It seems to me that when it comes to the thoughts and feelings that we humans struggle with the most in our everyday lives that they are very often connected to indecision or uncertainty. It’s when we have a choice to make and we just can’t see clearly enough which would be the “right” choice. I place right in inverted commas because it’s so often we think we made a wrong choice but we eventually see all the good it has brought to our lives.
I believe that feelings of uncertainty and indecision are probably two of the most under-stated and under-examined emotional difficulties that we all face. I see it come up in many different forms in counselling and certainly within my own life as well.
There is nothing worse than the agony of indecision, of sitting on the fence as it were. We usually feel better when we make a choice – any choice!
If we look below the surface of all that uncertainty and indecision what we find is ultimately the core emotion of fear: Fear we will make the wrong choice; Fear that we will lose our jobs; Fear about what will happen if we decide it’s time for our relationship to end. Some people can take years sitting on that fence waiting for “the right time”. “Maybe when it gets bad enough”. “Maybe when the kids are little bit older or finished school?”. “Maybe I should look for another job but what if the grass isn’t greener? What if I can’t cope with the new responsibilities?”
Most of these thoughts are not based on anything tangible or real that is happening in this very moment. But HOW MANY MOMENTS of our lives are lost to the “no longer here” past or the imagined future? I think we would all sit and cry our eyes out if we were shown at the end of our lives just how much of our lives we actually spent in a mental past or future that didn’t exist in that very moment.
Part of the solution to resolving some of our uncertainty and indecision might be to seek objective counselling or support from a trusted friend who can help us better understand our own thinking and situation – help us separate the purely fear-based thoughts from the real ones we need to do something about. The other, much harder, part is learning to walk with fear but not to take its “counsel” too seriously. In other words, sometimes it is best not to try and get rid of the fear. You can’t really get rid of fear altogether because it’s an innate part of being human. But we can begin to know whether it’s fear driving how we are reacting and use the practice of letting it be and beginning to place much greater trust in the process of life and that the next steps we need to take will become obvious at the right time.
At some point we have to let go of the reigns and trust life like we did when we were kids. Like the animals do. Living in the now, hopeful about the future but not worrying too much about exactly which way things are going to go. Things follow their own natural course. You can see plenty of evidence of how things have worked out that you have worried so much about before in your own life and yet we disqualify our experience of things working out – because sometimes we really feel it didn’t – but then we may be using the wrong measuring stick.
We might be really upset because life went in a direction we had never intended. We may have made some mistakes which have altered the course of our lives forever but there is ALWAYS a jewel buried deep in every mistake, accident or “failure”. It is up to us to keep looking so that we can turn the experience of our lives into wisdom and then beyond wisdom to living life at the highest level of consciousness which is always based in the NOW.
As Eckhart Tolle so wisely says, you cannot be worried if you are fully in your now. I highly recommend his book “The Power of Now” to anyone looking to deepen their awareness of how to live in the NOW and try to walk more easily with life and sometimes take the road less travelled.