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I am in control

Today I read on the internet somewhere, that the world does not turn just because I turn it. I had to laugh hard, „hard“ as in: what do you mean, it does not turn, if I do not turn it? You got to be kidding!
I am one of those people who for years and years thought, everything was happening because of me, nothing would happen without me pushing it.

One night, twelve years ago, I collapsed in our apartment due to a tubal pregnancy. My body just broke down, I was shaking, could not control any part of it and felt strangely removed from what had been one of my defining features until up to this moment. I was freezing and when I wasn’t trying to control, I was certain to be dying, I just knew, this was the end, and funny thing was: after a first wave of panic receded, it did not frighten me at all. I found, I was ready to let go…until the guys with the ambulance arrived and showed, that they were just that: guys with a driver’s licence for an ambulance. They could not do anything to make my situation better, but measure my blood pressure and state, that it was damm low. They were a little helpless themselves and the only thing, they could offer was, to bring me to an hospital. When they tried to carry me down the stairs, they almost let me fall, so I started to take over a bit and gave them mild directions, more to the right, what are you doing, dont keep it like this…that sort of thing. Really not that pushy considered, that I was dying and they almost threw me down my staircase (which wasnt even that narrow, actually).
It was January and it had started to snow that night. So, when we came out, everything was very very quiet and white, peaceful, somehow suitable for me, dying there, and I thought: what a great way to bid farewell!  My body was trembling so hard, I thought, I would fall off that stretcher. When they finally had me inside the ambulance, one of the guys sat beside me, the other one went behind the wheel and started to maneuver the car out of its parking space. He tried! In my perception, it took him forf*****g ever and I became kinda impatient, so I started to give him directions: dont go this way, turn the wheel that way, no, I definitely think, the way to the hospital is down the street, not up the street – my teeth were chattering and they made funny noises, also my speech must have been kinda pathetic, after all, I was dying, but my driver needed directions, and though I felt relaxed, I also felt, I could not leave him unattended. The guy beside me looked at me, smiled, stroked my shoulder and said: „Are you a control freak?“
I and my teeth chattered back: „Yeah, obviously, sorry.“
 I did not say another single word, while the ambulance, emergency lights on and all, found its way through a snow covered city. I was brought happily into the hospital, dying and accepting it peacefully, while the snowflakes kissed the windows of the ambulance. In the hospital, the people seemed more professional and I got help and felt better pretty soon.
After all, I did not die. There wasn’t even ever the possibility, I might have. My situation was not at all that dangerous. But I felt, I had no whatsoever control over my body. Which felt actually great. Not to have control was underneath the wish, to have control, the most liberating experience, I ever had in my life. I still remember the freedom clearly.
I also remember, that there were other moments after this one, where I met this freedom again, most of the time for a minute or ten, at the most. But once, I met it for ten days in a row, that was, when my mother was dying, exactly two years ago, February 2014. She had surrendered completely, and with her lack of any wish to control anything any longer, produced such a tender peace around her, that the minute I entered her room, I totally gave over to this peace. I could sit there for hours, hold her hand, watch her dying, and it was bliss. When we looked at each other, we could not stop smiling, because we both knew, that we were sharing the most wonderful time, we ever had together. When she actually did die, I felt mostly sad, because that paradiselike situation with her was over and I had to return to reality. I tried to carry my experiences over to that reality and for a short while, it worked.
For days and weeks afterwards, I was not willing to control anything in my life. I was content to let life happen. When I met a friend on the street, she said: you are glowing.

I don’t know, why it is so difficult, to always live that way, why it is, that eventually the wish, to control things, the pain, life gives us, the anger, other people produce in us, takes over again. But I am pretty sure, that this is enlightenment, to one day be able to always let go. When I first encountered buddhism, I thought, „gosh, life would be sooo boring, if you’d be enlightened“, like I rather meditate less, to not become enlightened too fast and have to live my life in eternal boredom. Now, everything is different, and I find that eternal anger, irritation, the daily disturbances, the flashes of aggression so boring, I so wished, I could spend the rest of my life in that quiet boredom and peace. Its true! I guess, this could be a sign of becoming older – my resistance to peace of mind is weakening just like my eyesight. But I can see clearly, how anger, prejudices and fear, guilt and all this wanting, seduce my consciousness again and again into the illusion of being in control, into a multitude of fantasies, that want to take over my life and often succeed. 

 © Susanne Becker


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