Spiritual Maturity

The Law of
Free Will

Any of us who think that having true free will means that we can do anything we want to, at any time, with no restrictions — will be happy to know that they are on the right track! The Law of Free Will means exactly those things. But, if we are inclined to take the definition one step further and add “with no consequences”, we’ve gone a step too far. For the purpose of the Law of Free Will is to help us transcend ourselves, and to transcend ourselves, we need obvious signals as to when we are moving forward and when we are moving backward (so that we can take appropriate action if we realise we’re slipping backward). Those signals come in the form of the consequences of our choices. So whilst the Law of Free Will means that we have total permission to do, say, think, and feel anything and any way whatsoever that we want to, it also means that we will be held accountable for those choices in some form or other, whether immediately or in the longer term. From a spiritual-maturity perspective, the two forms that such accountability takes are an upward movement toward transcendence, or a downward movement toward collapse. 


The Law of Free Will does not relate to physical and intellectual matters. It only pertains to our emotions. It is perfectly possible — and not at all unusual — for another person to have physical and intellectual power over us. For obvious reasons, childhood is a period of necessary external regulation and oversight, but plenty of adults can find themselves dominated by others long after childhood ends. Despite this, however, at no point in our life does any other person have power over our emotions — not even during childhood (although a major responsibility of parenthood is to guide children toward appropriate emotional responses to various situations). It is simply impossible for anyone other than ourselves to be responsible for our emotional reaction to anything. Yes, others can use their knowledge of us to provoke a guaranteed reaction, but it is we who have chosen what that “guaranteed” reaction will be, we who have chosen to guarantee that we will feel that emotion when the “right” button is pushed, and it is we who choose to “feel powerless” over that emotion when that button is indeed pushed by our tormentor.


At all times with emotion, free will is being exercised.


Mistakes Can be Your Map to Growth if You Let Them Be So


Although we feel real pain from the consequences of some of our choices, those with a higher-perspective understanding of life can see that ultimately there is no such thing as a “negative consequence”. For if we choose to, instead of stewing and brewing on a negative result we can use our negative experience as inspiration to make a better choice. Mistakes need not be, as tends to be hastily assumed, a pull downward. Every inventor of any successful product will tell you that trial-and-error is the principle formula for eventually coming across the correct way to do something. From a spiritual perspective, trial-and-error is also a principle formula for reaching a higher-perspective interpretation of someone or of a situation. 


However, the formula is only successful when the mistake is identified as a lesson learned and results in us making a different choice the next time. If we choose to repeat the same free-will action over and over, and get the same negative consequence over and over (and probably complain about it over and over), we are going around in a circle. Going ‘round and ‘round in a circle is the same thing as stagnating. As we see within the Law of Transcendence, stagnation sooner or later will result in a downward pull, which if not addressed in time will result in eventual collapse.


A sophisticated wielder of the Law of Free Will lives in a perpetual state of mindfulness. They are acutely aware of their thoughts and actions, constantly monitoring their true motives for the way they are interacting with others. When they identify a motive as being less than pure, they reflect on the reason why they have developed that motive, and they keep reflecting until they have moved past that frame of mind. This one piece of reflection can take months to complete — and they commit to that. They maintain loving detachment from the dramas of others, able to leave people to their own choices, realizing that what is truly best for each person are experiences that lead each person to the realization that they have had enough of a particular drama and thus proceed to free themselves by making choices that lead them out of their drama.


Fear of Free Will


Some of us are terrified at the thought of total responsibility for our choices. For starters, we see it as a huge burden to bear. Our view may be that it is so much easier when other people make decisions for us — it means less we have to think about, less chance of being noticed, less chance of being different to everyone else, and less chance of being held responsible for any mistakes. But the longer we refuse to accept responsibility for our own decision-making, the harder it becomes to take on that power when we want to or need to. You don’t need me to tell you that life skills can only be gained with experience. As the saying goes: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


Many of us are ashamed of making mistakes – for the school of trial and error can be very public, and the other pupils so very judgmental. For every perfectly-spiritually-acceptable mistake we make there seems to be someone who is taking in it some sort of delight — and worse, trying to get others to take delight in it as well. Misery may love company, but so does judgmentalism.


The task for us then is to become sophisticated detachers. We have the choice to care about the accusers, and to descend into a new drama with them; or, we can choose to detach from their judgments, secure in the knowledge that mistakes are simply a divine signal to try something else, and that as long as we are working to transcend the misunderstanding that just resulted in the mistake, then we are moving toward maturity. When the Ascended Master Jesus was being mocked by the Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes, lawyers, and temple priests for his unorthodox teachings, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “Let the dead bury their dead”. A modern way of saying this would be, “Whatever. I’m not responsible for your rate of transcendence”.


What happens when we don’t take full responsibility for our self? What if we have not yet realized — because we have not yet been taught — that we actually have such power? Or what if we simply do not believe that we truly do have free will?


Well, those things mean that we become open to following somebody else, and that person will tell us what to believe and how to live. We fall into line with ideas and actions that others have set for us — meaning that we enter into a lowest-common-denominator state of being, and hand over control as to when we transcend that state of being. We tune-in to a communal mindset and minimize our personal mindset —and that puts at risk our ability to recognise intuition when it occurs. Our intuition is the soap bubble that God blows at us when it’s time to transcend. Remember: if we aren’t listening, God won’t stop at a soap bubble.


The Ends Can Never Justify the Means


We don’t have to look too hard to see that one of the most widespread collective vibrations is that The Ends Justify The Means. We see that view in its most local form when we withhold information from someone because we want to narrow the choices open to them; and in one of its most global forms when, for example, perverted branches of religions kill people who choose to not follow their beliefs, because they think that God has told them that all people must follow those beliefs and if they have to kill some people to achieve this, so be it — and there’s more than one religion that has had branches like that over the course of history.


The problem with the view that “the ends justify the means” is that is a direct statement of intention to interfere with other peoples’ free-will choices. This view says it’s okay to force things onto others if it means we’ll get an outcome that we want. Well-intentioned people who want the best for a loved one can often take this view if the end that they have in mind is something they themselves perceive as being beneficial to the other person.


If we can accept that “the ends justify the means” is not an option for us if we want to live in accordance with the Law of Free Will, what, then, are we supposed to do when we can see that someone we love dearly is making the same mistake over and over again, but they can’t see it, and we have the means to force a stop to it? What if we see someone heading for the wall, and the thought of what is coming to them fills us with dread, with grief, and we are prepared to move heaven and earth to prevent that?


Well, under the bounds of The Law of Free Will, we may not move heaven and earth. That would be “taking heaven by force” — a term that several Ascended Masters have used when discussing respect for free will in the context of achieving spiritual maturity. Rather, we may advise, warn, suggest, demonstrate, point out the obvious, pray, and even outright shock — these approaches do not co-opt the loved one’s free will. And once we have done all within the extensive range of things that the Law of Free Will permits us to do to get through to the person, we must then withdraw and leave them to make their own choices. From even a practical point of view, let alone a spiritual one, if a person’s heart is not in a change that we have cajoled, blackmailed, blustered, or nagged them into making, the change won’t last. As excruciating as witnessing a loved one making tragic, avoidable, mistakes can be, one of the main principles of growth is that any experience that brings the loved one them self to the point of thinking “enough is enough”, and which gives them even a glimmer of momentum to free them self from their mess is what will see them grow. And for us: when we are able to resist the urge to accept responsibility for preventing the natural negative consequences of our loved ones’ poor choices, we have achieved a major piece of transcendence within our own state of being.


If we do indeed try to force our vision onto our loved one, it is likely that the loved one will instinctively rebel against that violation of their free will. This instinct comes from their inherent gnosis that they have the right to make their own choices, including choices that turn out to be mistakes. And when we push and they rebel, we have a drama.


Drama is a Free Will Choice


When in a drama, we tend to become convinced that what we are doing, or saying, or thinking, or feeling to or about another person reflects things as they really are, and we tend to think that what the other person is doing, saying, thinking, and feeling does not. We believe that fanning our passion is the force of righteousness, and that fanning the other person’s passion is ego. We will defend, justify, and validate our position because we have no doubt, we are certain, that our position is the true position. And when we are caught up in that certainty, we are closed off to transcending it. And if we are certain there is nothing to transcend, we will start to contract — the Law of Transcendence will not allow us to stand still.


Those of us who love drama, and who purposefully seek it out to integrate into our lives, are living under illusion. That illusion is that dramas are enriching experiences. They are not. I ask you to consider that what drama is is an avoidance of personal responsibility for the self. Those of us who love drama believe that the circumstances of the drama are controlling our response to the drama, and that we are powerless to defy those circumstances, or that our choices are justified by those circumstances. Either because we don’t understand the relationship between free will and self-responsibility, or because we understand it and don’t like it, don’t agree with it, or are afraid of it, we use drama as a means of avoiding personal responsibility for our choices. That is not enriching, that is stalling.


Prayer Within the Law of Free Will


In a crisis situation that we are witnessing occurring with a loved one, people often cannot think clearly, and this makes things even worse. We desperately, desperately want the crisis to end, to see the person avoid suffering, for “normality” to be restored.  We want things for the person to go back to exactly how they were before — or maybe to take a completely new course that we can visualize. We have a model in our mind of how their life can be, and we are convinced, we know, that the model we have would be in the person’s best interest.


And so we pray for the person. But what do we pray for? If we are committed to respecting the loved one’s free will, we pray for the person to have the best possible vision through the clouds of distress, and that is pretty much all we will pray for. Again: the sophisticated wielder of the Law of Free Will understands that what is truly best for the person is the experience that helps them realize that he or she has had enough of a particular drama, and thus frees them self by making a decision that expands them out of their difficulty.


But the inclination of most of us is not to pray in that way. We have a very clear view of what the person is doing in relation to the crisis — a view that the other person doesn’t have, or doesn’t want to have — and so our inclination is to pray for the person to make the choice that we think they should make — a choice that we know would be the best for them. But that approach, if successful, would not allow for the person to experience the consequences of their choices, and thus would curtail their God-given opportunity for transcendence. It is difficult idea to accept, but praying for someone to avoid the consequences of their free-will choices is akin to attempting to defy the indefatigable laws of physics: Albert Einstein explained to us in the Theory of Relativity that one of the inescapable facts of life on Earth is that for every single action there is a consequence of equal significance.


Control Freaks Take Note!


The Law of Free Will is something that every single one of us is wielding non-stop throughout our day, whether we’re conscious of it or not. The tough thing about being conscious of it, and in committing to observing it, is that it throws our whole power hierarchy upside down. Everyone having total power over their own choices means that no one is the boss (I hope it’s obvious that we’re not talking about commercial or corporate life, where you need a boss — we’re talking about spiritual and emotional life). It’s a delicate walk we have to walk if we decide to live in accordance with the Law of Free Will. It can be hard to discern when we are advising someone from the highest spiritual perspective that we have attained at that point, or advising someone from our own ego tricked up as spiritual attainment. If we are someone who is used to ensuring people follow our directives, it can be tough committing to detachment as to whether or not our suggestions are taken up.


And if our loved ones have come to depend on us to make their choices for them, but we have committed to living in accordance with the laws of Free Will and Transcendence, the collective shock for all can be obvious. But the key to avoiding shock is a considered pace, communication, and tact.


Making the Change to Free Will Consciousness


If we choose to move toward living consciously in full accordance with Law of Free Will, we will notice that it revolutionizes our inner world. As we start out to “live and let live”, it can feel like our universe is turned upside down and shaken crazily back and forth, which does not feel very good at all. It can leave our head spinning. So we need to take it slowly.


The first step is to engage in the practice of Mindfulness. After first becoming purposefully conscious of our thoughts and reactions as they occur, we then ask ourselves if they pass cleanly through the filters of the Law of Free Will. We check to see if we are believing that we have no power over the thought or emotion, or if we are thinking that the ends justify the means in this situation, or if we are asking God to make someone do something that we want them to do but that they themselves don’t. If we discover that one of these factors is behind our thought or reaction, we take a breath, and begin the process of identifying the highest perspective view of why we have responded this way.


There will be times when we can afford to be gentle with ourselves, and times when we need to be tough on ourselves. And we must be aware that at times we will devastate ourselves with what we uncover about the current nature of our conscience. Living under the laws of Free Will and Transcendence can be an incredibly sobering experience, requiring an enormous amount of humility of a kind we have never felt before. Consider the person known to the non-religious as Saul of Tarsus and to the religious-minded as St. Paul. Without getting into the obvious, very serious, and extremely ugly character flaws of that very human man, Saul did write back in the First Century, “I die each day”. What Saul meant by this is that he was willing to go through the difficult and painstaking process of examining his conscience every day, and eliminating from his psyche any part that he realized was not in accordance with transcendence into spiritual maturity. The process is no different today.


The Reward for Our Effort


But the pay off for this hard and often uncomfortable work is that we feel less pressure. For when we understand what mistakes are — nothing more than a signal that the choice we made was not an upward move — we don’t really recognize failure; rather, we recognize a spiritual process in process. Then, while others would spend time feeling angry, or guilty, or frustrated, we spend time reflecting on what would be a more expansive choice the next time. We do not buy into dramas, so we find ourselves with ample time to devote to our spiritual growth. We’re at peace with living a deliberate, considered life, even though it means a part of our ego “dying” each day.


The point of the Law of Free Will is that spiritual and emotional progress do not depend on anything or anyone outside of our self. They depend exclusively on our willingness to take responsibility for our self, and only on the choices we ourselves make.


The power to transcend is all, and only, ours.

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