During the ThetaHealing® Class I taught over the weekend the question of choice came up.

Do we choose to be born as a human on earth?

Do we choose our parents?

Do we choose a purpose for this life?

I argued “no”.  However, on other occasions, I also teach people that everything is a choice.  So which is it?  Is everything a choice or not?

While everything is a choice, it is the nature of the choice that really negates most choices as not being true choices.  What do I mean?

Consider the following analogy.  You are offered a choice blue carbetween a red car and a blue car.  The dealer says they both work great.  Which one do you choose?  I decide I like blue.  I jump in my new blue car and start driving.  Half way home the bumper rattles loose and the car overheats.

I chose a car that “works well” and what I got is one that doesn’t work.

So, did I have a choice or not?  Depending on my perspective and mood I may say, “Yes I did have a choice” or “No I didn’t really have a choice”.

I think most readers can agree that there is something in our mind that attracts what we have in our lives.  In this way we create our lives.  It is the movement of our mind that creates the world around us.  Since it is our mind that is doing the creating it appears like we are choosing.  Yet are we?

The issue is similar to the car that was supposed to work well, but didn’t.  The reality we are presented with is deceptive.  If we are not getting accurate information, how can we possibly make an informed decision?  Further, our thinking and ability to make a choice is is tainted by judgments and emotions that cloud rational decision making.  We tend to be reactive rather that proactive.

I like the way the Buddhists explain this conundrum best. They say we are forced to be reborn over and over, because at the moment of death, whatever the mind is doing or whatever the predominate occupation of the mindstream during the person’s lifetime will naturally create the next moment of mind and the next form the person takes.

For instance if a person dies after a lifetime of feeling jealously over what other people have (even if they are rich) their mind will continue to feel this lack and create of life of poverty.  The new-agers might say “They chose to be poor to learn how to live without.”  The Buddhists might say, “They were forced to be poor because it was their karma.”  Both systems acknowledge that the “state of poverty” is one that can be changed at anytime.  All that is needed is a change the  “thoughts” or “beliefs”  of “karma” that hold it in place.

Similarly, life purposes, or actions that are driven by some unseen force, are often based on misconceptions.  For instance, the feeling that “I have to take care of my family, even if it means self-sacrifice” could be coming from a need to be approved.  One could be reacting to someone judging them wrong (this life or past) for not doing more for others.  Or it could be that the person feels guilty about their family dying in a fire in the last life while they were out with friends.  In this case, they are driven by some unseen and unacknowledged fear of disaster and the erroneous belief that they could do something to prevent it.  Indeed, the person may actually strongly feel, “I have to protect my family”.

Note:  Choosing to take care of our family is different than the drive to take care of our family that is created by the “I have to…”.

In our current condition, most of our actions are controlled by the subconscious mind.  With this in mind, I don’t think we consciously make many choices.  And if by chance we do consciously make a decision it is based on inaccurate information or limiting beliefs.  In addition, sometimes whatever we choose is outside current possibilities.  So, once again we do not really get to choose.

For instance, many years ago I decided to not get angry any more.  Anger is a waste of time and energy.  Right?  Yet, just a couple days ago I got angry when I saw that a company has mischarged my credit card.  In that moment, I was aware that anger was arising, but I was powerless to change that emotional reaction by choosing to do so.  Of course, I could choose to not feed the anger fuel, but that first automatic reaction was still driving me.

What would it take to live from a place of true choice?

What would it take to be free of automatic reactions?




This morning I completed the last course in the behavioral health degree program I’ve been attending full time for the past year and a half.  The Associates of Applied Science in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders will be my first degree in a “soft” science and I am curious to discover when, where and how I will be using my new knowledge.

While the information about the pharmacology of drugs was fascinating, for instance even one use of some drugs can “permanently” change nerve functioning in the brain, the program was first and foremost a preparation course for counselors. As such I learned a lot of therapeutic skills and tools for assisting people in their change process.  Of course I also learned that, while there is evidence to suggest treatment programs and counseling work, there is no definitive scientific evidence of how they work.  It makes me wonder, what people have made so significant about science.  Is there a better use of the energy that is currently invested in creating, promoting and proving evidence-based practices?

Speaking about investment of energy, about half way through the degree I decided that I had gotten all I wanted from the program.  I thought further energy investment wasn’t going to pay off.  However, when I went to withdraw, I found I couldn’t let go.  Part of me wanted to continue.  Such it is with me.  I was able to honor that part without judgement.

What grand adventure is next?



venus from the seaI have begun work on the Venus picture for my Goddess Wisdom series.  I am contemplating portraying the goddess with her back to the viewer.  With this in mind I needed a model, so I googled “nude woman from behind“.

The results were shocking.

My instant reaction to the page of images was equally interesting.  It was like a wave of energy washed over me.   It was so strong, I wondered if it was all coming from me, or if I had tapped into the collective energy being focused on these images from around the world.  It was intriguing.  I observed myself.  Another example of the subconscious in charge.

Reactions of this sort are commonly called being triggered.  The sight, sound, taste or touch of particular things results in a specific emotional or physical reaction.  We see or smell food and we feel hunger.  We see our favorite vacation place and we feel relaxed or happy.

Most of the time we are nonreactive to the things we encounter in our day.  These encounters are considered neutral.  These encounters include seeing the walls in our house, smelling the normal aroma around us, feeling the ground beneath our feet.  In fact, we are usually not even aware of these happenings.  Neutral stimuli tends to get filtered out or unattended to.

Less frequently we have pleasant or unpleasant encounters.  The smell of our favorite flower makes us smile while the smell of a trash heap makes us frown.  However, there is no person, place or thing that is 100% pleasant or unpleasant to everyone.  This means that our reaction is not dependent on the person, place or thing.  It is dependent on whatever is stuck in our subconscious.

Many of us leverage our reactions to certain things.  For instance, people often listen to music in order to feel uplifted.  Music is a mind altering drug, as is dancing.

I once had custody of a 15 year old for a few months.  While I always got up and “forced” myself to do tai chi.  He would get up and cruise You Tube for martial arts videos.  He would watch them until his motivation rose and then he would practice.  He intuitively knew how to overcome the obstacle of laziness by using something to motivate him.  (Earlier post on obstacles and remedies).

There is a tendency to let ourselves be tossed about by our reactions.  Yet it is possible to remain objective and watch our reactions.  This use of mindfulness creates some distance between our reactions and the subsequent actions we take.   Mindfulness is the beginning of freedom.  With practice we are able to choose our actions.

We can also become proactive.  We can predict our reactions and use readings, contemplation, connections with others to reduce unpleasant reactions and increase our positive motivation.

Once again, consider who is choosing to get out of bed in the morning?  The answer to that question may be trivial, but the bigger question of who is running your life isn’t.