Figure 2: Are we aware of the origin of the feeling that something is missing?
Well, how many times do we actually say “Yes”?
If we are honest, there are likely many times when we agree to something when we didn’t mean to agree. This is only a small example, but it illustrates that, when we talk of freedom of choice, we don’t consider the number of times we say yes when in fact, we wanted to say no. This begs the question: If we replied contrary to what we really wanted to say, then were we indeed free to choose?
Or, let’s ask the question another way: Are we only free sometimes, or only when it comes to certain choices?
Another simple example: Let’s say we’re getting dressed for work one morning. We look at what there is to wear, and perhaps we feel like picking certain pieces of clothing, but then we decide against them.
Let’s look at why we said yes when we would have preferred to say no, or why we decided to pick some other clothing after we originally wanted to wear something else.
Bravo if you see this immediately. For those who don’t see it immediately, cast yourself back to one of these instances that stands out in your mind. It would be very surprising if such an example does not come up for you. Your example doesn’t have to be something important, just an instance where you stated a choice contrary to what you would have preferred. Best not to think—thinking doesn’t help. Just observe quietly what example comes up.
If an example does not come up right now, rest assured that, soon, one will occur to you. When this happens, come back here and continue. If all else fails, you may make contact with me via the accompanying website (Peace Evolution (formerly Life Can Be Different)) to explore finding such an instance.
There is also the other side of the coin: that you do not have such an instance. Then we beg the question: you might be free and maybe reading this book merely for informational purposes. Let’s continue. At this point, we’re assuming you can recall an instance where you chose contrary to what you would have preferred, and will use that as your example.
Now, look at that instance and relive that moment. At first, this might seem difficult or even impossible. However, it is important. In reliving a moment, we encounter what exactly happened retrospectively, at the time. So, look very carefully at what happened to you at that very moment. Look at what you were thinking at that very moment that, as a result, altered your original preference.
Let me introduce something here that you might be experiencing right now. Recalling a past event we agreed to even when we wanted to say no, and seeing exactly what caused that interjection, takes courage, sometimes a very heavy dose of it. Courage is required to be brutally honest with ourselves. So if, at this moment, you don’t have the courage to be brutally honest with yourself, simply leave and return here when you recognize that you do have the courage to be brutally honest with yourself. That honesty with yourself is nonnegotiable. Only once you are prepared to take such a big step will you be in a position to see what you would be free from.
Back to the revisited moment. What you see in that revisited moment, that instant where you interjected to keep yourself saying yes when you wanted to say no, is the result of what I term Factor-x. Factor-x will be thoroughly explained next. For now, I’ll just say that whenever we choose contrary to what we really want to do, it is highly likely that going against what we’d prefer to do originates in our Factor-x. We all have a Factor-x, and I would be surprised to hear of anyone convinced that they don’t.
However, this is not about Factor-x, but about our core that is missing—the fact that when we want to choose something, in any particular moment, about anything, our Factor-x interjects, telling us that we are therefore not free to choose, or that we do not have freedom of choice. Instead, that we are merely giving lip service to the term “freedom of choice,” to the point where the phrase already has cliché status with us.
But this goes back farther. What if there was a moment in your past that was a fork in the road for you, and because Factor-x interjected, you took a path contrary to the one you would have preferred to take had your Factor-x not come into play? Is it possible that for a day, a week, a month, a year, even decades, that you might have been walking a path to a destination different from where you’d rather be? If this is indeed the case, you might even be walking around wondering about the meaning of your life.
Might it be, then, that the core is missing in your life? And that if it hadn’t been missing—had you not given your life over to Factor-x—your life might have been very different from what it is at the time of this reading? And is that, perhaps, why you are reading this?
If so, now what? Your life up to now might have been on a different path, and as such, you might feel it’s been wasted. Or, was it wasted? We can certainly say no, not wasted, but a lot of experience gained. Firsthand experience. And if so, what are you to do with this firsthand experience gained on a path you didn’t want to be on in the first place?
Slow down, we’ll see.