Automatic Control Engineering

April 4, 2017

I have come to realize that the need to control outcomes is a symptom of fear.  Fear is obviously a lack of trust.  If I trust that all will be fine, I don’t have fear and I don’t feel a need to control the outcome.  As I realize this, I realize how often I try to control and get frustrated when things are not within my control.

I actually think this is a huge aspect of US culture.  When I was an engineer in the US, if a test failed, we were required to provide “cause and corrective action”.  First identify what went wrong, and then find a way to ensure that it will never go wrong again.  I feel that this is at the root of much of what happens in the US, “Just sign all of these forms so that if something goes wrong, you will have been warned and you can’t blame us.”  Because if something does go wrong, someone must be held accountable and we must make sure it never happens again!

But actually, this is Life.  Very little is actually in our control.  I pretend that I am the big decider that consciously makes all the decisions in my life.  But in actuality, so much happens that is completely out of my control.  This is one reason I’m actually quite excited to live in Angola.  Even less will be in my control, and there, its just known.  You get stuck in traffic for 3 hours.  The police ask you for a bribe.  You get malaria.  Nothing you can do! Its life!!!  Me getting frustrated only increases my blood pressure, but it doesn’t change the reality of the situation.

I recently started a new meditation method.  The instructors kept telling me not to fight it and just hear the mantra.  It suddenly hit me one day.  I was not hearing the mantra.  I was trying to actively repeat the mantra.  Wow!  When I quit being the active doer, and just listened to the mantra playing in my head, it was a completely different thing!

I started this blog 5 months ago.  While I loved the idea of posting on it, I kept feeling like I didn’t have time.  I was discussing it with a friend who said, “It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Don’t spend all kinds of time polishing it up, just post it!”  Again, I realized, I was trying too desperately to control.  Perfectionism is a form of control.  Fear of not being good enough.  Fear of criticism.  Let me just put it out there and trust.

Finally, one more beautiful thing about gratitude, is that its also an acknowledgement that I’m not in control.  Whether you believe in God, the Universe, or the cockroaches, you are not in control.  It doesn’t matter to “whom” you are grateful for all the beauty in your life, but its such a relief to acknowledge, you did not manifest this beauty alone.

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