“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” – Steve Jobs
Trust Life, for we are life itself. Whenever we use thinking to figure things out in Life, we cannot grasp but only what we have been taught and conditioned to see as evident. When there is trust, the question of fate or choice is meaningless.
“I can control my destiny, but not my fate. Destiny means there are opportunities to turn right or left, but fate is a one-way street. I believe we all have the choice as to whether we fulfill our destiny, but our fate is sealed.” – Paulo Coelho
Fate and Destiny are one and the same street. Whether it has turns or not is just a matter of perception and wording.
“Destiny has a lot to do with it, but so do you. You have to persevere, you have to insist.” -Andrea Bocelli
“You” are Life acting, going. Destiny is Life arriving through that same act.
“I knew it was destiny, and at the same time, I knew it as choice.” – Jeanette Winterson
Destiny and choice are one and the same.
What is intuitive, observable, conditioning aside; is very hard to put in words. When I share something in this blog, is not a “teaching.”
Teachers charge for their “knowledge.” Their “knowledge” is second hand, acquired through someone, a system a religion, etc. They teach that, which is easy to assimilate by the masses.
Ahnanda is aware that whatever comes through him, is not “his.” Ahnanda did not make “effort” or “studied with the top masters” or has a library of “spiritual books” to get what he shares. It is not “my choice” to think “spiritual” things, make a plan for an article and write. It just happens.
When I express that opposites are truly inseparable. That gets misunderstood easily. Most will try to make sense with their heads rather than observing their experiences.
A reader wrote: “…it is actually a very simple thing that the “Good” and “Bad”, “Right” and “Wrong”, “Higher” and “Lower”, both things exist together in one single system, they are inseparable. But this is making me think you know that if I don’t want the bad part, I will actually have to renounce wanting the good part as well…”
Observe the confusion. This is not a matter of “choice.” Someone will experience only what he needs to experience in Life, but the labels to describe the experiences become his world rather than the experience itself.
If I experience “cold” it is because I know what “hot” is. If I say “I don’t want to experience hot, thus I need to renounce cold, for both go together in a system.” That is experientially senseless, although intellectually it may make sense.
Let me clarify: Pain and Pleasure are polarities of the same experience. It is the same experience in movement, that is why one side will bring the other.
Life is not an intellectual game. The problem with lack of fulfillment in life that most humans experience; is that their whole life is in the head, the mind.
Hurricane “Irma” IS. There is the assumption that it could hit Florida – USA in a couple of days. Observe how futile is the human drive for certainty: In Nature, there is no “extrapolation of past events to forecast the future.” Observe how the news and some business are thriving unexpectedly out of this incident. The hype is there. The talk that “ Irma could go this way or that way” bring lots of “experts.” The population grows with fear: “What to do? Do I leave and go someplace “safe” or do I stay?” That is the gamble.
People don’t want to make a mistake and spend money unnecessarily. They live in their heads. Their “choice” is giving them a headache. They want to be “right.”
That is the world of the mind, the head. All the information disseminated through the media only increases panic, in the name of safety.
Listen to your gut feeling and go with it. You will be at peace. Just make sure it is your gut feeling and not your mind.
End of report.
“But… but.. what about if I am “wrong”?”
A gut feeling doesn’t work that way. Have we noticed that?
In Life there is no such a thing as being “right or wrong.” That is a human invention that only works in the “office world.” When we deal with Nature, with the forces of Life itself, those mental standards are worth absolutely nothing.
Life is about experiences. Some will experience a hurricane, others will not. There is no right or wrong. Is a hurricane good or bad? 🙂 It just IS. If it IS, it has a “reason” to BE.
If we label a hurricane as “bad,” then we will have a “bad” experience and the “good” experience of not having a hurricane, may have yet another type of “bad” experience. We are caught up with senseless labels.
Nature is unpredictable, just like Life, just like a gut feeling.
Life and death go together. They are not separate.
A “choice” is not a choice, when there is togetherness.
What should the decisions be based on? Why confusion happens inside us? Maybe because we are not connected to ourselves? What brings clarity. Since every action has a consequence and we know that, there is a choice everywhere and in everything. What makes it a no choice, an expression of who we are ? Sometimes there are also compulsions which can drive us, how do we know that this choice is right for us? That it is a conscious decision in accordance with our inner nature and not just a compulsive action? How can we get rid of our compulsions?
Well, one answer which comes to me is observing oneself. Still, I want you to discuss more about it and throw some more light on it.
Thank you for your questions.
“What should be decisions based on?”
It depends on the game that you are playing.
If you play the game of society, your decisions should be based on the conditioning of the mind. Carefully thought out decisions, weighing the pros and cons.
If you are playing the game of Life, the above is nonsense.
You may be able to eat pretty good with the “choice” above but you may not be able to sleep well, and without sleep; you may not be able to enjoy Life.
Sleeping well is not a matter of buying a good mattress and selecting the one with most features (as society may teach you.) It is a matter of having your conscience at ease.
“Thinking” your choices may allow you to feel that you are safe, and on the “right track to success” but that is an illusion for not everyone makes it in the game of society. Too much competition, too many variables, “stuff happens” all the time.
“Why confusion happens inside us?” Because you are not AWARE of the different games to play. Thus, what brings clarity? To sit still and empty your mind of conditioned stuff.
The game of Life entails the recognition of a force “inside” which knows our path. That is not your mind. If you are not AWARE of it, let me describe it with unclear, dualistic words: We can call it the heart or even better, the gut as in a “gut feeling.” This decision is not a choice, for you are not willingly making it, but merely following your “instinct.” This “decision” is labeled in “spiritual circles” as following your dharma. It is a “choice-less choice.” This decision is not necessarily advantageous for you, if you look at it from the perspective of the game of Society, but nevertheless, it is the “right choice” if you look at it from the unlimited view of Life.
How do you know? There are no regrets. Your conscience will be at ease.
Sometimes the mind will interfere to convince you (rationalize) that your choice was made from your gut feeling. That is your challenge and task, to recognize. That is when the keyword you used “Observe yourself” could be handy.
A blind person can ask: What color is the sky? The response from someone who sees could be “blue.” However, what does “blue” mean to a blind person? Nothing. His question is theoretical, for color is something that he does not experience. Clarity is brought automatically, when is the time for that blind person to experience sight, in this Life or the ones after. If you understood the last writings, there is no experience lasting forever, they move from one side of the range of experiences into the other (sight/ blindness) Then, when is his turn to see, he will not ask “what color is the sky?” But before that, he could look for “solutions,” and that is an interesting game to play, which will expand his Life experiences. It is a win/win situation! 🙂
You are asking, “How do we know that this choice was right for us?”
That question means that you are playing the game of society. Do you want to use the rules of the game of Life in the game of society? They are different games!
If you play the game of Life, there is no choice and thus no need to become anxious about hoping to have done the “right” thing or not. If a decision is not “right” for you and this comes from your core not your mind, it is the right “decision-less decision” for the Universe… and since there is Oneness, it is the best thing for all! A win/win situation!
Let me give you a “secret” to ease your mind. Whether you use your thoughts or your gut, whether you make a “right” decision or a “wrong” one, it is still what had to happen in Life.
So put the theory aside, the anxiety of being “right” aside and relax. Unwind.
Ultimately, any path you take whether it was chosen or not, whether north or south, will take you on the way to your destination or your money back guaranteed! – (Just using Society’s terminology for the sake of understanding. )
You asked, “how can we get rid of our compulsions?”
By not trying to get rid of them but by becoming aware of them.
As mentioned before, you cannot play the game of Life with the understanding of the rules of the game of society (get rid of something you don’t like, by hoping that someone knows the “method”- That is a toy to play with in society but not in Life.)
However, you could play the game of society and play the game of Life and enjoy both at the same time… That is a great bargain indeed! But for that to take things seriously may need to be erased in your “inner” dictionary. 🙂
That word (predestination) implies religious servitude of the “I.” It implies for the “I” to be a puppet of destiny, determinism.
That is why, I’d like to replace that word with “choice-less action” for choice is of the “I” and so is predestination. “No-I” means that choice and predestination are flushed down the toilet. That is freedom from predestination and the “I.”
To be ONE with Life is to be Life itself, choice-less action. There is DOING, but not “I did it.” It happened through “me.”
The understanding of the above is so important, even if only at the intellectual level. Otherwise, we are stuck in “spirituality of the I.”
“Life works for ME. Everything happens for ME. God is there watching after ME. “I” am his most precious creation. “I” can manifest all my desires, Life is about God and MYSELF, etc.”
It is all about ME, I and MYSELF making choices, controlling Life, accomplishing objectives, becoming someone else… All that triviality is masked in our society with beautiful labels. “Self-help books” are there to give methods so “I am successful.”
Carol didn’t have a good sleep. Was it her choice?
She woke up when the alarm sounded and she felt crabby. Her choice?
Even though her body wanted to rest, she used her “willpower” (pretty word for the mind) to get up ( Not her choice but the conditioning of being tough) and even though the coffee machine didn’t work that morning, she swore at it, hit it and magically… it started working. Her choice?
She was half awake and she drove her red Mustang. (That was her choice, for she did not have other choice. )
Anyway, a car cut her off. The driver was a chauvinistic teenager. He looked at her through the driver’s mirror and made some faces.
Carol saw that and interpreted that as an insult (Her choice due to her conditioning, thus not truly a choice.)
Carol felt very angry. Was that her choice? She stepped on the gas pedal and wanted to cut the teen as he did to her. She wanted to get even. (Not her choice, conditioning of an “eye for an eye, also known as “lame justice for all.”)
A police car passing by took action and gave Carol a citation for speeding and endangering the road with reckless activity.
Was that Carol’s choice?
Obviously no. She didn’t want for those things to happen… but they happened anyway.
The moralist in us could say: “Carol made the choice to step on that gas pedal. She is guilty!”
With deeper observation, we could see that everything started from lack of sleep. (Not her choice) Anger was increasing in a subtle way. That wasn’t her choice either. That was only HER, unmasked. The minute her mental guard was off, the “perfect I” is gone, that is the minute that Carol will appear as she is.
Nevertheless, through ‘spiritual teachings,’ Carol will be taught to suppress that anger through “thinking” before acting. (That is, using the mind to choose based on some conditioning.) Through that teaching, Carol will never know who she truly is. Labeling anger as “bad,” will encourage Carol not to look at it, to repress it. Labeling anger as “sin” will make sure that Carol feels guilt whenever an anger bout comes up. To ask for forgiveness for being what she is, will be the next teaching, as she has to be “perfect” that is, she needs to be someone else to be accepted.
If Carol was AWARE of what is going on inside her, those spiritual teachings wouldn’t be necessary to hide who she IS.
AWARENESS is not a choice. It is growth, maturity.
“Choice-less actions” are there to show us who we truly ARE. The “I” cannot hide behind something that it cannot control.
As long as there is an “I” there will be the duality of predestination and free-will, the puppet of destiny versus the “I” making choices.
The bottom line: Whether free will or predestination exists, is of no consequence for those are only conceptual labels. What truly matters is awareness of the experience of Life, to observe the mental baggage and the traumas created by the “I.” 🙂
We have no choice. How do you like that?
Many will react to this statement, mostly those who have no idea of what the “I” is. Their dreamy world continues on with all the “choices” they are making.
Is your intelligence your choice?
How about your looks? How about your consciousness?
“Spirituality for the masses” continues on making followers believe that “We can change our consciousness. We can change world consciousness.” That sort of material is sold to many, for most “like the idea” that “I am control. I am in charge.”
The question is, control of what? The “office world”? Of course. That is meant to cater the egocentric need of the mind. However, the things that matter such as health, aging, intelligence, psychological readiness, consciousness, awareness and Life and Death… Those things are completely out of “our” control. How do we like that? What the “office world” can do about it? Perhaps offer insurance, power, money to control those things?
The “I” can only change behavior. “I” can behave according to what my mind recognizes as being “good,” however, that is no change at all. Nevertheless, our society, our understanding and morality is only concerned with behavior. The mind is required for that, thus; the “I” is there. “Spirituality” based solely on change of behavior is infantile.
Honesty is not shown in behavior. Who we ARE could be hidden behind the action.
Awakening is not an easy thing. Picture that you are deeply asleep and someone is nagging the heck out of you to wake up… What do you do? What is your “choice”?
“I can bend my left pinky, that is my choice!”
Yes…but go deeper. Who made the choice? It was the mind. It had a reason, even if that is to prove me wrong. That reason hides the “I.” Otherwise, your pinky moves without your awareness. It is automatic. Have you noticed that?
The mind creates a static entity and separates it from Life. It even separates your pinky from the rest of the body, when in reality your pinky needs a hand and the hand needs an arm and the arm needs a body and the body needs a “something” to be alive…but we never stop and ask: Who is that “I”? and most important, Where is it?
Yes, we can believe all sort of things and even call it with names such as “soul,” just to stop our inquire, but that is superficial. Observe that there is no difference between that “I” and what we call mind. Observe that the contents of the mind and therefore, the “I” cannot bring newness for the mind is a repository of things that we have accumulated. We see the world and ourselves through that lenses.
Humans as well as all living beings are agents for change. Life manifests change through all living organisms.
The paradox is that we are needed exactly as we are… but what we are, does not depend on us. It is related with consciousness.
Take away choice, and free will goes down the drain… but it is not that “bad” for guilt, shame and forgiveness… all of that goes along with it, flushed down the toilet… There is more, but that is up to you to find out. 🙂
The ego, the “I,” is the source of mental anguish and suffering. Someone may experience physical suffering; it is just another experience unless it is interpreted as everlasting trauma.
As we know, everything in Life changes. That movement happens all by itself. If the mind is attached to a traumatic experience, then it will be re-lived when a trigger appears.
The trauma is created when there is a rejection to a particular experience.
That is how the “I” separates from Life.
“Spiritual sugarcoating,” is meant to strengthen that “I.” It is meant to support it. There are many ways to do that, but here is a powerful one: It s called CHOICE.
“Choice” is the strongest support. Choice comes from the mind. It is conditioned. If we have 2 paths ahead of us, which one do we take?
If the mind “chooses,” it is for sure the “I” choosing. Many reasons. Weigh the “Pros.” At that point we say: “I choose.”
If the gut feeling is choosing for us, then there is no choice. That feeling is out of our control. It does not depend on our conditioning, our beliefs, our rehearsed moral standards. There is “no- I” in that.
Have you heard the Taoist phrase, “Doing nothing doing, to get things done”? It is about a choice-less decision/action. Actually, there is no decision, no thought, no mind.
To learn to listen to our gut feeling implies to step aside from our conditioning. Honesty resides in learning to listen to our gut feeling.
“So what is the “science” behind listening to our gut feeling?”
This is not science. This is Life. To go according to our feelings will make us “feel good.” Do we need any further explanation? Do we need any other reasoning?
To feel is fulfilling in itself.
“But what about if we get a “bad” experience?”
Life is not linear. There is something to learn, ups and downs. Something is needed to be experienced before there is change. To learn to listen to our gut feeling is probably the most important “skill” that we can have in Life.
Because that is our connection with Life. That is what we are meant to DO for Life, for us. It is egoless. That is our mission. Life manifests an action, an activity through us.
If we cannot connect to our “gut feeling,” because we are not sure what it is , then start with the mind. We need to recognize when the mind kicks in, how it interferes with our daily affairs and how we believe that “I am the dictates of the mind.”
That is the only “spiritual practice” that Ahnanda could endorse.
To learn about your own mind by observing it, should be the most precious “spiritual class” that we could ever take, under the setting of the “spiritual retreat” of your own sacred time and space.
Recognize when you are hungry and when the mind tells you that you should eat. Recognize when the mind cuts your enjoyment of looking at a flower, just to throw a thought about your day at the office. Recognize when the “little voice” speaks and how readily we identify with that voice as “Me.”
Observe that as long as we are used to only listen to our mind, we cannot have “choice,” for all there is in the mind… is timeless conditioning, beliefs, taboos, hangups, ideals, learned morality…
“If the “choice” of my mind is not really “my” choice for there is conditioning and the choice of “my gut feeling” is not “my” choice, then where is “my” choice?”
🙂 Nowhere. This ain’t sugarcoat.
“You said that there is no choice, but I can choose between one thing and another thing. Isn’t that choice? It is obvious that “I am choosing,” so what you said is nonsense….”
I asked Timmy: “Do you want strawberry or vanilla ice cream?”
Timmy said: “I want strawberry.”
I asked Timmy: Is that your choice?
Timmy said: “Yes, it is.”
Question: Did Timmy “choose” to like strawberry?
No. That flavor came as part of BEING Timmy. There was no choice. It is in him.
Few people are aware of this.
Most say:” I like red, I love roses, my preference is for watermelons over mangoes,” and believe that those are “choices.”
Little old Anne is trying to cross the street, but the traffic is pretty heavy.
Mr. Smith, a candidate for president; happened to be near Anne. He did not choose that. It happened.
Mr. Smith wasn’t sure if he should help Anne to cross the street.
Then, he “thought” in a second: “Many paparazzi may be around with their cameras. If I help that little old lady cross the street, that action will look good and may help me in my career.”
Did Mr. Smith choose to do that “good action”?
No. He is merely bound by what he IS.
His activity is selfish in nature, for Mr. Smith is selfish. Although from the outside it may look like he is a good Samaritan. The intention and intensity behind the action drives the consequence.
“…but Mr. Smith made a choice between helping Anne or not helping her…”
Yes, superficially. That is what we are taught to believe.
At a deeper level, Mr. Smith expressed through an action who he IS. That is all. Paradoxically, what he IS does not depend on him. There are circumstances, level of awareness, experiences behind Mr. Smith’s self. To observe that ACTIONS are not defining someone but rather the intention, is certainly another notch of depth.
Mr. Smith couldn’t choose not to “help” Anne, for that action could go against his presidential campaign.
Certainly, the outsiders will praise Mr. Smith for being such a “nice guy,” but that is the nature of dishonesty; it is about making others believe what we are not.
Whether Life “chooses” to help Mr. Smith in his campaign or not through that action of helping little old Anne, it is completely out of Mr. Smith’s hands.
Let us say that Mr. Smith went to help Anne and she responded with violence, for she thought that she was being robbed. That “choice” will bring suffering to Mr. Smith’s life. Do you see that? That is why it was expressed that “our choice” is our source of sorrow as well.
When the “I” chooses there is duality. That brings anxiety, stress for the “I” wants to be “right.” When there is no choice; there is agreement with the Universe. Timmy’s selection of ice cream wasn’t a choice at all. He just went with what he IS, and what he IS can change at any moment, whether he recognizes it or not.
An honest strawberry flavor “choice” without choosing. Free of beliefs and conditioning. 🙂 Shall I “choose” to move on from the topic of “choice”?