheard, or misinterpreted. This part of your being is found in the silence of meditation and deep sleep. While awake, you may hear it in the quiet spaces of your mind, or during brief moments of awareness.
The importance of intuition cannot be overstated. This guidance comes from within the soul and is directly linked to the rest of the universe. Listen to it. Just as your mind is adept at maneuvering through your tasks, so is the soul at navigating the higher, more significant planes of life. This is the conversation within that leads to living a life of universal trust and love.
8. Acknowledge Life’s Grace
Every person has known suffering of some kind. Sometimes you may tend to focus more on the negatives than the grace that life bestows on you. Try to understand that attention to the negative is what drives your inner control freak. If you’re seeking to build a relationship of trust with the universe, try to spend time focusing on how good it is to you.
This practice is more than gratitude; it is a redirecting of perception. No matter what annoyances or even serious issues you may face, there is always an element of grace involved. Everything from the air that fills your lungs to your family, work, and friends are meant as a blessing from the universe. All aspects of your life experience can be fulfilling and blessed, if you choose to see them as such.
Take some time to notice how beautiful the sunlight is coming into your living space. Appreciate that random warm smile from a stranger as you wait in line. Take time to fully appreciate the delicious meal you have, chewing fully and tasting with awareness. These small and often unnoticed occurrences are the universe showing you kindness and love.
Pay attention to how even the tiniest things may go your way or fall in place just for you. In order to let go of your preoccupation with control, allow yourself to feel the safety of the universe’s intentions toward you. Though there can be unkind elements to life, in general, it is extremely benign to you. Tune yourself to this awareness and have more of it show up in your life.
9. Seek Oneness
Look to the unifying principles of your life for the truth of who you really are. Build awareness of yourself as a being having an experience. Your outer life with its actors, dramas, and props is just as much you as your innermost thoughts. You are the all-encompassing experience.
Take a real interest in who you are, what you do, how you live, your health, family, and work. This is not meant for the sake of manipulating, analyzing, or taking charge of these parts of your life. The intention here is passive enjoyment and study.
Your fear and control seeking arise from concern about the unknown. Engage the world more so that you are more comfortable. This can be said for your personal life experience as well as the larger global picture. Try looking at life as well as yourself from different perspectives and embrace it all. This powerful act can bring harmony and trust into your awareness, and will release your desire to control everything.