We make decisions every day. Most times, these decisions do not lead to a significant change in outcome. For example, we decide whether to have sandwich or pizza for dinner, or we decide whether to watch a movie or go to the park this weekend.
However, some decisions can lead to big changes in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Changing career is one such example of a significant decision. Relocating to a new house, neighborhood or country is another. Deciding whether to continue with certain therapies or not when we are unwell is also potentially life altering.
When it comes to making big decisions that will likely change our lives significantly, we are often faced with doubts about whether we are making the right decisions or not. How do we decide? What are our criteria? What is our motivation?
For me, I have come to realize that when I make decisions, I should look at my motivations. If the decision made is motivated by fear, most often it will turn out to be the wrong decision. However, if it is motivated by unconditional love or faith in the universe, then it will invariably turn out right. By unconditional love, I refer to the absence of ego.
I now use this as my yardstick when making important decisions in my life. So far, it has worked very well for me.
For example, when my father was diagnosed with cancer of the rectum, my family looked to me to decide where to send him for his surgery. As a doctor, I am automatically expected to know who was the best surgeon and which was the best hospital for treatment. My first thought was to refer him to the most reputable hospital in the city, which was also the most expensive hospital as well. On the other hand, I knew a very competent and compassionate doctor who has just the right competency for the job, although he is not "famous" and was working in a small hospital.
When I examined my motivation for that initial thought, I soon realized that it was based on fear and ego - fear that if I do not send him to the best hospital, I might be blamed if the surgery was not successful. In addition, there was the ego that seems to say "What would others think if you sent your father to a small hospital?"
In the end, I decided to follow my heart and referred my father to this competent doctor in a small hospital, and it turned out to be a blessing. Not only did he operated successfully on my father, he was so patient and friendly to all of us that the whole family felt confident and comfortable with him. Eventually, my father was discharged uneventful. It was a huge relief for me.
When we live a spiritual life, and especially when we have faith in our spirituality, decisions that are based on unconditional love and faith in our spirituality, that goes beyond our selfish ego and needs, are often the right decisions.
When we have the courage to make those decisions, we will often find them to be most beneficial for our spiritual growth. In addition, they reinforce and validate our trust in the benevolence of the universe.
Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor and hospice volunteer. He is also the author of "From Fear to Love: A Spiritual Journey" -- a book that explores our hidden fears and how we can overcome them. Dr. Ong shares his personal experience as well as relates stories and lessons from his patients.