A few days ago I rewatched one of my favourite films, What the Bleep Do We know? It is a favourite, not because of its aesthetics but because of what it teaches me about the possibilities of my life. I have never been a proponent of just floating through life – although I admit I have been sometimes envious of people who can do this gracefully and successfully. But I am not one of these people. For better or worse I have always had a sense of mission, a sense that fulfilment was the most important thing in life, that life has to be fully lived and, if possible, used somehow, hopefully for something good – even if it was not always clear to me for what.
What the Bleep? uses quantum physics to show that there may be an unlimited number of choices we can make in every moment of our life. Yes, unlimited – and in every moment. The film argues, based on quantum physics, that there might also be an unlimited number of realities in which we live our life, each of them different depending on the choices we make at any moment. Think about it. Are you making a choice at the moment? Am I am making a choice at the moment? Even not making a choice is a choice because that means you have chosen what is, chosen to stay where you are, chosen not to make a change – you choose all of the aforementioned by making a choice not to do anything. Which is perfectly fine, especially when we have got our life the way we want it … for now. Because, you see, we are here to create – that is at least what I believe – so making a choice is not necessarily a rejection of what we presently have or are experiencing but simply a way of saying, ‘Thank you for this experience, I would like to experience something else now.’ This unending possibility of choices can be daunting because – as the film discusses – it throws back all the responsibility for our lives back to us. No whinging – just make a choice. Now, no whinging is a big one for me because for years I was unconsciously addicted to whinging and mentally victimising myself, despite the evidence about me to the contrary! But we choose evidence to fit our story, and as writer I know this; we create a novel out of our life and that is a wonderful thing. But the question is: are we creating the novel we want? It all depends on the choices we make.
I am not naive here and am aware that some people have circumstances surrounding them that are extremely daunting, while others have circumstances that are extremely favourable. And some people just seem to be very lucky, while others always have to work hard for everything. I can also see, and have known in my life, people born into extraordinary favourable circumstances in their lives who did nothing with them or, worse, surrendered to an addiction or depression.
At the same time, we all know examples of people who have overcome their circumstances and have done the absolute best they can with what they were given. I believe, and especially when I feel empowered and am in a good mood, that that part is up to us – to do the best we can with what is given to us. More, it we – WE – who decide what our best is. It is we who can raise the bar (if we so choose) for ourselves, it is we who decide to make that ‘unusual’ choice which might go against what everyone else might think is a reasonable choice. In fact, I believe that the best choices are often the most unreasonable ones.
So why do we not see this plethora of choices and possible lives for ourselves? From observing my own life and my own experiences of disempowerment now and then (and whinging) I understand that that we do not see these choices when we are too busy to see, when we are caught in some mental trap or belief that this how things are (things will be different if I make different choices now), we are too caught up in our lives and mental processes.
Which is why it is good to STOP. And the best time to stop is when we are most caught-up. This is the most difficult and painful thing to do because our minds will scream that this is the worst possible time to stop – but, actually, this is the best time to stop. Even if just for 30 minutes, because you begin to see that what we are doing in any given moment is only one of many possibilities that we can live and that there are others probably more fulfilling for us – but we need to stop to see them. This is why I like so much the old Zen saying: ‘Meditate every day for 30 minutes and, if you are too busy, meditate every day for one hour’. Translation: if you are too busy to stop for just 30 minutes, you really need to stop because you are too caught-up, you are so caught-up that you are losing sight of what your life can be and the endless possibilities that are waiting for you at this very moment. And I am writing this to remind myself of this: stop – and consider other possibilities.