Knowing What You Want

One of the things I learned in a Scriptwriting course I took last year was that the main character must always want something badly and pursue it throughout the movie. That is what makes the story interesting, our teacher said. If you want a good story, you cannot have a main character who doesn’t want anything. Because if the character doesn’t want anything, you have no plot. You have nothing hindering him, nothing opposing him, no big choices that he needs to make. He’s just… there.

I found that to be a fitting description of how I have been conducting my life. I didn’t take risks, or when I did, I rushed against the storm. I didn’t put effort in things and I avoided choices. I didn’t dare to assert myself.

And it turns out, if you don’t pursue what you like, want, need… which is to affirm your place in the world and to have healthy self-interest, then the default is to define yourself in terms of what you don’t like or want, which creates a negative outlook on life.

It would appear that the difference between the two is the difference between purposeful action and fearful reaction.

If you do not choose, if you do not use your voice, if you do not initiate things and decide upon goals, you revert to a state where you react to your circumstances.

So I think that building healthy aggression is important, because that is the impetus you need to pull you out of inertia. Instead of fighting circumstances, you let intentions carry you forward.

And also, deciding upon a goal, as abstract or imperfect as it may appear, it is better than not deciding upon anything. You choose and then refine. You get things moving. You learn, you experience, you improve, you grow.

And by your choices and the goals you pursue, things start falling into place. You know what you need to say yes to and no to, you get to know what you like and what clicks. And you get to learn about who you are.

And you finally turn the page and start a new chapter : )




Choice Anxiety

Having struggled with choice anxiety for almost two years now, I am starting to understand something… probably a bit too late.

If you don’t know what you want, if you don’t have any responsibilities, if you don’t have any goals, then you also don’t know how to orient yourself in life and that means you don’t know what kind of things support the kind of life that you want/need.

Therefore, you don’t know what kind of job you would like or what kind of books you need to buy, or what kind of people you would like in your life or what kind of activities you would like to do or generally what sacrifices you need to make to get to where you want to be. Everything becomes a haze that envelops you.

So it now makes sense why I don’t know how to choose. It’s because I have not made it clear where I am going, so my choices are disconnected from purpose. And if purpose is not the guiding force behind my actions, then it has to be other considerations like… is this right/wrong?

You Have The Power

When a person finally recognizes the significance of cause and effect in his or her own life, the result is a tremendously changed attitude to life. Usually preliminary work has to be undertaken before the pathwork brings you to this understanding. You may have discovered many an image, have understood a number of inner problems and conflicts, and yet you have no inkling of the immediate causes and effects, hence the independent role you play in your fate, in what seems like unalterable circumstances. For the moment, I do not refer to mystical connections of a more far-reaching nature, karmic conditions, causes and effects that are once, twice or ten times removed, but direct, visible links of cause and effect, that is, visible if one chooses to see and understand.

How many times do all of you feel and think and fear and wish, as though your attitude and behavior had no bearing on the desired outcome! For instance, you fear you may not be liked and helplessly hope that perhaps you might be. Meanwhile, what escapes you is that your actions could easily bring about what you truly want. How often do you fear you may not succeed in a venture, passively, helplessly waiting for fate to determine the desired outcome? It does not occur to you that there are many ways in which you, and you alone, can bring about what you want. All your energies are geared to creating the appearance that what you want exists in your life. But deep down, you are convinced that you cannot really have it. You are ashamed to admit this, so you pretend you possess what you do not. You could have what you want if you spent your energies, not on make-believe, but on truly obtaining it. This may be success in any given field, it may be a happy relationship, being loved and fulfilled on all levels of your being, or it may be being a certain kind of person.

The first wall in the maze, then, is your belief that you cannot have what you so easily might have. The second wall, resulting from the first, is your shame about a non-existent and unnecessary deprivation. The third twisted corridor in the labyrinth of the mind is the pretense that you have what you want or could have if you wanted to, while you believe the opposite. In spite of believing that you cannot have it, nevertheless hopes for fate to deliver you from your deprivation. So you have fears and hopes, all based on false premises.

You even fear yourself, your own unconscious mind — as though it contained a monster you have no control over, separated from your volitional processes. Moreover, you foolishly seem to assume that by pretending it does not exist, it will remain tame, but if you looked at it, it would act up, forcing you into actions you have no way of stopping. You completely forget that your unconscious mind is the monster; that once the unconscious is conscious, you are not a slave to it, but its master. You stubbornly insist that you are at the mercy of the workings of this secret mind. You are plagued with superfluous fears of whether or not you will succeed in growing, shedding an unwelcome trait, acting constructively — as though all this had nothing to do with your choices, but was caused by a power over which you have had no influence. Even those of you who have already experienced considerable insights on this path still do not recognize how often you feel this way. You neglect to notice it. If only you would check such reactions and immediately correct the faulty thinking that has such far-reaching effects on your entire evolution, on your very existence! All you need to do after such a detection is to forcefully assert that you, and you alone, determine your actions, your behavior, your decisions. The moment you do this, something begins to happen within, and heretofore unused faculties begin to manifest, first giving you still deeper understanding, and then strengthening you so that you begin to act in a new and more productive way, and are geared to accomplish your goal. In other words, you set new causes in motion by refusing to be the prey of your own destructive aspects.

When you finally come into your own and discover that the solution is so simple, a major transition occurs. It rests on your willingness to dispense with the subtle pretenses that cover up your unnecessary limitations. Then, when you dispense with the limitation itself, you can go out and obtain what you wish. Instead of withdrawing and pulling back from people, you will reach out for them. Hence, you will never worry about not being liked. Instead of causing a paralysis of your best faculties, you will discover and use them. Instead of saying no to life, you will say yes. Instead of helplessly waiting for others, or fate, or life, to make you into an acceptable person, meanwhile hiding in fear from yourself, you will determine what you wish, how to obtain it, what to do about tendencies you do not like. The change lies in doing your best, rather than giving the best impression. If you look at all your past discoveries in that light, you can determine the vast difference between giving the best impression, so that the best will be thought of you, and actually doing the best in order to obtain a particular desired result. This is the very key that determines the real success you want in a vocation, in a rewarding relationship, in growth and in self-unfoldment.

– Eva Pierrakos, Pathwork Lecture #128, Limitations Created Through Illusory Alternatives

Full lecture here.

Choice and Self-Knowledge

Lately I’ve been thinking about freewill and choice.

I think the choices we make are a function of self-knowledge. The more we know ourselves, the more we are able to recognize what is immovable (even if temporarily) and what is not. So then choice becomes the recognition of what kind of resistance needs to be accepted and which kind of resistance needs to be pushed through. Like flow, engaging the active and passive principles wisely.

Also it is the understanding that doubt means you are not ready yet, that there is still something left to uncover, hiding somewhere in your unconscious. To the extent that you know yourself, there is no choice to be made, because the choice would just be the obvious thing to do. So then choice is like an optical illusion caused by a lack of self-knowledge. Or something : )

Any thoughts?