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An illusion is a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses. As we enter into the new year, let’s not get caught up in the illusion that we have some level of control over others thoughts and actions to the fallacy it robs us of peace. Often times those closest to us cause the most headache because we think that we can change what they think and what they do absent of their own desire for change.

Recently, an LHP employee sent me a quote by author Jack Kornfield that said, “Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control. We can love and care for others but we cannot possess our children, lovers, family, or friends.”

When I first read this quote, I was a little taken aback by the notion that the thought of possessing my children was an illusion restricting me from experiencing peace in my life; however, I had no problem knowing that I could not control the thoughts and actions of others. From Jack Kornfield’s point of view, we possess no control over the thoughts and actions of a person who is capable of making decisions on their own, good or bad, and to think we have is basically an illusion.

Parents who give their children too much liberty without giving them clear and understandable guidance in the youth of their life are doomed for disappointment.  When they become young men and women making decisions, we can wish them well but we cannot force them to behave differently than their “thoughts and actions.” Perhaps we thought we could and maybe we had some degree of success when they were much younger but now that they are grown we need to void ourselves of the illusion of controlling their action for our peace of mind.

Finally, we can love and care for people but we cannot possess them. As Jack Kornfield said, “We can assist them, pray for them, and wish them well, yet in the end their happiness and suffering depend on their thoughts and actions, not on our wishes.” To this end, peace is an illusion that cannot be acquired so long as we think that we can control others behavior.

Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten

chaplain@lhp.net