The Power of Choice?
“If I say ‘things are happening through me’ what happens to my own power of choice, and the power of self-discipline? Aren’t I discounting personal responsibility and denying that we have the ability to have some say in this?” Anonymous Reader, U.S.A.
Every description of reality inevitably foregrounds some things and backgrounds the rest. So it can be very helpful to notice how our habitual interpretations of life also habitually discount and deny much of what is actually here.
When we insist on the power of choice, are we unwilling to notice that we never get to select our next thought? When we insist that everything is happening through us, are we denying our aversion to taking responsibility?
However, seeing the inadequacy of our descriptons of reality does not mean that we need to find a more accurate description or the perfect description. Yet our minds love to play this game. It makes our thinking seem so important. We will reach the truth through better ideas!
A question like “am I responsible for some things or is everything happening by itself?” can seem so important to the mind. But, if we look a little more closely, what is really at stake here?
Those who say “things are happening through me” still experience thoughts about what they think they should or shouldn’t do and still experience movements of the body and speech, just as those who say they have the “power of choice” do.
All the action in these debates is at the level of thinking. It’s just a competition to characterize what is going on. Yet, every attempt to find the words to accurately describe reality inevitably fails.
Every interpretation of what is happening just raises more questions. What is the “me” through which things are happening? What experience qualifies as a “choice?” Are you choosing to read these words or not? What do you look for to justify your answer?
The truth of what is here will never fit the symbols of the mind, no matter how creatively we arrange them. So we are welcome to give up the futile struggle to find the true philosophy, and instead allow ourselves to receive the truth just as it is. When we’re not trying to protect or find “my perspective” – and blind spot – we become available to, and guided by, the richer, deeper, more subtle truth that lies beyond our thoughts.