Dharma Talk on Decision Making

Be kind to yourself when making decisions.

After a certain point, it’s no longer a “figure it out thing”, but a “feel it out thing.”

— non-direct quote from Oren J. Sofer (see link to his talk below)

Our decisions become the path of our life. No one really ever taught us to make decisions. We model the behavior of those around us. But many of us, myself very much included, struggle with decisions. Because making a choice is asserting myself, and it demands a responsibility to deal with the consequences, good or bad, of the decision. That is scary! Sometimes we have support in a decision we make, and other times we don’t. But what really matters is that the decision sits well with the one who made it, whether others agree or not, and whether that decision is in accordance with our values. And whether or not we have a clear set of values…well that is probably a whole different conversation.

Decisions have been a major source of struggle in my life. I used to dream, as a kid, of being born in a different time, when less decision-making was necessary, or possible. I used to lie in bed and wish I could have just been born a subsistence farmer, when all I needed to do was grow my own food, and stay alive. (OK, to all the farmers out there, and out of respect to those who truly do not have the resources to opt out of that life, I say that with the utmost respect for the difficulties of that kind of life. I was a kid and imagined that to be easier than deciding my life’s course with, what I felt like, was zero guidance from trusted sources).

As I grow up, learning what my values are is important to me. Seeking out the guidance of religion, philosophy, and wise people (“elders”) is important to me. And maybe, while I cannot go back and be born in a simpler time, I can choose to have less choices to make, as my values will begin to set limitations on what range of options I even give to myself.

This dharma talk was very helpful to me, and at about 40 minutes into it, there is a short meditation on decision making. I recommend listening to the whole thing, if decisions are point of strife for you.



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