I was just wondering about this. I was fine with my understanding of non-attachment until this particular idea came and I’ve now confused myself…
I assume that the whole idea of incarnating is to grow and evolve and express your true essence.
And if we are not challenged, we have no impetus to grow.
So if we are truly operating from the Higher Self, making the perfect choices, and being detached from the outcomes, how does growth happen???
Maybe from a non-dual perspective it probably doesn’t matter, but it’s not clear why…
Your ideas on this would be appreciated.
Great question. So if our intuition is constantly guiding us, how does growth happen?
Effortlessly. At its own perfect pace.
You see, there comes to point whereby people find that using their own free will will never actually bring them happiness and lasting fulfillment, no matter how hard they try.
With the surrender of the personal will, the body moving, consciousness evolving, choices being made… all of that stuff happens seemingly on its own. In fact, it is only by truly letting go of the illusion of free will that you can be guided by spiritual (God’s) will.
We all have an inner voice, a silent still voice, that always knows what’s best to do. When we come totally from that voice without needing the mind’s second opinion, life seems to operate from a state of flow at its own perfect time. You “just know” the right choices to make.
The voice is NOT separate from you. That voice literally IS another aspect of you, just like the mind or the body. The voice IS you. It’s not some God “out there” somewhere.
Awakening into this experience and letting go of the illusion of free will does not mean that you become a bump on a log, a useless sack of meat and bones.
Quite the opposite in fact.
Traditionally we’ve been taught that we need to control situations. Letting go is seen as the equivalent of giving up. It’s seen as a tragedy, something that brings about a sense of loss and danger.
When people hit rock bottom and realize they can’t overcome an addiction, they realize that they can NOT of their own free will overcome the addiction. They finally come to accept this and surrender. They let go of the illusion of control.
The Twelve Step Program has proven itself to be a very powerful process. Let’s take a look at exactly why this is by taking a look at the first 3 steps, as published by Alcoholics Anonymous.
It is only then that we can truly allow a power greater than ourselves to take over and help us out. It is through spiritual will that addictions are overcome, that life happens synchronistically and in a state of flow, that there is something to actually TRUST when one says, “I trust the universe to supply my abundance and prosperity.”
The bit I’m unclear on, and you mentioned the very words, is “free will”. I have assumed that through the exercise of personal free will, we make decisions which shape our destiny to bring us growth experiences.
We do… until we don’t. You see, the illusion of free will as we know it, just like all other dualistic illusions, only exist as a reality when there is a separate individual to have the will in the first place. It is by taking advantage of personal will that the individual’s consciousness raises.
Upon awakening, there is only the Will of Life itself, which we can refer to as God’s Will or Spiritual Will.
The Law of Attraction is a perfect example of how to use your own personal free will to experience growth and evolution. The same applies to goals, affirmations, and all the other self-improvement stuff we’re inundated with.
There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just how an illusory ‘self’ operates in this world and we do make our own decisions with our own free will to further our own personal growth. It is a necessary part of the process. This is how the illusory “you” operates at a certain level.
Once awakening happens (NOT when an individual awakens. That doesn’t happen), all aspects of the self are seen to be totally invalid and absurd. The mind and ego still exist, at least at first in my experience, but the words and beliefs that exist are utterly meaningless, invalid. Thus, the personal will and personal desires don’t exist as a valid reality because there is only the will of the One.
As my good friend Mike Elias said,
We only have free will when we consider ourselves separate from the One. In that case, it is our illusory individual free will flowing either with or against the flow of the One. When we surrender our personal will, the will of the One takes over and the choices are made by the totality instead of the experiencer of the body.
Mike puts it perfectly.
One thing that I recently realized about this is that flowing with the river is not only flowing in the same direction as the river, but also at the SAME PACE with the river. You don’t try to hurry your way through life or make anything happen ahead of schedule. There is only the flow of the river itself, no being in the river floating with the river.
It is a complete and total abidance with Life itself as it is, Now.
Experientially, it literally feels like everything happens perfectly on its own. There’s no thought about doing anything that is the driving force of our actions. It’s more like an inner knowingness of what is happening.
It feels like being the very river of life itself, the flow of the universe in its entirety.
Externally it may look like a person is doing much the same as anyone else, but “internally” (which is flawed because there is no internal or external), it just feels like there is only the experience of the flow of Life itself, displaying the perfection of Life in every moment.
Really, the point I don’t understand is “the illusion of free will”. I assumed it was the exercise of the lower will when we are disconnected from the Higher Self, or God. Some systems aim to align the personal will with the Divine will, so you “swim with the current” rather than against it.
It can be looked at that way from the perspective of separation and it is definitely a valid perspective.
As above, so below. As below, so above.
A higher point of view presents the recognition that these are really One and the same.
The way you become the river is by letting go of all mental beliefs in and identifications with any separate being.
It’s impossible to be disconnected from God’s will. It’s only possible to not listen to it, to push against it, or try and grab it towards you, at least from the perspective of the of the ego.
The ego is always trying to play God, to control Life. That’s exactly what it does.
Life will flow perfectly when you stop trying to control it and allow it to do its thing, as you have probably noticed in certain situations.
You, too, will always “just know” what to do because you are the very flow of Life itself. It is not separate to you, happening to you, or being observed by you. The “you” doesn’t exist.
Experientially, there is ONLY the flow of Life, and an attempt to resist it.
God’s will is not separate from your will, for you ARE God. I recognize that on some level there is the fear that God’s will will guide you to doing something you don’t really want to do. That’s just a fear and has no basis in Reality.
The idea is that when you become whole, when you realize who you TRULY are, decision making still happens, but decisions become much easier because they are being made from a higher aspect of yourself. Experientially we could say that it feels like life just naturally continues to fall perfectly into place because decision making “just happens” perfectly.
Life itself then becomes an expression of the flow of perfection.
Thanks for your question.