Tag Archives: choice

How to Stop Being a Biological Robot

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

 

Most people are too busy, or otherwise distracted, to think about how the mind works, much less about the vexed problem of connecting mind and brain. This includes neuroscientists. They run their experiments and publish new data without addressing the most fundamental questions. Their field runs nicely by simply assuming that the brain is the mind. After all, without a brain there cannot be any mental activity, QED. Why bother to go any deeper?

One reason is that human beings are clearly not brain-defined. We need the brain the way a musician needs a piano or TV news needs a television set–to carry the mind into the physical world. The belief held by 99% of neuroscientists is that with sophisticated enough brain scans and various other measurements, the mystery of thinking, feeling, sensing, and imagining will one day be solved. It’s a futile dream, however, because even the most basic issues, such as why the color red is red, how we hear sounds in a brain that is totally silent, and where a thought comes from are nowhere near being understood.

Leaving theory aside, there is a huge practical problem involved. What do we do when the brain makes us its victim? If we are brain-driven, this implies that the brain is in charge of daily habits, decisions, reflexes, and responses. In many cases this is clearly true. When you reach for ice cream at midnight telling yourself that it’s the wrong thing to do, who is making you act automatically, against your best interests, and without your ability to break the habit? Continue reading

From Intent.com: Permission

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt, This is My Story

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You have to sign a waiver if you are going to have surgery.
You have to sign a waiver if you want to bungee jump or sky dive or get a tattoo.
You have to consent (in this country) to be married.
There are all sorts of potentially life-threatening/changing decisions we enter into that require our signature should we die/be permanently maimed/change our mind later and are mad. We sign off and say we understand the risks associated with our choice.

What if we went into emotional situations and relationships with the same mindset.
“Am I okay with the risks of this?”

I read a LOT of intents. Many of them are about reclaiming oneself from fear or doubt, blame or anger. The thing I want to drive home is that you can give or take permission from the things that drive you to those places as well.

Maybe it’s a friendship.
Or a work setting.
Maybe it’s a choice you keep making.
Don’t give permission for yourself to be torn down.
Don’t give permission to keep yourself in a negative space where you can’t trust your own decisions or worthiness.

Maybe that’s real dramatic or would require a lot of change. But what is more worth it? Is tearing down more okay than building up?

My hope is that somewhere, somehow you give yourself the permission to be amazing, to stop making excuses or to stop living under the cloud you’ve fought so long against. My hope is that you don’t waste another second feeling like you’ve handed over power to people and things that aren’t making you a better human.

Let me encourage you that you’re not alone in this.
Everyday people on Intent.com are sharing intentions of reclaiming their lives, in big and small ways. Don’t feel like you have to wait for permission to do the same.

“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.”
-Joy Page

3 Tips to Stay Fired Up Instead of Fizzling Out

fired upLife comes at us fast. We choose whether it fires us up or fizzles us out. Here are two stories to make the point and then to share some comments in how to stay fired up – passionate – energized in life.

Story one. Fizzled out.

A friend of mine tries to do it all. Someplace in her thinking she feels she is supposed to be supermom, super-employee, super-friend, super-problemsolver, super-cook and super-spouse. She has a personal requirement to be all these – her choice. She comes from a family of high performers where they constantly assess and judge each other based on the things they do. Huge pressure. Lately I have seen the normally fire-filled eyes with gray shadows – she is fizzling out – losing her inner passion, fire and energy. Instead of showing up big to any of these roles, she is now just barely keeping up, disappointed with herself, with others and with the world. Fizzled out.

Story two. Fired Up.

Another friend of mine is a talented speaker who has a high-activity life. It is not unusual for him to be in two or three cities in a week. Between his writing and speaking, he is on the go all the time. He is fired up, passionate, excited and energized by what he does for work. But to keep this pace and to keep the internal fire burning, he has built some effective and practical “stay fired up” habits.

  1. Gratitude. Always start each day or event with a thought of gratitude. Each moment of each day has blessings in them if we choose to see them. By taking the time to appreciate the greatness and “amazingness” of each moment, we fuel our internal fire. Gratitude is a fire builder.
  2. Breathe. Take a breath anytime we feel too busy, confusing or chaotic. In this moment, we improve our clarity about our situation. This creates the ability for our next moment to be wiser, saner and more effective. Stop things even for a fraction of a second to see more clearly. This can help us pace ourselves to feel more in control, less defeated and therefore more fired up.
  3. Self-talk. Have positive self-talk. Most of the chatter in our minds is critical, non-supportive and judgmental. Noticing that chatter and realigning it to be kind, gentle and supportive is the way to rekindle our passion for what we are doing. That critical “committee” in our head is a fizzle maker. Tell the noisy voices in your head to sit down and shut up (I know that sound severe but sometimes our committees only respond. Then, without the noise, you can take a breath, be grateful and reconnect to your inner fire.

A single dad friend of mine used to say to his kids as he got them into bed (and help them to stay there instead of wanting this and that and making the bedtime process take hours), “When you stay in bed it gives me time to be ready to be a great dad to you tomorrow.” We all need to develop our personal habits to allow the time to plug back into our power source – to have greatness habits that fire up the passion for life, the passion for people and the passion for our work.

Our world can wear us out. Actually, we allow our world to wear us out. Since we choose how we respond to the things that life sends us, we could also choose to stay fired up. We could choose to feed our internal fire by connecting to our passions, being more present in what we choose to do and to appreciate what is instead of noticing what is missing. It takes awareness. It takes practice. It requires building some fired up habits.

What feeds your soul and energizes you to love life and feel connected to it? What can you do each day to do more of this? What makes you feel empty, tired and disconnected? What can you change to do less of this? Fired up or fizzled out. It’s always a choice – our choice.

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If you like Jay’s post check out these similar intents on Intent.com

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fired up

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photo by: matthewvenn

Own Your Choices Instead of Playing the Blame Game

christmas_snowy_road-1809I love this quote by Wayne Dyer:

Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make. Period.”

This is a powerful comment about owning our lives; we are accountable for our choices. However, the comment he doesn’t make is that our choices are directly influenced by our degree of consciousness – by how aware and present we are to the moments and events in our lives. The more aware we are of our situations and ourselves, the more information we have and the more intentional we can be about making wise choices. Otherwise, we feel like victims and though we have choice, our choices don’t seem very powerful.

We are each the product of every relationship, event and circumstance that we have experienced right up to this very moment. Each of these influences how we think, see, feel and act in context of our world.

We may have had a bad relationship and now we can’t seem to be but a little suspicious and apprehensive of being in another relationship – so we blame our past and let it hold us back from starting again.

Our family may have had money problems when we were younger and we now always feel we never have enough of it, no matter how much we have; we constantly worry about money and are not generous with the things we have.

We have a manager who is cheap with praise and is always critical; we decide we can get back at him by doing just enough not to get fired. We wonder why we are always passed over when it comes to promotions or advancement.

We blame these events or people in our lives.  We allow ourselves to play small, to get even with another, hold ourselves back in our careers, and live life in the “just enough” zone. We believe the world to be cold, harsh and unfair. We believe that people are selfish, pushy and not worth our time.  We say that others made me feel this way; others make me angry; my life is tougher than others. Though we think the problem is outside of us, it is actually within us because the problem is our perspective and not realizing that it is our choice in how we respond to what the world sends us.

So, how does blaming others for the things that are not working in our lives improve or change things for us? They don’t. The only way to change is to take ownership, realize we choose our responses and be intentional about moving forward. We can be happy or unhappy. We can be grateful or ungrateful. Both are choices. One may be a more difficult choice at times, but they are still both choices.

So as we look at the world and how it plays out in front of us, I find it so empowering to know that I have the choice to decide how it will be for me. I can’t always create the circumstances that I want but I can always remind myself to be conscious enough in each moment to remember that how I respond is up to me.

I can be intentional about choosing things that serve me instead of those that don’t. I can choose to find the value, lesson and wisdom in tough times and choose to learn instead of blame. I can also choose to be completely impressed by the majesty and magnificence of our world instead of see what is lacking. I can choose. And today, I choose and intend to be fully involved in life, accepting what comes my way and choosing to show up as my greatest self, grateful for the opportunity to share this planet with so many others. 

Radical Responsibility

radical-responsibility

 

“Why would God allow this to happen?”

I heard this questions, in many forms, in many variations many, many times. At last I responded. This time it was about a five-year old girl who was raped with an iron rod and died. Why would God allow this to happen?

“Maybe because God considers humans to be responsible adults who don’t need supervision, but can make their own choices, design their own lives and create their own reality” I responded “maybe because God acknowledges their freedom to do so. Humans are free to choose, some choose pain, others don’t — all create their experience of life with their choices.”

And the inevitable response came:

“But the 5 year old little girl didn’t choose all of this for herself. What does God have to say about that?”

 And … and it gave me pause. It gave me pause not because I didn’t have an answer to that – I have an answer and it is a good one — but because I was not sure my answer would be an acceptable one. I was not sure it would be a hand-able one.

I said:

“God might say: you choose your own faith, you create your destiny and your life in ways you don’t yet understand. You chose where and how you will be born and you choose how, and when, you die. Your life is called ‘your life’ not ‘God’s life’ for a reason. That you are not aware of choosing and creating doesn’t mean you don’t choose and create.”

Is that too much? Is it too much to say? Is it too much to expect from a five year old, from a fifteen year old, from a fifty year old?

But, you see, God just might see humans differently than humans do. God just might know the unlimited power humans wield and with which they create their reality, their world, their life. God might know that there is no limit to what humans can do, to what they can be. God might know that the human world looks and works like it does because humans say so, believe so, relate so.

God might know, at last, that it is nothing more than an outward projection of humans themselves. A name, a concept to which humans assign that which they, themselves, truly are — the ultimate, unlimited creators.

All humans, even those who are five years old.

Is this too much?

The Most Inspiring Thing David Foster Wallace Ever Said

You have a choice.

It’s as simple as that. Do you want to be irritated or uplifted, cynical or curious? Do you want to experience the world as inherently aggressive or inherently cooperative? Every day we encounter situations that stretch and test us, but every moment we have the power to choose how we react.

In this poignant excerpt from a commencement speech David Foster Wallace delivered to Kenyon College’s class of 2005, Wallace argues that the banalities of working adult existence provide constant opportunities for imaginative thinking. Set against a powerful video produced by LA-based film company The Glossary, Wallace’s argument hits home and is far too familiar to brush aside.

Does this inspire you or do you think David Foster Wallace has it all wrong? And what about those in our society who don’t fit the middle to upper middle class, white-collar existence? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

If You Want To Be Happy, Do Happy Things

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Happiness is our choice because we each have the power to bring our mind to happy thoughts. That’s the primary power in happiness. It’s a state of mind. It’s the way we choose to look at things and how we relate to things.  So we can set our minds free in our ongoing pursuit of happiness.

John-Roger, the founder of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA), once said, “If you want to be happy, do happy things. ” Although that may sound simple or you might think you don’t know how to do happy things, you can experience happi­ness   in your mind by having happy thoughts.  So regardless of what we’re doing or what’s happened, we can choose to be happy.  By opening up to the happiness within, we each have a greater opportunity to bless the world with our happiness. In truth, we are so blessed that we can feel happy no matter what.

Through our trust and faith in God, we can know the blessings of happiness.  Through that trust, we can realize that everything that ever takes place, in all of Creation, is never against anyone.  God sustains good, all the time, every time.  When we are consciously in accordance with that knowing, we have trust in God.   We can trust that what is being done, what has been done, and what will be done is ultimately useful for greater good. There’s no point in fighting with it. There’s no point in judging it. There’s no point in being unhappy with what is.

Real, lasting happiness doesn’t come at the detriment of others or through againstness or denial of reality.  When we’re attached and trapped by demanding against the world in some way, we can assign ourselves to misery like a ball and chain. We can become imprisoned by our disturbances, frustrations, irritations, or dissatisfactions. The more you can learn how to accept and get along with whatever you’re involved in, the more peace and happiness you can know in whatever you’re doing. When we have doubts or fears or when we judge ourselves or others, we can always let go and choose into the blessings of happiness because those blessings already are. So choose to be happy rather than in conflict with others or situations, regardless of what’s going on.

Others may not agree with your happiness. They may think you’re responding inappropriately. Clearly, there’s so much pain, suffering, and misery in the world, that there’s no need for us to add to it.  If your choice for happiness is misunderstood or judged by others, you can turn to peace, understand­ing, and compassion by choosing to be happy regardless. You can feel happy simply because you experi­ence happiness as your true nature.

When we choose happiness, we’re spontaneous and open to participate. We allow our creativity, that happy energy, to move out into the world and touch others.  If you find yourself being serious or worrying, allow your true nature to lift you so you’re more aware of your joy and the happiness in others and situ­ations.  If you keep finding it difficult to be happy with what you’re doing, then consider you need to change whatever it is that you are doing.  Even if you choose to be happy, what you’re doing may not be working.  So sometimes a shift in attitude isn’t enough.  At those times, let your happiness be your guide, and ask yourself, “What would make me happy here?”

Take a moment to let your true happiness show you what’s best. It might be as simple as asking for what you want and then being open to receiving it. Perhaps that takes courage. If it does, then choose to be courageous, especially when your happiness is on the line.

Remember that the source of your happiness is within you, not out in the world in what happens or what others do. God is happy.  So choose to be happy because you can — because happiness is your nature and the truth of who you are. Then you can share the blessings of the true happiness that you know inside.

Baruch Bashan (the blessings already are)

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John Morton, D.S.S. is the author of the inspiring books The Blessings Already Are and You Are the Blessings: Meditations and Reflections on Life, God and Us.  Learn more about John’s works at www.johnmortonministries.org.  Contact John at goto@johnmortonministries.org

Originally published in 2010

There Are No Random Acts of Kindness

FREE HUGSI think it is a misnomer to describe acts of kindness as random.

Kindness arises with an intention to “be kind” followed by an action. While the acts may be directed toward anonymous people or animals, the person’s act of kindness is anything but random — it is deliberate and directional — non-random in nature.

I think that the non-random nature of kindness is key to its value. It reflects a conscious choice on the part of the actor, to give, to help, to share and to soothe. It seems to me that it is in the conscious choice we reveal our role in shaping our own humanity and even our evolutionary future.

The other day I saw my daughter preparing a “sack lunch” for her boyfriend who is in a rather rigorous 5 day a week 8 hour a day school program. She wrote his name on the bag — just like I used to do for her and her brothers when they were little. It was such a sweet act of kindness, and it made me think about all those sack lunches that will be prepared in the next months as the fall school season begins.

The preparation of a sack lunch for a loved one is full of kindness; it is intentional and directional. I remember writing little notes and including small “surprises” (e.g. Hershey kiss) for my kids in their lunches when they were little. A sack lunch can carry a lot of love within it.

But there are many non-random acts of kindness around us all the time. When we meet a homeless man or woman on the street, we may offer a cup of coffee, give some change, or just wish them well with a smile and hello. That is anything but random — we choose to place our attention on them and we choose how to respond — with kindness or not.

Scientists are beginning to study “kindness” and how to increase it. In a study at Stanford University, researchers delivered an 11 minute “loving kindness” exercise to students and discovered that they rated strangers as “kinder” and more similar to themselves than those not given the exercise. And in a study conducted at Duke University, researchers found that people with greater “self-compassion” (a construct composed of kindness, mindfulness and a sense that one is part of the larger human condition) were much better adept at handling social rejection and the negative emotions that stem from it.

Kindness is a valuable attribute and science is showing its benefits.

In my own experiences, I notice that kindness (when consciously generated and applied) can alter my own negative emotions. An example from last week illustrates it.

My husband and I began “running” for exercise about a year ago. We worked up from a block at a time (starting, stopping) to now running with ease 4-5 miles a day. But we don’t always run in sync with one another; sometimes I’m running faster than he and other times he runs faster than me. One morning, I was ahead of him on a trail when he caught up and our elbows hit; I thought he was trying to push me to the side to let him pass and had a bit of anger swell up; instead of reacting I thought perhaps he just wants to run in front for a while. So I decided to step back and run behind. There was a conscious intent on my part to act with kindness (instead of reacting with anger). Immediately, I felt my anger dissipate as I chose to let him run ahead, and after a mile or so, we ran next to each other in the end. It was a tiny example of cultivating kindness and acting from it instead of reacting from a negative emotion. The choice shifted my own mood from mildly irritated to happy in less than a block of running. The choice was intentional and the act deliberate, non-random in nature.

I think what we really want to practice are more non-random acts of kindness – directed to those we know and to those we don’t know – as much possible.

I am sure it will make our lives happier and the world a kinder place.

 

Originally published in 2010

No Wrong Choices

Written by Claire Wineland

“Something I have learned through all this is that there are really no wrong decisions… just choices that will take your life down a totally different path.”—Claire Wineland

How do you know what decision to make? What path to go down?

About two years ago, I underwent a surgery, went septic, and wound up in a coma with a 1% chance of living. Looking back, there were so many signs to not have this surgery, but I did anyways.

It got me thinking: there really isn’t a bad decision.

Without undergoing that surgery and the events that followed, I might not have my foundation and have been able to help so many people.

Sometimes the choice is obvious, and I am not suggesting you make bad decisions thinking it’ll all just work out. What I am suggesting is that no matter what decision you make, you will grow and learn from it. No decision is bad or good, just different. Whatever you choose, you will be led down a different path, and your life will change.

There is no one way our life is supposed to go. Each choice leads to another branch of possibilities and on and on it goes. When faced with a choice, meditate and listen to your body. Do what feels right.

If you make the “wrong” decision, your life will change just as much as if you made the “right” one. You life doesn’t get worse, it just changes, and you will learn from it.


It’s rare to be a role model and sought-after speaker at the tender age of 15. It’s rare to have a life-altering condition like Cystic Fibrosis and be known for your bubbly personality. In fact, everything about Claire Wineland is rare. She has had more surgeries and hospitalizations than she can count and has survived a 17-day coma, yet through all of her many challenges, she continues to spread joy and help kids and adults alike to find their purpose.

For more information on Claire and her charity, Claire’s Place Foundation, please visit her website or on Facebook.

Five Seconds

When you have a moment, try this technique that’s been used by Masters the world over for many, many years. It’s not difficult, per se, but to do it for any length of time may prove challenging. As with anything though, the more you do it, the better you’ll become, the easier it’ll get.

Listen to new 10 minute podcast: "Five Seconds"

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