“I wanted to change my shirt but I changed my mind instead”
Winnie the Pooh
Have you noticed that every moment of your life is a moment of choice?
I know it’s hard to really get that because, most of the time, we’re on autopilot with our routines and our unquestioning acceptance of life ‘as is’.
We tend to forget that life ‘as is’ is the result of PAST thoughts, past choices and past beliefs. If we want life to be ‘as desired’, then we have to change our CURRENT thoughts, current choices and current beliefs.
That means that we can choose to intercept our autopilot thinking, speaking and behavior. More and more, we can make them moments of conscious choice
But perhaps you’ve decided that it’s easier to remain on autopilot, believing that being a conscious chooser can be hard work.
Take my friend, Beverly, for instance. For weeks she agonized over a choice she believed she had to make. You’d think it was a life-changing choice. It wasn’t, at least not in the way we think of life-changing choices
It wasn’t about whether she should have an operation or not. It wasn’t about whether she should marry her boyfriend or not. It wasn’t about buying a house or donating an organ. It wasn’t anything like that.
So what was this choice that she’d spent weeks agonizing over?
This: “Should I exercise for five minutes every day or not?”
Yep, you can pick your jaw from off the floor now. And no, I’m not telling you a porky either.
You see, poor old Bev was feeling dreadfully conflicted. She believed it was the right thing to exercise. She was afraid that if she didn’t exercise, she’d end up with medical and physical problems as she did spend most of her day at her desk.
But, the fact was, Bev didn’t like to exercise. In fact, the very thought of it made her recoil with dread and pour herself even deeper into desk work.
For as long as she remained conflicted about what she believed was the ‘right’ thing to do and what she really felt, Bev could not make a choice. And the more she procrastinated making her choice, the longer it remained unresolved in her mind.
Her ‘solution’? Pour herself deeper into her work, distract herself.
But as you and I know, (because I’m sure we’ve had similar experiences), you can never completely distract yourself, can you? That unmade decision is still tossing and turning in your subconscious mind waiting for you to put it to bed.
Without you noticing it, you start avoiding things, topics and people who remind you of it. Sometimes, you go out of your way to convince yourself that other things are so much more important.
“This is trivial. I’ll deal with it later. For goodness sake, it’s not a matter of life and death!”
Or you convince yourself that you don’t have all the information you need and it’ll take you a while to gather it all. In the meantime, distract yourself.
Yes, I know a lot about all these little devices that we use to get out of making a choice. I’ve been a master of them!
The sad thing is, trivial as they may seem, we expend a disproportionate amount of time, mental and emotional energy in not making them! Crazy but true.
And yet, most of these choices are really easy to make, once we know how AND once we understand why it is we experience such turmoil, resistance and reluctance to make them.
You see, they really do drain away our life energy for as long as they remain unmade. They really are life and death decisions, slow death that is!
It’s much harder to resist or avoid anything than it is to allow. Always!
Not making a choice is resisting the flow of life. Making a choice, on the other hand, allows ‘flow’, it allows energy to do its work!
So, what are some of the things that you need to understand about why you find it hard to make choices and become a more ‘conscious chooser’ than an ‘autopilot’?
Here they are:
- There are no ‘permanent’ choices unless you choose to make them so. You need not condemn yourself to a life sentence of the choices you make
- The best and most freeing choices are always open to review and revision
- Not acting according to a choice you have made doesn’t make you bad, irresponsible or a failure. It simply reflects your un-awakened state. It is an opportunity to awaken, to observe yourself, to understand yourself and to take charge of your life.
- There are no ‘wrong’ choices, only choices based on what you have and know best at any given time
- You are a creative being whose creative process involves making choices after choices after choices – see it as a marvelous adventure in a field of infinite possibilities!
And finally, that empowering and liberating question that you can ask yourself whenever you are faced with a choice, regardless of how trivial or significant it may seem to you:
What do I most want now?
Yes, that is the only question you need to ask yourself every time and any time you want to make a choice.
Forget these types of questions:
What is the best or right thing to do?
What is the easiest thing to do?
What is the best gift I can give?
What is the best deal I can get?
None of these questions will inspire you and free you for three reasons:
1) They are all about things beyond your control, based on arbitrary standards or values of others.
2) They speak in absolute not relative terms which means they do not easily lend themselves to review and revision
3) They are based on life ‘as is’.
But asking, “What do I most want now?” inspires and frees you to listen to your true desires which are not based on life ‘as is’ but which draws on your imagination, that creative genius which roams freely and is truly at home in the field of infinite possibilities!
Ask this question when faced with the most ‘mundane’ or ‘trivial’ choice. Ask it when faced with the most trying and ‘critical’ choice.
Ask it. Then listen. Really listen. Then allow yourself to be guided into an inspired, empowering and liberating choice!
Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you cantake control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedomthat comes from being in charge of yourself.
Robert F Bennett
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