There is No Choice


Over the years, I have seen so many beautiful expressions of life known as ‘people’ psychologically crushed by absolutist nondual concepts such as “there is no choice”, “there is no person” and “there’s nothing I can do”, and I feel it’s important to speak out about this huge, huge trap and misunderstanding in nonduality, which does not release suffering and seeking but actually fuels it.

When taken literally, the belief “there is no choice” can really keep one imprisoned in a story of passivity and powerlessness and giving-up-on-possibility. I have met so many people over the years using “there is no choice” to actually JUSTIFY staying in situations, jobs, relationships – even abusive ones – that deep down, they long to leave. They remain in these situations not out of clarity and fearlessness and deep recognition of who they are, but out of a primal fear of opening up to the unknown… and they seek comfort in the belief “I have no choice”, passed on to them by their favourite nondual teacher. In other words, “Phew, I don’t have to face life, I don’t have to open up to possibility and change, because there is nobody here do that, and anyway, there is no choice either way. So I’ll just stay as I am and tolerate things.”

This, of course, is a total misunderstanding of the nondual teachings. For what this message is really about is a fearless facing of life, a total and uncompromising engagement with whatever comes our way, and the recognition of our total inseparability from all of it. It is the end of defending any image of yourself, including the image that you “have no choice” (which in the end is only a belief, the reflection of its opposite), and a welcoming of every wave in the vast ocean that you are. That’s what it truly means to recognise ‘no self’. It is not an intellectual realisation, not an ‘event’ that happens once and then you’re ‘done’ – it is a full, embodied, real-time rediscovery of that which always is, always renewing itself in the fire of this sacred and ordinary moment.

There is a world of difference between blind belief and living realisation, between simply believing “there is no choice”, in quietly dying on the inside and tolerating the intolerable, and truly recognising, first-hand, that you have no choice but to live, to really live, because you are life itself and always have been.