Dropping the Illusion of Control: Beyond Mindfulness



“As a result of dropping the illusion of control, you may no longer have the same drive (or, perhaps more accurately, no longer feel driven) and no longer find the same meaning in life.

In fact, the collapse of the dream has brought a corresponding collapse in the personal meaning that the dream projected.

The prevailing dream in the West is based on the myth of the hero, the powerful person in charge of his or her life who finds ultimate meaning by overcoming obstacles and fighting against the odds to win the prize, reach the finish line, succeed at some Herculean task.

We idolize people who live out some version of this myth—the aging swimmer who overcomes the elements to make it across a shark-infested body of water, the poor kid who works his way to the top of a big corporation, the young girl who sails solo around the world despite bad weather and equipment failure.

(The popularity of superhero movies attests to the fascination with this meme.) Needless to say, the hero dream places the emphasis on the separation between the individual and the rest of reality—it’s a dream of struggle, conflict, and ultimate triumph.

Even if you don’t fancy yourself a hero, you’re still probably judging yourself by some version of this fundamental standard.

Indeed, the ego inevitably takes itself to be the hero of its own story and finds value in how well it succeeds—at making a living, finding a mate, winning love and approval.

But when you realize that you’re no longer the separate center around which your life revolves but just another expression of the greater movement and flow of life itself, the hero dream and the world of personal meaning you’ve constructed around it collapses.

Now what? If the meaning of your life is not founded in personal significance and success, what’s the point?

Instead of struggling to reconstruct the dream and the meaning it provided, which is doomed to failure in any case, you can keep returning to your homeground of awakened awareness and find ultimate meaning there.

When you let go of the effort to make life happen and instead abide as unconditional opennness and presence without a center, you realize that nothing extra needs to be added to this moment to make it more complete—it’s inherently perfect and meaningful just as it is.

By going to pieces as a separate self, you’ve discovered the deeper ground of the undivided, the one without a second, the eternal source from which all apparent separation arises.

Once you realize your identity with this deeper ground of being, the search for personal meaning naturally comes to an end.”




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