CHOICES – DECISIONS
The Mantra: Om Vikalpa Ucita
In this chapter and the next there are some passages advocating choice and others denying that it can be real. They are both right: at the so called “ordinary” level there are only automatisms, but in the measure that we become closer to our inner being
choice becomes possible.
All choices, even those apparently unimportant, are always
between life and death,
between the truth of our being and ignorant falsehood, between joy
and suffering, between love and fear.
Then the choice ought to be obvious.
But then why most people often make the wrong one?
Because is not really them making such choices at all
but the ignorant forces of their lives.
a) The issue is introduced by noting that any choice requires a subject
who can choose, but
the “I” that almost everyone identifies himself with is merely a complex
of countless identifications and conditionings; is like
a video game’s avatar, the figment of a dream.
Until we have begun to emerge from the dream of our life and become
the Dreamer of it we cannot have the power
to choose anything at all.
Seng-Ts’an adds that:
Perfect like infinite space is the Way with nothing missing and nothing
indeed, it is entirely due to our making choicesthat its essence is missed out.
How do we miss out its essence by making choices?
Consciously or unconsciously
each instant of our life we are opening ourselves either to the Divine
or to the forces of immemorial death.
It is not really a matter of “choice” because
any choice requires the presence of a subject
endowed with the freedom to choose,
but the superficial “I” is only a puppet pulled by invisible threads and cannot choose anything because
it doesn’t even exist in any real sense.
Until we have acquired at least a measure of Centering,
any apparent “choice” can only be determined
by our countless conditionings.
How is your Centering?
b) In any case, no choice can ever be accomplished
without the sanction of the Divine.
But what does this mean when we make the wrong choice, or see all the horrors in newspapers and TV?
Clearly the reason that He allows such things is based on factors
that cannot even begin to be comprehended
with our human mind.
Yes, many approximate explanations of it are there,
but the ultimate reasons for it, the Understanding,
can only be found after our Awakening.
Only when all choices are no longer being made by our ego and limited mind but consciously from the inner being our life will no longer be like a rocky, uphill one or like passing through an arid desert
but will become lined with flowers along
a stream of pure water.
If you think that you have already the power to choose you will not strive to acquire it.
Never forget that
all “choices” are in the mind
but as our restless mind keeps constantly changing by the time their outcome manifests we might well no longer want what we had previously “chosen”:
on which frames of reference do you base your choices?
Moreover, on which basis did you select these frames of reference”?
Look at them once more.
Ultimately, as Robert Adams said:
There is only one decision you need to make:
you are either working at your freedom
or accepting your bondage.
But this decision cannot be made just once and for all but by be reaffirmed each time a challenge comes up
Ayn Rand adds that:
In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values,
he must know what he is and where he is – i.e.
he must know his own nature
c) What the forces of our lives often “choose” for us is conflict,
suffering, unhappiness, etc, instead of happiness, love and vision
which is a form of mental insanity making it only too obvious that
we are not yet in control of ourselves at all.
Almost everyone loves the idea of choice but then most end up “choosing” their familiar and comfortable ways instead of those which make us grow inwardly.
According to Quantum physics,
there seem to be many possible futures for each moment of our life,
and each of them is triggered by the apparent “choices”
which we make in the present.
Which conscious or unconscious choices are you making in the present?
Remain always aware that part of our human nature is that we are potential choice makers:
all the time we are confronted by a vast complexity of choices,
and should not allow the conditionings from our past
to determine them for us.
Which unfortunately is what most do all the time
Only our inner being can truly choose, never our ego
or superficial “I”.
As Arthur Miller pointed out,
Where choice begins Paradise ends, innocence ends,
for what is Paradise but the absence
of any need to choose?
What he really saying is that until a man has reached a substantial level of integration of his various personalities,
until he is still made of different parts in contradiction or even conflict
between each other he cannot choose:
when a man is still divided between the many parts of himself he has the illusion of choosing this or that,
but the next moment another part of him takes over
and resists or changes the previous “choice”.
To which extent are you divided?
What are you going to DO about it?
d) experience is that:
Everything tells me that I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just part of life.
And then he asked:
What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks,
to go back to where I came from because I didn’t
have the courage to say “yes” to life?
How would you answer these questions?
Elias Canetti agrees:
Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster.
Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune?
Actually, most walk into their misfortune not with open eyes but like bats blinded by the noon sun.
All the same, their apparent “decisions”
ultimately can be liberating, in the sense that consciously
or unconsciously they learn something from it.
Consider these two apparently opposite statements:
There is no one choosing to hear.
There is no one choosing to smell.
There is no one choosing to think.
There is no one choosing to choose.
Sorry, but there are no exceptions.
Thích Nhất Hanh:
At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you
closer to your spirit or further away from it.
How often, or not often, do you remember this before choosing?
This dichotomy is only apparent:
Indeed there is no “I” as it is ordinarily conceived of, no “person” that can choose
but the choice is always there
in a deeper level of ourselves.
When a Sheik asked the Kabuli a difficult theological question, whether it would be right to break the Ramadan’s fast if this was the only possible way to save the life of a faithful, His reply was:
Effendi, you are talking about a choice, but you are not willing to consider
any arguments not confirming what you are so sure of,
therefore I have nothing more to tell you!
What does this tell you?
It is the case of most people when they are talking of the “choices.” that they are inclined to make
The Veil endeavors to make so that it is almost never US
making any choices or decisions but only
conditionings from the past.
Until you realize this, you will have no incentive to strive and become free of them.
The Veil of course always strives to influence us in making
the wrong possible choice: be always alert
and on your guard against it.
In the Dreamgame Choices and Decisions are of course CROSSROADS, but they are often also a BLINDSPOT in which what we should do has been hidden or disguised, and it is not always easy to discover it.
The major blindspot is always that:
The “I” that we are so identified with is NOT who we really are
and has no power whatsoever to choose
anything at all.
Until we find out who we really are
we remain like the personage of a film, or the protagonist
of a novel, unable to change the plot.
Please look at this a bit more before reading on.
The Devil’s Advocate:
Who is the entity in you who has the power to choose anything at all?
Any “choice” can only be made from the conditionings deeply set in your brain, and to become free of them all is almost impossible until you remain identified with the old forces of your life – but my client with a little help from yours truly will see to it that this will never happen!
The problem with choices is that when they are made
from your ego and superficial personality
they end up imprisoning you.
To become free of this deadly mechanism is infinitely more important
than the choice itself.
To which extent can you see this?
Words of Power:
The only real choice is whether to be moved by the Divine in us
and be truly ourselves at last or be moved
by the blind forces of our life.
Whatever comes I simply ask myself: in which direction does this go?
Is this what I really want?
I always ask the Divine to choose for me
“I have set in front of thee life and death, blessing
and cursing. Therefore, choose life.”
“You must choose between total freedom and total bondage,
for there are no alternatives but these. “
A Course in Miracles
Which are the main choices that you have made?
Did they accomplish what you REALLY wanted?
Why don’t you let the Divine choose for you instead?
When Vijay was still studying philosophy as a teenager he read Kierkegaard’s “Aut-Aut”, which means “Or this or that” and presents the radical choice between what he called the ethical (spiritual) life and the esthetical one (ordinary life.)
Although at the times he still associated spirituality with religion, which he deeply despised, and Kierkegaard was a devout Christian, he was deeply touched by the
Aut-Aut because intuitively he felt that
it is the most essential question of all.
Question/ko’han 1 and 2:
Which are your frames of reference when making a choice?
How do you know they are right? Are you SURE?
Look at them once more.
Ultimately there are no good and bad choices,
only actions and reactions.
True or false?
By making personal choices based on self-interest
we lose contact with the Divine’s Will.
Assuming that you don’t want that,
how will you make your next choice?
The most important decision we can make
is about which is the true meaning of our lives.
Which is true meaning of your life?
Rumi said that
The Creator has given you this splendor, so why
do you bother with anything else?
Are you bothering with anything else? Why?
According to Malcolm Gladwell, truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.
How will you achieve such balance?
The Course in Miracles has the last word:
Every choice we make is ultimately between
a grievance and a miracle.
Which one you usually choose?
If the grievance, why?
Don’t be deceived.
1) Consider this passage of Osho:
Why is it that when you choose you suffer?Because any choice
divides life: something is cut down and thrown away.
You do not accept the totality.
You agree to something and deny something else: that’s what it means to choose.But life is a totality.If you choose something and deny something else, what you deny will reach you, because life cannot be divided.And what you deny, for the mere fact that you deny it, acquires an enormous power over you.
If you choose, you have become a victim, and you will suffer.If you become aware of this totality of opposites and how life works,
you do not choose.
A choice must always have a chooser, and much of the confusion
about “choice” is the confusion about our identity.
The important relationship between identity and choice is this: the “little dreamer” WITHIN the dream is not the DREAMER of the dream. The “little self” you seem to BE within your sleeping dreams is not who you ARE;
it is not that little, illusionary, dream self
who is doing any choosing.
2) Become aware that as the Course in Miracles said:
Whenever you choose to make decisions for yourself you’re thinking destructively; and the decision will be wrong. It will hurt you
because of the concept of decision that led to it.
It is not true that you can make decisions by yourself
or for yourself alone.
3) Meditate on these words of Mère:
You can make your choice once and for all, irrevocably, and then
you have only to confirm it with every new occasion;
or else if you do not take a definite decision from the beginning,
you will have to choose a new at each moment
between the falsehood and the Truth.
Sounds easy, no?
1) This passage of Sri Aurobindo :
You must choose, and the choice is constantly put before you,
and if you do not choose, well, you do not advance.
You must choose; there is no “force like that” which chooses for you, or chance or luck or fate – this is not true. Your will is free; it is deliberately left free and you have to choose.
It is you who decide whether to seek the Light or not, whether to be the servitor
of the truth or not – it is you. Or whether to have an aspiration or not,
it is you who choose. It is you who must want to do it.
Anything that doesn’t go towards the Divine
into the wasteland of non-being is lost –
my mind keeps keep wondering why
to ever consider any choice at all!
Aut-Aut, Kierkegaard said, this or that choose
as both we can’t have, cannot serve two masters.
But who in us has the power to choose? Just now
a butterfly alighted on a bougainvillea branch.