The Decision Making Process
This decision making process is indeed good to keep in focus. Very good tool in self inquiry. My experience in ‘making’ decisions is to keep on observing and let the decision make itself known. Thoughts that arise concerning arguments in this process are usually mostly about yourself and not about the decision. Make clear division between what the decision is really about, and what your thoughts are really about (your concerns). The decision is really not a decision at all when you get out of the way. I mean to say that when you exclude any self-interest, the outcome is in most cases very simple. Excluding the self-interest is one ingredient. Ingredient 2 is patience. I am sorry if this sounds so technical. But I have come to see it that way. Making decisions is something that goes on in our head lots of times, but mainly unnoticed. When we do start to notice, we can see patterns. Seeing these patterns occur, it occurred to me that the outcome becomes a pattern, and thus predictable. Decision making is not up to me, but the outcome of thoughts, patterns, observations, inner turmoil and so on. The outcome becomes a pattern, and thus predictable. Try to get to the origin and underlying values. This is where the patterns come in again. After a while you can see certain beliefs or assumptions come up again and again. You may even make up excuses for them (and yourself). This is where the RED FLAG should go up and you have to be real honest with yourself. Remember that the decision making process is not the issue here, it continues on regardless. Only catching it in action is what’s it all about!
Rob ten Have
The above is taken from a mail from my friend Rob ten Have.
We had been discussing the value of observing the decision making process as a tool for self inquiry.
The purpose of self inquiry is to get to know yourself, to see how you operate with a view to seeing the underlying beliefs, assumptions, expectations, motivations, etc. that drive your everyday experience.
Your everyday experience is the result of what we often refer to as the ego. Ego is the survival programme in the human being. Our experience is ego in action or the results of ego’s decisions. For the most part we are not aware of our decisions, they are an automatic response and we continue to repeat the same patterns, unconsciously. Often times we are aware only of the big decisions, the crisis points in our lives, but we are making decisions everyday, even when we do the grocery shopping.
The idea behind becoming aware of our decision making process is not to change it necessarily but to become aware of our underlying assumptions, beliefs, values, and so on. It’s about uncovering the values we have (unconsciously) adopted in childhood, in order to deal with and survive in the world around us. It’s about becoming aware of our conditioned/learned responses to the world.
This conditioning blocks out our true nature, what we are prior to our human identity.
All decisions are about getting as much as we can for as little as possible.
This is egos agenda and socialisation has taught us how to cover this over with niceties. Everyone has learned how to do this. We all play this game.
Decision making is about managing our conflicting desires. Some people have a pattern of going for decisions that promise security, others value being loved more and others may value meaning or some ideology more.
This decision making is a necessary part of being in the world, but it is not all that we are. It belongs to our earthly aspect but many get lost in it at the expense being what we truly are.
The suffering we experience when locked into ego is the result of being disconnected from our true selves. Seeing how ego operates, seeing it in action shows us that it is not who or what we are, since we can see it operation.
In observing this decision making process we may also become aware of how often the decisions have been made for us as opposed to us actually making them. But, this article is not about that.
Anything that we can see cannot be us, because we are the seer and the seer is permanent, not something that changes. Seeing the decision making process in action gives us some detachment or distance from it. We become able to see it as a process, and we come to see the results of that process. In that, we become aware that we are not the process or the results of it. This opens the way for us to become aware of who or what we really are. This is what self-inquiry is about.