Today we ask that you understand that you choose to do the things you do.
Most of the people reading these words are adults. You are adults, and probably you are not in a prison.
If you are a child, or in a prison, it is difficult to create from a place of choice. Although it is very possible to create from a place of choice during childhood or even in a prison, it is difficult.
But most of you are not children, and do not live in prison.
Nonetheless, many adults live their lives as though they are in a prison, or still children.
People do things because they “have to.” Not because they want to, or choose to. Because they “have to.”
You have to go to work. You have to commute. You have to perform tasks you do not like. You have to take your child to piano practice. You have to pay the rent. You have to make dinner.
But is it true, that you really “have to” do all these things?
Are you in prison? Are you a child? Do you “have to” eat your vegetables?
In truth, you choose to do all these things. No one is holding a gun to your head, and forcing you to.
So it would be good for you to know why you choose to do all the things you do.
Why do you choose to go to this job? Why do you choose to pay these bills? Why do you choose to make the commute? Why do you choose to take the child to piano practice? Why do you choose to make this dinner?
Do you do it “for the money”? Do you do it out of guilt and obligation? It is okay, if those are your reasons. There is no judgment about this.
You may even have some really wonderful reasons for doing what you do. You take your child to piano practice because you love your child, and your child loves learning the piano; so it makes you feel good to do this. You are eating your vegetables because you know that vegetables are wonderful for your body, and you genuinely enjoy eating them; so it makes you feel good to do this.
Do you follow this?
It is very possible to do things from a place of joy. It is very possible to do things because it makes you feel good.
That includes paying bills and washing dishes.
What are these bills you are choosing to pay? Are they for things that genuinely improve your quality of life? If so, then connect with a sense of appreciation for those things. Appreciate the people you are paying to deliver you your gas and electricity and internet service. You really like those things, don’t you? If you’ve been without gas and electricity, you can truly appreciate how useful these things are.
If you cannot appreciate what you are paying for, then perhaps you need to stop paying these particular bills. Why choose to pay for something you don’t enjoy or appreciate?
Why do you choose to wash dishes? Because you have to? Or because it is nice to live in a clean home? Isn’t it possible to enjoy the process of creating order in one’s living space?
If you have a hard time enjoying such tasks, it is most likely because you were trained not to do things out of joy. Most children are trained to do things because they “have to.”
The child asks: “Why must I do this?” And the parent says: “Because I will punish you if you do not.”
The child asks: “Why must I do my math homework?” And the parent says: “If you don’t, you will fail the class. If you fail the class, you can’t go to a good college. If you don’t go to a good college, then you will be a failure in society. And I will disapprove of you and withhold my love if that happens.”
Of course, if the parent has a love for the beauty and elegance of mathematics, he might choose to share that love with the child, and thus inspire the child to study math from a place of joy and wonder.
But most parents hated math when they had to study math in school. They did it because they “had to.” And now their children “have to.” And the cycle just goes on and on.
So people remain like children their whole lives, doing things because authority figures say they have to, or they will be punished.
That is exactly what it is like to live in a prison. Where you must adhere to rules, or face punishment.
Countless humans live in a prison without walls.
They sit in their offices, watching the clock. Waiting for their daily confinement to be over. But the prison sentence doesn’t end. They must make their commute and run their errands and do their chores. Only then can they reward themselves with a piece of cake and a TV show.
Isn’t that how we reward children for doing what they “have to” do? With a piece of cake and a TV show?
That is why most people really aren’t adults. They are still children. They are not really living. What they call life, is imprisonment. People are spending their entire lives in prison, when they have committed no crime.
Get out of jail right now. Ask yourself, why do you choose to do the things you do every day?
Make a list of all the things you “have to do.”
Ask why you choose to do these things. Answer honestly. “For the money.” “Because my spouse will be angry at me if I don’t.”
See if you can shift your motivations away from obligation, duty, fear, and approval-seeking to joy, excitement and appreciation.
In other words, can you find healthy, self-loving reasons for choosing to do the things you do?
Next time you do that thing, remind yourself that you are doing it for a healthy, self-loving reason. Not because you “have to,” will feel guilty if you do not, or fear punishment.
If it is totally impossible for you to connect with a healthy, self-loving reason for doing something; if it’s impossible for you even imagine doing something with joy and a sense of meaning and purpose — then perhaps you should not do it at all.
Be very honest with yourselves.
This practice will liberate you from prison.