Control vs. Training

One of the handy tricks I learned from my thespian engagements during adolescence is looking for an object to focus on if one does not want another's gaze to break one's train of thought. The context of this lesson was: if you are acting the part of someone looking for a needle on the floor, your eyes must indeed focus on different parts of same floor. But I realised the applications of focus extend beyond that realm.
It would be handy to control one's mind all of the time, for it to remain within the pen (as in that of pigs, though I like that it evokes writing) of the useful. But tyranny over mind actually turns out to be most unhealthy.
Thus, all one can do is attempt to gently train the mind, to lead it away from the bad (or, perhaps more accurately, wait for it to get over whatever is in question) and at least train it to remember certain important life truths, such as: Life is good, creativity is a helpful tool, decisions are fruitful if made of love, not fear, and so on and so forth.
Can it be that pride is the source of control, not of helpful training? That if one expects perfection, one becomes the tyrant? Can it be that pride is what leads people down the lonely path where their lives are compromised because they won't make compromises?
Ultimately, I do not think that we can control our lives as much as we are wont to think. All of this imbibing of the tonic of freewill can go straight to the head. Our freedom is always hampered by circumstance (such as time). Our freedom is hampered by our shortcomings, some of which will never be revealed to us. Our freedom is circumscribed by the affinity of our souls and whichever mystery we have set out to elucidate.
This idea of control is illusory. At best, we can attempt to train ourselves to respond and not to react, to improve our performance. But to eradicate all shortcomings? Impossible!
Many mystics have explained throughout the ages that it is our shortcomings that lead to our becoming more compassionate towards others. It is also said that the shortcomings are blessings in disguise - an idea that I find most intriguing, and something I am trying out in my own life right now.
Control is too rigid and leads to breakage; acceptance of imperfection leads to experimentation and the occasional serendipitous success. Training, after all, is that activity which leads to skilled behaviour. There is always more that needs attention than we can give attention to, so this fact should lead to humility and tolerance, foremost towards oneself. As the saying here goes: we're all in the same gravy.

No comments:

Post a Comment