I received an email from reader Daniel a few days ago, filled with a whole series of questions. Questions ranging from the issue of Free Will to the mystical ways of the Divine.
Below the break: Answers for the serious spiritual seeker.
Let me address your questions one at a time:
D: My first question is as a soul am i not the originator of the thought? i know the mind has a life of its own and as witness i can watch it doing its monkey chatter thing running the loop tapes of its sub conscious programming but isn’t it the witness that IS the programmer, that has an opinion of what it is perceiving??
W: As a SOUL (trapped in a human body), yes, you will still believe you are the originator of your own thoughts. That’s OK—it gives you the sense of free will. It gives you (as a Soul) the sense of control of your life, of the ability to “fix” your life. All these traits are hold-overs from living as a Mortal and that is OK. The purpose of identifying as a Soul is to help you overcome the fear of death, which dramatically weakens your identity of being human (Mortal). We aren’t trying to jump directly from Mortal to Oneness (we’ve seen how futile those attempts have been), we are trying to take it a step at a time (Mortal to Soul to Radiance to Oneness).
The WITNESS that you mention is actually (in my terminology) the hard, portal part of the Radiant level. The portal feels like you are a thin, solid outline that She (Life/Love/Light) flows through. That portal is still clinging to its own individuality. Even though it knows it isn’t DOING the thinking, it sometimes still clings to the thoughts, clings to control. That is why I say that the key to the Radiant level is SURRENDER. You surrender all attachments, all control, all concern for outcomes, all thoughts as being yours or personal.
D: Secondly do you believe in free will or that we are mere units for perceiving the universal functioning??
W: At the Mortal, Soul, and somewhat at the Radiant level, yes, free will is a “truth.” At the level of Oneness though, no—it isn’t even an issue. But don’t try to wrap your mind around that just now. Wait until you’ve at least shifted to the Radiant level (and you’ll see first hand free-will/self-control as barriers to Her).
D: Lastly if there is no i then why would the universe bother with all the lessons it throws at us?
W: At the Oneness level, You are the Universe (Her). But until you realize that (Mortal, Soul, Radiance), She “throws” these lessons at “you” to help you find your way back to Her.
D: Doesn’t it feel to you like you are an apprentice God learning all the tricks of the trade?
W: That’s a very good description of exactly what it feels like—and probably a good way to think of “yourself” as while you transition from Soul, to Radiance, to Oneness. But a word of warning: At the Radiant level—where all the cool synchronicities and wonders really start to happen—don’t let it go to your head, don’t let it become just another part of your identity, don’t fall for the trap that “you” are performing these miracles. It can be very easy to get caught up in a Messiah complex. (I’m no expert on Christianity, but I’d bet that Christ felt that God performed miracles THROUGH him, not that he (Christ) was performing the miracles himself.)
D: Why the pursuit to explore our potential if there is no i anyway?
W: Because you believe in your “I”, yet on some deeper level you know that this “I” isn’t the real You. There’s a conflict there, something that just doesn’t add up, and you’re just trying to resolve it. Don’t think it too much, just look inside. You FEEL the conflict, you KNOW there’s a conflict. That’s all that matters.
D: Do we have no control apart from our perceptions, no free will?
W: See my comment above.
D: What’s the purpose?
W: To merge with Her. To LIVE it, to FEEL it, not just to “figure it out” (as so many of today’s nondual teachers promote). The Dalai Lama says that the meaning of life is to be happy. These two answers aren’t necessarily in conflict.
D: Would love an opinion, i’d ask for yours, but who would that be?
W: Her/Me/Us/Oneness (unavoidably and necessarily “bent” slightly by this mask-thing we are forced to wear as living creatures).
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