In my experience of paying attention to the present can I find space for my freedom to choose?
JOSÉ PARÉS PÉREZ
It is harsh to say so, but the unaware life that we lead, by living distractedly does not give us space to enjoy our freedom to choose. We live by reacting in an automatic way because it does not even occur to us that we could choose our reaction. It is likely that we do not realise that the way we react affects us and the people who are potentially victims of our reactions.
The experience of paying attention to the present, to our reactions, is something that we should have learnt from early childhood, through an upbringing that showed us our freedom to choose our reactions, at every moment. Our natural inclination to fear losing the love of our parents was not good. It is well known that from early childhood we are victims of that fear. Our challenging behaviour, doing things that we knew would annoy them, had no other objective than to gain their attention. And in that way, we learnt to attract people’s attention to us through actions that were not always pleasant for others.
Attracting other people’s attention is the predominant motivation of our behaviour. We do not learn to pay attention to how we feel about what life brings us. Currently we are a tangle of suffering, fits of anger, disappointment and disillusion, stress, fear, guilt and a whole host of other matters that separate us from a life of harmony, consistency and peace of mind. However, we are not free to choose our reactions, which are the source of the tangle that we bear. For many people, life is presented as being quite intolerable and pointless, an experience that is based entirely on a lack of awareness and resultant fear.
Now learn to pay attention to yourself since you are the most important thing that has happened to you in your life. Do not continue to waste your life. If you learn to recognise how you are feeling from moment to moment, you will enjoy the freedom to choose your responses to life. Within you is all the knowledge that you need for what we generally call happiness.