Does Free Will exist of is it merely an illusion? Is it Free?
When I align my spiritual centre (the self or soul) with, let’s call it the Supreme Soul, does Free Will exist? In other words when one is perfectly aligned with God, is one exerting their individual Free Will? Or, is one freely submitting to the will of God? Conversely, when one is not perfectly aligned with God can it be said this person does so of their own volition. It would be foolish to think that any one can give a quick and easy answer to such questions like these.
Do geese exert their Free Will when they follow the lead bird down south for the winter? And do humans every demonstrate similar “intuitive” aptitudes for collective behavior. Could we argue that geese do a better job of exercising their Free Will than humans? What is Free Will? Does it really exist?
During the course of human evolution, has Free Will always been as readily available to us as it is today in this Age of Information Access – or has the degree to which we exercise Free Will been the same since the time of Krishna, Adam, Abraham and the other progenitors. Is there a relationship, for example, between self-awareness and making a conscious decision to exercise free will?
The topic is complex. Here, it is being proposed that only those who are masters of the self can rightly claim to know what free will really is. . . for how can one exercise Free Will only some times and claim to be the master of the self. And if one is not self sovereign, how can one claim Free Will except in fractions. Does the bird ultimately decide when to fly south? Do people decide to eat when they feel hungry and does free will create fat people or is it what enables people to loose weight?
Sure we all make decisions but is this the same as exercising free will. Did I decide to make myself a cup of coffee this morning or was this decision part of a previously established habit, routine or pattern established over time?
Did Bob Dylan not once say, “Even a bird is chained to the sky.”
I believe the key to understanding “Free Will” begins with understanding the metaphysical nature of the self/soul. In the framework used at the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Lesson #1 is – Who am I and it asks, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going. The university provides instruction and support in the practice of Raja Yoga Meditation – an objective of which includes the concept of mastery of the self.
Briefly, the self or soul is seen to exist of 3 faculties – mind, intellect and sanskaras (sometimes written as Samskāra and referred to as impressions). Sanskaras can be thought of as your individual tendencies, traits, predispositions, propensities – habits. These inclinations are what make you – you and cause you to respond or not respond to external stimuli. As we become engaged in patterns of behavior, these sanskaras get etched more deeply into our nature.
To understand Free Will, one must understand the properties of the soul. This will be the topic of a subsequent Belief Module.
Unfortunately, it is far easier for good habits to “evolve” into bad ones than for bad habits to evolve into good ones. This is the way of the universe. It’s called entropy. To prevent good habits from degenerating into bad ones requires effort. To transform bad habits back into good ones takes even more.
Sometimes I think of God in terms of a parent who allows their children to learn from their mistakes.
Sure our parent can tell us the right thing to do, but often we have to learn the hard way for the lesson to really sink in.
Free will? Yes. But in the end we yeild to our Fathers wisdom.
Maybe dylan never heard of the penguin.
Just heard a great line from the TV series Stargate.
"To resist the influence of others knowledge of ones self is of utmost importance."
Just thought I would share this, it just seemed appropriate for some reason.