Sunday, February 10, 2008

Choice

How we experience life is pretty much determined by the choices we make. Not just in what we decide to do at any given moment but also in what we think.

The more we know, the more choices we have. Educating ourselves then is vital. The less we know the less choices we have. We can only choose from the choices we know about.

As with everything, it isn't quite as simple as that!

Many of us not only do not know there are more choices than we are aware of but also close ourselves off from learning about other choices. Usually because of fear.

It is very common that as we grow up, we are taught WHAT to think instead of HOW to think. We are denied choice by how we are taught.

Being brought up to think a certain way is a source of great suffering. This is especially so if we are taught a particular world view from a religious ideology.

It is extraordinarily painful and difficult to step outside of the prison of this type of thinking. We are told we are bad if we dare to question the belief system instilled in us. We are threatened with eternal damnation, an eternity of suffering in Hell. We are told we are not worthy of love. Even to think that their might be another way of thinking, of viewing our world, of interpreting our experiences, can cause much anguish.

We must do so though if we are to survive as individuals.

We each have responsibility for ourselves, what we think and how we act. To say we think such and such or we do such and such because this is what our parents taught us, or the Pope told us, or our pastor taught us, will not wash! No. WE are responsible.

Many people use their religion to justify their bigotry. The subjugation of women and children is justified by people who say their God tells them this is right. However, only a person who believes it is right to deny women and children their human rights based on their sex and age would accept such a teaching. Another obvious example is the oppression and destruction of homosexual people. Such bigotry is again justified by religious belief. Once again, only if one is bigoted in their heart would one accept such a belief!

So, it is not our religion or belief system that is to blame for the suffering caused, but we ourselves.

You would think that it is a matter of free will only that gives us the power to make choices from what is available. Not so.

No amount of will, free or otherwise, can give us the ability to choose from choices we are ignorant of. On top of that, we are to a great extent governed by our subconscious mind. We may think we act freely but in fact can be controlled by our deeply ingrained, and oft times hidden, beliefs.

If you hold the belief that you are bad at your core , that belief will govern your life. It will prevent happiness. It will prevent you learning of choices and if you do learn choices, you will likely reject those that can free you.

KNOW THY SELF is not a throw away line. It is VITAL that we do. Life is about learning who we are, how we think. We need to know how we tick. We need to root out the beliefs we hold that keep us chained to suffering.

My own experience of discovering a hidden belief best illustrates what I am trying to say. I held the belief that there was something wrong with me that caused the pain and suffering I experienced in my childhood. That I was abused because of who I was. This belief, which I did not know I held, caused me enormous suffering, almost cost me my life and my sanity.

It caused me to make relationships with unsuitable people who either abused me further or had no respect for me. Further 'proof' that I was at fault. It caused me to live with great fear constantly. It enabled control freaks and religious abusers to control me.

It prevented me from experiencing happiness and joy. (I was also taught not to enjoy anything or get close to anything because it would end in tears.)

Today I know that the problem was not me but those who abused me and took advantage of me. As a result, I have more choices and I know who to keep away from!

How we think, what we truly believe, affects the type of God we believe in(or not). Only a person who is judgemental and/or fearful can accept a God who is judgemental and condemning. Only a very narrow thinker can possibly accept that there is only one view of God.

And only a person who eschews all personal responsibility can believe that someone else will pay or has paid for their mistakes(sins)! Only a fearful person can accept that such a price needs to be paid, that God is such a wicked being that it requires such a price.

My, we really have made God in OUR image! It is people who have egos that require to be worshipped and praised, that require vengeance, and are unforgiving. It is only us that hold resentment.

We experience life according to our thinking. Life really is how we think it. We create meaning. We give meaning to our experience. We create our ideas. Everything we experience or think is SUBJECTIVE. It is not possible to be OBJECTIVE.

No one knows THE TRUTH. Absolute Truth is beyond our ability to know. Human kind cannot know it. We can only know our experience, our feeling and our interpretations, the meanings we create. We can know how close we are to TRUTH by how much we suffer. Meaning the more peaceful we feel, the more likely it is that we are thinking right.

One final thought-a belief system that states that those who do not believe are damned is self centred in the extreme. The followers of such systems have their 'peace' at the expense of others. This is wicked and their 'peace' is counterfeit.

By their very nature, belief systems that exclude other people must be wrong. There are not a chosen few. We are all chosen.
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