We are always choosing. And by thinking we are not choosing, we are in fact choosing—choosing God or not, Love or not. By our very distractedness we are choosing. And if we occasionally think we choose God, we are fooling ourselves, just as when we exercise for ten minutes very intensely once a week, we can fool ourselves that we exercise enough. Somewhere in there we do know better.
By choosing God, I do not mean intellectually. Though the intellect is needed in the process of going to God, God is not a concept. Neither do I mean choosing emotionally, though the emotions are an important vehicle to be mastered and used. Nor do I mean physically, though our actions do aid us in the journey to God. In choosing, every vehicle has to be surrendered to God’s will, into God’s service, at all times. So we then choose to use our will to God’s purpose. We do this by resting in the Heart and letting God use us. We are then no longer the doer. God is the doer.
Our greatest sense of agency arises from choosing to surrender to God and letting God act through us. That is ultimate free will. But we have to be willing to let go of our identification with our “amazing” shrunken self. We are letting everything that is temporary be where it is, no big deal, with no attachment. When the small self stops thinking and choosing for itself, that is when there is a chance for God to take charge.
The belief that in order to make it in the world we cannot make it with God, and that in order to make it with God we can’t make it in the world, sets up a false dichotomy. There is no place where God is not. Therefore God is everywhere, on every level, no matter how deep or superficial. Whether we are aware of it or not, God is there in every moment and provides a lesson that when learned will bring us closer to Home. We have choice whether to learn the lesson or not. We choose.
If we are committed to being “good”, we cannot accept the misguided choices we have made. I hate mistakes, but am always thankful for them later, when I have learned so much from them. There is grace even in our errors and our crimes. We can’t let go of “righteousness” and become human until we recognize and accept our mistakes and learn our lessons. If we want grace, we have to own our past choices—not as an intellectual recognition, but as an experience.
Radhakrishnan, commenting on verse II.4.4 of Bṛhadaranyāka Upanishad, makes the difference clear: “It is said that some people are clever only at expounding, while others have the ability to practice what they learn. The hand carries the food to the mouth but only the tongue knows the flavors.” When people preach the Truth as a concept only, it can be interpreted as positive affirmations instead of choosing the Truth. The problem with “positive thinking” is that we are not just “thinking positive”, but actively trying to avoid something we perceive in ourselves to be “negative”. As a result of that choice, we will end up manifesting the very thing we wish to reject. What we run from, we run into.
Choose wisely. Because whether we realize it or not, at every moment we are making a choice.
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