You create your experience.
You are a creator, a generator, of experience. Every experience you have is created by you. I’m definitely not saying you create your reality. What you create is your experience of reality. No matter the events you encounter you are interpreting and re-creating those events within your brain via the input provided by your physical senses.
Binge eating behaviour.
Here’s an example of how this plays out. Let’s pretend that you have a challenge when it comes to choosing adequate portion sizes to the point at which it takes on the characteristics of binge eating. Perhaps you find yourself in your cupboards with very little deliberation, grabbing whatever food strikes your fancy, and eating with abandon. All thought of sticking to your healthy eating plan is ignored or completely forgotten. The focus in that moment is the food, the sensations, and the act of eating.
Here’s the interesting thing, there are vast parts of your life in which you are not a binge eater. But when you, as the creator of your experience, access your binge eating identity/mindset you are a binge eater. In that instance you experience the world as a binge eater. Your choices are limited to that identity/mindset. All other aspects of yourself, and their possible choices and behaviours, are inhibited and unavailable to you.
Einstein is attributed to have said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” When you are within the tunnel vision of a specific identity/mindset you limit your possibilities. You see from that perspective and you only make choices from that identity.
However, a binge eater is not all that you are (in this fictional example). You can choose to create any number of different experiences which will yield any number of different behaviours and results.
The value of looking to your actions.
I have an aphorism: “You identify yourself by your actions. You are what you do consistently.”
Now, are you LITERALLY what you do consistently? No, absolutely not. In any moment you are expressing and experiencing yourself as a particular aspect of any number of possible choices of behaviour. However, as a means of understanding yourself and others the aphorism has value.
If you consistently access a particular aspect of yourself (e.g. binge eater) you can be sure you have created that experience or expression of yourself and it’s a part of your Self-Identity. You identify yourself with that behaviour. You think to yourself, you accept, “That’s like me to do that.”
But is that all you are? No! YOU are the creator of that experience.
Self as volition.
In essence, you can think of your SELF, your very essence, as volition. This is your faculty of choice.
Epictetus, my favourite Stoic philosopher, had this to say about choice:
You are not your body and hair-style, but your capacity for choosing well. If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.
What will you choose?
Consider that you are not what you have chosen. Instead, you are the chooser. You are free to choose differently. You can choose to create an experience other than what you currently have.
What will you choose?