Definitions: (1) something worthy of being preferred; of special excellence; the best part of anything; (2) the ability to know the higher, better, or more preferable thing; recognition of prime value; (3) holding dear; (4) to select freely after careful consideration; the voluntary act of separating from two or more things; (5) having the right or privilege of an option
Pick a behavior that works. — Jerry Downs (1949 – ) American Author
— Gerard Vincent Hubert Downs(1949 – ) American Nature Photographer and Writer
Life itself must be founded upon the infinite possibility for choice and accident; and if we cannot prove that it is, we must believe that it is. We must believe that we can change; that we can control; that we can direct our own destinies. — Anne Rice (1941 – ) The Witching Hour
Creators are artists. And artists create originals! I can constantly continue to choose, moment by moment, what to put into my world. If I opt for a negative experience, I descend. If I opt for a positive experience, I ascend … and instantly, forces begin moving to manifest a positive result. . . . The higher choice will always be a positive one!
— Jacquelyn Small, Transformers, the Therapists of the Future
Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.
— Antoine Etienne Serres (1786-1868) French Physician and Embryologist
Note: That is to say, the biological development of the individual repeats the stages of development of the genetic history of the organism. But because of choice, it is also possible to acquire qualities, and combinations of qualities, not inherent in one’s natural or environmental history.
• Many times choice will be incorrect, but only by choosing and then consecrating that choice with action will you find out for sure. Since you can relive experience in memory, you can learn. The next time you choose, it will be (at least a little bit) an informed choice.
• Choice is the nourishment. Choice is the fuel. You can choose to satisfy needs on the physical, emotional, or spiritual levels. A crocodile perceives, in its primitive way, its hunger and “chooses” to eat a fish. It satisfies the need – making the choice on a physical level to continue to exist. If you choose to continue on the spiritual level you will choose ‘value’ as your fuel.
• It is not necessary to personally experience the negative in order to know where it will go. The repercussions of such decisions can be learned by observation, logic, and history – someone having already made that negative choice and shown us where the path leads. Even though knowing how not to act should be an influential factor in behavioral thinking, real motivation exists in experiencing the results of personal positive choice.
• Mistaken choices due to lack of information, clarity, intelligence, social conditions, frustration, environmental conditions, and even misguided curiosity, are included in reality because choice is universal and unassailable. Choice is one of the constants. Just as gravity and light are constants on the physical plane, choice is a constant on the personality plane. Even though light is a constant, there are places of darkness, so too with choice. Having the ability to choose, sometimes means an incorrect choice can be made.
Two of the major elements of choice are options and contrast. Contrast implies conflict, adversity, and difficulty. The purpose of these seemingly negative characteristics is to shine light on the positive elements of unity, harmony, and understanding. This ultimately leads to increased wisdom. Through the experience of choices, positive and negative, one can make further choices with more precision, power, and poise.
• Habit is analogous to motion. The first choice is like the first movements of a baby on its way to developing the walking muscles. Pulling, stretching, and crawling are the beginning of mobility. As the movement becomes habitual, as choice piles upon choice, you can become more and more efficient.
Habit and inertia are related. The more dedicated your commitment, the more momentum it has behind it because of previous decisions. If your decisions move you toward honesty, and then you make a decision that moves you toward dishonesty, that one instance of dishonest behavior creates drag on the positive force, but it usually will not hold enough energy to reverse your positive momentum. The same is also true if you make many negative behavioral decisions. They build up a momentum in the direction of isolation. If you are consistently choosing the unreal, a positive decision will put the brakes on this negative behavior, but won’t necessarily reverse it. Albeit, the character of any one decision can have great force. Just as a space ship going around the earth at eighteen thousand miles an hour slows down rather quickly when it enters the atmosphere, so too can a positive decision put the brakes on negative momentum if the integrity of the decision generates enough basic honest change. This may indicate why change is often resisted: there can be a good deal of friction and, therefore, painful heat.
Consider the “good thief” on the cross next to Jesus. His sincerity was of such a magnitude that his very continuance as a being was guaranteed. The promise of heaven did not mean he was granted a state of perfection, it meant he was granted a chance to continue to choose.
• Choice is not only about future moments; it is about the moment you are in.
• Resistance blocks acceptance of who you are and is a friend of fear. It holds you back from choosing to be the person you dream of being and doing the things you want to do.
• Whatever the situation – no matter how outlandish – your choices dictate your outcome. The external situation may or may not be affected by your choice, but you are effected internally.
The Freedom of Choice
Choice Never Stops
Choice Creates Reality
Too Many Choices
Sometimes you don’t think you have a choice because you have too many choices. You might be frustrated because you are overwhelmed by the number of options. The answer is to actively narrow your options. Look at them objectively, and you can begin to filter and prioritize them. Many things will be in play, with some you don’t have what it takes (yet), with others you don’t have what you need, with others you are not as enthusiastic. Pit one against another and choose.
Jesus not only had power, he also had complete respect for choice. It may amaze us that he didn’t do what was needed so he would not be killed. He knew what was in the hearts and minds of his tormentors. Yet he also knew the only way to make them not do what they were going to do would be to block their free will. That is exactly what he decided not to do. It would have been a manipulation of their reality, and he just couldn’t take their free choice away from them – even though it would have meant saving his own life.
When do you not have choice? When you are reacting automatically. At the first moment something happens you don’t necessarily have control over your reaction. Your preprogrammed responses kick in spontaneously. Remember you created your mechanical response by your previous choices. And you can change them by your subsequently choices.
The choices you make during this moment modify how you will react next time. You are creating a new default value. Fear grabs you and you face it. The next time you are presented with fear, your response has been tempered by the fact you chose to change your nature last time.
Positive versus Negative Choice
It is not a matter of being good because of fear of the consequences. Consider your choices as moving you toward the good, not just away from the bad. Preserve life because life is intrinsically valuable. Do not refrain from evil because it is a sin or because you believe you will go to jail or to hell. Respect others’ property because the other is worthy of respect, not because you may get caught.
And if you are motivated by negative consequences, you are at least refraining from one negative even though it is because of another negative. The consequences of any action will help clarify all choice. Spiritual consequences (positive or negative) are absolutely unavoidable and inevitable.
People say that it is God’s will if something bad happens. Most of the time they mean God is personally creating the difficulty or disaster in order to teach a lesson. This is right only in that God set everything up. The individual still has the freedom to choose. The nature of fire is to burn, therefore, if you choose to play with fire expect to get burned. God did not manipulate your choice, He simply provided the fire for you to use. Because a personal deity cares about you personally, He will not interfere with your choice.
Accept and Reject
• When we choose to accept, we also choose to ignore. It is always better if, in choosing what to accept, we are also aware of what we are choosing to reject.
• Choice is inclusive and exclusive. As a species, we tend to exclude the gentle or “soft” qualities and we tend to include the powerful or “hard” qualities. Maybe that is because a great many of the people who have been kind, peaceful, and giving have been killed. The physical and material success the hard qualities provide is compelling; and they are necessary for survival. But there is a greater possibility for survival above the physical. If a person decides to include a wider range of qualities in their repertoire, they will be choosing to be successful on additional levels: the emotional, mental, and spiritual.
“Bad” is up to the individual to honestly assess. My wife’s grandmother loved to dance but decided to agree with her instructional religion, which taught her dancing was a “bad” habit. She gave it up.
Bad habits are breaking mechanisms. If you decide something is bad, you are deciding it will slow down your positive progress, that it will not move you to the light. Watch what happens after you act on your choice. A onetime bad act can show you, through negative experience, that you are facing the wrong direction. Use your bad action as a guide. Because of it you know where not to go.
Everybody has their own pace. Don’t be fooled with the glamour of traveling at light speed. Most, maybe all, drugs – including power – speed you up temporarily and fool you into moving with artificial acceleration. If you have not come by your speed naturally, there is the inevitable burnout.
• Choice is the key. Choose that which seems important, and as you move through life, the nature of your choosing will change. The more information and experience you have, the more the right choices will be evident.
• The more choices you make, the more varied will be your possible new choices.
• Am I choosing?
• Am I choosing positive qualities for myself and others?
Mythological Figure: Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, the guardian of portals, who had two faces, one on each side of his head