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The Paradox of Choice

choiceWe’ve all probably heard people talking about “making choices.” You always have a choice, we are told. Teach our children make the right choices. On the surface it seems that we do have choices – at least between what is right and what is wrong. “If you choose to do drugs, you will destroy your life.” “If you don’t go to school, you’ll end up in poverty,” etc. But is this always true?

When we are trapped in our mind and its existing content, (our beliefs, concepts, worldviews) we make decisions based on our previous conditioning. Everything that happened to us before will govern the choices we make now. Are the choices we make, conscious? Most of time, they are not. If we’re lucky and were just mildly screwed-up by our parents, the choices we make might be closer to our true potential. Otherwise, they might be driven by our fears, pain, insecurities and a desire to be accepted and loved, to belong. We can say that at any given moment we make “the best choice we can based on the level of knowledge we have.” In this sense, our choices are pre-determined. This includes the people we get involved with, our friends, our behaviors, our patterns of communication, whether we become drug addicts or victims of domestic violence. So, do we really choose these things, or do they choose us? If you look back at your life and think about it – do you feel that you truly had a free choice?

But then, something happens…

We realize that the content of our mind is not “the whole picture” and that life itself is much greater than anything we can think about it. At that point, the process of awakening initiates. And this is when we start having choices. Do we make decisions based on the content of our mind, or let life just happen through us and surrender to its unfolding?

We oscillate between these two states: the state of Being and the Ego-state, (the content of the mind). When we are able to let life happen; when we are aligned with life itself and “go with the flow”, everything goes smoothly, easily and good things effortlessly come to us. There is no effort involved in letting life happen. But whenever we have a resistance to the flow of life because we believe that “things should be this way or that” – we experience life as something difficult, hard, even overwhelming. It’s hard to go against the stream.

At this stage, we do have choice. It’s not a choice between “this way” or “that way,” but a choice between Being and Doing, Presence and Unconsciousness, Life or Mind.

Finally, there is another state of being which only very few people ever reach. Some call it Enlightenment. This is an ego-less state, a state in which there is no separation between the life force and one’s mind. Mind becomes a servant of the life force, helping to express life in the here and now. And interestingly enough, choice disappears here again. When somebody is completely aligned with the totality of Life and all that there is, the question of choice evaporates because only one action, (or non-action) is possible for each moment and only that action is a “true action” because it arises from the depth of life itself.

And so, the cycle of choice begins with “no choice,” continues through the struggle between “choice-no choice,” only to arrive at the state of “no choice” again.

Where are you now? And what are YOUR choices?

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