“I am the Decider!”
George W. Bush, 2006
For many of us decisions can be a source of great anxiety.
Most often than not, we are unsure of how to decide, and what makes a good decision.
But have you ever stopped to asked yourself - what does it mean to decide?
Most of us think of "decision" as the activity of choosing between things or situations in our lives.
I may decide to buy this or that brand of toothpaste.
I may decide to leave my job and my wife for a life of stamp collecting.
Or I may even decide to invade an oil-rich Middle Eastern country if I happen to be in that position.
But, I would like to propose a different view of decision making.
I want to suggest that at the root of our decision-making anxiety lies a great misunderstanding:
Real decision making has nothing to do with choosing between various shopping items. Deciding has nothing to do with the question of getting a divorce or not.
It even has nothing to do with considering whether to engage the 6th armoured division in desert combat.
Real decision making is far more significant and more profound than this.
True choice is only between Love or guilt, between Happiness or fear, between Heaven and hell. Real choice refers only to the way I choose to use my mind.
We sometimes use a simple illustration, to understand the decision-making process.
We can say that our mind contains three different “dimensions”:
· "The ego voice" – this refers to all my old patterns of thinking, feeling and perceiving. The ego voice is the non-stop chatter in my head. It is all the fearful judgments and ideas I have about myself and the world. It is the part of the mind that produces all the negative feelings and my less than loving reactions.
· "The loving voice" - refers to all the loving, compassionate, creative, inspired ways of thinking, feeling and perceiving. Our “loving voice” is the part of my mind that we sometimes refer to as the “Higher Self” or the “Right Mind.”
· “The decision maker” - This is the part of myself that decides between the two voices. As "the decision maker" I am as the observer, witness and ultimately the chooser of my beliefs and thoughts.
Remember those old cartoons where you have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other? This illustration is, of course, a caricature. But we can say that the in this picture the “ego voice” is the devil while the “loving self” is the angel.
The one in between these two voices is me, the decision maker.
But while the capacity to choose between the loving voice and the fearful voice is always with me, more often than not I identify myself only with my ego voice. When I am identified with the ego I forget that I am the decider, and believe that I am the devilish voice that whispers in my ear..
In this state I automatically lose touch with the essential recognition of myself as the decider. I lose access to the loving voice. All I hear is the harsh, arrogant, judging, self-righteous blaming voice.
And this voice tries to convince me that what brand of toothpaste I buy is an important decision. Or it tells me that I need to decide between staying with my partner of 20 years or dedicating my life to stamp collecting.
All the while I am forgetting that these choices will not fundamentally change the way I experience my life. Regardless of if I buy the red toothpaste, or if I end up leaving my wife - so long as I am not choosing against fear, and choosing in favour of love, I’ll be miserable.
And so the question is - how do I not fall into the trance of the ego? How do I wake up from the anxiety of making meaningless choices, to my capacity as the decision maker, and to my freedom to choose again Love instead of fear?
The way to remember that I am the decision maker is by clearly recognising that I am not my thoughts, but rather that I am the witness of my thoughts.
When I take my stand as the witness of thoughts, and disidentify with the contents of my mind, I immediately take my stand as the decision maker.
By simply noticing that I am the witness of my thoughts I come to recognise that I am always beyond the thoughts .
As George W. Bush so eloquently said - “I am the decider. I hear the voices, and decide what’s best.”
Below is a short meditation designed to help you make this distinction between
“the voices” and yourself.
Practice this meditation regularly and you will never decide to wage war on Middle Eastern countries again. Guaranteed.
You might also have an easier time to decide on which toothpaste to buy in the supermarket.
When you wake up to your decision making capacity you might recognize that the only decision that matters in life is between the loving voice and the judging voice in the mind.
And you will be blessed with the recognition that you always have the freedom to choose Love instead of fear.
Which toothpaste I buy, is not so important any more.
“Waking Up to Your Decision Maker” – A 5-minute contemplation.
This meditation is best done in a quiet moment where you are feeling somewhat peaceful and open.
The purpose of this meditation is not to “relax you.” Instead, its purpose is to awaken in you the awareness to the inherent freedom that is in your mind.
· Begin by taking a few deep relaxing breaths. Breathing in this way will help ground you in the “now.”
· Now, allow all thoughts, feeling and sense impressions to come to you without controlling or suppressing them. Let all ideas, feeling, and perception appear precisely as they are.
· As you notice a thought, feeling or a sensory impression (the sound of the rain on your window) say to yourself, out loud - “I am noticing a thought about…”
· For example - “I am noticing a feeling of pain in my left foot,” “I am noticing the sound of the rain,” “I am noticing a thought about my dad.”
· Do this for 3-5 minutes.
It’s essential that you keep noticing and verbalizing every experience that you notice.
Don’t try to control what comes. Just let the experience come and simply say “I am noticing that…”
· After a few minutes you might feel more relaxed.
· Now stop and then ask yourself this question – who is the one who is noticing? What is the “me” that is noticing?
Really try to find out. Turn your attention towards the one who is noticing.
When you turn your turn your attention inwards you will eventually reach an important realization:
The one who is noticing the thoughts, feeling and sensation is itself free of thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
If you look carefully and sincerely, toward the one who is observing the thoughts you are bound to notice that - “I am not my thoughts. I am not my feelings. I am the observer of all of these.”
And as you assume your stand as this observer, you will begin to see how you can always choose which thoughts to believe.
You will come to recognize "I can choose my thoughts because I am not my thoughts. I can choose my beliefs because I am essentially free of my beliefs! I'm free!"
Give it a try.
P. S We would love to hear about your findings…please write to us in the comments below.
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