In living our life, to what we sense as the best of our current ability, whether we ask for it or not, we constantly find ourselves standing at intersections of choice, whether we're mindful enough to notice it. The great superpower we own is the power of choice and attention, which is usually influenced by our perspective, either Love-based or insecurity-based.
Do we go left, or do we go right? What about straight on? Do we say yes or no honestly? Do we say yes when we mean no, or do was say no when we actually meant to say yes? Why or why not? What's the potential cost of a given choice? Add to that the survival mind's ceaseless craving to make the so-called "Perfect" or "Right" choice, and you have all the makings for the perfect shit-show of thought.
The above said, there could be a realization that we acquire as we live and embody the path of Zen: not all choices are created equal. The true essence of Zen lies in discerning true choices from false ones. The most basic example is that we have no choice in the fact that we will die. The real choice for us is in how we're going to live.
Zen Master Engo Kokugon once said, "If where you stand is Reality, then your actions have power."
When we are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually aligned with reality, our actions gain power, having depth, impact, and meaningful rather than meaningless influential force. When they're not... we're f*cked on a spectrum. We're in disharmony... incongruent... often confused... prone to doing unhealthy things. Even though our smarts is moving in one direction, our heart is in another, and so our feet shift back and forth indecisively, in conflict with our sense of spirituality... or what I personally describe as our values.
The intersections of choice in our lives are inescapable. We can, however, cultivate our power of choice and attention. We can work to discern truth, and meaningful choices from anxious chatter by grounding ourselves in the present moment - what is referred to in Zen as True Dharma... True Grace... True Reality.
When we act from this place of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual harmony and authenticity, our choices gain power, and we move through life with clarity and meaningful purpose, rather than wasting time in scattered and random activity. The alternative is a lifetime of anxious indecision and conflict that robs our actions of meaning and power. At each intersection, we have the opportunity to choose a path that honors our deepest selves. This is the heart of Zen... unified Universal Loving Presence.
In closing, I would like to share Zen Master Engo's personal insight related to standing in Reality, and our actions having meaningful power, in our given circumstances. He stated...
"If you can turn fast on top of things, everything will be in your grasp. Capturing and releasing, rolling up and rolling, out-all can be transformed. At all times, remain peaceful and tranquil, without having anything whatsoever hanging on your mind. In action, you accord with the situation and its potential, holding the means of discernment within yourself. Shifting and changing and successfully adapting, you attain Great Freedom - all things and all circumstances open up before your blade, like bamboo splitting, all "bending down with the wind."
Therefore, if where you stand is reality, then your actions have power. Turning the dharma key of Universal Loving Presence, opening and entering something that cannot be taken away in ten thousand generations, you see and hear the same way as the ancient buddhas and share the same knowledge and functioning."
The Zen path teaches us to pause at the intersection, Quiet the survival mind, and listen within for guidance from our True Nature... of Love. Make choices congruent with reality and our deepest values. Choose what satisfies our true needs rather than ego cravings. When our choices flow from this place of wisdom and compassion, our actions gain the power to influence the moment in profoundly positive ways. The more we practice, the more adept we become at navigating each intersection and finding our way. May your choices arise from Love rather than insecurity.
一We Are the Practice Itself