Pictured here is the most recognizable metaphor of the 21st century for “making a choice.” Each day we are presented with options that will take our lives in this direction or that. Though not every choice will decide the fate of all humanity, many of them will have a significant impact on the course of our lives, and affect many other’s lives in the process.
Often our choices will become entangled with the notions of right and wrong, idealism, beliefs, and morality. They may seem big or small, selfless or selfish, or seem completely insignificant in the moment. Sometimes they are emotionally driven by feelings such as love, anger and the like, but occasionally, when we are calm and focused, a decision may be deliberated rationally and logically with some degree of practical wisdom.
In training, one is consistently asked to make choices; the most significant being whether or not they will ever step on the mat. Once that is out of the way, one must then choose how they wish to learn; will they accept the culture of the school, properly observe the rules of etiquette, and come with a open mind? Or will they arrive full of their own notions and delusions? Perhaps a bit of both? Whether to attend practice consistently, to arrive on time, to practice safely and harmoniously, and to treat one’s teacher and fellows respectfully are all individual choices that will certainly affect the direction of one’s path in martial arts, and ultimately the path of others as well.
Free will, it’s a tricky thing and we never quite know where it will take us. Neo thought he was choosing to simply receive the answer to a burning question, the implications of that choice however, ended up changing the world. A carefully measured choice will hopefully bring with it fewer regrets, in our lives and our practice, let’s try to choose well.