I just got back from a meditation place in the city. My first time there. It was a sit, and then a dharma (dhamma) talk on long-term conditioned patterns.
It’s a good thing to go to a talk like that when it’s only Wednesday and you’re already at the screaming point with yourself. Because, like it or not, I have not banished, welcomed, accepted, healed or whatever my feeling of wanting to CONTROL things. People, mainly.
The teacher called it a kharmic knot, with threads of emotions like fear (could control possibly have anything to do with FEAR? I mean, duh) and judgment and past experience or pain or cultural conditioning.
I have to say, it is hard to be funny at 10pm writing about CONTROL. Because OH MY GOD, I am so controlling I try to make sure my life doesn’t hold anything that will turn that dial in me so I am just wanting to tell everyone what to do and call them out on everything. And I’m good at it. I can actually build a life in which that doesn’t get dialed up very often. Then I think I’m like so spiritual because I’m not controlling any more. Which is just the worst kind of bullshit.
Here is the truth. Of course I get these attacks of self will when I don’t get what I want. But I have actual healing about that. I watch the temper tantrum come on, and then maybe it gets hold of me for a little while, and if it does, I can just apologize and move on. The temper tantrums don’t stay all that long.
The part I am just totally clueless about is when someone acts according to a set of rules I don’t agree with or don’t understand. Think about that. When does anyone else act according to the Lyralen Kaye rules of conduct? Which, by the way, I inherited from my German mother. It has several thousand volumes and I don’t know why it is that my mind seems to know a rule for every occasion, but there it is. Pop: rule. I don’t remember her telling me at least half of them, but somehow I think she must have.
So, there goes the world, not following my rules. People are late and don’t call. People say they’ll do things they don’t do. They email about emotional issues. They break legal contracts. They decide what you think without asking you. I mean, the list goes on. And here I am, working on collaborative projects with other human beings. And regularly being driven crazy by everyone I’ve ever known.
I used to think that everyone else was getting along fine and it was just me, but then I found out we all drive each other crazy, and when I get all sharp and biting because someone is late for the fifth time, I get to drive people crazy, too. Or when it bothers me and I just pretty much go away. Other people love that one.
At the meditation session tonight, a man asked about control. And the conversation ended up being about the nature of being human, and how you feel control come up, and if you’re Buddhist you try to investigate it and see the truth of it, and you try to do this with some kindness for yourself.
I haven’t done that yet–all I’ve done is be really nasty to myself for wanting to control people, because I know doing it, or attempting to do it will both make me miserable and be fruitless. So I can guess that when I investigate I’m going to find hurt–because when people are late, or don’t show, or don’t keep promises, I think I do feel hurt and fear. But I haven’t investigated it yet, and so far what I’ve found with Buddhism is that when you start feeling what’s happening in your body, you find the story you tell yourself about what you feel is totally and completely WRONG. Like, I can tell myself that I feel hurt, and then I can remember some thing from my life that explains it, and then I’ll really feel hurt because that’s the story I have and we all know narrative is powerful.
So, I’m a control freak who hasn’t yet investigated her feelings and is probably wrong about them anyhow so I might as well go meditate because then at least I won’t be bothering anyone.
But, if I’m practicing some very small amount of metta for myself, I have to say that today is a very hard day every year, and control comes up around the grief, and really, I am a kind woman whenever I can be. Which is, probably, pretty often.
Put it on the scale. I am now a very kind control freak who has a little metta for herself for not knowing what she feels until she investigates it.
I can live with that. Which is good, since I don’t exactly have a choice.