Why choosing is vastly different from controlling

Why choosing is vastly different from controlling

After I wrote last week about the need to choose your space so you’re able to regularly come to your inner work, my mind brought up this big objection:

If you’re choosing your space, isn’t that just more mind control?

Since we know the mind attempts to control pretty much everything, but we’re learning to live beyond these methods of control, then when it comes time to hold an inner voice session, meditate, or tune in to what’s awakening inside you, it can be off-putting when the mind puts its spin of control on that.

For a long time, I didn’t set a time for going in.

Even for years after I became an inner voice facilitator, and holding regular inner voice sessions was very much a huge part of my life, setting up a specific time of day for the sessions would feel constricting, because every time I tried to do it, my mind made up rules around it.

I didn’t want rules around my inner voice practice because it felt like I was constricting my most precious life moment. Being allergic to religion, I just couldn’t turn my new life-giving practice into a stodgy bunch of curtailing rules.

So about a year ago when I tried again to set myself a consistent regimen of doing inner voice sessions first thing in the morning, because they’re most important (and I was taught growing up in Christianity to do your morning devotions right after you wake up), it felt pretty forced. Often I wasn’t fully awake, and my mind kept going blank. Sessions tended to be rambly. But sometimes deep clarity and beautiful understandings came through, despite the ill-fittingness of that container I was trying to make.

It was in one of those early morning sessions, one that started at 5:53 am last October 15, when this analogy came through about rules vs rhythms when you’re walking on a path.

Rules vs routines

Imagine you’re walking through a garden, and going through that garden is part of your daily route. You have to walk through it to get from your house to your office, let’s say.

Every day when you walk through it, you probably wouldn’t walk a different way. You’d either walk on the existing path or create one, because that’s the easiest, most efficient way to get to where you’re going.

In fact, it would be pretty confusing if you decided you shouldn’t walk on the same path, so every day you would attempt to make up a new route through that garden to get to work. And that could even lead to trampling some plants, not to mention that every single time you try to go to work, you’d feel confused and use up some of your mental bandwidth just to figure out a new way to walk.

And deciding you shouldn’t walk on the same path is pretty much a rule to avoid rules so . . .

Walking on pre-created paths is pretty natural to humans. It’s convenient, efficient, and it’s just what’s available.


What if on that same 2-foot wide path you now created walls. Walls that are higher than your body. You can still take that path, but it’s going to feel constricting every step of the way. You might feel anxious or resistant or rebellious that you’re forced to go that way. You can’t see the beautiful plants on the sidelines. You’re not allowed to explore.

Pretty soon you’d probably just avoid that walled enclosure and find a new way through the garden if you could.

When you take down the walls around the path, you still have an easy way to get to where you’re going. But when the lilacs start blooming a few feet away, (hopefully) you’ll veer off the path to smell them. You’ll go check out a chipmunk roaming a big maple tree, or take a few minutes to be with the beauty of raindrops on ferns.

Then you’ll meander back to the path in delighted ease, continuing on your way to your work.

This is the picture the inner voice gave me of rules vs routines. When we decide to do something, even something needed, something important, something vital to our life and health and growth, the mind can put up rigid walls around that decision, and those walls feel pretty constricting. But a simple pathway through life is needed. Rhythms are like paths that are for ease and to get where you’re going, but you can step off the path any time and explore beyond it.

Rules are like walls. And they’re with fear to try to keep you in that space, to keep you from going “off track”.

Rhythms have openness to them. They’re accessible, available, inviting, getting you there, but there’s not clenching to that space.

These days I do have a rhythm to my drop ins. I rarely do sessions first thing in the morning. Instead, I wait for my daughter to go to school, have a nice breakfast, and then, often, when it feels needed, when it feels available, I have a session around 9:30 or 10:00 am. But when my daughter is home (in the small RV), when something else is pressing, when the session doesn’t feel like what’s needed now, I don’t force it.

I no longer feel bad or guilty or any sense of control around that time. It’s simply been found to be the most available time that normally feels fitting for that kind of deep space to be held at the height of my morning energy. It flows within the energy currents of my day. And from the human side, I love that it feels like a natural progression of my day, and it’s not confusing when to do it. It’s there and it’s available, and so it happens.

That time developed over months of working towards setting up a time that feels the most aligning, spiraling around the energy makeup of my days, and noticing what seemed to best fit where.

So how is choosing different from controlling?

Now when it comes to choosing our space, making that firm decision to set aside time for inner work, the mind might think that just means going back to making up those rules. Forcing it. Controlling it. Making walls around the path.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

When I asked my inner voice this week, is choosing different from controlling, the answer was, ‘As different as night from day, dark from light, shadow from substance, absolutely yes.’

That instantly brought to mind the idea of a teeter totter.

I’ve had this analogy for a long time that the mind’s type of playground looks a lot like a series of teeter totters all over the place. One side goes up, the other goes down. But both sides are part of the same dynamic.

And the mind’s way of running the life can look a lot like balancing all of them to just the precise coordinates, while the wind is constantly knocking them all over the place. Some of them, mind thinks, need one side held all the way down. Like pride and humility. Better stay humble, and avoid pride, because pride, to the mind, seems pretty bad (mind’s perspective, not inner voice’s — a topic for another day).

So when it comes to control and the inner voice saying choosing is as different as night from day, I asked, is it on the same teeter totter?

The answer that came was decidedly no.

2023.09.30 Why choosing is vastly different from controlling (teeter totters)

The teeter totter of control has as its counterpart passivity. The mind can either push to control so that it can make everything happen that it wants, or it can become passive and let anything happen that anyone else wants.

Both control and passivity are on the same teeter totter. So the best the mind can do is attempt to balance them.

But this balance of control and passivity never arises to conscious choosing. It’s not on the same playground, nor even in the same dimension. It is almost completely unrelated.

Choosing is vastly different from controlling, because conscious choosing comes from innate sovereignty. That sovereignty is an aspect of Being. When the human experiences a steadiness of choice, a sense of core empowered purposeful deciding, that sovereignty is emerging from your being. It’s like a rope that extends from human all the way through the dimensions and into being. It comes from love.

In being, there is no control, because control is a property of mind. So is passivity.

Conscious choosing is not a property of mind. It’s a natural outflow of the awareness coming through the human in order to act lovingly in the world. That awareness, that beingness, is with purposefulness, intention, and decisiveness. And that decisiveness never feels like constricting rules.


What’s going to happen, when there’s an emerging of true empowered choosing from your core to make space for exploring your purpose here on earth, to make room for clarity and passion to emerge, to find time for the life-giving messages that are seeking to come through you, is your mind is probably going to make up a bunch of rules about it.

That is, if your mind works anything like mine does.

Rule-making around your deep work might not be your mind’s jam (lucky duck!), but if it is, that can get pretty distracting.

Here’s what my inner voice said about this:

'And when there is one who is not fully conscious, but is tuning in to some bit of this choosing, there is an empowered stance here. Then it may be that over top of this, when we are addressing this topic of how to make space for our work, and there is this choice emerging to invite, to indeed allow, to make room for its depths, its aliveness, its innate inner sovereignty, its empowerment through it, even to some small extent; then over this, the mind may add some silly rule, as if, "Oh, you must do this at 9:30 am every day" or 6:30 or any other time.

'And when this mind is adding these little rules and then [the human is following these,] creating the space through the mind means of working with the time in the human life, then this enters this realm of resisting and emerges this other teeter totter of wanting and resisting to do so. And yet this calling remains beneath all this that is of vastly more potency, as if there is a tiny bridge, a raft, placed on a vast ocean, but this raft is utterly meaningless in the view of the expansiveness of all that we are.

'And so then these mind means are all that it is known to use to set up spaces for itself, to get itself to do things that it knows it should, and this becomes a coloration onto our space. But then when our space is entered, by whatever means, even these mind-based rule means, then this becomes entirely unimportant how it made its way here. Whether it was on some teensy little raft, or a vast ocean liner, it found its way to its depth.


The summary version is that yeah, it’s not ideal to be making up rules about your inner work. Those rules can be debilitating. But even if that’s what happens because that’s the only way you know to do it, it’s fine. Even if it takes the mind constricting and forcing and controlling you to come to your inner spaces, once you’re there, you’re already far beyond these mental fences.

Once you dive into that ocean, the boundaries the mind made on the top 1/4 inch of the ocean simply become inconsequential.

So if your mind works like mine tends to, trying to get you to do things by making up rules, it can be a big relief to realize that you don’t even have to stop doing that to come down in here, to your being. You can come however you come. Leave it to your being to guide you out of the rule-based lifestyle and into the steady play of the rhythms of life.

Then when you’re ready to turn towards that more open rhythm-based approach, you can use any existing structure or time you’ve already gotten used to using (even if in the past) for introspection, meditation, or being with yourself for your inner work. Even if there is an impulse that’s outside of a regular existing rhythm, that can be tuned into and the energy used.

And you can also start to understand that the mind’s efforts to control you are a puny, tiny layer on top of a vast ocean of love.


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