Is Human Will Free?
But recently I see that even “conditioned will” is an inadequate device to describe actual spiritual experience. I have found that in the contemplative state, as I seek to open myself entirely to the Divine, to surrender to the Divine in interior stillness, I must surrender control of my will, as well. I must surrender self to God completely. In that case, will is no longer ours at all. It is God’s, to do with as he wills. In this state, Western dualism (God/self, mind/body, interior/exterior, self/other) melts away and flows into Eastern unity with the One God of All.
In one place in the Christian scriptures, Jesus says to his followers who are shooing children away from him: “Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.” (Mk. 10:14-15.) The meaning is quite clear here. In order to live in the kingdom of God, to know that the Divine Consciousness is all in all, one must accept God as king. That is, one must cease living in the kingdom of the Self, in that individualistic place separated from other people, and making use of one’s environment, rather than cooperating with it. One must surrender control over one’s domain and live in the domain of the Divine. To do this, Jesus points out, one must be “like a child,” in the sense that one must immerse oneself in total dependency on Divinity. One must realize that one is at any point in time exactly the way Divinity intends one to be and doing exactly what Divinity intends one to do at that time. In this spiritual state, there is no will, no independent or “free” decision-making. The only conditions of the heart which one experiences are receptivity and returned love. One recognizes that one simply receives the Divine goodness at every moment, even in times of suffering, and accepts what occurs, recognizing that all things spring from Divine Love, and being open-hearted in returning that love.
When all else is cleared away from consciousness, released like a helium balloon, what remains is simply love.
What each person is and does at any given moment—what he perceives himself to be, even in relationship to the Divine, and how he acts in the environment around him—is in the final analysis the product of the Divine Will, the creative energy of God manifesting itself, the Divine Consciousness bringing into being what is.
To release one’s self into the Divine Will, to simply be in the Divine Consciousness, is the solution to the problem of human will raised initially in this essay. To the question, Is human will free?, the answer is, Surrender it.
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