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Your Choice

Someone asked me the other day what I thought of people who stays in their jobs for money and yet resents the job they do. I pondered for a moment and answered him, “it’s their choice.”

Some people may agree and some may not, and that too, is their choice. Yet as long as they think that they have no choice, it is still their choice to think that way.

The only reason why I think I have no choice is because I have chosen the choice of no choice. And that can only happen because I think I know. Yet a mere simple question to myself “how do I know that i know”, I am humbled by my own questioning and am suddenly open to the possibilities of something else that I may not have known earlier.

If I know everything, surely I have no choice but to know what I know. And that sheer admitting or acknowledge that I may not know everything, I come back to my own innocence again, willing to learn something else of what the world can teach me so that I can know what I did not know before.

Clearly, this person who asked me this question was asking how I viewed the sufferings of those people who chose to stay in their jobs despite feeling miserable about it. My take is still the same, it’s their choice and no one can ever know what is best for them, save for themselves.

It looks like ignorance who chooses sufferings, yet who am I to question their choice of suffering or not. And people tell me that they don’t have a choice and my take is still the same – it’s your choice.

We do have a choice to choose between suffering and the end of suffering, and that is the truth. But if I am suffering still over a choice I made today, perhaps I have just could now make my choice to choose the path with less suffering or ultimately, the end of it. Now, wouldn’t that be some kind of intelligent or wise choice?

Of course, it will be nice to make a wise choice to end suffering ultimately yet it is my choice or the choices of others when I choose to respect my choice of respecting others’ choice? It is their lives ultimately and all I am asked to do is just to state my choice that leads me to my own inner peace and the end of my own suffering. Whether it is to go forward to share with someone how his suffering is unnecessary, or to just love him or her in her own chosen suffering, I take responsibility for it anyway because it is my choice and has absolutely nothing to do with others.

Someone asked me why do I give people choices when I can dictate. My answer is simple. If God has given me free will, who am I not to give the same the others whether they choose to suffer or not? Part of my business is to share what I have learned and that is it. Whether you use it or apply it or not has nothing to do with me and it leaves you your choice to make your own choices. Not to say that I can actually ‘give’ others free will too for what is there to give without the receiver at the other end? And is it my choice or within my control that the person has to receive what I offer? At the end of the day, my choice of dictation onto others would probably end up backfiring on me. And would I do that to myself, no way! Again, my choices can only be within what I can deal with, within myself, for me and if I am thinking that my choice can benefit another – I might as well be mad.

Everyone has a choice. When I think I have no choice, it is only because I think I already know. If I could give up what I already know, and don’t know anything can knowing occur once again what I did not know before.

Somewhat paradoxical yet so true. And it is only possible when the mind is open enough to question and realize the possibility of not knowing.

These words “I don’t know” may sound foolish to the mind that thinks it knows; yet the very same of “I don’t know” is a bottomless well of wisdom, peace and freedom to the wise.

Then some people ask again, how to choose when there is no wisdom? The same questioning, “how do you know there is no wisdom”? It is not a sheer judgment of what it is or my own interpretation of what is wise and what is not?

What is more true about choices is facing the consequences of the choices made of an imagined future. And it is true, any choice made has its consequences. The unbearable consequences that we each are unwilling or dread to experience. The thing is, how do I know if I will be unable to face or will dread the consequences or that other people will actually be hurt by my choices? If I have made a choice to conclude such an outcome, surely that would only depict the already consequences of my choice. Something good somehow comes out from anything, whether I like it or not. Surely, it must too be my imagination if my choice can impact someone else’s life. I personally find it a little funny as it is like I am darn important for others, but not important enough for me. But then again, it is still a choice – in what you believe in. No right no wrong there. 🙂

I once read a book by Dale Carnegie years ago which allowed me to make a choice I never imagined I could ever bring myself to. In his book, he mentioned, “imagine the worst that could happen, and if you can accept that, what else can stop you?” Just for the sake of a past story – at that point in time, it was the choice between staying put in my dad’s company for the rest of my life (this part is imagined too :)) or to pursue my thirst in banking. I imagined the worst, which was that my dad would disown me. I asked myself if I could accept that. The answer was yes. Within 1 week, I got an interview with a bank which paid me miserly and left my dad’s company which was not an easy thing to encounter. But I did it anyway, and I enjoyed my working experience with the bank despite the long hours. I wake up with joy and I sleep with a smile on my face despite how tired the mind and body was. For a while, the relationship between my dad and I was unstable, but it was an important lesson for me to learn – that despite it all, I was alright. And my dad never disowned me although we did go through difficult patches. Today, my dad and I enjoy each other’s presence in peace. He could tell me things openly and I could listen to him openly without drawing into unnecessary conclusions that he is not approving of me, or that he does not love me. Of course, it is not this one incident that resolved it all, but it was the start of a journey to truly learn to connect to my dad with my heart instead of having to succumb to his wishes of having to work for him in order to connect with him. Although it started with a storyline of switching jobs, but that choice led to the betterment which not only befitted my sense of being in terms of my career choice but also my relationship with my dad and of course a whole lot of other things that came with it. It’s a long and winding journey and the journey hardly ends. But I made a choice you see, and it has been a great ride despite the multiple hiccups along the way. What’s life without a few huddles?

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