Free will is a topic of great confusion for many. So which is it? Door Number One: people have no free will whatsoever—it’s all fate or destiny. Door Number Two: we only have free will, and it’s all free will. Or Door Number Three: maybe some things are determined by free will while others are not. Wouldn’t it be nice to know, the good Lord willing, which is actually true?

So which is it: We have no free will, some free will, or it’s all free will? Wouldn’t it be nice to know which is actually true?
So which is it: We have no free will, some free will, or it’s all free will? Wouldn’t it be nice to know which is actually true?

For someone who believes only in this present life and not in an existence before or after it, there would not seem to be any choice in determining where one is born, whether you’re a boy or a girl, or where, when and how you will die. There could also be no big plan for how certain phases of your life will unfold. That’s Door Number One.

But for someone who feels, knows and has experienced the truth of the Law of Cause and Effect and of reincarnation, that point of view couldn’t possibly be correct. For this person, there is an awareness that there’s a Big Plan. And although people have free will, we may temporarily have our wings clipped due to factors determined by us in our previous lives. Such factors are the effects of causes that we ourselves have set in motion. This is the winner: Door Number Two.

Here’s an example of what this might look like. Let’s say someone is a murderer. This person has committed a crime against God as well as against human law. So this person is apprehended and put in jail. But now let’s say the person has amnesia, and can’t remember what they did. Even if the murderer is told they did such-and-such, they have forgotten it. But that doesn’t altar the facts one iota that they committed the crime.

To the prisoner, all this will seem very unjust indeed. The past actions may be hidden from their view, but they happened nonetheless. This imprisonment is a creation of free will that’s had to work its way through the time lag of cause and effect.

Bottom line, wherever your free will seems to not be working in your best interest, it is due to causes you have brought about, even though you can’t remember them. The flip side of this is that wherever you can use your free will to your advantage, you have set those causes into motion too. Whether this all takes place in one lifetime doesn’t change this Law of Cause and Effect, which when it happens over lifetimes is also called karma. The upshot is, at one time, you have freely chosen to act and think in a way that brought about the results that are your current life situation.

Every single action, thought and feeling produces a result. Some show up quickly, so it’s easier to connect the dots. Others take the long way. Regardless, nothing happens in a person’s life for which that person is not responsible. Fate is the word we use to describe what happens to us when we have completely blanked on how we’ve sown those seeds ourselves.

And so that would be a No to Door Number Three and the question of whether free will, perhaps, only exists some of the time. And Door Number One then? Also a No. We so totally have free will. But that doesn’t mean we can do or think whatever we please without causing any effect. This world that God created runs on an infinite number of laws. We, God’s children, get to choose to keep or not keep these laws. And we’ve had this choice for a very, very long time. Like, since way before Earth came into existence.

So what happens when we choose to keep them? Well, this leads down the road of happiness, love, harmony, light and supreme wisdom. Because God, who is perfect, can’t create anything but perfection. Yet, if God were to force us to follow his laws, well, that just wouldn’t be very Godlike now, would it. This would totally fly in the face of the basic Law of Free Will.

It simply can’t be beauty, harmony, wisdom, bliss and love if it’s forced on us, against our will—and also against our own recognition of the wisdom and perfection of God’s laws. Because that would be a God of slavery, not a God of freedom, even if we would be very happy slaves.

So every created creature—human or spirit—gets to choose: do we want to live according to God’s laws or not? Now here is an important key to understanding how evil, darkness and cruelty have come into being. But God is not the one who created evil. No, God created us with the capacity to freely choose. We can follow his happy laws and live happily ever after. Or not. And when that happened, it created what is known as the Fall of the Angels.

Standing on this side of the fence, it seems like it is hard to always have to follow the divine laws. And no joke, once we’ve stepped into the dark side, it’s hard to go back. But for all those who never left—and there are a great many who never left that side of the fence—it’s a piece of cake.

The difficulty lies in the purification process, going step by step back to the state that once was each of ours. To where the keeping of the laws was not a problem. We didn’t leave divine law because we found they were too hard to keep. In fact, in the parts of ourselves that never left, or that through painstaking work in previous incarnations have gotten back into the fold, it is not the least bit difficult to keep the laws.

It’s different for each of us. One may find it incredibly hard to not steal. Another has no issue with that, but is forever losing their temper. Yet another has to struggle with feelings of envy. The goal is to clean up all our issues, in every conceivable respect. This state of living once again within divine law must be reached through our own choosing—through our own free will.

So guess what—there’s no God out there who is punishing or rewarding us. God has created perfect laws for us to follow freely, or not. Furthermore, these laws have been created with such supreme wisdom that whatever we do—including all of us who have deviated from his laws—we must ultimately find our way back to God. We are motivated by the pain we cause ourselves when we don’t follow God’s laws. One way or another, in the end, we are going to end up back in bliss. The equation must come out even in the end.

The further we travel from God and his laws of perfection, the more difficult it seems to find our way back. The way becomes tedious and arduous, and we become unhappier and unhappier. The further from God, the unhappier we are, so most assuredly we must eventually make a choice to change our ways.

A person can hang out in a state of mediocre contentment, with no particular problems or conflicts, for a very long time. Yet such a person would lack real happiness and the motivation to search for something more. And that in no way helps a person with their spiritual progress.

But should a crisis come along, now we’ve got something to work with. This is a starting point for reaching for a higher level of consciousness, and ergo, happiness. Unhappiness, then, is the remedy. Generally speaking, few people are able to make this important connection that in breaking the laws lies the punishment, and therefore the remedy. It is our choice to do what we must to alleviate the unhappy state. This may be something to sit with in meditation.

Becoming happy is an inside job. So as long as we rely on anything outside ourselves to make us happy, we will not know happiness. Sure, we may feel temporary contentment, but we’ll always be afraid of losing it. Because we can’t control other people, especially after we’ve given them power over us or our circumstances.

The only durable happiness—that no one can take away from us—comes from having done the hard work of cleaning up all the places in one’s soul where we deviate from divine law. That’s the only sure footing, the only safe place to stand. That’s when we discover that the only person ever responsible for anything that ever happened to us, was us.

By uncovering the inner causes, which is wherever our inner wiring has gotten crossed, we find the real reason for our hardships and trials. But if we’re like nearly everyone else, we won’t do that most of the time—unless something bad happens in our life.

But don’t start thinking that God is sitting somewhere on a throne, willfully deciding to send unpleasantness to us. No, it’s all us. At some point—whether in this lifetime or a previous one, doesn’t matter—we set the wheels into motion. And don’t feel like we now need to go rooting around in previous lives to dig up the precipitating events. There’s truly no need for that.

Because everything we need is right here, right now. If there is some trend in our soul that has not yet been purified, it exists in us right this moment, and that makes it available for our recognition. If we are willing. Nothing is hidden from us—we are the hiders.

When we uncover our faults and weaknesses—really get to know them—we will then see how, directly or indirectly, these are the roots of everything we don’t like about our present life. The way out is through these brambles in our own soul.

Make no mistake, it could be a long walk to get out of there, with lots of uphill and winding sections on the path. But that’s the only way to go if we want to walk out of the darkness we find ourselves in. We have put ourselves there by choice. Our own choice. And we can get our sorry selves out of there if we want to.

Finding freedom requires a setting of our will direction. About that: Where should we use our will, and where should we not? What about having the willpower to do it? Let’s start with the premise that we wish, above all, to fulfill the will of God. We may need to do some work of clearing and quiet meditation to find that clear, still voice that is always available and trying to reach us. But there are other sources of willpower and currents of subtle will inside as well. We must become aware of them and learn how to use them.

Our inner sources of willpower are incredibly potent. One can accomplish almost anything through the use of sheer willpower. But should we? When would it be better to accept God’s will and not push against it? When should we harness our dormant powers and take action, assuming the good Lord willing? So confusing.

So step one, we need to find out just how confused we really feel. If we don’t know what we really want, we have to figure that out first. We need to get clear, including sorting out whether what we desire is really in keeping with what God wants for us. Once we settle this inside ourselves, we will already have made a step toward finding inner peace.

Anyone who has ever attained anything in this life has done this step. And don’t think that because you have accomplished something, that it must have been God’s will. We have our own will. And it may or may not match God’s. But that’s never because God’s will was kept a secret from us. Seek and we shall find. Note, this law pertains whether we’re talking about earthly things—which also don’t deviate from divine law—or about inner things like spiritual purification.

We’ve all got a lot to learn—about ourselves and about the ways we have drifted off track. We need to marshal all the inner willpower we have available if we want to have enough fuel to get through what lies ahead. And we could all use our willpower a lot more often than we do, and have greater strength. But it will be far easier if we use the proper power in the proper way.

For example, we can want—or will— from our head or from our soul. The intellectual willpower may be very strong, but it will never have the beef of the soul. There is also a will-stream that comes out of our Higher Self—which is good—and another that comes from our Lower Self—not so good.

So there are two distinct ways we can use our willpower. One creates pressure and tension, and totally robs us of peace. It goes in the opposite direction of the sort of detachment that we need for having emotional maturity. The other flows freely and with vitality, and will never mess up our serenity. This type is deep yet conscious, strong yet patient, and it leaves us free and detached yet never passive or resigned. Can you guess which of these comes from our Higher Self?

So we can will something that is against divine law, but it will never give us peace. Alternatively, we can will something that is spot-on right for us, but then go about it in the wrong way, mixing in wrong motives.

How does this look in the area of, say, having a job or a profession? Let’s say you want one, and you want to do your best. This is a legitimate, good wish. To not have a desire in this respect would be wrong because your spark would be missing. It is, in fact, possible to be too desireless and detached. In that case, we are apt to move too slow and slide straight into a state of resignation. From there, we don’t care much—we’re not fully alive. So the middle path—the one that is so difficult to attain and maintain—is the right one.

How do we go about finding this middle path? Daily meditation. We’ve got to test our inner motives, and be completely honest with ourselves. For example, in your job, do you want to do your best so you can satisfy your vanity? Are you secretly looking to raise yourself up in the eyes of other people?

We have to see what’s really going on before we can redirect it. Then the inner willpower can flow freely, in clean alignment with our motives. Here’s the kicker. The more work we have done on ourselves—the higher our development—the more any off-target desires will hamper our willpower.

So again, step one is to bring to the surface any unconscious pangs that need to be cleaned up and set right. If we do this, we will then know where to let go and where we should step on the gas more than we have in the past.

Here’s something we want to learn to detach from: any strong pressing from our ego. When we start to become aware, again and again, of the drive of our ego, we can begin to let go of it. Once we’ve sorted out the two trends in ourselves of the vain ego versus the desire to serve others—such as in the motives behind “doing your best” in your profession, or whatever it may be—we can get our willpower running in the right direction.

We can actually train our willpower to flow out from our solar plexus instead of our brain. What’s the difference? This we have to learn to feel for ourselves. One is our vital spark that resides deep in our soul. The other is from our ego and often acts against divine law. The latter brings nothing but trouble. Often these two mix, with messed up motives spoiling our intentions for what’s good and what’s right. We’ve got to learn to feel the difference. Otherwise our ego, which wants to be the center of our world, will take over.

Sound Greek? This is worth working to understand. And it may not come easy. But this is a key to getting out of the prison we are living in. That can’t come cheap. We have the power to set ourselves free, but we must begin to act now so that every inner stream inside us can start to flow in the direction of divine law, and not against it.

You already know some of the basics: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t commit crimes. But really, these don’t apply to you any more. Because if you are reading these words, you are way past that. You cleaned those closets long ago, in other lifetimes. Now you must truly go inside and not just look at outer deeds. Changing our thoughts is not enough. We’ve got to change our feelings. And we can’t do this unless we take a good hard look at who we really are.

HOLY MOLY: The Story of Duality, Darkness and a Daring Rescue

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Read Original Pathwork® Lecture: #18 Free Will