Choosing Sides

By Jules van Bergen

Choice begins with the thinking person, the person who has begun to make distinctions. For example, about half our bodily functions may be controlled by nature, but the other half is left to us to improve or impair. Whether we like it or not, the responsibility for that part of our being is up to us. Experience — often bitter experience — will teach us to cooperate with nature until we voluntarily choose to cooperate in all aspects of our lives.

As we develop our inner qualities, we come to a point where we first suspect the existence of a higher law; then we acknowledge that such a thing really exists. From this recognition come practical signs to which we become more and more receptive, telling us clearly and directly what is better. Acknowledging this higher law requires that we develop morally, so we can put our moral decisions into action.

Eventually the process of choosing between "good" and "bad" disappears, replaced by a better apprehension of the higher law and an increasing determination to carry out what it requires. After having made all those detailed intellectual choices and never truly knowing if we've made the right ones, there comes a point in our evolution where the higher law actually determines what we choose. The important choice — whether to go on in the old familiar way or rely on the spiritual law — has then been made.

Once we have chosen for the higher law, our decisions are no longer determined by satisfaction of our personal needs, for we confer with the law within us that automatically opts for a universal solution for the benefit of the whole. In this way, ordinary choosing gradually changes into knowing how to make the right choice, and this resolves the paradox of feeling that our side of an issue is right while intuiting that the other side is also right: the two opposing sides, which we thought were mutually exclusive, have been united when we no longer ally ourselves with one side, but acknowledge both as aspects of one thing. Then, choosing in ignorance will be conquered — and knowing this can give us a new outlook on life.

(From Sunrise magazine, June/July 1999. Copyright © 1999 by Theosophical University Press.)


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