Friday, February 20, 2009

Choices and Confusion

Some of you have asked me what to do about wrong decisions and here is one answer:

More on Confusion or so-called Choices

It is easy to make a “wrong” decision—or at least to think that we have. Our struggles however very often become our strengths, as illustrated in my book, Choices and Illusions. I therefore prefer to think about making the decisions that I wish to direct my life in the way I wish for my life to be directed as opposed to worrying about decisions that are already a “done deal.” With this said, there are some things that can guide us if we are willing to change. Change requires becoming aware of the “whys” and “whats” behind our actions.

Sometimes we make choices that are designed to either help us fit in or that are anti-authoritarian and perhaps even defiant. These are not true choices for they are in the category of either or? When our choices only oppose each other, they should always be suspect. Where the world is a duality, good and bad, yin and yang, and so forth, the notion that between the thesis and the antithesis exist a synthesis should be our goal. The so-called middle path or middle pillar is where we often find our best alternative.

Choices we make have consequences and some can last a lifetime. Indris Shaw tells a Sufi story about the mouse and the elephant in his book, The Commanding Self, that makes this point clear. It seems that a young mouse fell dearly in love with an elephant. The elephant and the mouse soon sought permission to marry. Their respective parents, their entire families and friends warned against the marriage. The council and warnings fell on deaf ears as the mouse and the elephant decided to go ahead and marry anyway. On their wedding night the elephant suddenly died. The moral of the story—the mouse thought the decision was one thing when in fact it was the decision to spend the rest of its life digging a hole.

Many decisions can seem in retrospect to have been “digging holes” that we somehow had to get out of. However, a moments serious thought and the realization that to change our life we must change our thinking and further, to dig out of that proverbial hole we must make wise choices. Wisdom is much more than knowledge. Knowledge is defined by Webster as, “the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association (2) : acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique b (1) : the fact or condition of being aware of something.” Wisdom requires understanding much more including what one does not know and possessing the faculty requisite to deciding between alternatives even if that means inventing a new alternative. It has been said by many that genius is simply a matter of seeing the same thing differently.

May wisdom accompany your every choice and may you realize your true unlimited potential in all things.


CHOICES AND ILLUSIONS: HOW DID I GET WHERE I AM AND HOW DO I GET WHERE I WANT TO BE officially became a best seller in its second week following release. If you haven’t yet picked up your copy and/or you want a second copy for a friend, visit this URL for more information: