The Inability to Decide

“Your function here is only to decide against deciding what you want, in recognition you do not know.”  A Course in Miracles, ch. 14, IV.5


Making decisions can be quite difficult and guilt producing.  Have you ever decided something, or anything, that you did not quickly began to second guess, or feel doubts about its wisdom?  I’m sure you have.  We all do.


In one of my favorite devotional books, created in the 1970’s by a woman named Helen Schucman, the above line is quoted.  Its truth continues to become more part of my life.  I have made many decisions in which I soon realized their uncertainty.  From golf club selection to speaking topics, from marriage to eating, I tend to keep wondering if the decision I made was the best.  (In golf, I often know immediately!)  We second guess and question books we read, colleges and schools attended, spouse or spouses chosen, career or careers lived.  How can we know which is right?


We cannot know!  It’s impossible.  Nothing is certain in the early, time bound sphere.  We are bombarded with millions of stimuli each second–from commercial ads, newspaper articles, and political debates.  It is the nature of the brain and living itself.  We often cannot sleep because questions and decisions do not stop for rest.


To “decide against deciding what you want” seems like a slam to our egos and sense of security.  But it can also be seen as freedom.  It can be the freedom to let go into a higher power, or God, or something transcendent from our normal time/bound bodies.  This is what I have learned, and continue to learn, over a lifetime of study and trying to practice “religion.”  Many if not most religions try to help in telling us what to think, believe, say, do or not do.  Some become very exclusive and brutal toward those who do not accept such beliefs.


A deeper awareness has led many to see ourselves as not our body/minds as normally acknowledged.  We are something else.  I believe A Course in Miracles teaches this very clearly.  Other forms of spirituality, I have also discovered, remind us we of this same truth.  Many are from the Eastern religions and from recently discovered early church writings before the 4th century.  We can grow to see ourselves as spiritual entities which have chosen to have bodily experiences.  I first began to ponder this when, as a teacher pointed, out how I always refer to my body from the viewpoint of a third person observer.  I speak of my body, my arm, my brain, my eyes, etc. as the observer.  The True I or Self, I learned to be another dimension, what many ancient and contemporary teachers call the beginning, or an “awakening.”


The book, A Course in Miracles, is a modern helpful for many in Western cultures with closer proximity and familiarity with traditional Christianity.  However, it challenges the traditional Christianity of the 4th Century, one based on dogmas and creeds, with its strong emphasis upon our Christ Selves as being one with God.  Such an awakening became not only astounding to myself, as to many others, but gave me a path and way to experience deeper freedom and peace in my life.  I slowly learned to let go and live in a world of constant relativity.


We can thus learn to live with the awareness, with a profound relief, that we do not know and cannot decide specifics with lasting certainty.  We can welcome the “laws of chaos” as renewed in conversation over 100 years ago.  We can “let go and let God” as the phrase is often heard.  The Course says, “When you have learned how to decide with God, all decisions become as easy and right as breathing.  There is no effort, and you will be led as gently as if you were being carried down a quiet path in summer.”  (T-14.IV.6) What a relief such realization can bring!  It is a teaching and truth we can return to daily, even hourly, and throughout our years in this temporary existence.


We renew such release each time we stop and become still, giving up all thoughts and focusing on our breath in meditation.  It is the meaning of the Psalm verse, “Be still and know I am God.”  (Psalm 46:10) It is meaning of the unknown writer of the 14th century book, “The Cloud of Unknowing,” whereby we know and experience a peace not of this world.  We can put aside deciding and calculating, and just “be.”


I hope you experience some of this today and each day.  Live in this world but remember, we are not of it.  Your Self or identity is with the Great All, the Oneness of Everything, whom we can call among other things, God.

About David Persons

Retired minister who still writes, speaks some, hikes less, and golfs.
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