What determines the choices that we make and are we as free to choose as we think we are?
I have been aware for some time that the way that we choose to think, speak and move governs the thoughts, speech and movements that will come next, but it wasn’t until I experienced this for myself that I really knew it to be true.
Having just finished providing a treatment session for a friend, I came out of the clinic to find that I had been parked in. When I say, ‘parked in’ I mean that someone had literally parked their car horizontally across the tail of my car – there was absolutely no way that I could get out. I stood for a while in disbelief, unable to comprehend who would do that; I mean who would be that selfish to knowingly park someone in and then abandon their car?
I felt utterly trapped… I was tired and hungry and just wanted to go home. On top of that I had no idea what to do. I called a friend whose only suggestion was that I ‘key their car’ – basically, use my keys to put a dirty great scratch along the side of their car, which wasn’t a very helpful suggestion but nonetheless, if I’m really honest, it held some appeal.
I called the police who traced the number plate to see if there was a phone number associated with the car but there wasn’t and so there was nothing more that they could do.
A guy came into the car park and I shared with incredulity what had happened. He shared my disbelief and suggested that I get the car towed, to which I replied that if I could get the bill paid by the owner of the car then I wouldn’t hesitate in getting it towed. Whilst all of this was going on, I kept trying to call the car park supervisor but he wasn’t answering his phone, which was adding to my building frustration.
When one of the guys who worked in one of the clinics came out and saw how I had been deliberately parked in, he became quite agitated himself and said that if he had a car with a bull-bar he’d bulldoze the car out of the way for me, and I had no doubt that he meant it.
I was aware that I was starting to feel quite desperate by this stage, as well as really pissed off. I was also very aware that I didn’t want the owner to come out and leave whilst I was inside the building because I didn’t want to miss the opportunity of giving him or her a mouthful. I went and leant on my car boot and just kind of stared at the offending car. I noticed that a piece of the fender was coming away slightly and I put my hand on the metal and felt a strong urge to pull the metal away from the car and cause damage. I didn’t, but the impulse was strong…really strong.
I made one last ditch effort to go inside the building and find the owner. To my great surprise someone in the first office that I went into told me that the offending car belonged to the doctor working in the office next door. I marched into the office and shared with agitation what had happened. By this time I was ropeable. The secretary then explained that I had parked in the doctor’s parking spot and that the doctor was fed up with people parking in his parking spot, which is why he had parked as he had, but that he had left a note on my windscreen with his number, explaining what had happened. She then asked if I was going to apologise to the doctor. I was absolutely dumbstruck and unable at that point to even comprehend apologising.
The secretary came down and moved the car for the doctor. There was indeed a note on my windscreen, explaining what had happened and providing the telephone number of the doctor. It took me a while to simmer down. I was not able to settle my body for quite some time, but once home I called the doctor and apologised for parking in his spot, explaining that I had made a mistake about which parking spot belonged to the clinic that I was hiring.
On reflection, what really stood out to me was the fact that I had not doubted for one moment that the other person had acted unreasonably. And it was my interpretation of the event that had, in turn, influenced everyone that I spoke to and three of those people suggested violence as a way of dealing with the situation. And I can’t deny the fact that I too had felt a strong urge to act violently. As soon as I reacted I lost the ability to see things clearly, my head and body became a breeding ground for judgement, projections and emotion. I was literally unable to consider any other view than the narrow one that I had assumed and so I didn’t even consider the possibility that someone may have left a note on my windscreen, which in truth is a very common thing to do.
My usual steadiness, which comes from my fairly constant connection to myself through my body, was wrecked. I had allowed myself to become totally unhinged, and once separated from my body, it provided a gap through which emotions such as frustration and anger were able to pour. Once in, these emotions then paved the way for thoughts that I don’t usually allow in or if they do manage to get in, I choose to not entertain. These thoughts then set me up to receive more emotions and thoughts of a similar ilk: physical violence being one such thought.
I can categorically say that a deviation from my usual thoughts, emotions and movements took me on a very unfamiliar segue: one that is not within my normal range of choices but one that became very real very quickly.
We all like to think that we are in control of who we deem ourselves to be. Each of us thinks that we are free to choose to behave in ways that seem appropriate or desirable for us, but that’s simply not true.We are portals for energy. We are constantly streaming thoughts and emotions through us, and the quality of those thoughts and emotions set up the range of thoughts, emotions and movements that will then follow.
Therefore, we are not at the mercy of our environment, as so many of us like to believe, but moreover the recipients of our choices.