The Gift of Choice
From The Inner World of Choice
By Frances G. Wickes
"Man was created for the sake of choice".
"The more one sees of human fate and the more one examines its secrets springs of actions, the more one is impressed by the strength of unconscious motives and by the limitations of free choice."
THE ART OF LIVING is, in its essential meaning, a development and transformation of the power of inward choice. It is of all creative arts the most the most difficult and the most distinguished. Its products are fashioned in the workshop of the soul whose windows open upon inner and outer worlds. If the door between these worlds be locked, transforming energy is imprisoned, and awareness, that precursor of new consciousness, becomes bereft of its mobility, its power of quick response.
Man! swinging-wicket set between the Unseen and Seen needs both worlds, for each act of creation is born of a subtle interchange, or clashing encounter, of inner and outer.
Truly this art is one of rare distinction. It involves
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything), a humility that holds the sense of the real within the heart, a courage that dares the leap into the unknown, and an acceptance of the dignity of human life that comes from a reverence and respect for the potential existing in each individual. Thus it comes to pass that this artist is not primarily concerned with concrete objective expression though, when form and pattern are perceived by inner vision, there may arise a compelling desire to express its meaning objectively. For the artist seeks to reveal to himself and, through himself, to others a world within man that cannot be expressed in three-dimensional form.
A work of art can never be wholly objective, for spirit, shaping and reshaping, moves within the creator, changing, transforming, expressing its own dimensions, moving in a world of eternal meanings. Spirit, entering into the simplest act of love, here also creates its own dimensions in human form. It steps out of time into eternity, for an act of awakening and awakened love lives on long after the actor has become spirit or earth. All decision and choice rests primarily upon our openness to the transforming spirit, upon awareness of its messages and a simultaneous awareness of the outer situation and our own involvement in it.
God says, " Choose what you will and pay for it." We choose; we try to bargain with this mysterious god, secretly expecting him to give back our money if we do not like what we have chosen. But in merciless wisdom, he-this "Wholly Other"- extracts full payment, through which new consciousness may be born and a step towards wholeness taken. Hardened by defeat, confronted by his own weakness, tempered by the very injustice of life, man is thrown back upon himself and begins to see the nature of and the reasons for his choices. The payments then become the means of his learning how to choose.
Refusal of inward choice and its creative power makes of life a repetitious round, a treadmill of duty or a merry-go-round of meaningless activity. Man is bound to the wheel of fate until consciousness of his God-given power of choice dawns upon him. Then he glimpses the paradoxical nature of the force that has both bound him and given him power to break the bonds if he will choose the pain entailed in the struggle and accept the perils of freedom to be encountered on the spiral way that sweeps upward from the broken wheel.