In my world of limited awareness, making choices seems to be one of the most natural things we do as humans. So natural, we think we’re making choices even when we’re not. From choosing my words to choosing my mate, to choosing what flavor of creamer I put into my coffee, I think I’m making choices all the time.
Choice has some requirements – like a perception of comparable options from which to select. Comparing options makes the exercise of judgments necessary. Judging options by biased criteria limits awareness of possible alternatives. My rightness serves as the standard against which I judge options. Thus, perhaps most of what we call choice is actually a commitment to defend a judgment. Defending a choice is not a choice!
How can I know the difference between making and not making a choice? Especially when I think I’m making them all the time?
Automatic Choice Paradox
Responses to situations that seem threatening initiate automatic programs we obey without question. My life may depend on how I respond. What becomes automatic to obey is a program. Not all programs work the same way.
For example, when I turn my laptop on, certain programs initiate automatically without input from me other than pressing the power button. Once the computer is booted up, it presents me some choices – or so it appears. To fire up a program, I must tell the computer I want that program to run. I don’t dictate to the computer how that gets done. A program dictates that process. The more I learn about the operation of my laptop computer, the more useful it becomes to me.
How do my automatic programs affect my choices? I see them as a natural part of my daily life. Are they? Where does choice come in?
Although we may see choice as a means of solving limitation, the program for making a choice supports it. Paradox!
Questioning My Choices
Because I follow a set program for making choices, they cannot be considered free. Instead, I experience a sense of choice while obeying a program of defense without question. Even when I question my choice-making program, I’m obeying the previous choice-making program to make a choice to obey a new one! Catch-22!
When I ask an awareness-expanding question, I open a door to possibilities – where freedom of choice resides. In an instant of inspiration, one is faced with a choice between acceptance of accountability and the default, which is to return to defense. This “instant of choice” happens out of time – where flashes of inspiration and possibilities reside. The Aha Zone!
Maybe it’s time for me to question my choices – in a new way. Starting with an investigation of my selection-by-defense program.