Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Posts Tagged ‘choices

On a Train

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Out of phase listening to the past. On a train…

The choice is now. One stop behind.
The choice is now. Stay on the train or get off the ride.

Doors open. Too fast. Don’t look back. Hang on for dear life.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

April 10, 2013 at 6:51 am

Bringing Down a Phalanx

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phalanxDisbelief and self-doubt are powerful in their ability to destroy oneself and even those whom would place their trust blindly with others. No matter how inclined one is to follow a particular path or mode of thinking, seeing the doubt that others may have in the same idea can often be detrimental to one’s own ability to believe.

Where a bridge stood or a rope supported one’s weight, the support fades and we are left to question our own faith, and our own motives. Have we followed others all along, or have we forged our own path? Are we truly comfortable in our own skin, or have we lived off of the support of others?

Doubt can bring a phalanx down, but when confronted with a chance to redeem oneself, there is no turning back. There is only Us in the end, no one stronger, smarter, or more prepared. There is only Us and yet all we have to confront is ourselves.

Contradictory Forces

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hand redirecting water“Enlightenment” and “want,” or “desire” are two contradictory forces. Whether these desires include the desire for material gains, worldly gains, or whether they include the want for peace, wisdom or knowledge, they distract from that which is. A desire for change is not necessarily bad, though that is often based on judgment dictated by our upbringing and expectations.

The act of wanting something is like a great hand being placed in a river and trying to redirect the flow of the water. The water will continue to flow. Which direction it flows is not by our choice. We may try to change the flow of the water by placing boulders in its path to prevent or redirect it but no matter what we do, it will keep coming. In some cases we are more successful than others, and what we desire comes to fruition.

However, what comes as a result of our actions is not necessarily what is meant to be. We are allowed that choice nonetheless. The water that was once flowing may stop and all that lies beyond may go to waste, or a new path may be created and what was once dead or inconceivable is given life. But what happens when we are gone, or there is more than one person or being who tries to exert their will on this river? Whose choice is the right choice? Whose choice prevails? Our desires may lead us in the same direction, or they may have us at each other’s throats.

Regardless of these desires, the river that is life continues long after we are gone. So although we may want some form of enlightenment and we may think we have a method of achieving this, the very desire that leads us to it, and the inclination that brings it to our attention, are the very things prevent us from understanding it. With each desire we change the very thing we seek.

Concentric Circles

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green concentric circlesImagine time as set of concentric circles moving outward from a single starting point. As we move outward from the starting point to the outer most circle time moves forward. Now imagine that each adjacent circle is connected by any number of paths, with each path representing a choice. That choice could be anything from crossing the street to not crossing the street, to something perhaps more consequential like having a child or not having a child, or saving money versus spending all of one’s money. The circles, which represent consequences, stay the same, but the path to each circle can be different.

What if life proceeded in this way? Would that indicate predestination or free will? Would it mean that our choices do not matter because the result is the same? What if one could bypass a circle of consequence? What if one could remain at the single point? What if one could move between circles or what if there were more than one set of concentric circles, or circles that crossed other circles? Could our lives and thus our choices be distilled so easily?

Perhaps these questions do not matter all that much, or perhaps we place too much energy and concern on the time spent from going from point A to point B, when in fact they are the same? Maybe what is important is not the consequence at all, but how we come to the decision that leads to that consequence, or is it the other way around?

We can spend an entire lifetime contemplating all the possible outcomes and all the possible choices and still not be satisfied with how things turn out. If we allow our lives to be dictated by the fear of what may or may not happen, then we have crippled ourselves before giving life a chance.


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flood prophecyThe idea of prophecy has captured the minds of many over the ages. From religious and ancient texts to self-proclaimed psychics and seers to seemingly miraculous personal experiences, men and women from cultures around the world have contemplated its purpose and power. From seeing, whether in the waking state or sleeping state, to feeling, physically and or emotionally, the experience and idea of prophecy has left many to question their faith, the workings of the universe and sometimes one’s very own sanity.

For many people, the future is thought to be unknowable, but bound by something we call “time.” Just out of view it serves as inspiration, and hope for something better. It serves as motivation for improving one’s current state of existence. For others, the future is thought to be knowable, but only in dribs and drabs. Sometimes dreamlike, it entices the seer. What could be the reason for having a glimpse into the future? Is it really the future that is being seen, or has all of this happened before?

Regardless of whether what is seen serves as a warning or a fanciful “what if” moment, the experience often serves as a reminder of the mysteries that surround us. When one sees what they perceive as the future, are they an observer, or do they remain an active participant in their own lives? The idea of free will comes into question and suddenly one is thrust into contemplating a future and life that has already been predetermined. If life and existence itself were predetermined, is the value of life suddenly cheapened? Is birth, death and all that comes in between simply a formality?

Perhaps the question of predetermination and free-will are more a matter of perception than practicality. For many the idea of a predetermined life is slavery draped in different clothes. For others it is the acceptance of choices made long ago, but also made in this very moment. What if every choice, and every choice resulting from that choice, and so on, for all possible choices of every creation, existed all at once? What if like the threads of a blanket, by pulling and manipulating one thread, each thread of that blanket were affected? And so in being able to understand one choice, one has the ability to understand all other choices affected by that single choice and all other choices before it.

In that breathe, perhaps the past, present and future are all the same, existing simultaneously, although for many, experienced one at a time. Like a series of dominoes in every which direction that fall and reset themselves, the past, present and future are continuously unfolding. From the view of the domino it only knows itself, and what comes immediately before and after it. When seen together, one path is realized, and sometimes more than one path is realized at a given time. Which is the present? Which is the past? Which is the future? Does it matter?

When our choices are realized, maybe it is not the order in which they are seen that matters, but rather what is learned or understood in that moment. Like an intricate dance, all of existence is being expressed, and what we choose to see is up to us. Suddenly the power of prophecy lay not in the future, but in understanding the eternal now.

Seeing Eye to Eye

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Having a firm belief in something doesn’t necessarily make something true. Life is often left up to interpretation, with each of us making our own decisions as to what to believe. Some find themselves on the same road, while some find themselves standing all on their own. But which way does the scale lean? Should a belief carry more weight just because there are others to pat your back and say, “Bravo, this must surely be the way,” or should the person who stands by them self have an equal say? After all, most people tend to rely on what is told to them by others, or what has been written in history books or religious texts. Which people should be trusted? Which texts are more valid? With all these resources, surely one of them or a few of them must be right? How can one determine which is the right choice? Some say it is a matter of the intellect, and still others say it is a matter of the heart or gut intuition. But again, how does one know they are using their mind, or their intuition?

In an age where information flows so freely, or perhaps more freely than it ever has in the history of man, perhaps we are looking to the wrong resources? Perhaps the answers are not to be told by any one person or from any one book? Perhaps life’s answers do not only rest in the advice from friends and strangers, or from voices from the past, but also in our own life experiences? Perhaps life’s answers are with us at every step, always evolving and taking shape, but never really changing completely? Regardless of where we decide to look, even if it is deep within ourselves, we must all make that choice on our own. We may each think we are choosing different paths, and we may think we are alone when we make those choices, but there is always a guiding voice. Sometimes seeing eye to eye does not mean agreeing on something, but it means accepting someone for who they are.

Threads of a Rug

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Oriental Rug It is one thing to have strong conviction for what one believes to be the truth if one knows where that conviction comes from, but another thing, if blinded by the many pursuits of this life and the next. Some say the truth is overrated and dictated by perception at best. At worse there are no truths and only our wants and our desires. But to live by desire is to neglect the world that is around us. The universe of our existence is not limited to us and the few we may hold dear and close. It isn’t simply the bright shiny spots of love and beauty strewn about our lives, but rather the entirety of it all.

Not everyone is out for our better good. We are not as protected and guided as we think we are, for denying the existence of the negative aspects of our lives does not negate them. We can shuffle the anger or deceit under a rug, but rugs are moved and they are rolled up. It may not happen in our time, but eventually it happens. In other words, the denial of the truth does not negate it and erase it from existence.

So whether we face the truth head on, or we prolong the inevitable, it is still inevitable. Not by our time, or necessarily by our wants does life unfold itself. We are active participants. Choices are given and choices are made. And though we may like to think the things we do and think are held in a vacuum, we are answerable to all. And if we are answerable to all, does that not mean that we all play an equal part in this life? So good or bad, whatever term we wish to attribute the goings on in our lives, we still have to face them, in one form or fashion. If facing choices simply means understanding them, why sweep life under a rug? It’s all our mess to clean or the enjoy in the end.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

March 26, 2010 at 10:44 pm