We often think we know what’s best for us. And it is that faith in our decision-making abilities that grounds us and gives us the courage to make some of the most difficult choices in our lives. And sometimes the most difficult thing we can do is to reconsider our choices. We think we know what’s best for us. But do we actually know what’s best for us? And if we don’t, then who does? When we’re twenty-something, choices feel more like reactions to events taking place in our lives than they do like conscious choices we actually make and choose. We do our best, but what if our best when we were 22 is not good enough for when we are 29? I believe one of the hardest choices we can make is to reconsider a choice we said no to before. Or to reconsider choices made from the beautiful yet naive idealism of a 22 year-old. Yes, we should definitely be true to ourselves but sometimes being true might just turn into being stubborn. When a path we are on stops flowing, when it feels like there are roadblocks everywhere, it might be a good time to reconsider new options which could also be old options. The thing is the point is just to keep on moving, and if one path ends at a dead end, it’s no use to sit there because you’ll sit there forever. So I feel that for one to reconsider other paths, one must open one’s mind and accept to see their situation differently, through new eyes and a fresh perspective. Sometimes what happens is we hold onto a belief of ourselves or of something in the world so tight that it blocks us from seeing what might have always been right in front of us, staring us in the face this the whole entire time. So I tell you as well as myself: Don’t let the fear of turning back keep you stuck. We all make choices that might’ve felt right at one point but turned out to be not so right later on. So it’s okay to turn back. It’s okay to adapt our choices. If we are to survive this life, we must be flexible with our minds and our choices. Or else, not only our minds will break but we will too. So we must constantly practice engaging the elasticity of our minds and our hearts. May we all have the clarity of vision, the flexibility of mind and the openness of heart to make the best possible choices.
This topic was inspired by a recent and very long conversation with friends, so I dedicate this one to my beloved friends who challenge me and to the spirit of debate that keeps our minds healthy and our hearts open.
To begin this contemplation, let’s start by defining the term information.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, information is defined as facts told or discovered. In searching the internet for other definitions, I found that all lead to similar conclusions that information is knowledge obtained from some sort of investigation or study. It is not opinion. It is fact. And its purpose is to resolve uncertainty and to make more of the unknown knowable.
In the world we are currently living in, I would argue that information has lost its closeness to certainty. Knowledge that is communicated is not always fact; neither is it opinion. We live in a very rich and diverse world of beliefs where there are abundant schools of thought for literally everything, so fact is only fact as deemed so by its proponents. Some see a problem in this as they deem it the cause for misinformation and the threat to progress in our societies. While others find such diversity in information to be a great sign of humanity’s progress in tolerance and acceptance. I can see the tension between both rising, but I can also see that it is that tension between these multiple truths that will keep our societies healthy and in balance. Once you have too much of the same of anything in any ecosystem, whether it’s our own bodies or a forest or coral reef, the system is in danger. It is out of balance, and thus, vulnerable to attack or disease.
And as much as I know deep down that having some wiggle room for debate and questioning is what brings about inventions and innovations, I cannot help but wonder too about the consequences too much doubt can have on us and our relationship to information. I have been thinking a lot about what my relationship to information is — do I trust information or have I due to a habit of constant questioning developed a deep mistrust in it? Moreover, I had always thought that I (like every other human) should be free to believe and express what I want. I had never thought that my beliefs have consequences. I never considered the impact of what I express. I never considered that, like there are benefits to freedom of expression, there are costs too. It made me rethink my power as a writer. It made me reconsider the value of what I put out there. Does everything need to be said and at whose cost are we speaking? But equally, when I deem someone else’s expression of their truth invalid simply because it is not factual according to the scientific method, what am I doing to the emotional and more felt and experiential part of being human? What am I doing to society if I say that Love cannot be because science has not proven that there is a particle called Love? What am I doing if I prevent people from venturing into different realms of certainty? It is not that love is an unknown, neither is it opinion, it is merely that love is the kind of fact that is only provable through felt experience.
What is the cost of not being able to navigate an uncertain kind of certainty? Why can’t we live in a world where different kinds of facts exist? I am not saying if we needed to build a spaceship to just say a bunch of affirmations for an entire month and expect to have a spaceship as a result. But what if we can entertain that saying a bunch of affirmations can have an impact on our physical health even if science cannot yet prove it? Why can’t science and other forms of truth coexist? I would argue strongly that it is largely because of our own relationship to information. Just like being in relationship with a person, there are certain expectations we have from information. One big one is reliability. We rely completely on information to tell us the truth, and so the idea of having multiple pieces of information that tell different stories is immediately assumed to threaten that reliability of information which is at the very foundation of our relationship to it. But someone who is in a polyamorous relationship will tell you being in relationship with two different people, experiencing two different kinds of love (like two different kinds of information) does not change the reliability factor at all. Every love is its own kind of love and does not diminish or compare to the other; in fact each one only enhances the other and both work together in unison to create a third completely new experience of love.
The problem isn’t that there’s so much conflicting information out there, the problem is that we are looking for information to provide us with safety and security. We are looking to information to relieve us of our anxiety of the unknown, so when information stops doing that, we want to condemn it for not being really information. We want certainty and we expect it from every fact and we blame information for being broken if it fails to give us that certainty. But it is not information that is the problem, it is our relationship to information. I will say it one more time — it is our relationship to information that requires recalibration and not information itself. We as a collective society have become too dependent, too reliant on fact and certainty. We do not have to explain the world away only in one way; there can be the scientific narrative; there can be the energetic narrative; there can be as many kinds of narratives as there are people.
What I’d just like to ask of you as we end this beautiful contemplation together — consider if you had a completely new sense; one that is only unique to you and allows you to perceive the world in a way that when you try to explain it to someone else, it conflicts with the story of the world that we experience together with the rest of our senses. How would you feel if you expressed it to someone and they told you you’re a liar or you’re a lunatic? How would you feel if you are shunned from a collective right not only to experience the world differently but to contribute to it as well? What we’re experiencing in the world today is a consequence of such isolation and alienation. All any one of us wants to feel is like we belong, and all any one of us needs to be able to feel like we belong is to express our truth without fearing condemnation because of it. We once lived in a world where it was perceived as a fact from god that being anything but heterosexual should be punished and shunned. Today, we live in a world where people use the word of science like they used to use that of god, it is neither the word of god that is at fault here nor the word of science, it is always the fault of people who want to use information to wield power by manipulating people. Let us not condemn people’s individual rights to self-expression, when it is our collective wounded relationship to information that needs healing. We should certainly all reflect and reconsider our own relationship to information as well as the consequences of how we use and communicate information and the intention behind our own expressions of the truth. But what I fear happens when we deem some views invalid is to create further segregation in a society that is hungry for unity. Not unity in views, but in acceptance. We must be able to live in a world where we can be different and still be accepted to be who we are without having to change to fit in someone else’s view of the world. Like almost everything in life, even love, information is a double-edged sword that can be used for good or for evil, so we must be wise, careful and mindful of how we use our swords of information. Perhaps we cannot strive to control information, the only thing we can control is our own selves. It is not up to information to get rid of its evil consequences. It is always up to us, up to the carrier to pick which end of the sword they will use. I cannot force you to use information my way, the same way I cannot force you to eat a certain way just because we all endure the consequences of a collective health burden on our societies and economies together.
I hope this has left you with sufficient food for thought to keep you going for a while. May we all have the ability to discern for ourselves what is true in any given moment.
Peace needs practice and practice makes perfect. Peace does not miraculously happen. It is a process that requires much of our attention and intention. It takes time and an enormous amount of trust in ourselves. Peace asks us to trust that it is there with us all along the way. But we never get a glimpse of it until we finally do. And because we don’t feel it until we finally feel safe enough to feel it, we think it is the prize at the end of a spiritual journey. But peace like fear is a lifestyle; one that warrants daily practice and rituals. It is not a prize handed over at the end of a marathon. So like you have your daily exercise routines to get more fit, have a daily peace routine to be more peaceful. Peace, like any other habit you would like to form, will not stay until you repeat it enough times. There are many ways to exercise peace. Meditation is an obvious one, and a magnificent one. But find your own. I would just say, let your breath be your guide, by that I mean whatever helps you stay connected to your breath, do that. Go for a walk. Play an instrument. Spend some time in your garden. Feel the grass. Lie on it. Or perhaps just sit in your balcony or by your window and watch the sky or a bird that you see fly by. Peace is basically a state of awareness that arises from the ability to rest in the moment. Peace comes when you can truly accept every given moment that arises in your life and let it happen without resistance and without trying too hard to make it happen. When you meditate, you are practicing how to rest with your breath, you are learning how to let go of trying so hard to concentrate on your breath while still maintaining a state of active attention and awareness. It is the effort and control that create tension in both our bodies and our minds, so learning how to relax is crucial to attain any sort of peace. And the best way to relax is to breathe well and breathe consciously, by consciously I mean by feeling your breath as it passes in and out of you. You will breathe anyway just as your heart keeps beating, regardless of whether you are living consciously or not. And living consciously is what brings peace, because we are no longer in a reactive state to life, we are relaxed enough to witness life happen and actively participate in it. And with such awareness comes clarity, and if we were ever confused as to what our intentions might be in any given moment, we will soon see so clearly our intentions. When we are conscious of our intentions, then comes our ability to choose them. And when we choose them, we choose how to live. The real choice we have in this life is choosing our intention. We cannot choose our intentions if we are not present to them.
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of peace or doubt its possibility, don’t be discouraged. What you’re feeling is completely natural because much of our beliefs come from experience, and if we’ve never experienced peace it’s very hard to believe it’s possible. So I would suggest you start off very simply by just making a wish or prayer expressing your desire to connect with peace and I guarantee you, your prayers will be answered, maybe not in the way you expect but be open and you will be shown the way. If the road to peace is what you would like to walk, be certain that a guide or teacher best suited for you will show up in your life and offer their teachings. And in those moments, on those crossroads, we must choose wisely, because second chances do come along but they might take another lifetime or so.
I am a source of peace and happiness.
I would like to offer this affirmation to you as a reminder of your inherent peace and joy. To stay on track with your peace practice, like with any other practice, discipline is key. If we do not make time for it, the habit of peaceful being will never form. And lastly dearest quarter lives, be wary of your expectations, your teacher might not be what you might’ve expected them to be. Our teachers are everywhere, and can be absolutely anything, even this ground you stand on. So be generous with your awareness, and begin to feel the spaces around you and within you. Sometimes what is outside right in front of us can be what best guides us inside.