Free will examined from a fundamentally spiritual or ‘enlightened’ perspective. Making a
choice is ‘just’ an experience you can have.
Free will as freedom of choice
Free will implies that you can make choices at any time to have control over what you do or don’t do. Obviously this is an experience you could have. Your world (your ‘illusion’) is meant to be experienced and one of those experiences is the experience of being able to have a choice. But what exactly is the “nature” of that choice?
It seems very simple: but try to realize that whatever happens, always happens. So if I ‘choose’ something, then that is what happens. And if I had chosen something different then that would have been happening. Because what is happening is always happening! There is no escape. So life takes its course and ‘we’ have the illusion of controlling it.
Free will, the enlightened view
The person with an ‘enlightened state’ sees that he or she (hereafter he) can make a choice and can enjoy that. Just as he can enjoy every experience ‘in the illusion’. At the same time he realizes that this ‘choice’ is the only choice that ever existed. In other words, there was no choice. It was the only way which was opening up.
You can perhaps imagine an “enlightened society”. In such a society everyone lives with the realization that the world is an illusion and that you can create what you want, depending on the experience you desire. In such a society the word “choice” is used for whatever is coming out of somebody at all times. And what comes out of them is all that is followed up on, without constraints. There is a knowing that there is or was no other way. There is no doubt about things being right or wrong, because there is deep awareness that there is nothing that can go ‘wrong’, because that simply doesn’t exist. (See also the article: Non-duality, what is it)
Free will, the fear-state of the ego
The idea of a choice in the ego-state comes from the idea that you can make a mistake. So you think I have to choose this, because this is the right thing to do. And then there could still arise some doubts: “Heee … .. Maybe I should have chosen the other way?” Because we have learned that everything has to be perfect. Which of course makes no sense, because especially in the ego-state basically everything is imperfect. And still we naively stick to the idea that we have a choice.
The realization that you have no choice does not affect the experience of life: because you do exactly what comes out of you without a doubt, the experience is wonderful. Because you do not know in advance what will happen, you are always in an exciting state of anticipation about what is to come, without fear: the illusion treats you to the most amazing results!
Free will, what stops it?
You are moving in the Now. The movements you make are happening by themselves. And the experiences you have are therefore perfect. You move naturally towards that perfection. Then, what makes you encounter constraints in the ego-state? You’re encountering values, commitments, things that need to be done, things that are needed, which will constrain you. Your natural movements have all been restricted from childhood on. “Beware, you will break something”, “You must not say that”, “You have to go to school now”, “You need to do this now”, “If you don’t do this, everything goes wrong”.
On our retreats Spirituality & Self Inquiry in Practice we will look specifically at your situation, see where you bump into not-doing ‘what comes out of you’. You are given practical tools and resources to break through that. Go to the calendar or click on the button for more information: