Saturday, January 22, 2011

Choice: Fear Versus Freedom

Being the spiritual person I am learning to be, I have begun to realize the implications of being judgmental.  I’ve gone through so many years of personal surrender to my truest self I have seen what judgment can do.  Any form of judgment is a recipe for disaster, simply because it causes an individual to place a value on another individual of equal status.  I have come to realize that such a disposition is incredibly precarious, because eventually, the harshest judge becomes one’s self of oneself!  Since I have no use for self-judgment, being that it is of the utmost degradation to one’s advancement in the spiritual realm, I have found a mechanism with which to cope.  What I have realized is that choice is everything.
I define the term “choice” as one’s right to decide for oneself.  Without choice one is confined, and, by virtue of the definition I have just given, “confinement” is not having the ability (whether physical or mental) to decide for oneself. Now, I would like to discuss first “confinement”, then, “choice” as both a physical and mental option for living.

What is Confinement?                                                                 
Typically speaking (and I use the term “typically” quite loosely), many humans have the right to choose.  But, there are times when choice is not an option.  When one is born, for example, one has not chosen one’s parents, economic status, siblings, religious or spiritual beliefs, geographic standpoint, and the like.  In this way, the individual is confined.  The confinement starts with the individual’s caregivers and branches out to the individual’s social surroundings.  In many situations, as the individual grows larger and develops mentally, physical and mental confinement becomes increasingly more difficult to enforce.  The care-giving society may find that the individual struggles against the norm with the development of words like “no” and defiant physical behaviors.  At this point, the struggle becomes man versus beast, as the individual may not be physically or mentally equipped to fight against those individuals who are more capable than they.    

For example, as children get older, because they are both smaller and more immature, they try to defy their surroundings to become freer, yet their mêlée is squelched.  Perhaps because they are too young to fend for their physical safety, or are too immature to yet understand the preparations in supporting themselves, they quickly realize their codependence upon their older, more mature counterparts.  This codependence, if not fostered properly, can lead to a major confusion about what “choice” really means.

Again, my personal best definition for the term “choice” is the right for an individual to decide for oneself.  It is a right, meaning, each individual is allotted his or her own personal point-of-view on just about anything!  Now, as odd as this may seem (given society’s obsession with the ego), this is still very true.  For example: if you don’t want to go to college, you don’t have to go; however, if you are mentally “confined” to your care-givers, you may feel as if you should – but you do have an actual choice in the matter.  There is definitely a difference between physical and mental confinement, and there are different implications and damages to an individual as a result.            

Physical Confinement
Physical confinement is when one does not have the physical ability to choose for oneself.  In this instance, the individual is literally not able to break the bonds of confinement, because the person(s) confining the individual are physically more capable of enforcing their choices.  This happens most often in warring societies or in pre-adult households.  Again, as in the aforementioned child example, the child is physically unable to take care of him or herself, and as a result, anyone who is more physically powerful can forcibly choose for the child.  And as such, the care-giver may or may not acknowledge or even recognize the mental fortitude and intelligence of the child’s choices.  This is the essence of mental confinement.

Mental Confinement
Mental confinement is when an individual is not mentally prepared for choice, and is therefore inadequate in assessing the right to choose for oneself.  In this case, the individual has been taught or has learned patterns that make him or her ill-equipped for understanding that he or she has the option to choose.  This is certainly not the exception, but the rule in human society.  Because we are taught by our predecessors, our pattern in life in general becomes mental confinement, since their pattern was mental confinement.  By this rule, we humans often don’t even consider another option, because we literally have no mental choice in the matter! 

For example, in the aforementioned college example, the individual may consider another option of not going to school, but because of mental confinement, the individual may feel as if that option is not really an option.  This mental confinement is the most damaging, as one has to break a lifelong pattern just to be open to choice again.

Mental Confinement = Fear
Mental confinement is a frightening place to be for us humans.  We have to first acknowledge that we are confined, and then we have to decide whether or not we want to keep living in confinement, and finally, we have to decide how to maneuver after our initial acknowledgement.  What makes this so difficult and frightening is that we don’t even really believe we are confined – we think confinement is normal, and that choice is abnormal; however, the former is not the case.

Mental confinement breaks society.  We are often taught to fear choice, because thinking as an individual promotes disorder, when quite the contrary is true.  We are living in the pattern where we actually forego the option of recognizing that no one is safe from confinement!  We often forget that we humans are born into physical confinement!  For example, we think that once an individual has a physical choice, he or she automatically cannot be confined; but, since he or she is mentally confined (because it is such a frightening place to be), it is not a matter of choice until the mental confinement is broken (by the individual).  This occurs most often in issues pertaining to judgment.

This happens so often that we make assumptions about other individuals who are different from us for no reason at all.  While it is true that at some age or some point in an individual’s life he or she can chose, it is almost impossible with mental confinement already set in place.  As such, we impose our beliefs upon others, with hopes they will convert to one that is preferable and comfortable to us.  It is not our job to focus on others’ beliefs or life choices, as long as it does not directly violate our physical and mental choices.  Our mental choices are our own, and so as long as we are not physically confined by another, we are truly free.  We can also look to the animal kingdom for inspiration, as they are mentally free to choose, and it is us who have confined them physically to fit our comfort zone. 

Saying such things as “sit,” and “beg” to a trained dog is not much different than telling a child where he or she can go to school, or what to wear, other than the fact that the dog is not mentally equipped to rationalize at the level of a human.  The only option to be rid of bondage is to choose one’s self for oneself.  Choosing one’s self as a means of focus is more liberating than the unhealthy alternative of living through the confinement of another.

Choice = Freedom
I didn’t choose to be Shira (not that I don’t accept Shira, but nonetheless, I didn’t choose to be her).  I didn’t choose my name, my parents, my school district, my home, my race, my nationality, my brother, or my religion.  But at a certain point, I realized I could choose certain things.  I could go to a different school.  I could move.  I could believe something different.  Most importantly, I could believe in myself for all that I was and all I was to become.  I could be the different girl.  I could be the one to accept people for who they did not choose to be yet were anyway.  I could choose not to treat my man differently, simply because we came from opposite socio-economic backgrounds, and no one else chose to understand love without limitations.  I could choose not to judge or blame other individuals for their lives, and how they lived them.  It wasn’t their fault they were taught racism.  It wasn’t their fault they believed something different than me, simply because they were born into it and I wasn’t!  And since none of us had a say in the matter, who of us could judge and say they should be the one to change?  Are we whole yet?  Are we at peace and full of love and joy?  Until I am, I can not choose for anyone but me. 

We have a choice.  We are born into physical confinement, we develop as mentally confined beings, and we have to find our way back to choice.  We do not have to hurt or kill one another just to display dominance – we have a choice to be free.  Displaying dominance through confinement merely displays identification with our ego and thus, a propensity to judge.  The only way to God and to freedom is through choice.  Choose yourself.  Choose your life…now.

Peace and Peace.


  1. I've decided that I am not going to experience life where I care about what others think of me; how I look, what I do, etc. I just don't want the kind of mental (and then emotional and physical) suffering that goes along with constantly putting value on the opinions of others. When, what really matters is SELF. And my opinion of myself is all that matters- I know I am a good person, and I do not find my actions conflicting. Why am I placing value on the opinions of others in such a way as to give them permission to make me feel less than?

  2. Hey Sugar, Please make this assessable for com. I love your blog, and will like to keep up with it. My name is Nina.

  3. Ok so yeah I just looked on Bloglovin and found your blog there. I am So happy,..... and this is Nina.

  4. Shira, Thanks so much for the posts!!Please keep them coming - long or short - regardless the length they are very uplifting and insightful!!!

    I just finished reading the book you reviewed (did a video on it and gave you a shout-out) you've been such an inspiration to me!!

    God bless you!!
    (Mzsweetsmile83 on YT)

  5. Hello!

    All I can say is THANK YOU! I'm a single mom of 3, and in an abusive relationship. I recently told myself I'm going to live the life GOD intended for me and my kids, and learn to be happy and enjoy life and learn from all my experiences.

    Thank you for this blog, you have truly touched me. I'm going to get that book as soon as my finances are in order. I just wanted to personally thank you! You are a true inspiration!

    Crystal W.

  6. wow.... amazing ireally like your blog!!

    A real one at last!!

  7. Greetings!

  8. I’m chiming in late, but here I am just the same. At this point in my life I am over being defined by anything or anyone’s thoughts of me. I am tired of not being who I truly am out of fear and out of not wanting to flare up other people’s insecurities. I don’t want to just fit in. I’ve been rocking my natural hair for over a year when I used to be the girl relaxing my hair every 4 or 5 weeks because I thought straight was the only pretty. Things like clothes and shoes used to define me because I let the label wear me instead of the other way around. It was all about other people’s perception of me instead of how I truly felt about myself. The difference now is I’m genuinely in love with myself and who I’ve become and now I can rock a $10 handbag with the same confidence as a $300 one. I am far less judgmental of people than I used to be. A prime example is my father. I could never understand how someone could have children and never take care of them. I couldn’t understand how someone could get hooked on drugs and throw their life away. I couldn’t understand why my grandmother would keep taking him back when he’s broken her heart a million times. I wrote this man father..someone I’d once loved off as being a horrible person who deserved to suffer. I felt that for him until I got to my lowest point in life. At my lowest point I began to realize how someone could get hooked on drugs and alienate themselves from their family and anyone who cared about them. Since those days I try with everything I am to not be judgmental of people because everyone has a story and I don’t know it. I feel like God has taken me in circles until it finally clicked for me. I said on my fb a few days ago that I’ve finally realized I am one of the weird people I used to make fun of. The people who were not afraid to be themselves despite what people had to say. I said we (the weirdoes) are the people everybody else whispers about but admires at the same time because they don’t have our courage yet. Shira I am sooo inspired by what you share with us.
    Jacqueline W.

  9. I Just wanted to tell you Thank you,God put you in my life for a reason.
    You have helped me out so much.
    I pray for you and your family. And I can't tell you how much I appreciate you.May God continue blessing you and you family.
    Always Elisha:)

  10. Thank you for this post. You are such an amazing writer/person/video producer. One of the hardest things about breaking out of mental confinement... is that you break free from what society expects from you, the cost is alienation from those around you who are not willing or not able to make that leap into the unknown. And it's not fair to judge them...because everyone was there at some point to be where they are now.

    The cost is great but for those who have chosen to break free, there is no going back. It's like mental suicide to go back to the way things were.