Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Moment Of Choice

Warren, New Jersey, USA

September 6, 2008

There's a particular moment I've experienced from time to time, a moment I'm familiar with, a moment in which it's pertinently obvious how my choices powerfully alter the quality of my life, a moment in which it's patently evident that in the matter of my own experience, in the matter of my own well being, I can choose its quality - at all times under all circumstances.

I'm healthy. I take care of myself. I watch my diet. I exercise. Yet every once in a while, maybe twice every five years, I'll catch a cold. The moment I'm talking about is that moment ie the very moment just before  the cold sets in. I'm feeling fine. In good shape. Then out of the blue  I'll notice it. A dry tickle in my throat. The thickening in my forehead. The first sign I'm catching a cold.

If I'm conscious, if I'm clear, if I stay awake  to the experience, I see in that exact moment, in that nick  of time there's an opportunity to make a choice which will alter the otherwise inevitable  outcome ie which will alter my future. The choice is this: I can choose the cold ie I can choose to let it in OR  ... I can choose not to. If I choose not to, it'll pass by, like a freight train rumbling down the tracks but not stopping in my station. If I ignore the opportunity, avoid it, or if I simply take too long to capitalize on this moment of choice  then it's too late. Then it's got  me - replete with stuffy sniffly nose, Kleenex, and hot chicken soup for a week or more.

That's one example of an opportunity to powerfully exercise leverage in the moment of choice. Here are two more:

There's the exact moment when I wake up in the morning when I can choose the day ahead to be extraordinary  or whether I'll simply settle for sleepwalking  through a funk. The funk  never shows up as something I'd gladly choose. Rather, the funk  shows up as a result of not choosing  the day ahead to be extraordinary. The world I wake up into, which is to say the quality  of the world I wake up into, is mostly not good. Waiting beyond the veils of sleep are all those incomplete responsibilities, onuses, burdens  which sleep conveniently hides from me - at least temporarily. Now that I'm awake again, they're inexorably  back. And we all know you can't switch on the morning news if what you want is some cheerful reason to look forward to the day. There's a moment just after waking in which there's an opportunity to choose  the quality of the day - without any support, reason, or evidence that its circumstances will be enjoyable. Simply choose ... and the future is altered, the day is great. Don't  choose ... and funk  is the best I can hope for.

There's the moment just before  I get angry with someone who's being rude, inconsiderate, or simply difficult. The way they're being is no reflection on who I am ... really!  The way they're being is the way they're being. I already know that. Yet in spite of myself, I take it personally  as if their way of being somehow diminishes who I am. I start to retaliate. In that moment, in that exact  first moment of retaliation, I lose all power. But in the moment of choice before  I'm given over to the automatic reaction to retaliate, I can choose to come from  my own experience. I can choose to simply get  the communication instead of retaliating against it. There's an entirely new future available starting with this choice, of which peace and power are only two of its many possible outcomes.

There's a moment of choice many times, hundreds  of times throughout every day of our lives, a moment in which we can give over  to the inevitable outcome of a situation without making any choice, when we can live out our automatic response in which choice isn't exercised OR  ... when we can choose an entirely unpredictable outcome or even choose no  outcome at all, that is to say no inevitable  outcome at all. It's not simply choosing ie the presence of choice which makes for discontiguous  possible outcomes. It's more than that, actually. It's choosing ie the presence of choice which calls for who you are  to step in. The bringing to bear of who you are brings magic, miraculous new outcomes to any inevitable, erstwhile predictable  future.

As for saying what it is exactly which empowers you to sometimes choose in the moment of choice and other times not to choose, as for saying exactly what it is which has you sometimes see the opportunity  in the moment of choice and other times not to see the opportunity, indeed as for saying what it is exactly which has you sometimes see the moment of choice and other times not to see it at all, I assert you'll get no greater satisfactory explanation or experience for yourself other than to simply stand up.

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