Present-Moment Awareness: A Better Way to Stay in Control
Feeling in control is a critical issue in everyone’s life. Most people are uncomfortable being out of control—a state that produces anxiety, uncertainty, confusion, panic, and loss of self-confidence, depending on how severe the loss of control is. Let’s see what a natural way of being in control looks like.
Control Starts at the Cellular Level
If you live entirely in the present, you are also in control. This isn’t a connection that seems obvious. But the best example is right in front of you. If you look at your body, each cell exists in a state of natural dynamic balance at every moment. A cell can’t afford to lose control. The multiple functions of a cell’s existence are handled simultaneously, and when the situation calls for a change, the cell responds flexibly. The cell’s multiple functions are reflected in activities familiar in your life: eating, drinking, breathing, reproducing itself, healing, renewing, and resting. But those are just broad outlines. A cell’s actual activities span a vast chemical array of proteins and enzymes managed with exquisite sensitivity by the cell’s DNA.
What does this have to do with you feeling in control? One connection is obvious: your body must be functioning well in order for you to feel that you are in a state of well-being. You can’t be in control without a good night’s sleep, because poor sleep leads to hormonal imbalances and the loss of motor control, among other things. You need a steady flow of energy from regular eating habits and a whole-foods diet. There cannot be constant stress, which steadily erodes the body’s ability to rebalance itself after the last stress response has occurred. Chronic low-grade stress is a major hidden health hazard in modern life.
Yet the issue of control contains a central mystery, because a cell’s ability to balance multiple functions simultaneously has never been adequately explained. It constitutes what could be called a field phenomenon; that is, all the disparate parts are regulated by a single controller that is holistic, the way the Earth’s magnetic field influences every magnet anywhere on the planet. But in the case of cells, no physical field explains how multiple functions can be controlled, as if by an invisible intelligence. Luckily for the cell, it has no choice but to trust in the field effect that keeps it running in perfect balance.
You are also embedded in the field of infinite intelligence that we call consciousness, but unlike a cell, you can lose contact with the field. To be in control requires tuning in to the level of consciousness that isn’t perturbed by external forces. This is actually a natural steady state, but in modern life, with its stress, distractions, and fast pace, remaining steady and centered requires consciously being mindful.