As I meditated this morning, a quote from a book I read long ago kept coming into my thoughts: “Who controls the past controls the future…” , from George Orwell’s 1984. No matter how many times I acknowledged the quote it continued to float in and out of my consciousness. So, what I do when thought or image pierces my meditation practice is invite it to teach me, or show me clarity. Indeed, it did.
What I learned was something I already knew. Many of life’s lessons are like that. Who controls the past? No one. It already happened. It cannot be tampered with or altered. Who controls the future? We would like to think we do. However, the reality is the future is not certain nor guaranteed. So, that means we can control right now, present time, right? The answer, no. Not really.
The ONLY thing anyone has control over are thoughts, feelings and decisions. Certainly, each component affects the outcome of all that happens now, but are not the sum of the factors, meaning — no one person has total control of every situation.
The way I see it is you have two outcomes given this insight. The first, panic. You realize you are not in control, never in control and end up feeling bad, spiraling into the abyss… -OR- You can take comfort that some responsibility for your future, as well as your past, along with now are simply outside your level of expertise, not part of your job description, not all on you. In doing so, you allow the weight of the world to lift off your shoulders and you accept your place in this world, as it is, along with the things you are responsible for, thus allowing this new sense of peace and clarity to help you think better, feel better and make better decisions. You’re off the hook! You are no longer responsible for saving the world, curing the pandemic and fixing every part of the planet. Just know, whatever you decide to do, think or feel, for yourself, or decide not to do, think or feel right now, that of which is in your control, is ALL you can do, and that’s ok.
Control is overwhelming and overrated. In all seriousness, if you find yourself panicking, breathe. Know you have options. Though you may not have control, no one likes the outcome of the panic scenario. And though you may not like the outcome of letting go and letting God, so to speak, and doing only what you are capable of, I know it feels better and more in control than living within a panic state.
Relax. You are truly not alone. Many of us are frightened by the uncertainty. However, within the events of the past month I have witnessed unwavering human compassion, something the world truly needed and we hadn’t witnessed since September 11th. I have also witnessed humanity collapse, but seeing and experiencing the compassion gives me hope.
We cannot control what has already happened. We cannot control what may happen.
We can only show up as our best selves, daily. And right now, that’s everything.