Over the last few days, I have been thinking about the power of decision. I am not a will person; meaning that I don’t emphasize getting through things by sheer force of will. My approach is usually to try to reason with myself in one form or other, to the point where I can see so clearly the rightness of the way I ought to go that it doesn’t take much will to go there. When I say “reason with myself,” I am mainly thinking about doing my Workbook practice, which really is a higher form of reasoning with oneself.
But this approach has a definite downside. My ego and its attendant emotions very often cloud my sight. So even while I reason with myself about the rightness of a particular view, I can’t really see that rightness. I can’t feel it. It’s as if I am separated from it by a fog. And while that fog remains, I tend to go lax and more or less give up. I may keep reasoning with myself, but I do so with a “wait and see” attitude. If the fog clears and I can really see and feel the truth, then great—I’ll treat the truth as if it’s really true. But if the fog doesn’t lift, I treat the truth as somewhat irrelevant for me. Maybe it really is true, but so what?
Lately, I have realized there is another approach. That is to make the firm decision that I will lay hold of and unite with that truth. Even if I can’t really see it now, I know based on my best reason and evidence that it is there, and I know that it represents what I really want. Given that, my inability to connect with it right now is, in the big picture, irrelevant. No matter how thick that fog is now, I can still decide that I will get there. I will get past this fear. I will forgive this person. I will let go of this guilt.
To go along with this, I did a little thought experiment: I imagined someone coming to me and saying, “If you push this red button, you will be free entirely of your unloving feelings toward this person. As a result, you will feel both the freedom that that entails and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. You will always be able to look back and say, ‘I did it.’ But before you push the button, you will need to be clear that you are giving up all claim to being owed for injustices of the past and all perception of having been a victim of unfairness. You are accepting full responsibility for everything you thought, and felt, and did.”
My question was: Would I push that red button? My answer, with a little thought, was yes.
Then I thought that, of course, I have that power now. I can push the button now. Perhaps in practice the button needs to be pushed many times, or held down for a long time. But it all amounts to the same thing: A decision can be made to get past those unloving feelings, and that decision has the power to make it so.
So now I feel that I have a new tool in my toolbox. Rather than constantly leaning on reasoning myself into a new perception, I can also use the power of my decision that I will get to that new perception. No matter how distant it seems, no matter how thick the fog between me and it, no matter how long it takes, come hell or high water, I decide that I will get there. That force of will, in my case, may not be my strong right arm. But I’ve been letting this left arm dangle uselessly by my side for too long. It’s time to start using it.