Doing What You Want

I’ve been talking lately about choosing to change. Change can be very difficult, whether it’s a major change or even just something relatively small. But choosing to change, and acting on that decision, increases our personal power and, if we stay with “what is”, also makes us happier. What is it that we’re afraid of? Why do we protect ourselves from our own power? Why are we afraid to take paths that will empower us? If we all did what we wanted, if we were fully empowered, what would be so wrong with that?
Well, other people might be unhappy.
And sometimes this is the excuse we use: we won’t mix things up for fear, say, of upsetting our spouse. But what this really means is that we don’t want the anxiety of worrying about hurting that person.
But everything you do will work out just fine if you just do what you want to do. Be yourself. For many who were raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition, there’s an underlying belief that we think we’re somehow “bad.” We fear that if we were truly empowered, we’d be bad or do bad things.
But whatever you feel, you’re going to feel anyway. The difference is when you’re empowered, you’ll also be doing what you want. If you don’t take your power, you’ll still feel the same way, but you also won’t be doing what you want.
The difference between empowerment and non-empowerment is fear. Nothing gives you energy like not being afraid and doing what you want. When you avoid living, you cheat everyone around you too, because they don’t get the benefit of who you really are. So as long as you’re not, say, an addict, you’re not going to do harm by doing what you want.
Be in the moment, always, but choose to change your life if that is what you want. You’ll be happier, and so will the people around you.
(Adapted from a talk given by Doen Sensei, November 2007)

Choice and Happiness

Choosing what is leads to happiness.  Our usual state is to want things to be different from what they really are, and to think that when only this changes or that changes, then things will be great.  When I find the right partner, when I get that new job—then I’ll be happy.  I like to tell my students that most people spend their lives thinking “if only, if only, if only – dead.”  We spend our lives waiting to be happy, and one day, one moment, it’s all over—and we were never truly happy.
Choosing to be with the moment, to be with what is, that is real happiness.  Even if “what is” is not what you want, and you’re also actively choosing to change, staying with the reality of what is can bring happiness.  And it’s fun!  I know a woman who doesn’t like her tendency to keep going over things in her head, to keep worrying, to be indecisive.  Now, what she could do instead is to tell herself:  “All this stuff that I turn around in my head, I chose this, this is great.  One of the things I really like about myself is that I’m just so indecisive—it’s beautiful.  This is where I’ve come to, this is the kind of person I am right now.  This is what I chose.  Maybe I’ll choose something else, but right now, that’s where I am.” 
Try it.  This should be a very enjoyable thing, no matter where you are, you should be enjoying choosing what you’ve got.  Be alive now, don’t wait until tomorrow.  Tomorrow you’re dead.  Enjoy your life, appreciate your life, choose to be with your life as it is right now.