How to Make Enlightened Decisions
Written by Jafree Ozwald
“To expound and propagate concepts is simple,
to drop all concepts is difficult and rare.” ~ Nisargadatta
Every day along this amazing journey through life, we get the opportunity to fine tune our ability to make healthy decisions that empower and inspire our lives. Some decisions are easy and obvious to make, while others can feel like they’re ripping our mind and heart into a thousand tiny pieces. When you reach one of these major life choice points and have to step into that colossal crossroads, take the time to go through this process below so you can make the most enlightened decision available to you.
When I was a growing up, my dad always told me that, “beggars can’t be choosers”. I never truly understood the profound depth of that message until I was 16 years old, when he gave me a book to read about manifesting. In applying this manifesting knowledge, it became apparent that the more I was feeling demanding, needy, and lacking something inside myself, my body became more tense, my vision became more cloudy, narrowed and incapable of perceiving the infinite array of possibilities in the Universe. I realized that the more I begged for what I wanted, the less likely I would receive my desire, and the more challenging it became to relax and welcome in the happy loving feelings that I was truly after.
As I observed myself in this decision making process, I noticed that my body would feel paralyzed, frozen and contracted around certain choices, while in making other decisions it expanded with joy as if it found the most liberating gift from the Universe. I realized that what makes a decision self-empowering all depends on our perspective. How we are approaching our life, our relationship with our self, and if we can see all the many possible outcomes and choices that could be made. I realized that decisions are powerful teachers designed to force us to look inside ourselves so we participate more intimately in who we are inventing ourselves to be. We are nudged into being the creators of our reality, designers of our destiny, and constantly invited to paint the masterpiece blossoming inside us on the great blank canvas of our lives.
If you wish to take your decision making ability to the next enlightening level, start with the commitment to get to know yourself more intimately. If you can know who you are and what you really want in life, the Universe cannot just hand you the scrap decision leftovers that are stuck at the bottom of the barrel. If you don’t stand up for what you want, you become like a child who cannot speak yet, and simply accept whatever your parents give you. Make this decision right now that you will always be able to clearly articluate what you desire. This one simple choice contains so much potential power inside, it will tranform your life in the most interesting ways.
It’s a big risk to go after what your heart truly desires in life, so get to know why you want these things in life, what is it going to give you when you experience it? If you had excuses that would stop you from receiving it, what would those be? Who we are in life is not all about what we desire to manifest, yet our desires are great pointers to help us unravel the beautiful mystery within. So look deep inside yourself and ask yourself, Where do you want to be, do and have in your life in one year from now? How about three years from now? Really sit with these questions. The more clarity you can discover today, will impact on some level the quaility of manifestation you attract to you in your future.
Deciding what you truly want in life can be challenging, because it feels like you are defining who you are and who you are not. If we commit to deciding to do one thing, we can feel confined and that we are excluding a thousand other possible options. The other reason why decisions are often so challenging is the time frame or deadline we form around them. If we had an infinite number of years to reach our desired outcome, we might become so relaxed about the whole thing that it wouldn’t matter if any decision was ever made. The enlightened path to discover here is that the limitations we feel around time and resources can work for us or against us. When we are thinking that we don’t have an abundance of money, love, time, creativity or manifesting power, it can force us to get deeply creative. When we have consequences to our choices, a price tag you have to pay for every decision made or not made, we become even more reverent beings who are conscious choosing who we want to be and why we are here.
When it comes down to reality, believe it or not, we have full choice as to if we entertain this belief in limitation or not. The mind will make up all sorts of stories about what is true and real, and what is fiction and fantasy. Yet, the truth is we are living in an ocean of unlimited conscious intelligent energy that has no boundaries or borders. The mind likes to create limitations to play with, and believe in some form of pressure around special decisions that have to be made. Yet, the big secret here is knowing we are all spiritual beings at the core. Our infinite spiritual nature contains the realization that there are no limitations, no death after the body is gone. Deep down we know that we have an infinite resource of manifesting power inside us and an eternity of time to create anything we desire.
“There is no such thing as a person. There are only restrictions and limitations. The sum total of these defines the person. The person merely appears to be, like the space within the pot appears to have the shape and volume and smell of the pot.” ~ Nisargadatta.
To step into the realm of making enlightened decisions, we must start with blowing up the mind. The mind is too small of a container for an enlightened decision to fit in. We must drop the mind completely for an enlightened choice to find it’s way in. To reaching this place of enlightened insight is not hard, it just takes patience, and the willingness to see the infinite realm of possibilities that exist here now. We must we willing to quiet the mind so it eventually stops its desperate perpetual search for answers.
To truly understand what an “enlightened decision” is all about, we might need to first clarify what an “unenlightened decision” entails. An unenlightened decision is one that is not self-reflective, introspective, or taking into consideration a deep love and respect for yourself. When you don’t know who you are, or what your heart truly yearns to manifest in life, chances are high that you will struggle with every decision that comes your way. This doesn’t mean in order to make the most enlightened decision we need to contemplate for several hours when taking any risk or leap in life. When we are in tune with our deepest life mission and purpose, we can make a huge enlightened life choice spontaneously and confidently.
You can tell a decision is “enlightened” when it brings you more freedom, lightness, love, depth or even more possible choices. An enlightened decision won’t limit your future, yet rather will expand your consciousness in every dimension. Enlightened decisions are win-win solutions, where everyone benefits in some miraculous way. The most enlightened decision will manifest instantly when the mind is perfectly calm and silent. Here we become truly in tune with our hearts, aligned with our spiritual nature, and capable of feeling what our deepest needs are. The more we are in touch with our spiritual nature, our true soul connection to the Universe, we will know what we most want to experience every day before we die. Knowing this connection, every decision making experience becomes easier and happens faster all along the way.
If you are afraid to make any decision that could possibility alter your normal “safe” life circumstances, you’ll notice that the mind is frozen in fear-ville. It is terrified of change, thinking things will remain ok if I remain in full control and don’t make any changes. If you’re able to take one baby step out of this comfort zone, you won’t end up molding and rotting in your cozy safety pit. An enlightened decision maker loves taking risks because they realize there truly is nothing to risk. They know they are a soul, a truly infinite being inside, and are excited to throw some spice into their life in order to really enjoy the ride.
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane
by those who could not hear the music.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
To make that deep change and arrive in the liberating land of enlightened choice making, think about those choices you’ve made in the past that have made your heart sing the loudest. What great risks have you taken that have manifested the most wonderful situation that is still impacting you today? By trusting the risks you have taken in the past, you’ll relax deeper into yourself and realize that you are listening to your heart. This is one of the first steps to uncovering your real spiritual essence. Notice how you feel when you’re coming from a place of intuition, inspiration, love, and trust. Just feeling into these qualities everyday make it a thousand times easier to become that empowered co-creator of your life and dreamy designer of your destiny.
The most enlightened decision you can make will always be the one that brings the deepest relaxation into your body and mind. The most unenlightened decision will always be creating more stress, tension, anxiety, and fear inside. The unenlightened path is about basing our future on avoiding or possessing potential “what if” outcomes. If we are desperately trying to avoid something from manifesting in our lives, we are more likely going to attract it, and end up being a closed hand for receiving what we truly want.
If we are always attached to a particular outcome having to happen in order to be happy, we become so rigid that we cannot relax into the happiness when it arrives. Sometimes it seems impossible to make any decision at all in life. We hit the super jackpot of challenging decisions and feel forced to make a major life choice where there is no evident win-win scenario. Our soul mate and life partner is drowning in a sea of circling hungry sharks. The best outcome might be what we believe is best for others, or another time it may be only what’s in the best interest for ourselves. Sometimes we must choose that safe route, what has been comfortable or known to us in the past, while other times its better to take that dangerous leap of faith into the unknown.
What helps us to find the most enlightened decision when confronted with a real life challenging scenario is noticing where the choice is coming from. Is it coming from love and trust, or fear and tension? The outcome you manifest will be based on the springboard you jump from. If you dive into the water out of pure fear, the sharks will smell that and eat you alive. If you dive in with passion, love and trust, the two of you just might escape alive. To find out if your choice is love based or fear based, pay close attention to your chest. Notice how the energy around your heart responds when you think about the choice. Does it expand in love or contract in fear? Be aware of how grounded you are in this feeling, and how it touches you emotionally as well.
In life there is always a choice to be made. Even if we freeze and don’t make any decision at all, this still ends up becoming a choice and we must surrender to our “default destiny” letting the Universe decide what’s best for us. This freeze point in decision making is one of the most powerful transformational places we can arrive at. It is the point where pure choiceless awareness is found. It is the easiest place where we can create a breakthrough into a higher state of consciousness.
When all thought processes come to a total stop, this is the moment when the radical spiritually liberating experience of pure choiceless awareness comes in to play. In this place there is no separate chooser, no ego or limited being in need of anything. There is simply a relaxation into the spiritual destiny that the soul is already aligned with. The highest states of consciousness are found in the most random and ordinary circumstances. An enlightening experience can show up in a simple urge to move to a new city, get a new job, or change to a new relationship. It often happens when the mind becomes completely frozen, and it cannot decide what the “right” decision will create the most happiness, success, and freedom.
Ultimately for the soul, it doesn’t matter if your ego gets what it wants or not. The soul is more interested in where you are making each choice from. The choice is always coming from either a state of love or fear. Notice, what experience are you really trying to have in life anyway? If you could wave a magic wand, what would you honestly want your great destiny in life to be? If you want spiritual freedom, you could choose to stay in the same house, at the same job, or with the same relationship that you’ve been in for years. As long as you’re seeing what a sacred teacher this situation is, you’ll be able to love where you are and feel truly free there. However, if you want financial freedom and great material success, you may want to do something radically different and move to that new town with the big job that has no financial ceiling to it. There are no right or wrong paths to take in life, there are only choices we make and how we truly feel inside about them.
“The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.” ~Florence Scovel Shinn
It’s good to know that every curse we perceive in life is a blessing in disguise. It can happen that we incur so much intense emotion and pressure around a decision, that we tend to hesitate, procrastinate or distract ourselves with doing meaningless time consuming tasks instead. When the mind is wrapped up in fear, we end up trying to avoid feeling the fear by doing things which are somewhat enjoyable and yet deeply mind altering. When the mind is doing a crazy number on you, the best thing to do is to go for a walk, have some tea with a friend, relax with a good book, and let the whole process go. This approach is a conscious technique for trusting deeper in the Universe, and it will show you what the best choice is when the timing is right. It may seem like you’re avoiding making the decision, yet truly you’re diving deeper into the trusting process.
This conscious trusting method is powerful and effective as long as it doesn’t turn into a lazy excuse for entertaining your addictions and avoid taking full responsibility for your life. The mind is a trickster, and will do anything to avoid an experience it doesn’t want to have. If this sounds like you, you must watch your mind extra close. Commit to only doing the MOST inspired actions that make your heart sing every minute of the day. Eventually, you’ll start feeling really inspired and can relax enough inside to see clarity around which decision to make. Best of all you’ll have the deepest sleep when the day is over.
Enlightened choices are naturally born from HOW we approach the circumstances we’re already in. We may first need to discover that we have to stop trying to alter the outer world so that our inner world feels better, or we may need to alter our outer world to give us access to the things we are really yearning for. However we approach the world, the secret is to remain in contact with what we truly want, breathe through the challenging feeling we’re facing, and relax into what cannot relax into on the inside. This practice opens the door to enter into that all expansive state of pure choiceless awareness, which is the breeding grounds for the most enlightened perspective on reality.
Once we are living in an enlightened perspective on reality, every decision we make will have this enlightened quality to it. The more enlightened decisions we can make, the more this level of consciousness develops and the more amazing things that spontaneously manifest into our lives. It’s good to understand here that what essentially makes one’s perspective “enlightened” is that the mind is at ease. We are tuned into our spiritual essence instead of the circus of thoughts circulating in our head. From this place, every person and situation we encounter is felt through the heart and not just judged and analyzed through the head. We feel everyone for the soul and pure conscious spirit they truly are. We see live as completely fresh, new and sacred in all its divine ways. When the mind gets in the habit of seeing everyone and everything is sacred, there is a deep recognition of what’s good inside ourselves, a perpetual stream of gratitude, and enlightened choices seem to naturally flow from every thought we have.
By surrendering to the idea that everything is sacred, we realize we cannot make a mistake on this spiritual journey through life. We know the Universe is ultimately running the greatest show on Earth, we begin to honor this truth, feeling more relaxed about our future, and this helps the mind to see and feel into things more clearly. In deep relaxation, we can feel aligned with the highest outcome the Universe already has in store for our greatest possible future. We stop being afraid and worried about what will occur tomorrow, and are naturally spontaneous, quick to love, and feeling on purpose and creative. We are truly living in the now, every moment of our lives. This is a deeply surrendering space to live in, and when we can choose it each day, we become capable of designing our destiny confidently, choosing a life we would truly love to have.
When we cannot trust the experience of surrender, we remain stuck in the mind, trying to control the negative or positive outcomes and how they might manifest. This deep level of surrender is the most important quality needed for our enlightened decision making skillset. The deeper we can surrender, the more confidence we can collect within our Self, and our ability to truly enjoy wherever we are at in our life. Any type of choice we make from this place can only lead you to creating more love, abundance and a deeper relaxation into our lives.
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. ~Robert Louis Stevenson
Please do not worry if you feel lost in your life. We often become lost because the people and society around us are generally truly lost. Most people are not aware of their spiritual nature, consciously living their lives with a sacred loving purpose, so of course they are going to feel lost. People tend to fall into the mind’s comfortable habits of unhappy or unhealthy thinking, which then manifests all throughout their lives.
As far as survival instincts go in life, generally we humans tend to go along with what the group decides. If we just get along with others, we won’t get cast out and die. So we might end up allowing decisions to be made for us by the whole. If you’re someone who tends to fall into this sheep following pattern, do not fret. There is soon coming a new experience of life that is profound and amazing. There is a huge opportunity to make that decision to go deeper into your unique expression, and give a voice to that creativity that wants to give birth inside you. It’s not that following a group is wrong, the most important thing is that you feel free, empowered and happy with whatever decision is being made through you. Just make sure you don’t have ANY regrets on your deathbed. A life lived without regrets is a well loved life.
Your Enlightening Homework Assignment: Take one baby step towards knowing how to make enlightened decisions this week by getting to know you better. Take one hour and write down a list of everything that you want in life. Include all the areas of life in your relationships, health, sex, travel, money, work, friends, family, home, spirituality and love. Be specific and please make this an exhaustive list where you don’t exclude anything that you might want. After you’ve made your list, circle the top five things that make your heart sing the loudest. Then, prioritize these five things in the order of which makes you feel the most relaxed, expansive and rooted within your body. Read out loud these five things each morning and evening in the mirror stating them in the past tense, as if you have already manifested them in your life. Do this every day for 2 weeks, and notice how you feel different each day you do it. You will be amazed how NEW things begin to change and manifest in your life! You will be able to make any life decision from a much clearer head space with feeling into this list in front of you.
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“There are no accidents or coincidences in this world. Nothing is by chance. Everything you’re experiencing is a direct manifestation of where you’re focusing your energy, attention and consciousness.” ~ Jafree Ozwald
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