Choice is our superpower
Updated: Oct 13, 2020
We are all faced with decisions every day. Even now you the reader are faced with a decision to read on or not. Both decisions have conflicting implications moving forward impacting anything from the emotions you feel to the actions you take. The question is how do you make the right decision and which is the more beneficial choice at any given time. Both have pro's and con's, for example if you were to stop reading now perhaps this leaves you with more time to do something else more productive, be more present with those around you, or shut off your mind for a a temporary moment of rest. On the other hand had you continued reading you may have gained something valuable within this very article that changes the way you think forever. How are we to decide what is the best outcome and how do we know long term what will bring us more happiness? I'm going to suggest that any path we decide to take is always the right choice no matter the result, I know that to most not familiar with the wisdom of Lao Tze or Taoism this may seem at first a little confusing but broadly speaking it is an unpredictable way of life that very simply lives by the 'go with the flow' mentality and that its the unpredictability of free will that gives us our greatest joy, not the outcome
I am not a man that subscribes to organised religion but I have found great wisdom in Taoist and Buddhist teachings. Taoism and Buddhism are less of a religion and more of a tool or life guide to create a more peaceful existence. The first noble truth of Buddhism is that ‘life is suffering’ It simply means that there is no life without some form of suffering. Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are suffering; association with the unbeloved is suffering, separation from the loved is suffering, not getting what is wanted is suffering. In short, the five senses are suffering. Human nature is imperfect, as is the world you live in and during your lifetime you will inevitably have to endure physical suffering such as pain, sickness, injury, tiredness, old age, and eventually death. And these are just physical. Mental suffering such as stress, anger, jealousy, judgement etc can cause just as much pain.
To be rid of ones suffering is to eliminate all desire. This is clearly not an easy task and to detach from labels, including yourself, is one of the most challenging tasks you could face. It is in itself a folly task for if we desire to cease desiring we are still desiring and therefor going in circles to perform an impossible task. The art is to not detach from the material, more to effortlessly do so. Then and only then can we begin to see that by trying to do anything creates more resistance on the way to our goal than simply being present. The action of non action or to be in harmony with the unplanned rhythm of nature show us the way
We have all played some part in creating every single experience in our lives, whether we were consciously aware of the implications of the decisions we were making or not. They directly result in what manifests into our reality and that is where we are in complete control. We are completely accountable and responsible for our actions and thoughts within the the infinite moment of now, and with that comes a great power. I have simply decided to consciously perceive uncertainty with excitement and anticipation as apposed to anxiety or fear. Although at times my learned behaviours take over and I slip back into old patterns, and there is nothing wrong with that. I can recognise and acknowledge it and come back to the now moment where the past is just previous versions of the now that I can learn from and, and the future does not yet exist so is not to be feared.
I can choose to persist as setbacks come my way or I could choose to give up, just as I can choose to perceive a problem as nothing more than a challenge to overcome and learn from. We can choose every action we take and thought we have on our path, this isn't to be confused with controlling the randomness and chaos of nature around us, but we can control how we respond in any given moment. What actions we take, what thoughts we have, what words we say. When you realise this you find its the navigating our way through the riddles of life and experience itself that’s the true joy. The fact that we are even blessed with the chance to exist at all brings me great gratitude and add to that the fact that we can manipulate and mould the way we perceive and experience that very existence, I've come to realise that our life is literally in our own hands.
Predictability is comforting to us. It provides us with security and confidence, but sometimes like in any good movie, a well hidden plot twist gives us the thrill of excitement. The idea of the unknown can be scary, and believe me, for those of you who know my own journey, I can attest to the abyss of uncertainty that surrounds a leap of faith, but predictability can be bland. Watching your favourite movie over and over again may at points still bring you some joy, but just like in life after some time you will long for a different setting, plot, characters and ending.
This is not to say we shouldn't have goals and aspirations, more we have to learn to be less rigid in what we hope the pathway there will be. We don't need to rush or find the most efficient path, the point of a good song is not to get to the end as quickly as possible, the point is to enjoy and experience the the entirety of the song. Who knows what opportunities we may pass up with such a structured and inflexible visions. From the unpredictability of free will we have the chance for new lessons and new experiences. I know now that I will not always make the best decisions, but by merely being aware of that gives me the power to learn from my mistakes and make the appropriate changes going forward. Perhaps now you the reader can see that by letting go and embracing all opportunities that come your way, good and bad, you actually have more influence over your life direction by how you address them, rather than trying to control them. Again you are now presented with a choice. You may choose to finish this article, take nothing from it and move on, or you can choose to consciously take control of your life direction by letting go of control.
Having the free will to choose is our greatest joy, having the free will to choose is our superpower