One day Gerald told me that when he'd left the door of his house open earlier that day, his wife's cat had escaped outside. The cat was entirely an indoor pet, and recovering her proved to be quite an ordeal. Gerald's wife, Lisa, was angry at him for being so thoughtless and reminded him that she had repeatedly told him to be careful about closing the door.
"But I didn't mean to leave the door open," Gerald said to me.
"I believe you," I said, "but did you mean NOT to leave the door open? Did you make a conscious choice to close the door?"
"I thought about it."
"Did you make a conscious choice to close the door? With sufficient intent that you actually did close the door?"
"No, I guess not."
"Effectively, then, when you didn't make a choice to close the door, you did make a choice to let out the cat out, because you knew that the cat could get out if the door were open. I'm not criticizing you in any way, simply offering a perspective that could help you prevent this kind of thing from happening again."
Many times each day we are presented with opportunities to make choices: to be responsible or not, truthful or not, loving or not. If we wish to be happy, it's not nearly enough that we don't intend to harm ourselves or others. If I run out of gas, it doesn't make any difference that "I didn't mean to." In order to drive a car, I must choose to fill the tank.
And so it is in our emotional and spiritual lives. In the pursuit of happiness, we must diligently choose the truthful and loving path. If we do not, no excuse will matter in the end.
Choose the Ttruthful and loving path. Find genuine happiness now and forever.
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