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Do You Have a Choice?

The choice is yours

Bowl of freshly picked salad - peas, lettuce, nasturtium flowers, and leaves, fennel. Garden scene as a backdrop, with pond and willow trees in distance
Choosing salad ingredients at Evergreen is easy. Choosing to live consciously can take a little longer! Photo by Lara.

I am carrying around inside my head a very dangerous weapon.

I think I’m in control of it, but it’s in control of me.

This weapon knows what it wants and what it doesn’t want. It seeks out and destroys anything it disagrees with. It’s automatic, easily activated, and does more harm than good.

The trouble is I’ve learned to trust this weapon. I've gotten to think it helps me get what I want and keeps me safe. I’ve spent years fine-tuning this weapon with beliefs that dictate what should happen. And the only things that should happen are things that I want to happen.

Like everyone else, the main thing I want in life is happiness.

The weapon inside my head believes that the only way to make sure that I get happiness is to block, deny, argue with, or destroy anything happening now that I didn’t plan, expect, or want.

If I burn the fruit toast or bust the zip on my jeans, the weapon tries to make me happy by insisting it’s not my fault.

If I receive a rejection slip from an editor or am served a long mac instead of a long black because the barista didn’t understand my enunciation, the weapon tries to make me happy by insisting that the world is full of idiots.

If I get a flat tyre on the freeway or lose half the fig crop to the crows, the weapon tries to make me happy by telling me to frown, shake my fist at the sky, and yell, ‘Why is this happening to me?’

Of course, none of the things the weapon does makes me happy. But paradoxically, it leaves me more resolved to fight back at life with this useless weapon that has never actually found happiness for me.

You Only Have a Choice When You Are Conscious

Of course, you realise that I’m talking about my automatic, unconscious, reactionary thoughts. I’m deluding myself that I’m choosing these thoughts, when in fact these thoughts are choosing me. I’m in their power - their automatic power - until I become aware of them by becoming truly conscious.

Most of our choices aren’t choices at all — they’re just automatic, habitual reactions.

I can either live my life through a series of unconscious reactions driven by automatic thoughts, or through conscious actions resulting from conscious thoughts.

The only way to have conscious thoughts is to be present in my body, not just in my head.

Conscious thoughts require attentive presence.

How to Ensure You Have a Choice

Eckhart Tolle, in his book, The Power of Now:

Choice implies consciousness – a high degree of consciousness. Without it, you have no choice. Choice begins the moment you disidentify from the mind and its conditioned patterns, the moment you become present. Until you reach that point, you are unconscious, spiritually speaking.

Once you choose to be present in the moment and accept what is happening in it, you stop reacting, you cease using the useless weapon. You make a conscious choice about it.

My unconscious choices in relation to daily happenings could have resulted in conscious choices:

  • Burnt toast – pay attention.

  • Broken zip – take more care.

  • Rejection slip – accept it, keep writing, keep improving.

  • Wrong coffee order – this is the universe telling me to speak more clearly.

  • Flat tyre – these things happen to everyone. Get out the jack or call the RAC.

  • The crows – acknowledge that birds have to eat too or buy a net.

Eckhart Tolle again:

The opportunity that is concealed within every crisis does not manifest until all the facts of any given situation are acknowledged and accepted. As long as you deny them, as long as you try to escape from them or wish that things were different, the window of opportunity does not open up, and you remain trapped inside the situation, which will remain the same or deteriorate further.

I don’t want my life circumstances to deteriorate further.

I’m going to be present and make conscious choices.

I choose to have a choice.

With love, Marlane

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