Sacred Laws of Psyche: The Law of Choice


You and I are essentially infinite choice-makers. In every moment of our existence, we are in that field of all possibilities where we have access to an infinity of choices. ~Deepak Chopra

We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I am who I am today because of the choices I made yesterday. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

8.The Law of Choice: There are many choices you do not have the power to make. You cannot choose when, where, or to whom you were born. You did not choose your family, genetic inheritance, race, body type, or the early blessings and traumatic experiences that shaped your mind, emotions, and fundamental personality. You cannot choose to avoid suffering, or change the natural aging processes of your life.

But you do have the power to choose what to do with what life gives you. You can choose to confront your challenges with courage, confidence, and trust.  You can choose the values you want to serve, the friends you want to keep, the partner you want to spend your life with. You can set goals and act on them, or procrastinate lest you make a mistake. You can settle for a job or lifestyle that does not fulfill you, or design a path of your own. You can accept responsibility for your choices or blame someone else. You can cultivate your imagination or bury it. View yourself as separate or as connected. Integrate or fight otherness. Nurture love or hate. Trust or fear. Your choices will shape your life and influence yours and the world’s welfare.

The difficulty in life is the choice. George Moore, The Bending of the Bough, 1900, Act IV.

But the big choices that can permanently alter the course of your life are very difficult. How then do you decide? In my life I’ve found that impulsive decisions are rarely the answer. Most really big choices require a great deal of soul-searching, self-knowledge, and time before the gates open and the path becomes clear. You need to examine your motives — not the surface, idealistic ones your ego flatters itself with, but the ones deep in your unconscious that you struggle to disown, like those based on pride, hunger for power, fear, selfishness, hatred, the need to impress, or the desire for revenge.

It is not I who create myself, rather I happen to myself. (The Collected Works of Carl Jung, Vol. 11, Para 391)

Unknown forces in your psyche influence you every day: instincts, archetypes, typologies, complexes, emotions, attitudes, and memories. You can choose to ignore them. You can blame them on people and circumstances. Or you can choose to be mindful of them. You can ask yourself why you just behaved the way you did; look for alternative ways to respond next time. You can pay attention to the dramas that are enacted in the dream theaters of your soul every night.

Once you understand your psychological patterns and the negative affect these patterns have on your life, you can now make better life choices. This is a breakthrough! Those patterns have kept you stuck from living the life you have imagined. Of course, your experiences and the way you coped with them will never disappear. They are part of your spiritual development. However, the coping mechanisms and false beliefs are no longer dictating who you become, your authentic self is the self that wants purpose and meaning in life.

You must recognize, embrace, and be honest about what is real for you today and allow that understanding to inform the choices you make. Only then will you be able to build the future of your dreams. ~Suze Orman

We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves. ~Thomas Merton

Here’s a blessing from Nelson Mandela for you to consider the next time you find yourself at a crossroads: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” ~Nelson Mandela

What choices motivated by self-knowledge, truth, and love can you and your country make at election time? What choices can you make right now?

Image credit:  Doors, Pixabay. Crossoads: Creator: Bulat Silvia Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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14 Responses

  1. Thank you so much Jeanie for sharing the next law in your Sacred Law of the Psyche series. “I am who I am today (and where I live today!) because of the choices I made yesterday.” by Eleanor Roosevelt resonates deeply with me especially as I age and consider those difficult choices I had to make decades ago and how providentially they are still serving me today!
    Here in England, most supermarkets have long since run out of basic food items. Fear, panic buying and anxiety are the whispered watchwords as we wander down our empty aisles in disbelief and anger. Instantly, it took me back to a time growing up when watching the news I saw many Eastern Bloc women queue up for the most basic food items for hours each day.
    Re: Choices, in these unprecedented times many of our most vulnerable citizens cannot choose to stay at home as children by law (and hopefully this will change soon!) most attend school and our 70+ age group is now being told to self-isolate potentially for months. This is why your post today is so fitting as we all grapple with individual choices to go out or self-isolate.
    With a day off work today I’m choosing to get out into nature, far away from the news where I can reflect on my choices. Within five minutes I can enter ancient woodland in one direction and ten minutes by foot in the other direction, there are beautiful, long beaches to explore … never have I been happier with the choice I made many years ago to live where I do. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Oh my, Deborah. That’s shocking that most supermarkets where you live have run out of basic food items. We’ve started ordering food from a local delivery service so I haven’t been to a supermarket since this started. I had a similar experience when we were driving into Czechoslovakia from Greece in the early 80’s. A border guard had a woman in a nearby car open her trunk and it was full of toilet paper. We thought it was funny at the time, but then when we drove through a town several miles in and went into a store for an item I needed, not only did they not have it, but most of the shelves were empty.That’s when the seriousness of their political situation really hit us. We were so naive. It’s hard to imagine things like that happening here in the west today, and yet, they are. We have been so insulated, so fortunate, and so complacent in our bubbles of prosperity that it’s been easy to forget about the people in the world who are in great need, even in our own cities.It’s shocking to see how some people are choosing to buy up way more items than they can use so they can sell them for exorbitant prices.
      Here in Orlando, restaurants, bars and legal trials have been shut down, all in-person court appearances, schools, and universities are closed and providing distant learning, and concerts, theme parks, and events with more than 50 people have been cancelled. Fred has an office of ten, and eight of them have chosen to work from home. It’s working very well for them, basically because they still have their jobs and their salaries.
      But so many people are frightened and suffering right now, especially those whose jobs have been put on hold and no longer receive paychecks. How will they pay for the basic necessities if this goes on? I hope this will bring forth the kindness and generosity of people around them. That would be a positive benefit coming from this. Another would be the development of expanded awareness of our rampant materialism and the inspiration to make new choices about how to conserve our resources and live simpler lives. Jung was right about human nature: we will resist change until suffering and crises force us to surrender to it.
      You are so lucky to live so close to nature’s wilds. Forty years ago we chose to build our home in a tiny oasis of the suburbs. It contained cypress tree wetlands, waterways filled with alligators and fish, raccoons, and many species of birds and animals.It was one of the best choices we ever made. Hopefully, choices like this will still be available to the next generation.
      Be safe and well. With hope and love, Jeanie

  2. Thank you so much Jeanie for the gift of your generous reply and for letting us know what’s happening where you live too. I don’t know if there’s room in your new book to explore the impact of the coronavirus in terms of the masculine and feminine but it’s something I’m closely following and will no doubt write about in the weeks and months to come … for once again as I witness empty-handed women wandering down supermarket aisles something is striking a cord deep within. Be safe and well too. Love and light, Deborah.

    1. Well, it’s too late to change this book now. It’s already with the publisher. But who knows? There may yet be another book in me? I look forward to reading your musings on this. Jeanie

  3. Thanks Jeannie so much – so depthful. I love the quotes and I know I’ll be checking this and all previous posts again for refreshment.
    It’s always been an existential question question for me – do we sometimes have no choice, and/or do we oftentimes make choices in unconsciousness? This last I suspect is true, for me at least eg with regard to food. I do identify patterns even if after the fact …
    It’s pretty serious here in SA. The Pres has named it a disaster. It seems to me that some of our choices are being taken away from us – and on the positive way of looking at this, this may be no bad thing…
    No 19 is a prime number, I’ve done a tiny bit of research …
    I hear on the airwaves that some are seeing the outer chaos mirroring their inner chaos – maybe they derive some benefit from that, a ‘diagnosis’ can be helpful – maybe it is a defense though, at least for the time being.
    We each have to be accountable, responsible, aware and conscious of what’s going on in the inner and outer. I’m self isolating to an extent. Supermarkets are offering free delivery to pensioners and the disabled, there is more support for the independent businesses who provide prepared food. Someone stands at entrance to shop and sprays hands, gives a tissue. Things change daily hourly re numbers – from yesterday the figure of confirmed cases jumped from 61 to 116 … our medical services are pretty good and I am hopeful they will rise to the challenge but with MANY living in close quarters – that is as yet an unknown though I’m sure the government will do what they can to inform, provide etc etc etc. There is a wonderful organisation here called Gift of the Givers that provides emergency relief in all parts of the world and one of their great drives now while continuing drilling boreholes, delivering food and blankets etc etc etc, is on this covid-19. Imtiaz Sooliman is the man who heads this …a Moslem. Doing unbelievable good work here there and everywhere – my hero for a long time.
    Schools, universities, businesses, churches, sports events – everything closing down in an attempt to ride the wave and not have it break – and dump us. Much more has to close down – taxis (which carry over 3 million people a day). I can’t deny the mild anxiety I am feeling …
    It was lovely to read Deborah’s comment about having Mother Nature on her doorstep. It made me look out of my window in my study and take in the view of sea and mountains … and knowing I can walk on the beach.
    We can be isolated but still connected thanks to technology … and it is good to hear that some rivers are running clear, the air is cleaner in eg China …
    Be safe dear Jeanie – and thank you again 🙂

  4. Thanks, Susan. You’ve given me much to think about.
    At your mention of the number 19, I just googled its symbolic meaning and found this explanation on a site called “Number 19 is an extraordinary number. In ancient times, it was known as the ‘Number of Surrender’. It is the prime number that means it is only divisible by itself and number 1. Seeing the number 19 now and then carries an important message for you. It is a virtuous number and brings good news for you, so don’t be confused by all the people saying that it is a bad omen.Number 19 carries the power of number 1 as well as number 9. In simple words, we can say that this number represents the completion of the task that will take you to the new beginning.”
    “The number of surrender.” Last evening I talked with three different people, two of whom are really struggling with all the drastic changes in their lives, about the humbling effects of a natural phenomena like this pandemic. It’s a blow to the ego to know we cannot control it. All we can do is prepare ourselves, accept, surrender, and trust that “All shall be well; and all shall be well; and all manner of thing shall be well,” as the great mystic, Mother Julian of Norwich said in the fifteenth century.
    “The completion of a task that will take you to the new beginning.” Our present administration in the U.S. has been quite a shock to to many of us. It’s been difficult to wrap our minds around the bizarre behavior and attitudes of our president, and we’ve been very worried about his effect on the younger generation. He has caused many of us to wonder if this signals the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one, certainly for our country, if not the world. And if it is, will the new one be better or worse than the old?
    I saw an image on the internet yesterday of a perfectly clear canal in Venice, so clear that you can see the fish swimming in it, and a swan has returned to swim on it. Surely this is a good sign, a much better thing than the previous polluted waters.
    Something about the covid-19 virus showing up at this time seems inevitable, and in some strange way, perhaps it does bode well for a better future for all of us. We shall see. With hope and love, Jeanie

  5. Thank you Jeannie. Yes, the ones I read about 19 said also about the Sun and surrender (IChing, Tarot) .. almost too good to be true but that is me, a Doubting Thomas. Now that you’ve said about your research I am feeling better, maybe a bit inspired about this .. Surrender is something I want to write about someday; I had a personal experience that still blows me away when I think/feel about it …
    “it’s a blow to the ego to know we cannot control it’ – an important message for sure.
    We’ve now had notification that media may NOT spread info about covid-19, we have to take only the news that the govt. puts out. I haven’t had a chance yet to tune it to the news or media news but this is a bit beyond the pale.
    Anyhow – may you all in the US take preventive measures and keep safe from the virus which doesn’t have to kill us. It can even make us stronger if we develop an immunity to it and we emerge stronger, more vital, more hopeful. Love, Susan

  6. Wow! Speak of not having choice sometimes. That describes where we are now. I’m in isolation (not sick, but I have protective sons, plus I want to stay well) and suddenly my whole social world takes place on my computer–Skype, Zoom, and social media. I have big ideas for what I will do but little gets done except one or two hikes a day because even a sweet 8 month old puppy is intolerable without exercise. I’m glad she keeps me moving. I cook for myself and I’m planning a garden for April because, at this point, it’s hard to get fresh vegetables here. My son bought frozen ones so I can make soups.
    Thinking about choice, it feels I’m not a choice maker for the big things, but have good fortune. I met Vic and fell in love without choosing to do so and a few years later met my first meditation teacher. We met the Dalai Lama because others made the initial connection that brought him to our meditation center and we spent time with Paul Brunton because he needed help, but it was more a gift than a giving. My motivation seems based on being a feeling type–love of Vic, love for my children and friends, love for the Dalai Lama and Marion Woodman and a few other teachers. My thinking function gets out of the way and I follow my heart. The same applied to adopting a puppy which seemed like a crazy idea at my age, but it’s an incredible gift to live with two sweet dogs now–and, as I said, they keep me moving.
    May all be well. May our politicians making such huge decisions find their own heart of love. May we have peace and hope. I love the Nelson Mandela quote. Thank you, Jeanie.

    1. I love your insight that your motivation was love. I believe this helps explain all the good things that have come your way: your happy marriage, your teachers, your sons, the wisdom you have acquired, your sweet puppy. Perhaps you really did make choices about the big things in life because after all, knowingly or not, you chose to follow your heart. Thank you, Elaine.

  7. Jeannie,
    So well said.
    Life is all about making choices. Always do your best to make the right ones, and always do your best to learn from the wrong ones.
    Thank you,

  8. That is the topic which actually turns on my mind these days. As you might guess, I am speaking of Iran and the young people standing tall to regain their power of choice.I agree that we have the power of choice in our lives, but it might be possible only in a society where one is conscious from the beginning of this power and can learn how to use it. And even if so, it might need more energy to fight for it. In Germany, they have a proverb for it: Die Qual der Wahl: spoiled for choice! It would sound like a dream for me as a young man to have such spoiled, but it was mostly a Must! Although, when I scape from Iran, I learned that I have this power and can use it more often, as I am learning from your brilliant words and excellent quotes.

  9. Thank you for your observations, Aladin. Yes, all cultures have their repressive, one-sided views about certain issues, especially religious ones, but authoritarian, totalitarian dictatorships like Iran have much harsher punishments for people who choose to “disobey” their extremely rigid rules. There are certain religions here in the U.S. that tend to be that way too, to the point that they will shun or disown family members who rebel against the ordinary rules of their upbringing. But if the rebel is strong enough to go their own way, the punishment is rarely, if ever, life-threatening or supported by civil authorities.

    I think you and Al were extremely brave to choose to leave Iran, and admire you for it. You proved by your actions that we all have choice, and that it’s extremely liberating to make choices that are right for us. Unfortunately, most of us are too “brainwashed” by our religions and families and social groups to even realize we have choices other than our groups want us to make, let alone to actually make one, especially a courageous choice like yours! Someone—maybe it was Emerson, or maybe Thoreau—once said that there’s nothing so rare as an original choice.

    Of course, I’m not talking about choices to hurt, abuse, or kill another person!! I’m talking about being true to one’s true Self in the face of resistance from groups or authorities whose agenda is to have us conform to their arbitrary belief systems so they can keep us subservient to their power and beliefs without allowing us to claim ours.

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