Life Decisions

Decisions are not always made by clear thinking or as an adult. Even as a baby we can experience enormous feeling reaction to some situations we are confronted by. These reactions constitute a decision, even though not made consciously. From that point onwards we, as the baby or child, will respond to a similar situation in a given way. We have in fact put in place a powerful habit. See Habits  

For instance a baby may have found so little love and warmth from it mother, and so much care from someone else, it alters its responses to its mother, and transfers it bonding and warmth to someone else. Such decisions have enormous influence on adult life, and are often not recognised for what they are, and so are not re-evaluated.

Whatever it is that has left negative imprints in us, whether it is a difficult birth, inadequate parenting, sexual abuse, or traumatic events, it is obvious that to achieve any real maturity, to arrive at any real wholeness and fuller expression of our potential, the parts of us that were injured or could not continue their growth need to be met and released or transformed.

At the time such traumatic imprints are put into place something else that happens is what I have called ‘life decisions’. These usually remain completely unconscious in ones adult life, and are only made conscious by return to the scene of the original trauma or experience. Such life decisions are of course nothing to do with conscious decision making. They occur at a time when there is no conscious personality to make such a decision. Or they happen in an adult when there are highly charged times of misery or conflict. They arise out of deeply felt responses to what is being met. For instance Don made such a decision at the time of his birth. His ‘life decision’ was that he didn’t want to be alive. He wanted to fade back into a non–feeling state. He wanted to die. This life decision coloured much of his adult life, taking away the zest that many people have for being active in outer life.

Here is an example of a damaging life decision made at a later age than babyhood.

 Example: I have been integrating the experience a lot over the past few weeks and last weekend I got an opportunity to spend an extended period of time alone and relaxed during which I was able to tie the threads together, and understand what the throat and neck symptoms are about.

I had been thinking along the lines of suppressing my inner creativity due to fear of censorship and that is one element but I think the more fundamental is that the throat is constricting my experience of the environment, because I am scared stiff of what it will do to me. If I experience the outside world “raw”, it will evoke such strong emotions in me that I will be blown apart, annihilated, so I cut down what I experience of it and I try to manipulate it so that I cut out anything that will evoke painful emotions.

This is illustrated by my experience at boarding school. During the first few hours I experienced every existence threatening emotion all at once and my only way of coping was to manipulate people and situations, and then in later years, to shut down. I felt that unless I did this, life would become even more unbearable to the point where I could not function as required.

Why didn’t I communicate this to my parents and ask to be taken away? This was because of my father.

Although he appeared to be passive in sending us away, his values governed our household, and these (as I interpreted them) included: – don’t give up at all costs because that is weakness; – if it hurts it’s worthy (martyr); – what you feel about something is not the point: what you are doing and achieving materially is what counts – don’t worry if you’re in a pickle because God will look after you: do what God wants and you’ll be alright (NB this tends to be the opposite of what you want because you’re sinful – another justification for why hurt is good for you). I also felt that the nuns must be right because they were on God’s side; – there are rights and wrongs and no personal exceptions.

Then the throat pain became unbearable. I investigated it and I became aware of doom. If I didn’t fight it, doom would take over. I was weary of fighting it so I let doom take over and sank into the doom and it was then that I found myself at the foot of the great being and total acceptance of my life. Spontaneously, before I knew it I was offering everything as a sacrifice, including past mistakes and cock-ups, and that I had to do this.

And then there were the images again of clefts: the earth, female genitals, undersea-ocean crusts opening and something, as yet formless, emerging. This, I suspect, is my creativity in the world.

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