You may not think of yourself as controlling.
Well, you are.
You just don’t see it.
Consider this view of how we operate:
From moment to moment, each of us carries in our heads a picture of how we want reality to be.
And we constantly compare that internal picture to the reality we have.
Everything we do to bring those pictures closer together — whether we do it out in public or in the privacy of our most secret thoughts — is what I mean by controlling.
See it yet?
Add this, then:
Discomfort of any sort – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, everything from agony to an itch – amounts to a signal that the two pictures don’t match.
And we respond to that signal automatically.
So wherever there’s discomfort, there’s controlling.
And we all know how uncomfortable life can be.
Controlling, in short, is as reflexive and inevitable a response as slapping a mosquito that’s biting you.
See it now?
We’re forming two online study/support groups for readers who want to explore these ideas with me in real time. One group is for therapists who want to integrate these ideas into their clinical work. Both groups will be small, eight members at most, and meet weekly. Fee is $50 per session, and group members may purchase Monkeytraps (The Book) at half price. Interested? Write me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 2nd, 2015 at 9:21 am
I have been noticing more examples of when I’m controlling in an unhealthy, unsuccessful way..
Today I realised that I was expecting/wanting a state of perfectly clear and calm mind. Reality gave me (as its done every day) a chaotic mind with an underlying awareness that ‘something us wrong’ . My reaction, as usual was to feel the urge to find the ‘something wrong’ and be able to fix it to achieve my perfect mind!! I was about to go on a mental hunt..then remembered your ideas.
So, trying your alternative, I accepted the ‘something is wrong’ feeling…maybe there was, maybe there wasn’t something wrong, I didn’t know….just go with it. Resulting weight lifted…have enjoyed my day, nothing wrong happened yet either!!
March 2nd, 2015 at 9:30 am
Good for you, Al. I think that’s what they mean by “go with the flow.”
Unfortunately the flow of normal human consciousness — a.k.a. monkeymind — is chockfull of painful memories and anxious expectations.
Monkeymind is a key concept, and I’ll have more to say about it in an upcoming chapter (and lots more in the book’s Part 4: Plan B).
At the moment suffice to say that peace of mind seems to depend on our ability to detach from it — i.e., to not allow our own thoughts to scare us silly.
March 2nd, 2015 at 3:47 pm
Right, monkey mind concept… am getting it more now as time goes on and I try to relate to my own experiences. Making sense..I appreciate the slow release of information.
May 31st, 2015 at 4:33 pm
[…] I previously explained our urge to control in this way: […]