On the absolute level I am not, only This Is, therefore I who don’t exist don’t have choice. It’s pretty straightforward.
On the relative level it gets muddy quickly because everything is an appearance. The world and you and me are an appearance in consciousness — a majestic phantasm, an illusion beyond the capabilities of Houdini.
Is the phantasm real? It’s a real phantasm. Real not real? Don’t get caught up in the comparison, in trying to label reality, and miss the experience. Believing something to be unreal gives license to dismiss it and that subtracts from the totality that which cannot be subtracted, neatly divides the world into pieces worth consideration, takes the whole and makes it into parts.
Isn’t that what waking up is about? Putting the pieces, the shards of self, the shamed and unworthy aspects, back together again? No need to add more pieces to the unwieldy puzzle.
Choice is one of those. Do we have it or not? What if there isn’t an easy answer to that one? All of experiential life, and that’s everything anyone can know, is an appearance and it appears that we have at the least, the appearance of choice.
Perhaps we choose. Perhaps we chose before we took birth. Perhaps life is a just-in-time game of multiple choice all leading to the same non-final conclusion. We either play the game as it appears or we step off the gameboard entirely and see what lies beyond appearances but only if that resonates within, if that pulls us otherwise we’ll stay on the boardwalk.
Where folks get caught is in the in-between world, believing no choice exists in this mystical experiential we call the material world. That’s not a problem either unless its deemed problematic. It is part of the game, a windup for the big jump, a toe in the water, a test balloon. Not all explorers are jump out of the airplane without a chute risk takers.
We are conditioned, are being conditioned with each new experience, with each new apparent choice, and our conditioning is part and parcel of the choosing. Does that make the choice less meaningful? Only if you want to play the game of comparisons and chop the world into pieces.
The absolute and its appearances cannot be separated. It is what it is, a grand deception, a superb playground, a divine carnal ride. Real, not real? Yes. Choice, no choice? Yes. No comparisons, no harm, no foul, just experience appearing as you, me and the world.