Tag Archives: free will

Free Will, by Jiffy Read

Note: This is another in the series called “Saturday Features” on this blog. You too are welcome to contribute, and encouraged to do so.

The separate self feels as though it is free to think and do as it pleases. But all its thoughts and actions arise from the ego thoughts in which it believes, and ego thoughts are not original; they are the thoughts of conditioned thinking. Although the separate self feels as though it has free will, it is actually under the tyranny of the ego.

Real thoughts are those that come from Self. Such thoughts represent our true will, which is free. The separate self cannot think such thoughts. In fact, the separate self cannot think at all—it can only think it thinks. That is part of the illusion.

There does exist one choice for the separate self, which is to accept the voice of Self instead of the tyrannical voice of the ego.

Even this choice is illusory, valid only within the illusion. The separate self is not separate from its source. The idea that there is a choice is the means by which within the dream of separation the mind can find its way back to what it never left.

“You have chosen to be in a state in opposition in which opposites are possible. As a result, there are choices you must make. In the holy state the will is free, so that its creative power is unlimited and choice is meaningless. Freedom to choose is the same power as freedom to create, but its application is different. Choosing depends on a split mind. The Holy Spirit is one way of choosing. God did not leave his children comfortless, even though they chose to leave Him. The voice they put in their minds was not the Voice for His Will, for which the Holy Spirit speaks.” (T-5.II.6)

“The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free, because you will not listen to it. It is not your will to be imprisoned because your will is free. That is why the ego is the denial of free will. It is never God Who coerces you, because He shares His Will with you. His Voices teaches only in accordance with His Will, but that is not the Holy Spirit’s lesson because that is what you are. The lesson is that your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one. This is the undoing of everything the ego tries to teach.” (T-8.II.3:1-8)

The Only Change Needed to Bring Permanent Happiness

“It is true that your free will is powerful as it is part, but only part, of what has allowed you to believe in your separated state. While you could have used your free will to create like unto your Father, by choosing to make yourself separate from Him—something that could never truly occur—you have chosen instead to do nothing at all with your free will but make this one insane choice. Your willingness to make a new choice is what will once again make your free will like unto your Father’s will, which is one with it in truth.” (ACOL, C:11.12)

The assertion that our true will is the same as that of God’s Will is the same assertion made in A Course in Miracles. Here the idea is elaborated, in that we are told that we chose to make only one insane but impossible choice with our free will—the choice to be separate from our Father. We couldn’t actually effect this, as He and we are One forever. He lives in us, we live in Him; we are, as has been said repeatedly, part of Him. The only thing that God could differentiate was Himself, and thus He created individuations of Him in order to experience Himself to the fullest. This is revelation that differs from Christian doctrine, but, if we can set aside what we taught as children, we can see the common sense of the assertion.

We do want to make a new choice, one in line with God’s Will, for this change is the only change needed to bring permanent happiness to us. Our function is said in A Course in Miracles to be salvation, forgiveness, happiness—and these are all equated. Our function in A Course of Love is akin. But we are said to be on the verge of making a new decision that will elevate our physical form to the Self, the inner Christ Self Who is longing to come out and be present in our world. This Self is our new Guiding Light, the replacement in guidance for what the Holy Spirit used to do for us (according to A Course of Love).

Free will, of course, is what has enabled us to live a supposedly “separate” existence from God, a separate existence that is impossible in fact. But we could imagine ourselves separate, and in this illusion we could live a miserable and drama-filled life that gave ascendance to the ego, our new version of ourselves. This new version is, of course, insane, and its very insanity is its Achilles heel. Its insanity assures us that when we think more clearly, we will not want any part of this false personal self. Our new personal self will only be the part that we show others, representing our Christ Self. The personal self, therefore, does not fade away, but is transformed, remaining the outer self. This is a truth that is often overlooked a we read ACOL. The idea that the personal self would be no more is tempting, but inaccurate. Yet we can surely imagine that the transformation will give us personalities that will interact well with each other, sharing ourselves as we go about our daily lives in a world that is fast becoming something better.

Use our free will today to choose God anew, a choice that uses only a little of the abundant willingness that we indeed possess. We will see that this new choice will give us everything that we have been wanting in life. Our inheritance of God’s blessings is assured, but we have to be new people to appreciate and to take control of the new world that we will create.

On Free Will and Willingness, by Ivor Sowton

On Free Will and Willingness. ..This Chapter 11 is going deep for me. I am getting into a practice of applying the latest chapter Mari reads for us (endless gratitude, Mari!) DIRECTLY TO MY LIFE RIGHT NOW.

I’ve had a lot of issues in my life with “I’ll be good if I can just do this and that and thus, and by the way so many other people already do these things far better than I can, so I’ve got to try much harder and maybe in some far distant future time I will have improved enough to make the grade.”

Can you relate to this? But if I try to drop all that and just be more present with the current Course of Love chapter and apply it to my actual present experience, then that’s really helpful. So, here goes! The theme of the chapter that I’m feeling now is about how I almost desperately hang on to MY will, in spite of the fact that it’s clearly not bringing me the Peace of God. The old ego pattern is to maintain a safe distance from direct experience of others in relationship and sharing. So mistrustful. So used to feeling less than. So not trusting that benign lessons could be being freely offered me by others who are actually trying to help me in a true spirit of friendship rather than put me down.

So in this chapter Jesus is so personally encouraging to me to offer that “temporary willingness” He recommends. So masterful He is here! For if He demanded total willingness I would be pushing myself to come up to too high a bar, trying to grit my teeth and demand that of myself immediately– and I would get discouraged. Instead He is helping me grow in trust, in baby steps if need be, gradually coming to trust God more and more. I feel very very lucky in that I have developed more trust in Jesus over the last few years. That is a wonderful relationship we can all form, I really feel. Or maybe for some it is another great Master; but chances are that if you have taken the trouble to join this Group and are sincerely trying to open up to A Course of Love then your relationship with Jesus is pretty deep also, right?

We are SO blessed in this. For me even in the dark times, which remain frequent for me, I am praying to Jesus, on a spectrum of entreating Him for help right down to complaining to Him or even being mad at Him for not lifting me out of whatever mire I’m sunk in–but in a way I know He doesn’t mind….And now to conclude with the last paragraph in this great Chapter 11: “…Love is the unity you seek. In having chosen separation over unity you but chose fear over love. When you let go of fear and invite unity to return, you but send out an invitation to love and say you are welcome here.” I am right now willing to try that out, in small doses if need be, pacing myself to the trust level I can handle now. Thank-you all!!!

Use Free Will to Join with Our Brother

“But one was needed to end the separation, and in this one are all the rest joined. For what alone in all creation could be affected by your free will but your own self? But one was needed to, of his own free will, join his will with his Father’s for it to be done for all. This is all correction or atonement means, and all that is in need of your acceptance. Join your brother who made this choice for all and you are reunited with the Christ in you.” (ACOL, C:12.14)

Jesus frequently speaks of “one” when he is getting us to understand that we need only join with our brother—one brother—to effect salvation for all. He makes a similar statement in the Manual of A Course in Miracles, that one individual only was needed to bring atonement to all the world. And many of us see that one as Jesus himself, 2000 years ago. But Jesus does not take anything unto himself that cannot be exemplified in each of us, in this day and time. Elsewhere he says that there is nothing that he has that all of us cannot have, only that he has nothing else, that what he has is potential in us.

We use our free will, a our real will that is one with God’s, to join with our brothers and sisters. We make the decision to forgive and to join. And we are never the same after this. Anything that the other can do is not sufficient to rue our choice to join with him or her. We always forgive, knowing that nothing bad has actually happened, that we are lost in illusion and so bad things don’t affect us, with this understanding.

So we, each of us, find our way home by loving our brother, by walking hand in hand with our brother in holy relationship.

Lifted Out of Pain and Destruction by the Atonement

“No one accepts Atonement for himself who still accepts sin as his goal. You have thus not met your one responsibility. Atonement is not welcomed by those who prefer pain and destruction. (T-18.VII.1)”

We are lost in pain and destruction when we remain oblivious to Atonement, or correction. We are caught in an imprisoned will, a will that because of our insanity in the ego, does not know any better way to do anything. This imprisoned will also doesn’t know how to correct itself.

There remains only one option, to look to another as our source of correction, and Jesus tells us in A Course in Miracles that he is in charge of the Atonement. For those of us who have chosen Jesus as our leader, this is the answer. We accept correction from the one, Jesus, whom we have come to love. We don’t wander, mindlessly, in madness any longer.

If we think that we are giving up our free will by choosing Atonement, we will muddle along in pain and destruction for eons more (maybe). We will be like adolescent children, still in rebellion against our Parent, God. We need to realize that we don’t want to do wrong things, we don’t want to make the mistakes that we, in our befuddled attitudes, will think are sinful. When we sin deliberately, we will think that we are cutting ourselves off from God. And we will feel guilty. And we will be lost in pain and destruction.

Give up this insanity today. There is another way, a better way. And Jesus is pointing it out to us in ACIM. We turn from our mistakes, with the help of guidance, and we walk in the pathway toward salvation by recognizing that we need help. We recognize that we did not make ourselves, God created us, and we cannot save ourselves either. We need Someone Who knows better, and that Someone is God’s Voice, the Holy Spirit. He will guide us very gently out of the morass, and we will soon—yes, soon—be home at last.

Living from Love

renoir - girls putting flowers in their hair“You begin to live from love when the personal self gets out of the way.  And when the personal self gets out of the way in any instance, it is the turning point.  It is the signal that you are ready to live from love.  This is what the Course is about.  Living from love.  Living from love is what will reverse the lessons of the past.  Reversing the lessons of the past is what will allow one to live in love in every instance.  (A Course of Love, 25.16)”

Affirmation:  “I would live from love all day today.”

Reflections:

1 – Definition of Personal Self

The personal self has historically been the egoic self, and we are fast moving away from that egoic self.  When we are loving, we are welcoming the Self/Christ that is the real Self that is within.  This Self will begin showing itself the more that we live from love.  And in living from love, we leave fear behind–strong motivation indeed.

2 – The Ego

Our lessons of the past have partaken of the ego, and, as a result, the lessons learned have not always been true.  We have misled ourselves.  We need never make the mistake that it is God who is to blame, for this is insanity.  He gave us free will, and He would not, under any circumstances, renege on that great gift.  But, because of free will, we often see horrific happenings in our world.  And we wonder why God does not intervene.  And that is only one step away from blaming God for the tragedies in which we become embroiled.

3 – Free Will

God would grant free will to all, and there are many who misuse this great gift.  To deny to those who misuse this gift, the gift itself, is to turn aside from the evolution of the universe.  God waits patiently.  He has waited patiently, knowing the ultimate outcome will be good.  That does not justify the means that some of us have used in a nefarious way.  But it does help to explain why evil exists in our world.

4 – Bad Things Lessened

When we live from love, even the bad things seem somehow to be lessened.  Sure of the final outcome, we offer solace where needed, but we do not add our own uncertainties to that solace.  We do not intone, “Perhaps it was God’s will.”  Bad things are never the will of God.  If we can open the door ever so slightly to this interpretation, we will be ever more ready to live a tolerant life.

5 – Reverse the Incorrect

Let us spend some time today in communion with God, asking Him how we might reverse the incorrect lessons that have marred our past.  He will respond, for reversing that false learning is what A Course of Love is all about.  Be grateful that we do indeed have an answer to “Seek and ye shall find” (from the Bible).

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would live from a loving heart today.  Thank You for the specific answer to one of my prayers yesterday, with understanding of what to do coming immediately after the prayer.  The solution really is with the problem.  Thank You.  

Today has started well, in large part because I have sought to carry out what I received from You immediately after prayer yesterday.  What a blessing You have given me.  I sensed at the conclusion of my prayer, which I had typed out, that there would be a quick answer.  And indeed there was.  Thank You for these glimpses of the psychic.

Be with me as I seek to show love today to my significant others, most especially, but to all others that I might touch in some way.  You know best how that might come about.  Thank You for Your guidance, and may I be strong enough and courageous enough to follow Your guidance consistently, to turn on a dime if necessary.

Amen.

The Prayer of the Heart

“He [Holy Spirit] understands the requests of your heart, and answers them.  Does this mean that, while attack remains attractive to you, He will respond with evil?  Hardly!  For God has given Him the power to translate your prayers of the heart into His language.  He understands that an attack is a call for help.  And He responds with help accordingly.  God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.  He may ask for injury, but his father will protect him still.  And how much more than this does your Father love His Son?  (M-29.6)”

Affirmation:  “God will protect me.”

Reflections:

1 – Important Passage

Today’s passage is one of those most important ones, one that says in no uncertain terms that attack is a call for help.  Elsewhere we are given to understand that attack is also a call for love.  But, with the Holy Spirit, giving help and giving love are identical, would it not seem (an interpretation, not stated in ACIM)?

2 – An Impersonal God?

God will not give us bad things.  Not always is this understood, and there are current readings that reject this view–treating God as though He is impersonal and responds to our wishes without any rejection of the things that would hurt us.  I do not believe in an impersonal God, although some teachers/scholars of A Course in Miracles believe that God does not know about us, because we are caught in an illusion, and He does not enter illusion with us.

3 – Practical Help

But let us step aside from controversy, and look to our own experience of spirituality to make up our own minds about these questions.  This is not the time to engage in debate; this is the time to share one’s help and love, in a very practical sense that ACIM endorses, with ourselves and each other.

4 – A Loving Father

Let us take a look at two sentences once again:  “God would be cruel if He let your words replace His Own.  A loving father does not let his child harm himself, or choose his own destruction.”

5 – God “Let Go”

It is true, nevertheless that we can draw negative things to ourselves by our own thoughts and actions.  We cannot look to God to save us from ourselves.  Sometimes, as Neale Donald Walsch notes in his Conversations with God series, God has to “let go” so that we can experience what we are asking to see.  And the (possibly) ACIM sequel, A Course of Love, says the same thing.  God “let go,” because we were like adolescents who still had free will, and who still could hurt ourselves, but needed to learn that we had need of communication with Him.  As Jesus says, we have taught ourselves the unnatural habit of not communicating with our Creator (from ACIM).

6 – A Paradox

So:  The bottom line is that there is a paradox here.  We, beings of free will, do sometimes experience pain.  But Jesus says that learning through pain is temporary, and it is better to learn through rewards (from ACIM).  We do not have to learn through pain (from the Text).  In the ideal, we can live free of pain when we cling to God.  And clinging to God is the very best way to walk His pathway back home.

Prayer:

Dear Father/Mother,

I would concentrate today only on what is good and right in Your eyes.  I would not attract those things that You would have to move to protect me.  Your protection is assured, but I ask that You give me the wherewithal to walk in Your footsteps and not to let temptation invite me to reject You and Your blessings.  Pain may come, but I would choose (and I do have the choice) to learn through rewards.  Jesus himself has assured us that learning through rewards is a lasting learning.

Be with me today as I seek to give comfort to those who are hurting and under stress.  We do not walk through this world apart from our brothers and sisters, and pain is present.  Knowing that pain is an illusion sometimes seems theoretical, because we see tears and know that the illusory pain feels very real.  Be with us when life turns hard.  Your Way will see us through even the darkest night of the soul.  I trust in this.

Amen.