The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Question (Q): Sir, you said that the choice of being in deep contentment and in abyss lies with us. Is it really the case?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Yes, yes there is this choice.
See, the choice has to be there because you as you are you, take yourself to be the chooser. Now if there is a chooser, how cannot there be a choice? And if you are not a chooser at all, then you already are beyond this rubbish. You take yourself as a decision maker always, don’t you?
“I will decide whether to go out, whether to stay in.” The choice is there, always there. Self-deception is also a choice. Or do you think it’s your nature? You do it, it does not happen. You willfully, deliberately execute it. It all happens right under your nose. It does not happen behind your back.
So there is always a choice involved and that’s the whole purpose of observation. Catch yourself making those choices. See when you decided to take a step in the wrong direction you will catch yourself doing that. It happens. There are very clear and discrete moments. You will see, “Ah! here it is, it happened this moment”.
You have not finished your work and you decide to go off to sleep. Don’t you know it when you are getting up from the chair? Don’t you know that, that is the moment of the choice? You had the choice to remain sitting, right? Didn’t you decide, didn’t you choose to get up? Or, did it happen on its own? So, you very well know that it is a choice and if it is a choice better make a right choice.
Listener (L): But do I really know that the choice I am making is a wrong choice?
AP: We know that 🙂
You see, this ‘Knowing’ word here, is to be understood. The choice is being made, that is a fact. ‘Knowing’ that it is a choice of such nature happens only in the presence of ‘Knowing’. And, even that ‘Knowing’ is a choice. That choice is called ‘attention’. Had that choice not been available why would teachers talk to you about ‘Attention’?
Because you have it in your powers to choose to be attentive and teachers talk to you about it so that you choose more and more to be attentive.