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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “control”

A forbidden apple and a box

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It all started with an apple and a box. Both forbidden.

Because had Eva not eaten the forbidden fruit, disobeying God’s orders, she and Adam would not have been thrown out of Paradise – the Garden of Eden. Similarly, if Pandora had not opened the box she was given as a present on condition that she would never look inside it, the world would not have been filled with all the terrible things it contained: illness, misery, despair, malice, greed, old age, death, hatred, violence, cruelty and war. The only thing she managed to keep inside the box when she hastily closed it was hope. It can be likened to the way we as humans behave to the Earth that has given us plenty in abundance, yet we brought upon ourselves harm by destroying everything valuable and genuine that exists: nature, animals, humanity, even our own dignity. And all we have left is hope.

People are always enticed by the forbidden. They are tempted by everything prohibited and actually enjoy doing the opposite of what they are told. Perhaps it is out of curiosity, or a reaction, an act of revolution, a desire to stand tall and appear in control of things, a show of strength. For various reasons, we wish to dare what we are told we shouldn’t. We want to see for ourselves if the forbidden fruit is indeed the sweetest.

When something is prohibited, it registers in our mind as most important because we focus our attention on it, searching for the reasons why it is placed out of limits. It thus becomes something we ‘must’ do. At the same time, we believe that something that is not readily available and is more difficult to attain has also a greater value, so we are willing to reach extremes to possess it – e.g. consider the price paid for objects at an auction.

But, perhaps the most important reason why we like to chase after the non-permissible, is because we don’t like to be told what we can and cannot do. We don’t like to feel we are controlled in any way. This behavioural resistance explains why we stubbornly refuse to comply with various laws or our need to carry out rowdy and intense protests every so often.

Beyond that though, we actually enjoy the game of hide and seek, the adrenaline rush from hunting the theoretically unattainable, the yearning of wanting something that does not belong to you or that you are not entitled to have.

And here comes another issue of human weakness: we are rarely happy with what we have and we are always looking for something else or something different. We get bored easily and we are difficult to satisfy. Perhaps if we truly observe what it is we actually have around and inside us, we would realize that we are richer and more complete than we would like to believe. And that some of our possessions may be those which are forbidden to others.

A monk’s enlightenment

Monk-who-sold-his-Ferrari-cover CROPImagine if one of the most successful people you knew suddenly disappeared. Now imagine that months, maybe even years, later he showed up at your door completely changed. Imagine if he told you that he had sold all of his material possessions and had sought a life of passion, purpose and peace among the most enlightened monks of our time. Wouldn’t you be intrigued to listen to what he had to say?

Robin Sharma manages to grasp your attention in The Monk who sold his Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny”. It is a book that makes you think, makes you re-consider certain things in life and above all inspires you to do things differently.

It makes you realise that the time to live is now, that we need to simplify our lives, to clear our minds of negative thoughts, to focus on the positive, and take risks in order to be able to truly fulfil the potential that is dormant inside of us.

Here are some of the most noteworthy quotes:

  • A person’s life can be summarised in certain key moments, which for everyone are the most important and crucial, the ones that mark their very existence.
  • Everyone has inside them reserves of life, more than we ever dreamt of.
  • Everything is created twice; first in the mind and then in reality.
  • We are the creators of our thoughts.
  • During a normal day, around 60,000 thoughts pass through the mind of an average person; 95% of these are the same ones that troubled his/her mind the previous day. Most of them are negative. Instead of focusing on all the good we enjoy in life and all the positive we can aspire to do, we cling on to things that happened in the past, trying to find justifications and reasons to explain our actions. We wither in our thoughts and hinder our mind from fulfilling its true potential of creating magic and realising all the things we dream of. Being able to properly manage your thoughts is key in managing your entire life.
  • You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought – not even one.
  • When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we fail to see the one that has opened for us.
  • The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.
  • You need to empty your mind of negative thoughts to allow the positive ones to enter. You can’t fill a glass if it is already full.
  • The images you create in your fantasy affect the very image you have of yourself.
  • You need not change your world in a day. Start off small. The thousand-mile journey begins by taking that first step. We grow great by degrees. Small daily steps lead to stunning results over time.
  • Develop a lust for learning. Read regularly. Reading for 30 minutes a day will do wonders for you. Do not read just anything. Be very selective about what you put into the garden of your mind. It must be immensely nourishing. Make it something that will improve both you and the quality of your life. Something that will inspire and elevate you.
  • It’s not what you will get out of the books that is so enriching – it is what the books will get out of you that will ultimately change your life…Books will allow you to see what is already inside of you.
  • A burning sense of passion is the most potent fuel for your dreams.
  • Failure is not having the courage to try, nothing more and nothing less.
  • Fear is nothing more than a mental monster you have created, a negative stream of consciousness.
  • The only limits on your life are the ones you set yourself.
  • All progress comes from unreasonable people, people who follow their hearts and the instructions of their consciences rather than the commands of the crowd. All progress has come from risk-takers and men and women who were willing to visit the places that scared them. Greatness arrives once you refuse to buy into what others see as impossible.
  • There are no mistakes in life; only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.
  • Being able to master your time means that you are able to master your life.
  • In order to awaken your best life, it’s important that you “die while you are alive.” Most people live as if they have all the time in the world. They wish they had more time in their days and yet they waste the time they have. They put off living until some event in the future occurs. In order to awaken to your best life, every day should be lived as if it were your last day on the planet.
  • It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is what are you so busy about?
  • Never postpone the life you can live today.
     
  • We live in an age when we have forgotten what life is all about.
  • The purpose of life is a life of purpose.
  • Decide to be brilliant at what you do. And in how you live.
  • Life has bigger plans for you than you can possibly know.
  • Never forget the importance of living with unbridled exhilaration. Never neglect to see the exquisite beauty in all living things. Today, and this very moment, is a gift. Stay focused on your purpose. The Universe will take care of everything else.
  • Be patient and live with the knowledge that all you are searching for is certain to come if you prepare for it and expect it.
  • Life doesn’t always give you what you ask for, but it always gives you what you need.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Enlighten

An intricate loop

lost ringShe suffered from being too organized. If that ever was a sickness, she was the number one patient. Victoria was obsessed with having everything in order. She felt it was the only way she could control whatever life threw at her. That is why she succumbed to a panic attack when she realized that afternoon that she had lost it.

The ring Danny gave her.

She never took it off her finger, unless she was washing clothes by hand. Then she would place it on the little shelf under the mirror on top of the marble wash-basin and she would stare at it, daydreaming, as she scrubbed the delicate clothes clean. Once she had hung the clothes to dry, she would return, soften her hands by rubbing on cream, and replace the silver ring to its rightful place on her finger.

But today, something went wrong. She realized the ring was missing from her finger when she reached for a piece of cake during afternoon coffee with her friend Emily who had come over to share some gossip. What ensued could only be described as havoc, as an anxious Victoria stormed the bathroom and then paced nervously around every room of the house, re-tracing every step she had made – and which she remembered – in order to find the lost jewel. Emily could do little to console her friend.

It’s hard being a perfectionist. You can never take anything lightly. And never let anything go. Not even when Danny said the ring could be replaced. But for Victoria it would never be the same.

——————–

It was a beautiful afternoon in the park and Vincent had taken Buster out for a walk. The golden retriever basked in the sun for a few minutes, then sprung to its feet and called for a game of Frisbee. Vincent loved this game as his dog always made the most unaccepted leaps, catching the Frisbee in his mouth, no matter how far it went. So he always tried to throw it as far as possible; for him this was also a very good way to make new acquaintances. And Buster was on his own so adorable.

The Frisbee was heading for the lake when Buster made a leap worthy of professional jumpers, and caught it with his teeth glistening in the sunlight as he fell in the waters with a grand splash, cooling everyone who happened to be around the scene. Vincent ran to apologise to the surprised onlookers, when he saw something small glistening at the edge of the pond.

It was a silver ring.

He picked it up and read the inside engraving “I will love you forever, Danny”.

Someone must be very concerned this is lost, he thought. But on the other hand, what if it was intentionally thrown away? What if this was a love story gone all bad? Sometimes love doesn’t always head in the direction the heart wants, he pondered, as Buster joyfully bounced to his side requesting another round of Frisbee.

——————–

She had done this for ages. It was a profession carried on for generations, for as long as she could remember. Her mother had taught her how, and she was in turn trained by her mother and so forth. They roamed the country practicing it and she had learned to read people better than she read the cards before her.

People came to her seeking a glimpse into their future. They wanted to feel the illusion of being able to control what would arrive. The majority never really believed the fortune-teller and they all thought that she was just taking their money in exchange for a few positive words that had no reasonable basis. Yet they still went. People are like that. Silly and gullible.

Yet they are also longing and hopeful. And this is what the fortune-teller relied on.

She only remembered the cases that most strongly made an impression on her. And there was this one couple she could never forget. Not even five years later. She had felt their aura since before they had entered her tent at the local fair. The young woman had convinced the man to go see her. She had said it would be fun. They were newly-weds and you could tell by the sparkle in their eyes, by how they gazed into each other so lovingly, by how in love they appeared.

The first thing the fortune-teller noticed when they sat before her was the silver ring on the girl’s finger. There was something about it. It had brought them so much love and happiness, but for some reason it would also bring them so much pain and suffering.

She pretended to look into the crystal ball and began to tell them that they would have a long and happy life together. The couple smiled and squeezed each other’s hand. But the fortune-teller was not telling the truth. It was one of those rare instances that she looked into the ball in her hands and felt a déjà vu. She felt her vision become misty and could almost see what the couple’s future would be – it was cloudy and grey, shadows had creeped over their rays of sunshine, and it was all caused by a small circle, a loop, a ring.

Hold on to each other, but not too tight, or else you will lose one another forever,” she said as the couple walked out of the tent. The girl looked at the fortune-teller as she turned to leave. She said nothing, although her smile had faded.

The fortune-teller looked back into her crystal ball and saw a reflection of her own dark complexion staring back. Fate was never something anyone could ever foresee. Or control.

Also part of Daily Prompt: Weaving the Threads

To all ye who doubt

CreateYourselfI am better than you think. I am stronger, smarter and braver. I can manage on my own. I can deal with my own problems without needing to run back to you for help. I can sustain my own routine. I can shop on my own, cook on my own, wash on my own. I can take care of my own income and expenses. I can decide for myself. I can make the right choices. I may make mistakes but I learn from them. This is my life and I get to decide for it. I trust you and love you, but I will no longer stand to be controlled by you. I want you next to me, supporting and loving me. Not on top of me, yelling and shouting at me. I want you to rejoice with me and cheer me up, not hit me when I’m down and step over me. I need you there to listen and advise me. Not to dictate and criticize me. I love you but sometimes it just seems you don’t. Tough love is not an option anymore. The world is a hard place as it is. I just need you to help me find solutions to power through it all. To help me find my place and realize my dreams. To make this a life worth living and enjoying to the fullest. No-one can do that if they are constantly strapped to a ball and chain.

Allowing yourself to get lost is the quickest route to finding your way” – Sarah Pezdek-Smith

It’s all about control

Control is one of those words which have this domineering effect over people simply by the sound of it. It brings to mind images of oppression, of authority, of rule. Defined as the ability to exercise restraint or direction over; to dominate or command, control is something that everyone wants to have. But often always comes with a price to pay. People in control aren’t usually loved or even liked. Control is so often linked to autocracy, to repression, to subordination of others, that it acquires a negative connotation.

The Evil Queen forcing her magical powers over the Enchanted Kingdom; the dictator oppressing civilians; parents suppressing their children into not being able to do anything on their own. It’s all about control. And this is what people are after. The authority to reign over others. The hierarchical structure of an army, for instance, determines who is superior to whom. Politicians fight and quarrel over who will get to be in charge of all major decisions, regardless of the fact that s/he will also be responsible for the consequences. Control has become synonymous to power. And life has become a competition of who has more of it.

The problem is, however, that most people try to demonstrate this power they have, by controlling those weaker than themselves. Often this also implies those smaller in size. Animals, for instance, are the first to suffer. Being herded, reared and slaughtered for a specific cause – for the benefit of humans – the latter species attempts to show how it dominates over the “lesser” one. Horses are saddled and bridled up to fulfill their riders every demand, by a simple kick in the sides, and a pull of the reins. Of course, animals can fight back. By biting, scratching, kicking. But in the end it is the one with the extra resources, the biggest tools and the stronger weapons that always seems to dominate. Similarly, it is the rich, the wealthy, the high-ranking in society that end-up becoming the most yearning for power. For more. For control. And these are usually the ones that become the authoritative rulers, the oppressors, the tyrants, the dictators. Ruling over citizens who lack even half of what the former have, and being deprived of so much more.

Even parents exercise control over their children. And a lot too. Raising their babies into grown-up adults, parents are responsible for so much of the decisions they take for an infant’s life. Its first and most important influences. The principles and values that will register in its mind. And most significantly, the behaviour and mentality that will become part of its upbringing. Parents control their children for most of their lives. With the latter being afraid to do anything contrary to the wishes of their parents, and even as adults, being concerned as to what their opinions might be.

Too much control, however, is harmful. In every sense. Too much control by parents means the children are incapable as adults of acting on their own. Of being independent and responsible for their own actions. Sparrows provide perhaps the best example of suitable control: they raise their young ones in the nest, taking as best care of them as possible, as long as they learn how to fly. Once their neonates learn to spread their wings, they are allowed to do so and leave the nest, free to explore the world opened out before them. That is what humans are supposed to do too. But instead so many lack this independence that growing up should come with. Once you leave the nest, you are not supposed to come back. But so many circumstances, even in the current day and age, force them to return. To seek the support and sometimes the very dependence of those that reared them in the first place. And then that same freedom desperately longed for as adults is often constrained in the very walls of that paternal nest. It’s all about control. Whether it is taken by force, or voluntarily conceded.

Nonetheless, control does not necessary mean something bad. And it shouldn’t. Control is also about proving to the world that you can manage on your own. That you can handle both the responsibilities and obligations. That you can command your own reins. And ultimately that you can take control – power – over your own life. It isn’t necessary to domineer over others to prove you have power or authority. That is something to be gained not taken. Just like respect. And that is more often earned by those worthy of it. By demonstrating your achievements, your accomplishments, your skills and capabilities. Rulers/leaders who have done more for their citizens, who have given more to them instead of demanded from, who have listened rather than imposed, are the ones who are most loved and respected. It is those who are given control voluntarily by others. Often even unknowingly.

But the most important control of all is to be able to control your own destiny, be what you want to be, and achieve all that you want to achieve. Life is to be lived, not controlled.

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