In the Land of the Free
Responsibility, Free Choice in Disguise

Wouldn't you, just for one day, want to be president, be the one in charge, the one calling the shots? Wouldn't you then change the world around? Change all these things that are so unfair ... make it a better place. Just for one day ... to really be in power. Imagine.

"Tell me, Aneola, will I be a wizard one day?"
Aneola remained silent.
"Aneola?" Shaoni insisted, "Do you think I will be a wizard one day?"

Shaoni looked at Aneola but the wizard wouldn't answer. Just when he was starting to wonder if maybe the old man had fallen asleep, Aneola suddenly said, "What can I expect from life? What will life bring me? What will become of me? Those are supposed to be the big life questions and yet, probably the only one's that you should never ask."

"What do you mean? Why can I not ask if I will be a wizard one day?"
"Well, let me put it this way. If I were to give you free choice, free choice to do whatever you pleased, would you accept it?"
"Yes of course, but ..."
"And if I gave you the tools to always know which choices to make in order to get what you needed, would you refuse them?"
"No of course not, but ..."
"If you had these two gifts, would you then ask someone else to choose for you?"
"No, of course not but ..."

"Listen Shaoni, you have these two gifts and every time you ask someone else about what to expect, you are in fact refusing to use these gifts. Worse even! You are giving your powers away and as such, you lose control over your life."

"I only just asked a question." the boy blurted.


"Yes my boy, I know. Still, that's the way most people live their lives. They are in charge, yet they ask other people to take the decisions for them. 'Please master, tell me what to do, tell me what to think, tell me what to hope for, tell me what to expect.' they say ... but does the master actually know? Or do they?"

Shaoni was convinced this time, the wizard was exaggerating.
"That's not how people usually react. Nobody asks other people to chose for them. People want to be free, make their own choices!"

"Yes, that is what they all say when you ask them but do they really? They say they want to be able to make their own decisions. They want to be the ones in charge. Yet as soon as anything goes wrong, they look around ... in search for someone to blame ... as if someone else had taken the decision for them."

Shaoni really felt he hadn't deserved this. After all, he had only asked a simple question, right?

"Once, I passed through one of these places where all the people said they were free." the wizard now said. "Free to chose and say whatever they wanted. They were lucky to live in a free county, so they said, because freedom to them, was important, if not the most important thing of all. They could do whatever they wanted, go wherever they wanted, decide to become whatever they wanted, even think, believe and say whatever they wanted. That's the way God had intended it to be, so they said ... and that is the way it was for them. Still, most of the people living in this free place, were convinced that they weren't really free. Most of the things that happened to them, so they said, happened not of their own free choice but because of what others had done ... or had forbidden them to do.

Whilst I was sitting there, in the local town park, I saw a group of young people, all around eighteen or so. Some of them wanted to study but couldn't because they didn't have enough money, so they said. Others had the money but had failed their exams for any number of reasons, none of them of their own choosing of course. Others still were looking for a job but couldn't get it because they didn't know 'the right people' ... and those who did, said it wasn't the job they had hoped for ... because some of the other people working ... or because of their boss who ...

'No!' they said, 'No such thing as free choice. Not in 'real life' that is.'
'Real life' as they called it had only just started. Only a year before, just before graduating, they were all going to change the world ... but by now, most of them had been beaten down by the harsh reality. No, they said, they weren't free. Not really! Barely a year had gone by ... and already they were convinced that in real life, they had no influence over the things happening to them. No, it was not in their hands, they were not the ones in control. A year gone by and by now, they had all decided to start blaming the system, the lack of money, the boss, their co-workers, their wife, their children ... even God if they couldn't find anybody else. Yes, whatever went wrong, they would immediately look around, in search for the one who was to blame. Who was responsible for what happened? Those responsible had to be found ... and judged if possible!

Oh yes, they still had their freedom. They still had the power to chose and decide for themselves. Nobody had ever taken it away from them ... but they didn't use it anymore. They were still the ones in control, except that they could no longer see it. And as they couldn't ... they lost the power to create their own lives."

Shaoni was feeling a bit blue. "I will never ask him about my future again." he decided.


"Fortunately the opposite is true as well." the wizard went on, "The more you see the things that happen to you as a result of your own choices, the more your power grows. Real power, Shaoni. The power of the wizards! The power to create, to change things around ... to change them into what you want them to be."

Shaoni preferred this new turning of events.

"Whatever happens Shaoni, always ask yourself, 'Who is the one in control? Who is in charge of my thoughts, my words, my actions.' Have you given your freedom away my boy ... or are you still in control?"

Later that evening

Later that evening, when all had gone quiet and a blanket of peace had unfolded over the world, the wizard came up to the boy and said ...

"Imagine you had the freedom to create for yourself, the perfect job. Imagine you could find the perfect love, create radiant health. Imagine you could do all that, just by accepting the responsibility that you are indeed the one in control. Not someone else, but you! The thing to do to get this power Shaoni, is to claim your responsibility. Look and think about every little thing happening to you, regardless of whether or not you like it. Ask yourself 'What have I done for it to come to this and what can I do to make it better again?'

THAT is 'taking responsibility', my boy and THAT is 'claiming your freedom' ... the freedom NOBODY can take away from you, the freedom that allows you to change the world."

"But surely not everything that happens is a result of my own choice. Surely there are things happening that are not of my own doing." Shaoni said.

"Of course there are." the wizard replied, "but fortunately they are the exception rather than the rule. Be happy for that Shaoni, because if it weren't ... there would be no magic in life."