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This is Previous-Essay <== This-Essay ==> Following-Essay Click HERE on this line to find essays via Your-Key-Words. {Most frequent wordstarts of each essay will be put here.} ========================================================== %FREE CHOICE ALTERNATIVE LACK PRISON BIND ADDICT 900109 Often we are imprisoned by the limited number of alternatives which we consider before we make choices. We would do well to consider the factors which may be limiting the number of alternative which we consider before we make choices: We may be ignorant of the wider range of alternatives which exist, and we may have done nothing to become aware of the wider range of alternatives which do exist. Then we would do well to seek to discover more alternatives; for it may well be our fault that we are ignorant. We may be prisoners of habits which we have not examined and so stick to them thoughtlessly. Then we would do well to take time for quiet meditation in serenity to consider our traditional habits, and alternative possible ways of spending our time. The cure for thoughtless behavior is thoughtful meditation which is unhurried. Take time for meditation! We may be the victims of unexamined convictions which run counter to experiences which we and others have. Our own convictions may cause us to exclude from consideration alternatives which merit thoughtful consideration. We will do well to seek evidence in our experiences which call our convictions into question. Too often we are stubborn and stick to convictions, even when our experiences indicate that our convictions are not well founded. We may stick to our convictions because we lack self confidence and lack healthy self esteem; over-confidence in our convictions may be a sign of a hidden and nagging uncertainty. The cure is not looking for more evidence and clearer logic. The cure is in seeking friendly and trustworthy help in dealing with our lack of self confidence and lack of self esteem. There are people who can help us if we thoughtfully seek them out and ask for help. We may consider too few alternatives before we make choices because we associate with too narrow a spectrum of friends. If all our friends think and feel as we do, we do not have a very rich spectrum of alternative viewpoints to consider before we make choices as to what our viewpoint should be. The cure is to widen the circle of kinds of friends and associates upon whom we can draw when we need wider ranges of alternatives to consider. We may consider too few alternatives because we are trapped in collusive, addictive, and/or codependent behavior patterns; we may be victims of dysfunctional games of mutual self deception. Dishonesty is a disease which feeds upon itself. Misleading behavior and talk tends to become more and more serious as it is taken to be more and more normal. Ultimately dishonest behavior leads us to be unaware of the range of alternatives which would be open to us if we were honest with ourselves and with each other. We may consider too few alternatives because we have let others control our habits of thought, mind, spirit, and meditation. We may not be able to easily avoid coercive behavior; but we can choose to continue to recognize coercive behavior for what it is---and to think for ourselves. We need to keep in mind the alternatives to yielding our habits of thought, mind, spirit and meditation to the control of those who seek to control them. (c) 2005 by Paul A. Smith in (On Being Yourself, Whole and Healthy) ==========================================================