There is no free will.
I can say this today with embodied knowing that there is no free will, yet only recently this was not at ALL how I felt or what I believed. For many years I totally and completely believed in free will and choice. My belief was affirmed to me by the many books read and talks watched supporting my belief that I can make things happen and there is choice about what I want and how to attract those things I desire into my life. I held onto this perspective most of my life, convinced.
My husband had a significant awakening that energetically shifted him from a life of a personalised self to one of no-self. This was about 12 years ago. He still carried on living and working like the saying, “before enlightenment chop wood carry water, after enlightenment chop wood carry water.
Our lives together carried on as before the shift, and I would forget that he was in this “different” state of being because everything carried on pretty much the same. We have similar interests and talk often about all things spiritual and the human condition. But when it came to this subject of choice and free will I could not agree with him that there was no free will. I simply couldn’t wrap my head around that. I had read so many books by well respected people who seemed to say the opposite. Sometimes I would almost sense that he was right and I would feel unsure, like hmmm maybe. And I would flip-flop into, do we or don’t we? Sometimes I would feel quite heated and angry around our discussions about this, or teary and exasperated. He never wavered and just looked at me, as he does, with a kind of emptiness filled with love.
One day at the beach we were talking on this subject once again. I was interested to explore it deeper. I felt a longing to let go of suffering I was feeling at the time. It was around trying to change (or should I say gain) things in my life and then it not happening. I would spiral into making it about something that I wasn’t doing right or not implementing correctly that was causing it not to happen, and thus the suffering I experienced.
I really felt like there was some huge fault or defect in me. I tapped (EFT) every day to let go of the beliefs around not enough, worthiness, deserving. You name it I did it. Kinesiology, tapping, reiki, coaching. I’m not saying those things don’t help. They did help and they do very much help the human to recondition itself and come to a more relaxed accepting state for energetic shifts to happen. Perhaps that’s what happened. I got my body/mind to relax more which is necessary for any shift to happen.
On the beach that day I told my husband I was so over suffering. I was tired of spending so much time trying this and that, of believing that I mustn’t give up and to keep going. I wanted another way. And he obliged and took me energetically into a familiar place, but this time something clicked.
He asked me, who is this all happening to? Who is the one suffering? Who is wanting?
This is not an odd question for anyone familiar with the message of non-duality. This message is of great interest to both of us. We’ve both been drawn to self-enquiry and to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Papaji amongst other more current speakers on non-dualism.
So my husband continued to ask me, as he’s done before, and remind me, drop your sense of a personal me. Even right here, what you see around you, what you hear is perception happening. It’s not a YOU perceiving. It is perception happening through your unique body/mind but there is no personal self involved. Life is happening. Stop the personal searching, seeking and rest instead in the freedom of what’s happening right here. This is it.
I used to feel really irked when he would bring this up because I was so conditioned to belief that I was in control of my life and I could do something about it, but that morning, there on the beach, the penny dropped.
Seeing this opening in me, my husband then suggested that I look at the teachings of a young girl he discovered on YouTube, Lisa Cairns. He said, she’s brought in the more feminine energy into this message of there is no YOU, and yet we are still human and the human still does things in the world. This intrigued me. When we got home, it’s the first thing I did. I sat with my cup of tea and watched. Like a magnet, a moth to flame, I am drawn in and it continues… this drawing in, this dissolution of stories around a personal sense of self.
Who then has free will or choice? If there is no personal “I” or sense of a separate me and life is happening moment to moment in the most mysterious, joyful, magical ways, who is making a choice? Life is orchestrating, choreographing, flowing, happening, moment to moment. It is happening whether you are identified with you as a separate individual “doing” life or whether you let the idea of a separate you dissolve completely. Either way life happens and it is perfection.
On the human level, identification is a dream and there is tension and contraction, while the loss of a personal self is total relaxation, expansion and freedom. It’s not necessarily a blissful process to be willing to lose everything. But that’s what’s required. The willingness to let go of everything you hold onto about who you are. Dissolving into an unknown. It can be fucking uncomfortable and confronting, and at the same time so liberating.
So what happens when the sense of separated self dissolves? You will still be a body and a mind that does things. Things continue to happen in your life, in your business. Aliveness flows through you, as it does and always has. You live in presence. Not confined in the time/space constructs of the mind. Without that construct, life is happening right here in this. THIS. That’s all there is.
It can feel like the human makes choices but it is the illusion referred to in Vedic teachings of India known as maya. A dream. We think we have control and make choices. But even science now shows that decisions are made seconds BEFORE the brain even engages, before a thought arises. So what is choosing? Where is this choice coming from?
What you are after, what you’ve always longed for has always been with you …. so close that it appears hidden. When the sense of personal self dissolves, even momentarily, there is only the infinite (god, consciousness, divine, whatever name) experiencing itself, innocently and remarkably, through the appearance of this body/mind manifestation. It’s so incredible in the truest sense. And utterly mysterious.
P.S. I’d love to hear your views on this.