Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Will


Free Will.  It is one of the fundamental components of being human.  The ability to make our own choices about our actions, the directions we will pursue, the life we will lead.  It is one of those key elements that allows us to define who we will be in this existence, to differentiate our Self from all others.

It is also one of the biggest challenges to being human.  Our days are filled with decision-making, one after another.  Small decisions needed to get us through the daily functions of our life.  What will I eat for breakfast?  What will I wear today?  What route will I take to work?  It can all become exhausting, sometimes leading us to wish that someone would just swoop in and make all the decisions for us so as to give us some relief.  But not really.

Then there are the larger decisions which weigh more heavily upon us.  For example decisions about Authority – how will I respond to one who has some measure of control over me?  How will I exercise the authority I have over others?  Decisions about Ethics – how will I respond to someone or some situation pushing me into unethical conduct?  But what are my standards of ethics anyway?  Decisions about career and life role – what will I do with my life?  What talents do I have and wish to explore?  What is my Life Purpose?  Decisions about my Spiritual Self – what do I believe about God and the Universe?  How will I demonstrate and actualize those beliefs?  Who shall I associate with (or not) in following that spiritual path?

Even so, the hardest part about our Free Will is not all the decisions we have to make.  It is taking personal ownership of these decisions, and responsibility for their outcomes and consequences.  We enjoy (for the most part) having the right of Free Will for the decisions that affect us, and not having our life dictated to by others.  But the outcomes of our Free Will are not always so enjoyable.  The desired goal falls short; “unintended consequences” arise that we did not foresee; expected allies become unexpected enemies.  Sometimes we may accept some of that responsibility.  But often we are prone to deflect responsibility for negative outcomes on to others.  It was their fault; they did not understand; they did not do their expected part.  Yet in fact we all have some role in the negative consequences that affect us.  Acknowledging and taking ownership of our part is not only our ethical responsibility.  It is also the first step in the complicated and difficult process of Forgiveness and Reconciliation.

Free Will is the ultimate plaything of the ego.  Which makes it so difficult to give it away even in those times when it needs to be given away.  When we are part of a team.  When no decision is actually needed from us at all.  When we need to respect other people’s exercise of their own Free Will.  When we need to mind our own business.  When the Universe exercises its own will.

Free Will also allows us to decide not to exercise our Free Will .  To suspend our ego, and give ourselves over to something larger, more important.  To the Cause.  To the Higher Good – of our Self, of others.  To God.  To give up our Free Will, to align our Self with God’s Will for us, with God’s ideal Perfection, does not diminish the essence of our Self.  It does not negate the independence of our Self.  Rather, it guides us into selecting the best of our choices in the free, un-coerced judgment of our own perfected Free Will.

©  2015   Randy Bell