Suffering and free will

We have come up against the idea that our suffering is self-created, and that we can change.

This is true TO SOME EXTENT.

On one level, we are totally powerful. On another level, we are totally powerless. It depends on who we think we are.

Yes, our thoughts determine reality. But how can we change reality without knowing our thoughts? They are programmed into us on a level we are not aware of.

Only when we go to the level of pure awareness, we know our thoughts.

Ironically, at this level we are so detached from the role of the body-mind that we don’t expend energy trying to programme new thoughts. But actually, dissolving the baggage of the old thoughts is enough to effect freedom. But this freedom does not eradicate everything from the body-mind: there is still momentum, which is the force of our previous programming still playing out on the body-mind. Only the body-mind is subject to karma (ways of thinking passed on from generations through genes, and our own environments). The freedom of knowing we are not the body-mind affects the true self instantaneously because there is only the NOW for the true self. But the effect of karmic dissolution on the time-bound body-mind will happen gradually once its habits lose their momentum. Some of these ancient habits are deeply buried and it takes time for them to even come into our field of true awareness, so sneakily they hid in the layered egos of a person.

In other words, we have choice only when what we are becomes the present-moment awareness of freedom. Otherwise we are robots to greater or lesser extents depending on how much awareness has arisen. As sleeping robots we are destined to suffer, because this gives us the wake up call to be free. When this suffering is overtaken by awareness is decided by the grace of the Infinite, Eternal mind, director of the movie.

Predestination and freewill

Can predestination and free-will exist at the same time?

Predestination = the idea of fate; everything is already decided, planned, written and destined to happen.

Free-will = the idea of individual will; we make choices that influence and change our lives.

It seems like a contradiction to say that both of these things can exist together. If we are just living out what is written, then how can we have any choice in molding our lives? If we have choices that can change our lives, then how can anything be definite in the future?

I believe in both predestination and free-will. This is because I think there’s an interplay between freedom and limitation. I see it as ‘predestined choice’, which means that we do have free-will and choice, but we make all our choices before we come onto the world stage, where we live out our choices according to whatever we have destined for ourselves.

Looking at cultures across the world, people tend to live according to either one belief system or the other. In the East, where the economy is developing fast and there is a widening gulf between the rich and the poor, poorer societies tend to follow the idea of destiny quite rigidly. They think that nothing is in their own hands, that God gives and takes away. On the other hand, in the West, people believe in individual choice and responsibility because they have seen how much influence their actions can have on their lives; but this, too, becomes extreme to the point that people think they are omnipotent (they can buy what they want, consume endlessly without ever having to compensate for it).

These cultural belief systems don’t come from religions; they come from economics. The original, authentic teachings of all religions are actually quite similar e.g. karma / you reap what you sow / the kalyug / the day of judgement etc.

As long as we take responsibility for our actions, it doesn’t matter whether we think the consequences for these actions were predestined or whether we caused them to occur through our choices.