"Choice is an Illusion."(1)

"There is no choice where every end is sure." [T608/653]

This is what A Course in Miracles tells about every choice in this world. In a very real sense nothing that we seem to do matters in the slightest. Why is this so? "...the outcome is a certain as God." [T18/22 & 52/58] because "God has already done all things that need be done." [W461/471] If this indeed be so, then how is one to deal with the seemingly endless number of decisions about his "everyday life"?

What must be understood first is that nothing matters; the "everyday life" is meaningless. The first lesson in the Workbook of A Course in Miracles is "Nothing I see means anything." As with the fifty principles of miracles at the beginning of the Text, the first ten lessons establish the foundation on which the entire Workbook is based. These lessons firmly establish the idea of projection and the meaninglessness of thought and all perception of separated existence. Without this foundation and as long as one believes that there are real decisions to be made here and that he must make them, he continues to weave only fantasy, keeping himself lost in what the Hindus call mahamaya, or vast illusion. "There is no basis for a choice in this complex and over-complicated world. For no one understands what is the same, and seems to choose where no choice really is." [T509/547]. As long as form is the basis for choice, there is only the option between one form of nothingness and another form of nothingness. What kind of choice is this? "All illusions are but one. And in the recognition this is so lies the ability to give up all attempts to choose between them, and to make them different." [T509/547f]

The way in which the false mind of the separated self justifies its existence is to solve so-called "practical" problems (what to eat, where to work, how to survive) making them all seem different and, as much as possible, unrelated. The Course says, however, "Yet not one worldly thought is really practical." [PPP22] In order to solve problems the mind must first have them....so, it makes them. It makes problems out of anything and everything. The problem-solver and the problem-maker are one and the same. What if all of the happenings of one's life were perceived merely as situations to be lived rather than problems to be solved? "What could you not accept, if you but knew that everything that happens, all events, past, present and to come, are gently planned by One Whose only purpose is your good?" [W247/255]

Let us be frank. Who actually knows this as a fact? And, if one does not actually have this knowing, how is he to make these "everyday" decisions? Well, first of all, in the mode of the author of A Course in Miracles, let us look at what is NOT the proper approach. I see many students of the Course and other spiritual "paths" agonizing at length over decisions regarding even the most minute details of their lives. "Is this the right way?" "Is this what the Holy Spirit wants?" THIS IS NOT IT! When I originally began to ask the Holy Spirit's help in guiding me through the seeming endless maze of choices and decisions that seem to present themselves I thought that I must be some sort of spiritual retard. I would ask about such-and-so and all I would get was silence. I would ask about something else; again silence. I became frustrated. One day I demanded an answer; it came -- "It doesn't matter." All of the silence had always been the same answer, time after time, "It really doesn't matter at all."

So what does matter? Only the potential for a still mind. "Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind." [T174/187] The constant chewing on decisions, trying to "figure out" which choice is best, trying to anticipate the outcome, creates enormous noise over which "the still, small voice" cannot be heard; "Only very few can hear God's Voice at all...." [M30/31]. And absolutely none of it matters in the least. One's idea that it does is but another form of the fundamental error which believes that this world is reality and capable of true effects.

Another difficulty in attempting to "solve" problems with the limited, linear mind is that it cannot comprehend all variables and, therefore, cannot predict all possible outcomes or any outcome at all with accuracy. To analyze and speculate and make a "choice" based on this sort of operation is not only unworkable but also blinds one to the unfolding of the moment-to-moment process. Once a desired outcome or goal is set all flexibility and sensitivity are lost. One becomes unaware of other input and possibilities and sees only what he expects to see. He is oblivious to momentary movements which arise and therefore not spontaneously available and present but lost in the projection and pursuit of a "future" goal. All "choice" must be for this very moment only; one must remain alert and aware of each movement in each instant and be willing to respond and move flexibly with this unfoldment. This is far more difficult than it sounds. This is why the ego-mind, which is essentially lazy and dull, prefers a "plan" which is, in fact, a no-think position allowing one to act in a predetermined and habitual way. With a plan one can sleepwalk his way through most of his life oblivious to and unaware of the real messages of the Holy Spirit.

"But," you might say, "the Course tells me 'My brother, choose again'." [Ch31, sec VIII, 3 times] To what choice does this refer? To the only (seemingly) real choice there is or ever has been -- Hamlet said it -- "To be or not to be." While it may not appear so, the decision to attempt to separate from the Source of all life is the decision for Non-Being (or death), which is impossible. What we have received in our attempt to experience separation is a hallucination in which Being and Non-Being seem to alternate. The Course calls it "a choice between the wish for Heaven and the wish for hell" [T509/547] This is the only choice that is ever made moment-to-moment. All of the daily "decisions" between one form or method and another but begin with and reinforce the "choice" that this world and choice are real and possible; that different outcomes are actually feasible. And while this may superficially seem to be true, one must see that they all ultimately lead to destruction, suffering and death and are, therefore, not different at all in actual content. They are all based on the life of a self and a world that are not real, nor could ever be. All decisions or choices about this false self begin with the premise that it is real and, therefore, are every one the choice for separation and hell. But, the Course points out, "The learning that the world can offer but one choice, no matter what its form may be, is the beginning of acceptance that there is a real alternative instead." [T608f/654]

"Real choice is no illusion. But the world has none to offer. All its roads but lead to disappointment, nothingness and death. There is no choice in its alternatives. Seek not escape from problems here. The world was made that problems could not be escaped." [T607f/653]

Making the "right" decision is easy. The truth is that since all is already done it is not possible to make a wrong decision in this world, but it is important to simply make a choice of some kind, move on and stay open. Jesus once said, "But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil." [Matt5:37] In this I believe he meant, "just make a decision either way and get on with it. Don't chew on it, don't rationalize it, don't explain it, don't justify or defend it." To use a current advertising tag line "Just do it!" To this I would add "or not." But in either case get on with it. Don't stand in indecision. There is too much noise there -- no potential for stillness. Make a "choice" and go on. Even the decision not to decide just now is valid as long as one does not allow the mind to continue chewing on the problem, reviewing the options and trying to anticipate the future. Worry and indecision are really just more delaying and complicating tactics which prevent one from being present. They give the ego-mind further preoccupation with busy-ness, continuing to justify its existence. One need only remember that all roads lead home. Relax, you can't do it wrong.

©1993 daan dehn


1. "That there is...." [T509/547]

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