Manataka American Indian Council

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FEATURE

The Anatomy of Choice

By Monroe Loy, Manataka Elder, 2013

 

One must first be aware of the possibility that we have the ability to change through our choices.

 

Everyone around us seems to be aware that something unusual is happening. The economy, government, wife, husband, kids, job, seems to receive the blame

 

I  have kept notes for several years on choices and the motivation for what we choose. I started this process after one of my business ventures went bankrupt, and a failed marriage. I had many instances growing up to observe people and their choices and wondered about the motivation that caused people who claimed to be religious to choose to act in ways that were harmful to others and themselves.

 

The anatomy of choice has been a journey of enlightenment for me and was revealed in many books and life experiences. I hope you find it helpful in your own journey.

 

Choice

Choice is defined as “the selection between alternatives”. To select one alternative over another. I found when I ask someone “Why did you do that” I got an opinion that satisfied them. If I ask “What would make you do/not do that again” I got a list of reasons in descending order of importance to them. I started wondering, what was it that makes us choose things that are not in our, or others best interest. I found many different motives. I discovered Motives were interesting to me. It seems there is a underlying presence of love or fear that is shrouded by the reason or excuse given.

 

I realized that the motivation driven from love is contagious, inspiring, and seems to have a continuing ripple effect. I also realized that motivation driven by fear, led to unhappiness, contempt, and destruction. This led me on a journey of discovery.

 

As I studied, I focused on fear first. I discovered that 'evil' is 'live' spelled backwards. Evil is that force that is in direct opposition to living. In his book, M Scott Peck defines evil as “...performing an act that is purposely harmful, while pretending or appearing  to be helpful or good”. 

 

Knowing that change is the only constant in life, fear causes us to want things to remain as they are right now. Somehow there is an unconscious acceptance of this moment and a fear of the next unknown moment. By constantly fighting a losing battle to keep things as they are, we are actually choosing to exhaust our energy trying to remain static. The Time-Space Law will never allow anyone to remain static.  We all seem to be aware that we are traveling through time and space in a singular direction. Each moment brings new opportunities to choose. By attempting to remain static or maintain “things as they are right now” we fall prey to fear and develop habits that steal each moment.

 

Habits

Habits are programmed reactions to stimulus. Habits are a product of the subconscious mind and are often preformed without our awareness. The Mind is the judgment seat, where we process information and determine whether we believe it or not. The more conscience we are of a thought the more the “Critical Mind” will judge that thought and determine what we will do with that information.  The more sub-conscience the thought is the equivalent of entering information code into a computer, it simply does as it is programmed to do.  This is a breeding ground for fear, It allows for us to go through the motions of living while robbing us of making a choice on purpose, thereby stealing our lives one moment at a time. This is a deadly combination.

 

Between stimulus and thought there is a space, and in that space lies our power of choice,

and through our choice, lies our happiness.  

 

The space between stimulus and thought is so small yet so important. It is in this space where we find the key to living life on purpose or in fear. The “Mind” is like a court of law, complete with a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, a judge, and jury.

 

Each time we allow the mind to control all of our thoughts through fear, The “Prosecuting Attorney” presents his case in dramatic fashion, The “Defense Attorney” argues his side equally as dramatically, each trying to “one up” the other side so they can “win” . The “Judge” dutifully presides over the proceedings, and the jury of your peers, parents and society, return your fateful verdict, that dictates your future that you fear so much.  

 

The Mind is really like a computer. It will operate on the program that is in place.

 

The definition of a program is that it’s a code that “sets an event or series of events into motion”. The Laws of the Mind states that a program that is in place will continue to operate until it is replaced by a new one.

 

Replacing a program of the mind requires effort and a conscience choice.

 

First before we can reprogram the mind, we have to be aware that a choice is possible. Once we realize there is a choice, then comes the business of choosing and action to complete the change.

 

When we allow the “Heart” to decide what is the outcome of that tiny space, “Love” answers in a way that is best for all concerned, and that is congruent with what our purpose is. 

 

The “Space” between stimulus and response, is so tiny because it only exist for a fleeting moment. It only exist here right now in this moment, or the “Present” time.

 

The way Fear works is to twist the truth and cause you to believe that you are so important that time will remain still or static for you. Your ego likes that you are that important, and accepts the role, even though time continues to move to where ever it goes. Fear then changes the focus of the mind from the present, subtly to either the “Past” or the “Future”, effectually stealing your “Present” or gift of this moment where you have the power to choose. Allowing this theft, is giving up your power you have, and allowing Fear to “Kill , Steal, and Destroy” your life. 

 

All mankind is created equal in this way. The most important choice we make is this one in this present moment. Our choice in this moment is the one that determines the path or destiny we are on.  Once we accept responsibility for our choice, then we can do our part in determining our destiny,

 

Responsibility

Responsibility is defined as (adj)  Having control or authority over something. In this case, control over the choice that lies in that space defined as the moment. Accepting the control requires a level of maturity. Authority implies we can actually author or create this moment as we choose. This does however have boundaries set in place by the universe or the Creator. These boundaries allow us to control, not what happens to us (the stimulus) but rather our choice in whether we react out of fear or respond from love.

 

React is defined as (v) to act in opposition to a former act or state, to be affected  or influenced by circumstances or events, to undergo chemical change.

 

Respond is defined as (v) to act in return or in answer, to answer positively or cooperatively.

 

The Laws of the Mind state that,” the less conscious the effort, the more the sub-conscious mind will react”.  As we progress we can see that there is a lot happening in that tiny space. A choice of either to react or respond to the stimulus and our control of our future is determined in that instant. To react is to act in a manner that is in opposition to Life, Happiness, and our role as a Co Creator. It is synonymous with Fear. It’s the breeding ground for Sloth, Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Wrath, Envy, Pride. The realization that these conditions happen in an instant most often sub-conscience level is the reason for the list to be called the seven deadly sins. They are deadly because they are stealing life from you moment by moment by causing you to subconsciously choose to not choose. Fear has three characteristics. They are Compliance, Control, and Indifference. These are easily spotted in people’s actions, and often difficult to deal with, however every time I have encountered these, and been able to analyze them the person has always reveled the fear. “Seek first to understand then to be understood” That saying has helped me connect with more people than anything else. Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. . When others realize you truly care about them, they tend to relax, begin to trust you more, and actually communicate with you.

 

The Price of Change

It is one thing to recognize the possibilities of change as reality, it is something else to implement it. Fear’s job is to resist change, and make circumstances more difficult, thereby distracting you and stealing another moment. There is a price to pay, and that price is a determination or desire to succeed, and the responsibility to be accountable for your actions.

 

Desire is defined as (v)  de- of the , Sire – Father. The father of Creation has presented you with this magic moment which allows you to create the outcome of your circumstances. This means embracing each moment and the endless possibilities it brings for you to paint your own picture of life in a celebration of your choosing. After becoming aware you have the power to choose, the question you have to ask next is “Am I willing to do what I have to do, in order to get what I want ?”

 

This question brings up even more choices. It brings into play your ethics, morals, principles, character, and your willingness to embrace the possibilities. It is possible that what you want violates your principles, ethics, morals or character, and presents you with a dilemma, that what you want isn’t good for you or others. You still get to choose. The price is the consequences or rewards of your choice. You and you alone are responsible for your choices. When you explain it in this way most people will agree that operating with the motivation of Love is the less painful way to live rather than Fear. Beware people aren’t always honest. If they get to this point and are still fear motivated, they have a tendency toward saying what they think you want to hear.

 

Perfection

I have heard all my life to Strive for perfection. The word strive implies that it is not an obtainable goal. Strive is defined  as (v) to exert much energy or effort. I didn’t much care for exerting much effort in an attempt to obtain a state that didn’t seem to exist. I define Perfection as (adj)  doing the “right” thing in this moment based on all the knowledge you have now, while acknowledging the next moment may bring new information that you will then be responsible for, 2. Lacking nothing.  

 

There is an abundance in the universe. There is enough of everything to supply all the needs of all of us, all we have to do is be thankful for it as we accept the gift.

 

Accept responsibility for your actions and inactions. Have you ever met someone who seemed to always be the victim? That is because they are willing to give away their power in exchange for the appearance that are not responsible for their actions. The sad part of this is that it only placates them. No one else really believes it except for anyone else whom is acting in the same manner. Part of maturing is accepting that you and you alone are responsible for your actions. You can give up your power to choose for yourself, but you set yourself up to accept things that go against your beliefs, morals, character, and can be extremely abusive.

By not choosing at times, is itself a choice. By not choosing you are accepting that the path of least resistance that will be dictated to you. We meet with resistance in life as a way to build strength and character. You will never know what you are capable of if you are never tested.

 

You are the only one who can control the change in your life. This is not to suggest that you can control all the circumstances in life, although there are some who think they can. No one else can live your life and accomplish what you are here to do. Zig Ziggler said it best, “You are the only one who can use your ability. What an awesome responsibility”. It’s not that the world can’t go on without you, none of us are that important, however no one else can do what you can in the same way that is uniquely you.

 

When you get your security from your integrity, beliefs, and value systems and not how other people treat you, then you can be vulnerable on the surface of your life because deep down you are unshakeable. One of the most lovable things about a person is their vulnerability. Others identify with it, and are then comfortable sufficiently to explore their own vulnerabilities. This is where the greatest chances of bonding exist. When both people overlap their vulnerabilities, they share feelings in addition to experiences and thoughts. Integrity is courageous and kind simultaneously. The quality of the relationship is reflected in the quality of communication.

 

When we use the space between stimulus and response, to act on values rather than just reacting, we gain control over our attitudes and actions. The result is that life becomes a product of our decision rather than our conditions.

 

When we mature to a level that allows us to fully accept responsibility for our actions and realize that our choices collectively shape our destiny, we can then begin to choose on purpose. I have found that the seemingly impossible, becomes obtainable when we proceed in the face of adversity with determination, and a belief that all things are possible as long as it the right thing to do.

 

Account for Your Habits

Destructive habits are mostly unconscious, compulsive rituals. They are developed as a crutch to help us cope with a stressful situation and over time become a repetitive action that comforts. Over time the habit is substituted to fit any stressful situation. Once formed, they occupy a place deep in our mind, and become difficult to recognize, let alone change. Specific actions require choice. Each action has a price. The choice of each specific action is to determine if you are willing to pay the price. Again our mind processes all the information we have stored, almost instantly, to determine our willingness to accept the consequences or pleasures of that specific action. The issue with this is most of the time, the habit was formed at an earlier stage in our development, and possibly a lesser level of maturity, and no longer serves us, however because it is so deeply rooted in our mind, we don’t reevaluate the cost to determine if we are still willing to pay the price of this action. The habit remains because of previous programming. We continue to accept the cost on a sub conscience level. The reason it is harder to break a habit is because the habit has already been accepted into our programming, so the assumption is that we choose correctly the first time. Also destructive habits, when formed, usually appealed to a pleasure center that allowed for the compromise made to accept the cost the first time.

 

Habits need to be reevaluated, to determine if they serve us. As we grow and mature, the things that were so important before, no longer seem to be. Habits that are formed on a basis of ethic, morals, and simply just doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, free us from sinking into a bland existence, and help us to enjoy our ability to live life on purpose. 

 

When we recognize, we do not control the parameters of our existence, we can only control ourselves through our choices. The decision to exist or to live life on purpose gets clouded. Surrender your attachment to the outcome of your thoughts and feelings. When you accept that each moment is as it should be, it allows you to embrace each opportunity to respond rather than react to each situation on purpose.

 

When we examine destructive habits, we discover that fear is at the root of them. The need to appear to control the situation and the stress seems to be at the center of the formation of the habit. 

 

Recognize the burning desire inside of you.

 

It is easy to say no to the un-important when you have a burning yes inside to the most important. 

 

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."  Zig Ziggler

 

For most of us it is a challenge to get still enough to quiet the noise long enough to analyze this information, however once we do we can achieve mastery of ourselves. In the process, if we aren’t aware of it previously, most people find something we are passionate about. This can be anything from helping less fortunate people, animals or situations. When you find the thing you are most passionate about, your ability to accomplish what is needed is greatly increased by applying the skills of choice to each situation.

 

Thought plus Feeling equals Prayer

In the book The Isaiah Effect, Greg Braden proves that there is a scientific process which prayer works. It is simply stated as an equation. Thought + Feeling = Prayer.

 

Desire plus Prayer equals Purpose

When you focus what you want coupled with prayer that fits with your purpose in life, you will find you become more effective.

 

Living in accordance with your Purpose equals Happiness

 

It is our tendency to judge other people by their actions, and ourselves by our motives. 

 

You are who you think you are to yourself, you are to other people what you repeatedly do.

 

 

Define Past, Present, Future

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny maters compared to what lies within us."    Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Answer the Question “ What Do You Want”

 

What do you want? It seems to be a simple question. The answer can often be reveling, for out of the mouth the abundance of the heart speaks. What your desires are manifest themselves in your actions. Your strongest desires bubble to the surface and have to be addressed. If the motivation is fear, burying of your desires causes a incongruent condition, these thoughts produce a psychosomatic reaction, which I believe causes an actual chemical imbalance in the body that produces disease.  If the motivation is love, the expression is aligned with our desires, purpose, and the excitement is contagious. Remember when Tom Sawer had to paint the fence for punishment? It was the excitement he expressed that made Huckleberry Finn want to participate. The level of excitement you display is contagious, if you are having fun, other people want to join in, thinking they can have fun too. The more people who join in, the more people you have to help you get what you want. 

 

DO IT NOW

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."  Will Rodgers

"You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do."  Henry Ford

"Do it like no one is watching, do it like you don’t need the money, do it like there is no tomorrow, Just Do It."  Nike

 

Time is our only non renewable resource. Once you spend this moment you can never get it back. Too many people presume that when they have that one thing they can work towards for years then “everything will be alright”. This is delusional.

 

When you get it, there’ll be something else missing in your life. I fundamentally believe that long-term pure happiness from one particular situation or achievement is a pipe-dream, but we can learn to be content with what we have, live in the now, all while enjoying the progress and changes we are making.

 

If your whole life is working up towards one really big major goal that you hold on to for years, then you will have a major anticlimax after the dust settles. Work towards it, but stop deferring your happiness

 

“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.” - Confucius

 

I have no scientific proof that there is a physical difference, however I know there is. The mind is like a computer. It operates on programming  or codes. These codes are placed in the mind as we are domesticated from children. Our training is conducted in a manner that is results oriented. As we grow older and begin to reason, we find that our habits are what define the differences between most of us. 

 

The heart has a rhythm that keeps us in sync with love and the universal desire to obtain validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future.

Monroe Loy is a life-long resident of Manataka (Garland County, AR). Monroe is a builder and creator.  He started a career as a tool and die machinist in 1984 and quickly founded his own successful contracting business that achieved dozens of major commercial projects and military (USACE) projects over the past 26 years.  Currently, Mr. Loy is  plant manager for Innovative Equipment Solutions.  Monroe Loy has many loves (but only one close lady) and one of those loves are birds of prey.  As a licensed Falconer, anytime Monroe is not buried in his work at the plant, he is driving to an education or conservation program in Arkansas or tending to the needs of his own small flock.   As friends, pets and workmates Monroe's birds are important to him.  As the newest Elder, Monroe said, "I feel humbled and honored that the existing Council would value my service and input."  Mr. Loy does not claim any American Indian ancestry, but his heart and mind are indigenous as the beautiful hawks and eagles he raises.       

 

 


 

 

 


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