Decision making is at the heart of human life. Perhaps individuality stems from decisions and choices people make. Interestingly we all are faced with decisions or choices almost every moment. Be it getting up from bed in time, or choosing a cup of coffee, eating certain foods or being in a relationship. Intelligent decision making , thus , as a subject requires careful attention. It can lead us to understanding our selves better and better directing our actions.
Today world has become so fast paced. Even in a smaller town of India, life seems to be zipping around me. New developments, technologies, so many new books, movies, new style of clothing, variety of foods, places to see and just so many options of everything available to try and do in life. In this sense, it’s a tremendous era in human history to live in. All this has contributed to the society achieving more education, comfort and physical health.
However, I feel it is also beginning to bewilder the human mind. The traditional basis of decision making, utilization of resources has been challenged. Do you know that I read somewhere that information available in one single newspaper today is more that all information that people in medieval times were exposed to in their full life time! We are in an information age and I fear information is beginning to drive our life instead of vice versa. I try to remind my self that information is not wisdom.
All of us including me are being pushed by local and international trends of consumption. Did you notice that we all are so much more aware of our physical looks than we used to be. At least most of us. Perhaps the answer lies in that we wish to be appreciated in this era of continuous bombardment of beautiful images. And perhaps by ‘LOOKS’, I refer to the larger trend of being part of the IN-TRIBE. We wish to be socially accepted and conform to external opinion on our looks and life style. From the latest gadgets to the trendy career choices, to sumptuous cuisines, the list seems endless .Whatever is in vogue –is what I want. ‘I WANT’ is the slogan that rules the minds today. And of course tomorrow I will want the next new.
Don’t get me wrong, Shopping can be fun and I do it as well. However I am searching for this inner basis that guides me to what I buy. Its becoming so challenging to hold my own choices as they get influenced by what’s trendy. Instead of blind efforts to possess anything that has status value, a deeper thought could be the guide. Perhaps that may even lead to originality which is not as subjugated to eternal opinion.
Unconsciously, we all are making similar choices. While shopping for clothes may be a trivial example but for I have this effect more important issues like work culture, ethics and personal relationships. Why do we like a person or value his opinion. Is it because he stands for something of value or he appears to be a suitable trophy value to have. For me the proverbial corporate rat race is just a manifestation of this blind decision making, where profit in terms of money is the sole criteria for success.
I personally think that we are deceiving ourselves. Yes, we are being robbed of our intellectual power to think for ourselves. To blindly decide on trends can lead to valuable wasting of human life and originality This unclear decision making disconnects the mind of its most subtle power- i.e. CONSCIOUSNESS. It weakens the mind and generally gives this queasy feeling of not knowing where we are heading. Have you ever felt that? A great success might come our way but we are still left with this nagging feeling about its true value. We often ignore that inner voice but such unconscious living can squeeze out our energy and leave us drained. The solution is connecting to our inner wisdom as a guide for all small and big decisions in life.
How can we do it? I believe it’s a journey. In my modest personal experiments I have found benefit with some techniques which enhance consciousness. We humans are the most because we are blessed with the ability to differentiate and focus our mental energies. In ancient yogic practices it’s called Meditation. The human mind when controlled via meditation can lead to powerful insights on self and the world. All creative and productive activity involves it, to an extent. However we need to call it consciously to our use. A mind focused by meditation, seeks its energy and insights from our inner self and reflects it outside. Meditation allows us to become CONSCIOUS OF OUR INHERENT DIVINITY AND PERFECTION. This conscious state helps develop an equanimity which allows us to direct our action by our inner law which knows what’s right and wrong. Unlike external fleeting trends, it’s like a constant and still ocean to dive into. Decisions made when one is in that conscious state, align well with our long term goals; they bring peace and lead to healthy relationships.
According to William James, a philosopher, the ‘Self” has two distinct aspects or voices, ‘I’ and ‘ME’. ‘I’ – self refers to what I am capable of doing and ‘ME’-self refers to the knowledge of what I have accomplished so far. Both the voices contribute and are relevant. True power can be felt when we can place the ‘Self Voices’ in context of the Inner voice’ ( of consciousness). On its own the external ‘Self’ is easily swayed by trivialities of life. Once understood the mind can receive all external choices including the voices of the self , and bring it before the inner voice(conscience) and then reflect upon.
A conscious mind is a peaceful mind , its is a powerful mind, it aligned to our will, it is capable of higher levels of concentration and discrimination (between good and bad).
Life is a like a beautiful flower .It blooms when the petals of mind unfurl in bright radiance of light of knowledge from within. A beautiful life spreads the fragrance of contentment and bliss.
While it may be difficult to fully comprehend what I say, in written words, conscious decision making and power of meditation is something best understood by practice. Perhaps 10 minutes of meditation may make you decide in favor of my argument.
As Swami Vivekananda said, “We are responsible for what we are and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves.”
About the Author ~
Ginni Batta has studied and taught psychology. She is a mentor and coaches people to be their best in Life.