These questions refer to both logistical as well as emotional decisions. A decision can be a nanosecond to many months in the making. Either way, we are always asking ourselves some version of these two questions on a million levels all the time.
I have been a student of Buddhism for many years, and when many of us approach the teachers and ask them these questions, the coda response to the refrain question is, “What would you usually do?” “What is your usual response/action?”
And then they say, “So don’t do that, do something different. Try maybe even doing the opposite.”
It’s very uncomfortable to hear this and then try to face the answer and then do it. The teaching dumps upside down my comfort zone and habitual ways of being and exercises muscles that are under-developed.
The creative life, or the awakened life, thrives on randomness, accident, spontaneity, vividness, and immediacy to name a few.
When we are responding or reacting the same way over and over again to the confusing circumstances that present, we cut off the possibility of any of the above-mentioned qualities from entering our lives.
Our habitual ways of being are a gerbil wheel. We feel like we are moving, but it’s an endless cycle of unhappiness and an unexpressed life.
Why not next time you are wondering what to do, ask yourself, ‘What do I usually do?” and then do the opposite.
I’m doing it in my life right now, which is why I’m writing this post, and I’m terrified. But I’m awake and present and open to something new flowing in. I prefer an artful life to a robotic life.