I get crazy when folks in the meditation group ask me “why” questions or repeat what the current guru has said on television or talk in abstractions off the top of their heads.  I have committed to make the Saturday morning meditation group a healing experience and healing never happens intellectually. The Controller tells us to get into our heads.  The Controller is trying to protect our vulnerability, to prevent too much feeling, and to live superficially.  The Controller is never the figure we call on when we want to live with passion and depth, the essence of meditation.

The Controller helps us keep our lives going by attending to necessary details–keep food in the fridge, cut the grass, balance the bank statement (or at least know pretty much where you stand), pay bills on time, change the sheets regularly, buy clothes on sale, and generally use good judgment in practical matters.

That’s great and we absolutely need the Controller’s input.  I hope you have a strong Controller.  But as with everything else there is a time and place for the Controller.  If we indulge the Controller with too much of our energy we’ll have trouble sleeping, lose our spontaneity, forget how to have fun, and turn our lives into a series of projects to be completed.

The Controller is a subpersonality we develop from our experience growing up. In school we meet certain expectations–arrive on time, keep our desks neat, hand in homework, and sit quietly when the teacher speaks. We restrain our here-to-fore unrestrained natural enthusiasm in deference to the demands of the world around us. We all need to learn that lesson and to give it priority in many parts of our lives–our work, our responsibilities as citizens and neighbors, our conduct with strangers, and our planning for the future.  We don’t want to live without a Controller.

However, the Controller is not how we heal.  Healing requires vulnerability and an open-ended commitment to be present and to see what happens.  We don’t want to use that presence and vulnerability with the tax collector.  We give the state its due.  But just as we have responsibilities to the outside world we have responsibilities to the inner world, also.  “Why,” you ask, “is it not enough to obey the law, live a decent life, and contribute in our own particular way?”  Certainly no one will criticize you and you will build a comfortable life for yourself.  If you are satisfied with ceasing your questing at that point, OK.

Some of us feel pulled to look more deeply, however.  The death of a child thrusts us into an agony we don’t think we can survive.  An unexpected turn of events leaves us without the future we had counted on.  Or simply living every day pulls us away from the world and into spaces inside which scare us.  For whatever reason, we want more. The surface verities don’t satisfy and our heads can’t answer soulful questions.  Our churches offer comfort and support but this delving to which we are called is so personal that we must set out alone. It would be easier if we could take the latest best seller with us and we could read about our lives but at some point we are confronted with experiencing our lives.  Just experiencing.  Not understanding, not controlling, not directing.  Simply experiencing.  Saying Yes to the moment and experiencing what is at any given second.

At first this exercise may serve to get us through a strained time but eventually it becomes a way of life.  And then we don’t identify with the Controller but with the one caught in the current.  We don’t know where we are being carried and we don’t need to.  We simply say Yes.

On an inner level we practice non-resistance to everything–I won’t fight any feeling which comes up, then acceptance of everything–thank you for this feeling which I don’t like, then trust–I say Yes to this second.  Owning our power includes each of these steps.  Non-resistance challenges those of us who like to act, who judge and want to correct. But as we accept that life is not a problem to be solved and that our minds (our Controllers) don’t know best, we acknowledge the beauty and wisdom in the patterns of our lives which lead us to heal.  Life is for healing through experience. If our Controllers cut off our experience, we can’t heal.  We can’t stay safe, intellectual, above it all, comfortable and still heal.  Healing is messy and sometimes painful and always vulnerable and we’re never in control.  Life knows what experiences we need to heal.  We can go with them or resist and stay in our heads.

Owning our power may manifest in our gratitude for every little thing.  “Thank you for my breath today.” “Thank you for that driver cutting me off and taking my parking place.”  “Thank you for the latest disappointment.”  How many times have I heard, “That’s crazy to be thankful for what you don’t like and didn’t choose and don’t want!”

It is.  But what’s the alternative?  To be angry or hurt and vengeful?  To take it personally and hate others?  I’ve lived that way and it doesn’t feel good, it doesn’t empower me, and I don’t heal.  My life works better when I say, “Yes, thank you, and what’s next?”  I can get very angry and very self righteous and very intellectual when I’m hurt.  I can demolish another with my analysis and words.  But where does it get me?  I’m still in the world and so are they and I’ve just contributed a whole lot of pain that didn’t need to be there.  All because I was insulted, which is to say, not in control.  Control is useful only in circumscribed situations.  With God, the soul, eternity, feelings, or relationships, control is a dirty word.

Meditation is practice for life.  We practice letting go of our minds, accepting what comes, releasing what we no longer need to hold onto, breathing, trusting, and waiting to be shown the next step.  If we can do that for twenty minutes we can do it throughout the day.  We practice the relationship we want to have with Life in meditation and then we live it all day.  And that’s owning our power.