Change and choice can be challenging. In the field of Ontological Design, we emphasize CHOICE. In the midst of change, we always have a choice – even when the change itself was out of our control. When we are faced with change and presented with intimidating choices, many of us often do not choose. But not choosing is, in itself, a choice. When we don’t choose, the universe eventually chooses for us, and in the meantime, we create suffering for ourselves.
We can claim that much of our anxiety about change is the result of several ineffective beliefs we have about choice:
I Can Avoid Consequences:
We get stuck in an ineffective belief that if we make the “right” choice, we can avoid all negative consequences. A more effective belief might be that with every choice we make, we can never avoid all consequences; we can only choose which set of consequences we want to live with. The mere act of choosing produces PEACE in our lives and reduces suffering.
For example: Choice “A” comes with Consequences “A,” and Choice “B” comes with Consequences “B.” When I decide that I prefer to live with Consequences “B” and I choose Choice “B,” I take control of my own experience. I am no longer a victim of my circumstances because I know that I am the one who chose this set of consequences.
I Cannot Choose Until I Have All of the Information:
We also get stuck in an ineffective belief that we cannot make a choice until we have all of the information we want about the possible consequences. This belief paralyzes us and has us avoid choosing, and so we suffer.
- As human beings, there are limits to what we can know. We simply will not always have all of the information or be able predict all of the consequences.
- A more effective belief might be that we can trust ourselves to handle whatever consequences show up, and if it turns out that we don’t like a certain set of consequences, we can always make a different choice in the moment.
The Choice I Make Will Last Forever:
This brings us to another ineffective belief that often has us stuck: the belief that whatever choice we make will last forever. A more effective belief might be that we make choices in the moment. In any moment, if we decide that we do not like our choice and its consequences, we can always make a different choice.
For example: Let’s say that I chose Choice “B,” and after living with Consequences “B” for a while, I realize that I do not like those consequences. In that moment, I will have new choices. Perhaps I will choose Choice “A” instead. If Choice “A” is no longer available, then I might choose Choice “C” or Choice “D,” each of which will come with its own consequences that might work better for me.
If we embrace our ability to choose, we can create peace in our lives and reduce our suffering, even in the face of uncomfortable or unexpected change.
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