Non-Goal-Oriented Decisions

Cut-Leaved Toothwort

Cut-Leaved Toothwort

I notice that often I make decisions with an expected future outcome or goal in mind. This approach is pervasive in me. Seems reasonable enough to me. How else would one make decisions? It relates to decisions with my finances (will I have enough money), diet (will I not gain weight), and most activities I am in.

This morning such an approach to decision making seems all wrong. I awoke to the fact that such a rigid goal-oriented decision-making creates worry, fear, compulsion, and rigidity. I have a stake in the outcome. So I make a decision and then fret and worry about whether it will produce the outcome I want, a dualistic right-or-wrong approach to life. I see I am trying to control life, manipulate life to get what I think is best or what I want. I can feel my anxiety in me from this approach to life. My anxiety, like my goal-oriented decision making, is also pervasive.

The problem? I can’t know enough to know what the outcome will be. So what is a better way? To make a decision, and then immediately let go of expectations concerning outcome. Observe what happens next, and then make another decision. Take action, followed by letting go. Take action, followed by letting go. It is a rhythmical approach to life. I am not responsible for the outcome, rather, I am responsible only for the integrity of my decisions and actions in each moment, stroke by stroke. Am I in Truth in this moment? Truth as I, in my limited human condition, see and understand truth? Am I open to seeing a broader and different truth in the next moment? Am I free to change my mind, make a different decision in light of a deeper understanding? Can I even dare to be curious and thrilled about the explorative nature of life, the groping involved, the discovery of new truths all the time, the inherent adventure of living?

Mistakes are not only allowed, they are inevitable. Accept them. Welcome them. Learn from them. Yes, these errors in judgment have consequences. Pain happens in me and in so many others from my mistakes. The pain I am in now is due to the mistakes I and others made earlier, and I have to accept and live with such consequences of past mistakes, mine and those of others. Slow down and really feel the pain my mistakes have caused so that genuine forgiveness and remorse arises and motivates change and growth in me. Am I learning and coming to not repeat some of these past mistakes? Can I see and experience that living is learning, forgiving, changing, and growing?

I find that a peace comes over me as I simply do my best in each moment, let go of outcomes, and then assess what might be the right action for me in the next moment. This makes Life more like an exciting journey rather than a hurried and worrisome trip trying to get to some right destination as quickly as possible. I breathe in this new perspective. It feels like Engaging Life, being in the Flow of Life, the only place from which Life can be enjoyed. The peace in me is a felt sense, a relaxed effortless effort that arises out of balancing activity with passivity and pausing in between to reflect, savor, observe, and learn. Always letting go of expectations and outcomes. Peace, yes, welcome Peace.