By Suma Varughese
Real choice would mean the capacity to deliberate, to choose between two options, to be conscious
|Suma Varughese is Editor-in-Chief of Life Positive. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org|
It is a New Age truism that every moment in our life we are confronted with a choice and that our destiny is crafted by the choices we make.
This, of course, is theoretically true. If you choose to eat responsibly and at regular hours you will probably have a far healthier life than if you overeat or eat all the wrong things. If you keep your cool and always act wisely you are likely to enjoy more peace of mind and success than someone who acts impulsively and off the cuff.
But the point is, how much choice does the person who acts impulsively or who overeats have? All of us know that reactivity happens before we can put a handle on it. Before we know it we are either stuffing our face or blowing our top. Real choice would mean the capacity to deliberate, to choose between two options, to be conscious.
If we could really choose, would we not all choose the wiser, more life-affirmative action? Most of the time, it is conditioning that causes us to act and not our intellect. We may want to go to sleep early and wake up at five to do our sadhana but force of habit compels us to watch that late night film. You may indeed have every intention of finishing your project in a timely fashion but conditioning forces you to procrastinate. Choice implies self-control and will power and these qualities may not always be present.
Ask me. For the last several years I struggled vainly to lead the kind of balanced, rational life that I longed for but I never could. If the wrong kind of food was placed before me, I would have it, whether I should or not. If people pushed my buttons, I exploded. There was certainly no question about staying calm and reasonable. The reaction was so fast that there was little I could do except watch myself with horror.
However, each time I did what I did not want to, I would employ the tools of awareness and acceptance to let go of it and to recommit myself to the goal of living a conscious life. And slowly, choice is finally manifesting in my life. Recently, I put on a little more weight than I am comfortable with. My normal reaction would be to agonise over it night and day, and watch myself like a hawk over the fear that I would over-eat.
This time, I finally took the controls into my hands and decided to consciously lose weight. And I have. I am eating less and am going for swift early morning walks. For the first time in a long time, I have consciously whittled down my weight.
Choice feels wonderful. You feel in control and you reconise that you finally have the inner coherence you needed to realise your dreams. Choice enables you to move moment by moment into the life you visualise for yourself. Choice happens when you like yourself, trust yourself and believe in yourself. When you really have the capacity to make choices, you are a phenomenon; no longer life’s plaything.
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