How much can we really control?

Following on from yesterday, I'd like to explore the whole purpose and passion thing a bit further. Thanks for working through this with me, and please leave your comments. :-)

I'm a rather pragmatic one. I like facts and tangible outcomes, despite my processing information preference of Intuiting. That's probably part of my German heritage. So, when I try to learn about higher planes and spirituality in general, there's resistance. Transcending all the physical planes is tough, especially if you only start learning about it as an adult.

Well, you gotta start somewhere. One of Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner's cross-cultural dimensions looks at where we think the locus of control is - External (Being) or Internal (Doing). Can we control our environment (Internal) or are things generally out of our hands (External)?

Here's how I've come to see it: when we're born into this world, we're all given a boat. This isn't your usual "we're all in the same boat" metaphor, oh no. Quite the contrary: we all have an individual boat.

It carries us up or down the stream; we can steer it wherever we want. The boat is only big enough for one person though. If we burden ourselves with other people's drama and problems, we run the risk of overloading. If we make ourselves responsible for someone else, we'll go under - even and especially a mother has to let her child go to steer their own boat. If we hang on to too many possessions and try to take everything with us, we'll capsize.  

Conclusion: each of us has our own wee boat, to take care of and maintain, to steer where we will. But no matter how nice and nimble the boat, we can't influence the flow of the river.

I still haven't landed on what to call it. The word God has so many Christian connotations for me that I probably wouldn't call it that. Dogma is scary, and this nice, good, transcendent big thing doesn't care who anyone sleeps with. Is it Love? The Universe? Life? Cosmic Consciousness? Bob? Daisy? What do you call it?

If you haven't seen it already, I thoroughly recommend this stunning TED talk by Jill Bolte-Taylor. She experienced the one-ness with everything while her left brain hemisphere shut down as she was suffering a stroke.