In the last two days I have had several conversations with people who said “I should do xxx” or “I must do xxx”. Interestingly these jobs that must or should be done seem always to end up at the bottom of the list of priorities, even though the compulsion to do them appears very strong. “I must tidy the house.” “I should eat healthier food.” “I really have to get fit.”
This in turn only adds to the pressure. So we repeat over and over again “I must do it…” or I must get round to it…” but the resistance is enormous and continues to grow, sometimes only being released when there is an internal explosion – tears, anger, rage or total abandonment – leading to disappointment and eventual depression.
This is a remarkably unpleasant way to live, and is probably familiar to many of us. It was described to me today as being “held in a vice”. It is clearly counterproductive, but most methods of breaking free of the vice only work temporarily. You relax or meditate and get a few minutes of breathing space until the vice tightens its grip around you again.
So far I can honestly say that I have only found one way out of this vice that is clearly going to work in the long term. I remind myself that I am totally free. I have free will and can make whatever choices I want. There are consequences to my choices but there is no compulsion. If I make an unwise choice (ie I don’t like the consequences) I can choose again.
It may feel as if I need to please other people or I have to behave in a particular way, but if I am really honest with myself I see that I do not have to please other people or do anything if I don’t choose to.
Why is this choice so important? I understand that freedom is the nature of life itself. Our soul is free. Everything is free. We are all free – at a higher level of truth. When we say the words “I must…” or “I should… this is a direct contradiction to the nature of life. This is what sets up such tremendous resistance, because it is simply not true. We can choose NOT to do it and simply take the consequences.
Once we know we are choosing, the feeling is totally different. We want to do things, rather than feeling we have to. Being obliged leaves us feeling weak, almost disabled and totally sapped of power and energy. Taking responsibility and making our own choices (not someone else’s) literally gives us power and energy and makes us feel fully alive and engaged – one of the best feelings we can possibly experience.