The Controller and the Hero

The Controller and the Hero

by Ruth Cherry, PhD

The Controller part of us knows how things ‘should’ be. She knows what’s right and what’s unacceptable and how we should look. She ‘has a vision’ which, she is sure, will make our lives turn out just the right way which will then lead us to happiness.

We listen to her and trust her during the first half of life. She gets us through school and work and child rearing. She focuses on behavior and activity and doing. And we garner some rewards. We fit in, our kids look fine, and we’ve achieved respectability. And then after a few years we say, ‘And what now?’

We can let the Controller keep pushing and positing goals for us and repeat the first half of life but really isn’t it a bit empty? There must be more to life than our minds can suggest. And then we realize we’ve benefitted as much as we can from the Controller. Now we need to listen to an as-yet-unheard-from part of us. In our quiet moments when we’re not too focused, we hear from our Hero.

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The Hero is not ego-based or fear-based as is the Controller. The Hero lets go and surrenders and lives in a state of surrender. Life flows through her, she doesn’t direct life. And if she forgets that momentarily she breathes into that peaceful place inside, even if she can’t feel it at the moment (because she remembers that it’s there) and says , “I’m available.” She knows that the second half of life is for practicing attunement and she must check in regularly by meditating to practice that attunement. It’s not about success or acclaim.  It’s simply experiencing her oneness with God.

At the end of the day the Hero gives thanks for experiences of God and she also gives thanks for everything else. She knows that disappointments are opportunities to move more deeply inside and to heal at a depth of consciousness that hasn’t yet been explored.

The Hero pays attention to the details of daily life in a non-proprietary way. She observes the patterns and the themes. She watches her feelings and reactions and releases them and lets them pass. She watches the outside world and notices the details that mirror the inside world and she breathes and surrenders. She appreciates the oneness of the world around her and the world inside. It’s all the same.

It is truly a Hero’s journey to maintain a constant state of attention and availability. When the Controller intrudes too loudly, the Hero gives her a job to do that is appropriate for a Controller–managing a project or organizing a closet or making a list. The Controller solves problems. The Hero keeps her focus on attunement and availability.

Owning our power is the greatest second-half-of-life challenge for everyone. What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t know enough? What if I mess up? The truth is we’re not good enough, we don’t know enough, and we will and do mess up all the time. But that’s not the point. Owning our power is jumping into the game and saying, ‘I’m willing to play. I’ll do my best and I’ll check in for guidance by meditating. I don’t know where I’m going but I know I must show up and bring all of myself.’ No excuses, no delays.

We come from our peaceful centers and we nurture that peace. That’s what power is–our personal experience of the peace that exists beyond our individual selves. That peace exists. We can participate in it or not. It’s up to our Hero.

Be still and know that I am God.’ We are asked to ‘know,’ that is to be present, to experience our oneness with God. Isn’t that an amazing thought? I am one with God. My power lies in being still and knowing my oneness with God and that is Hero’s work. The Controller stays busy and gets tired and maybe frustrated and sometimes she’s a little tense and maybe short, but who can blame her? She does so much.

The Hero is still and knows her oneness with God. The Hero listens and is committed to being present. She doesn’t know if she will act or what she will do. She doesn’t think about the future. The Hero is simply available now. She’s not caught in resentment from some injustice that truly was an injustice but now is past. She doesn’t take offense because taking offense is as bad as giving offense and breaks her knowing that she is one with God. She practices forgiveness so she won’t lose her experience of oneness. The Hero doesn’t let anything interfere with her experience of oneness, not even the Controller.

The truth is that the Controller doesn’t want to be one with God. She wants to have her own identity and her own way and to get a lot done and to move fast and cram as much in a day as she can. The Hero is still and knows her oneness with God and that is all. She knows that life is about learning and she is humble and always alert for her lessons. She is a student, she is receptive, she waits to be shown. She says ‘Yes’ to Life and works in partnership with Life.

The Controller and the Hero are each good parts of us. Are you willing to let each part of you have time this week? Your Controller can get something done and your Hero can practice availability. Will you do that?

About the author:

Ruth Cherry, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in San Luis Obispo, CA. Her specialty is integrating psychological and spiritual dynamics. Her latest books are Open Your Heart, Accepting Unconditional Love, and Living in the Flow: Practicing Vibrational Alignment. Her web site is

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