Choice:  the moment of decision when presented with one or more opportunities, a time or an instance where we may act on situations presented to us or upon information that we have. We often look at each other as we refer to the choices we make. “That person chose that” or “that person chose this,” “they put their heads together and that’s what they chose.”  It appears to be the norm, we’re all choosing what to do, what to say, how to act and, of course, who to love. We blame or praise each other for the choices that we make depending on the perceived result.

Moving forward in our studies of mindfulness, meditation, and conscious awareness we discover that we don’t always have a choice, nor do some of the people around us. It would appear detrimental for a person to choose negative thoughts that create negativity in themselves. No one chooses negativity.  For some, the thought stream produces a lot of negative thinking. We are not choosing, the thoughts just come.  No one chooses suffering, unless their state of mind is such that the negativity creates some sense of calm, familiarity or some sort of emotional response they are not aware of. If that is the case, there is something to be learned. It’s easy for people to blame the decisions made by those who are so horribly caught up in their mind streams, addictions, depression, anxiety, etc. that they make poor choice after poor choice. They don’t really have a choice. If you don’t believe it, look within, look at yourself.

It is believed by millions that learning, studying, and practicing meditation is the preferred option or best choice of all spiritual, theological and mental health practices. To choose to free ourselves from the confines of our conditioned programmed minds. The young adult turned eighteen and all those around judged and persecuted the youth for the decisions and choices they were making. A young adult whose programming and conditioning consists of the confines of societal norms, exposure to a world that chooses itself over each other, materialness over environments, and hatred over love. And there at the mere age of eighteen, they are blaming them for the choices they make. They shout:  “You should know better,” “what’s wrong with you,” “it’s no one’s fault but your own.” We could take a look at that. They are making choices which are results of their programming and conditioning. Perhaps, love, mentoring, knowledge, and understanding is what they truly need.

A meditation:  try it out, here and there, when it comes to your mind or not, observe the judgements you make about the choices made by those around you. Take a moment and meditate on the origin of their motivation. Bring the observation home to yourself. Observe the moments your mind leads you into thoughts that create suffering. You did not purposely conjure many of the thoughts that come to your mind, they are not your choice, they just come. Many of the decisions you make are the result of those thoughts. Meditate on that, here and there. It’s a new day, the best day of your life.

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Inner peace may mean different things to different people. Some may believe that inner peace is different for all of us, which can also make defining inner peace a challenge. For many of us, the desire for inner peace can be clouded by definition or in our inability to possess the knowledge to find such a state of being. For myself, inner peace is a mental state of being not clouded by the repetitive conditioned programmed thinking of my mind. A state of being where my true conscious self is separate from the manipulation of my thought stream. Like too many people, I had a rough start. I was raised in the 1960s during a time where the line between discipline and abuse had not yet been drawn by society and where, in many homes, neglect and victimization was the norm. In too many arenas, it is still the same for many unfortunate children and young people today. As a result of the environment I was raised in, I spent most of my twenties in a state of mental anguish. At the age of 27 I came to the understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol was not the answer for dealing with a tortured mind, and though I was able to accomplish and attain many material things that the world had to offer, I wanted something more, inner peace. After being diagnosed with institutional grade PTSD and several sever forms of depression, I decided to take on the challenge of psychoanalytic therapy. For 13 years, I worked with therapists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and medical doctors to address the disorders that were the result of my upbringing. I included personal studies of psychology and human behavior to add more knowledge in my pursuit of wellness. By the age of 40, as I had always done, I was sharing the knowledge I had gained and my life experience with others with similar situations to my own. Despite my efforts, I could still not separate from the mind of a manic depressive. I could not attain inner peace. My desire for inner peace led me to meditation. Meditation is a practice that separates us from the workings of the conditioned programmed mind and the endless stream of thought. After several months of mediation studies and practice, I began to feel the separation of my true self from the confines and mental torture of my own mind. At that moment a new, although difficult, journey had begun. I spent years of riding the roller-coaster of mental anguish and peace as I continued my struggle to mental freedom. Now, 18 years since my meditation studies commenced, I find myself in a state of conscious presence that allows me to live peacefully with a mind suffering from mental illness. My journey has included sharing my knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the mind with others to help them attain peace and joy as I have; aiding them in their quest to escape the suffering of the confines of their programmed conditioned minds. I have recently taken my teaching to a new level, carrying myself as a published writer, teaching mediation and sharing the knowledge of the ability for each and every one of us to achieve our natural state of being, which is peace, love and joy.

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