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Home » Features » Our Relationship with Choice

Our Relationship with Choice
by Jorge Waxemberg

We are continuously making choices, some conscious, others unconscious, all of which form a kind of line, a trajectory of our lives.

It is fundamental to realize the kind of trajectory we are tracing with our choices and the results they bring to ourselves and others.

We are not always aware of this trajectory. We might get distracted with the success or failure of our endeavors. But it is actually more important to understand the extent to which our choices determine the quality of our lives. The trajectory that we trace can be consciously changed through the wise use of our capacity to choose.

Each instant presents us with options, but we rarely make real choices. Usually what we do is react to situations before us. Other times we simply follow old habits and the mental currents of the time. Sometimes we think that we do not need to choose, and other times we think it does not matter what we choose. But in spite of what we might think, each choice, conscious or unconscious, has its effect on us and others.

There are times when we look at the choices we've made and we feel dissatisfied, unhappy with our lives and the stretch of road we see ahead of us. We imagine how we would like to live, what we would like to be, what we would like to achieve.

Although dreaming about our possibilities may bring us sweet moments of illusion, we still have to face life, which is sometimes difficult, sad and seemingly impossible to change.

Instead of abandoning ourselves to a dream of what we would like to be and do-which moves us to reject what we are and what we do-we need to learn to discern the difference between the illusions created by the imagination and the real possibilities we have to choose from, moment by moment. In other words, we can establish a conscious and continuous relationship with choice which, we will discover, is the way to live our lives fully.

To be able to choose, we have to have a clear idea of what we want. If we were to ask several people what they wanted to attain in life, their answers probably would be summarized very simply: they would like to satisfy their desires, feel happy, be fulfilled.

But each of us is different, and we define these longings differently. In our imaginations, we think of the companionship, the achievements and the success that this sense of fulfillment and happiness would bring.

Meanwhile, what happens most of the time is that we dislike our present situation which, like any situation, implies limitations, difficulties and a certain amount of suffering.

This contradiction between what we want and what we actually have produces a continuous feeling of discomfort in us.

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