Sunday, April 03, 2005


So having gotten a handle on the timing of recognition, we have thankfully brought ourselves to a behavioral crossroads. You are travelling the path of self mastery, remember. It is a path along which you often stumble and grope as you navigate the minefield of your victim consciouness and all of the patterns and habits embedded there, yet introspection is like a mine (mind?) sweeper. You've raised your consciousness to the point where you intellectually grasp the fact that you choose your behavior. And further still, when faced with the circumstance where you have normally repeated the given behavior over and over again, you recognize that you have an actual choice to make in-the-moment. You recognize you are feeling hungry and when you feel hungry you are often particularly ornery and prone to making snide comments to anyone nearby. There is your wife, your primary target for the last 45 years. What'll it be? Shall I dish out some abuse, fix myself a sandwich, or something else? Perhaps you'll choose to gripe about what you read in the newspaper, instead of heckling the wife. This would be some improvement from the wife's perspective, perhaps, but if you actually fed yourself, this would be the ultimate victory. In any case, whatever choice you make, you recognize yourself to be responsible for it, and you know through repeated observation that the actions which follow upon your choice have their effects which shape your life experience on a daily basis. You are responsible for your life experience. I am responsible for my life experience.

The crossroad of choice requires follow through, of course, if it is to bear any fruit, and that "follow through" we call action. We'll save more on action for the next post. What's important to notice here and now is that you have taken a significant whack at the victim consciousness when you have exposed your choices to yourself through observation in introspection, and this lies at he heart of both freedom and responsibility. Remember our model of self mastery? It was the triangle of freedom, choice and responsibility. In the victim consciousness, the only exercise the free will ever gets is in denying itself and donning shackles, to justify its innocence and hide its choices from itself, in order to consistently redirect responsibility upon the other, whether the perpetrator (it's all his fault!) or the savior (who will bear responsibility for me...or else!).

When we expose our choices, we can consciously observe our responsibility and exercise our freedom as a proper quality of our will. This is not to say that in exposing our choices to ourselves, we will always make a good choice from there forward. That is a matter of practice. But the good news is, whatever choice we make, we'll know who is responsible for it. Exercising our responsibility, we will observe the cause and effect linkages that generate our life experience. From there, we can evaluate if we like what we are creating, and adjust accordingly. By choosing anew, we point ourselves in fresh directions, and initiate different experiences.

So unlike the prior three steps (recognition, acknowledgment, acceptance), where it was easy enough to backslide into victim consciousness despite the accomplishment, in the case of choice, there is a shift. That's because, we will remember, the victim will not concede s/he has a choice. When your choice is recognized in a given life experience, you are no longer in a position to play the victim. You have shifted to a new level of consciousness. With choice "out of the closet" here, the project for the emerging consciousness of self mastery becomes a moral problem: "what is the best choice," rather then a struggle to merely wake up to the reality that our free wills are never lost, though often forgotten or denied. Now this shift through the recognition of choice to a new level of consciousness, like the other steps, is not permanent or complete. You will have to practice to perceive your choices in all of your life experiences, and to take reponsibility for them, and to make them anew when the choices you have made habitually no longer create the life experiences you want to create. The perception of choice is yet another good habit to cultivate, along with the habit of recognizing your behaviors, acknowledging them, and accepting where you are at any given point along the way.


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