There is nothing so powerful, no resource more precious, no goal more significant, no experience more fulfilling, than that of Free Will.
No, not the freedom to do whatever you want, the freedom to be free from responsibility, nor the “freedom” to not feel all the dis-ease we all carry around with us these days. As delightful as it may seem, this idea of “free” really comes from a desire to escape. Many spiritual traditions are mangled, deadened, and lost to the sands of time due to this mistaken thinking.
Free will, in fact, is the opposite of escape. To regain the ability to think and feel for ourselves, to think and feel in ways that are truly aligned with what we want and who we are, we have to head straight into the heart of life itself–whence free will originates. Like a spiritual marine, when the fighting starts, we dive headfirst into the fray.
There are many ancient spiritual traditions that say there is, in fact, no such thing as free will. This is because free will, right action, karma, and cause and effect… these are some of the first spiritual resources we lose to the enemy.
The enemy is the desire to escape our true nature. Our true nature (…drum-roll please…) is evolution. We are designed physically-emotionally-mentally-spiritually to grow, to expand, to assimilate-integrate-push to the next greater whole.
Love, certainly, is an essential ingredient for evolution. It is that force which organizes seemingly separate parts of life, creation, existence and orients them back into relationship with each other. The warm, pure, and fiery glow of the heart magnetically tugs on the entire cosmos, reorienting life to happen in our favor!
There is nothing so destructive to free will as “hanging out”, spiritually speaking. It is insightful to contemplate the old adage: if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward. And many are the ways the enemy—the anti-growth principle—has at its disposal to trick us into hanging out, plateauing, feeling good about our station in life and saying, “this is enough, I need not go farther.”
I am the open door no man can shut! An attitude of openness to the great glory of life’s lessons (whether they feel painful or like healing and reconciliation… is up to us) is the critical alchemical element to regain free will again.
Free will comes from deep listening, expanded vision, sensitive inner perception, and intense play =) When we can, at will, enter into the great spiritual flow, which includes inner and outer sense alike, we regain our ability to co-create with creation—the flip-side of free will.
Free will started with the singularity that big-banged the cosmos into existence. We continue in that ancient (timeless) tradition whenever we create something—a poem, a song, a new shortcut to work, an idea or feeling that has not been thought or felt before. We are literally continuing great cosmic cycles of rhythm and rest whenever we exercise our ability to do something new and fun.
Enlightenment, in fact, is merely a greater state of being in full possession of one’s free will. It is our inevitable future and true home. We have been formed out of a tremendous creative act, and our free will is the power by which we can return the favor—willing ourselves back into alignment with our cosmic origins.
I’ll end here with one of my favorite poems, from Paramhansa Yogananda’s Songs of the Soul:
Sing songs that none have sung,
Think thoughts that ne’er in brain have rung,
Walk in paths that none have trod,
Weep tears as none have shed for God,
Give peace to all to whom none other gave,
Claim him your own who’s everywhere disclaimed.
Love all with love that none have felt, and brave
The battle of life with strength unchained.