From a human perspective these are certainly unprecedented times. On a global level more and more countries are facing financial and/or political meltdown. Banks are again on the verge of collapse or are scrambling to shed “toxic” assets, which will only add to the instability and uncertainty. And, as we have seen in the past few months, none of the politicians or financial experts seem able to stop the system from falling apart.
On a personal level we are also living in increasingly uncertain times. I don’t know about you but I see the level of “control” we used to have diminish more and more every day. Let me give you three examples, three pillars of human planning, to illustrate this, i.e. job safety, home ownership and pensions.
Certainties of the past are disappearing
Job safety? As far as I can see it doesn’t exist anymore, like one of my friends found out when he recently became unemployed, not because he didn’t perform but because of an unplanned and unfortunate outcome of a departmental reorganization.
Home ownership? We were always told that owning a house was the best investment you could make in your life. Perhaps in the past, I once doubled the price of my house, but today more and more folks are wondering how they will survive financially now the value of their homes no longer covers their mortgage, interest rates are on the rise and refinancing is getting increasingly difficult.
And pensions? In Holland we always prided ourselves of having one of the most solid systems in the world. We did, but even in our country more and more (future) retirees are now facing pension cuts because there are insufficient funds. With all the financial turmoil there are probabaly very few countries left where pensions are safe.
In short, three fundamental certainties that we relied on to plan our lives are disappearing. So, how do we respond?
Two different ways to respond
The typical response in situations like these is for our minds to kick into high gear. We start to consider all kinds of scenario’s and potential solutions based upon our past experiences and we double our efforts to regain control in whatever way possible, even if it is at the expense of others. The draconian cost cutting we see happening everywhere is a case in point but at the same time illustrates that the current system needs to fundamentally change.
As it has been predicted (“2012”) and we are experiencing first hand now, the ball game is changing and the only way to play it joyfully in the future, in my view, is to start releasing many of our current belief systems, including the one that says you have to plan for everything.
Take a moment here to ask yourself to what degree you belief that planning your life is necessary in order to be secure and successful. A lot? A little? Do you see planning as a way to give you a feeling of control? How important is control for you? Could you imagine a life without planning and control?
Spiritual teachers have always reminded us that once you let go of control, your life starts to run much more smoothly and that whatever you need will appear at the right moment. To most people this sounds like a fantasy until you realize that we often already experience this in our life. Have you ever been in a situation that you (had to) let go of control only to find that things then indeed took care of themselves? I often have, for instance when trying to find a new job.
It is also happening with small things, like yesterday when I returned from my golf practice and the gate barring the parking place didn’t open after I threw in the required token. The moment I realized I was trapped because cars were already piling up behind me, a friendly club member walked over and opened the gate for me using her special parking key. I am sure you have had similar experiences but called it luck or coincidence.
But, what if you indeed could let go of planning and control in your life? Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
Mooji, for one, has some practical observations about this.
Unplanning your life
How do you feel about unplanning your life after listening to Mooji? Does it intuitively appeal to you or do you find it too challenging or utter nonsense? If you don’t feel attracted to the idea, let it rest because it would only increase your feelings of stress and perhaps even fear. Or, you may want to explore this concept some more by reading my article about living without control.
If it does appeal to you, you may want to start unplanning your life step by step and in a playful way, rather than using a kind of “big bang” approach. As I discovered for myself, our conditioning to plan and control is more deeply rooted than you think. Taking small steps will avoid unnecessary anxiety and allow you to experience for yourself that things indeed work out without a plan, albeit sometimes in unexpected ways (but that is also the fun part:). This will provide you with the confidence and trust to eventually unplan everything, after which you are able to enjoy life in a totally different way, no longer affected or distracted by any uncertainty around you.