Joko Beck in her book Everyday Zen” quotes a verse from the Bible “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (the “heart” referring not to some emotional aspect, but to “the heart of the matter, the truth of the problem…”. ) She makes a clear distinction between decisions and problems and asserts that although our life consists of nothing but decisions from morning to night, we see it in terms of problems.
Decisions have never been easy for me. For years I have been living with the idea of myself as a person who struggles with choices (Pieces, you know, looking in the opposite directions). How do I know what the right choice is in any given situation? I had one of those decisions to make just the other day when I felt I got stuck – it turned into a problem that was eating up a lot of energy. Sorry, I started seeing the situation as the problem.
“We feel we just can’t make a decision – and so we have a problem. And this is where human life can snarl itself up… When we have a major issue in our life we are baffled about what to do. And that’s where the quotation applies: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. What really decides any problem is the way we think in our hearts. How we see what our life is. Out of what we make our decision.”
Recently I started noticing subtle, almost imperceptible changes in the whole decision-making area and discovered that making choices is not as hard as it seems (not just when it comes to choosing between pizza or pasta dish). I am talking some pretty heavy personal life and career decisions here. Although I can still feel cannot see what the best choice would be, the minute I get back to myself and check in what my life is about, I know exactly what to do. It doesn’t mean it’s always easy to do it but a huge load of decision making is lifted off my shoulders and I can simply move forward, focusing on actually doing it. It feels liberating and … different!
“Serious practice changes the way we see our life, and so what we do with our life begins to shift. People want a mechanism for making decisions… There can be no such mechanism. But if we know more and more who we are, out of that we will make our decision… The more we know who we are, the more our problems shift into, “I am this therefore I will do that, or I am to some degree willing to do that “.
When I looked into the heart of the “problem”, I saw no problem. I knew what my choice would be and saw that the uneasiness came from the fear of facing the reactions of others, in fact not very close to me people. Well, then the real question was if I was willing to make my choice based on what others might or might not think. I could do that, too, but that was a different question altogether.
“And we will sometimes choose things that look to other people very trying, very unpleasant… But if for me in my heart that’s what I feel I am and the way my life wants to express itself, then there is no problem.”
Well, yes, the very discovery that somehow what a few people would think about my choice was standing in the way of me letting my life expressing itself helped me see that inside I had made up my mind. I was just afraid of living with the consequences.
“So when something in your lives looks insoluble, it means that we think that there’s a problem out there that we look at as an object, like a grapefruit. We have not viewed that problem as ourselves… When I know who I am I will have no problem in knowing what to do”.