The Right Choice
Balancing the Survival and the Spiritual Dimension of Choice
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 1, 2020
Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst
Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist
In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick an image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.
But, just as our free will clashes with necessity in the outside world, so also it finds its limits outside the field of consciousness in the subjective inner world, where it comes in to conflict with the facts of the self. (Jung & Hull, 1959/1968, p. 5)
This junction offers several choices: walk to the left, grab some coconuts, take the rope and machete, walk up the stairs to higher ground, just stand, or turn around and go back. Each of them has different consequences, so how to choose? What is the ruling idea and where did it come from? Is there a subjective answer? Does another voice act as judge or inner guide? Does curiosity or certainty lead the way?
Today, May 1, there are more choices about the pandemic guidelines for some states. There is continuation of the same, as well as other choices regarding going out of the home.
The choices and the free will put us in the driver’s seat of consciousness. When confronted with ambiguous choices, how do we decide? It is more complicated then meets the eye! Let us unpack the choice in the Coconut dilemma.
If it is your property, of course you can pick and eat as many of these wonderful fruits as you wish.
If it is your friend’s garden, they would be delighted if you enjoy their fruit.
If you are hungry and dehydrated, you could pick up one coconut and leave a note and the guesstimated payment.
If you have no money and must feed the hungry children down the street, you may have moral if not ethical justification to pick up some coconuts for them – the Robin Hood Complex.
If you just pick up a few coconuts just to experience the fun of smashing them, you are creating a very negative Karma.
And on and on it goes. In the pandemic, each one of us must comply with the law of the land. However, when this is ambiguous, it puts the ball in your court. What is the Right Intention, the Right Attitude, the Right Thought, the Right Feeling, the Right Purpose and the Right Action? These are some of the core parameters laid out in the Fourth Noble Truth of the Buddhist tradition.
The Right in the Buddhist context factors in; Doing no harm to Others, doing what you must with a Spiritually informed purpose and Doing it in proportion to what you NEED, NOT what you WANT. This implies not only ethical conduct but one that is aligned with the guidance of your Soul. That alignment calls for Self-Reflection and aligning outer Need for Survival with inner assessment of you Soul’s guidance.
Sometimes, these are in conflict, as when you absolutely need to feed or protect your family and that may run afoul of your outer ethics and inner guidance. This is when we need divine guidance of the Spirit, discerned via Prayer, Contemplation and a sign from the Universe. If we are sincere in our search, it has been my personal and clinical experience, that there is always an answer; whether in a dream, a synchronistic event or some sign which is very clear. Then we must have the courage to pursue that choice.
Some Points to Ponder:
- How do you make your choice when presented with options?
- How are you guided to choose?
- What resources do you use (thinking, feeling, sensing, etc.)?
- Generally, do you look for immediate or long-term satisfaction?
- How are your choices essential for yours and family’s survival?
- How do these choices impact your community?
- How consistent are your choices with your personal spiritual framework?
- Is there a major conflict between your Survival needs and your personal Spiritual framework?
- What discernment process have a put in place to get the guidance from the Spirit?
- What Signs have you received from the Spirit – the guiding wisdom of the Universe?
Bedi, A. (2013). Crossing the healing zone : from illness to wellness. Lake Worth, FL, Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, a division of Nicolas-Hays, Inc.,Lake Worth, Distributed to the trade by Red Wheel/Weiser, pages 129-131
Jung, C. G., & Hull, R. F. C. (1959/1968). Aion : researches into the phenomenology of the self (2nd ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press,
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.