Saturday, May 24, 2014

Greg Goode - Free Will and Freedom

The question of free will is from the perspective of the person. Does the person have free will? Many of the person's actions are forced or determined by factors over which it has no control. Some of these actions are accompanied by the feeling of being lived, of being in the flow, in the "zone." People often count these as the best times. But are at least some of the person's decisions and actions freely chosen? To establish free will, as is discussed in Philosophy 101 classes everywhere, it is not necessary to show that every action is free. Even one free action would be sufficient.

    Case 1:
    "Will that be coffee or tea?"
    "Hmmm, let me think.... I'll have tea, thanks."

    Case 2:
    (Thought bubble rising:) "I'd love to take a walk in the beautiful woods. I'd like to surround myself with peace and serenity and inquire into my true nature." (Putting on hiking boots, opening the camper door and stepping out), "Here I go."

From the perspective of the person, if the decision process is not analyzed, the actions and decisions in both cases above seem to be perfect examples of free will. Upon analysis however, a free action and a free chooser cannot be found. A thought comes, followed by a desire, followed by a decision, followed by an action. Tracing backwards, the action is controlled by the decision, the decision is controlled by the desire, the desire is prompted by the thought. The thought arises spontaneously, itself unbidden, un-asked-for, unchosen. First the thought is not there, then it is. Nowhere in this process can a free will be found. Nowhere can a freely-acting chooser be found.

It is even too much to say that the actions, decisions, desires and thoughts can control or prompt each other. These cause-and-effect dynamics are not even observed. Rather, they arise as inferences and conclusions about what happened, that is, they arise as thoughts that rise and fall.

In something like Case 1, the decision might even be accompanied by a small feeling of freedom, lightness, and spaciousness. And maybe also accompanied by a thought, "I'm choosing tea but I could freely choose coffee instead." But the feeling of freedom and the thought "I could" also arise unbidden. That is, the feeling of freedom is not freely chosen.

The person is not the locus of freedom.

The person and the rest of the world cannot be found apart from the awareness in which all things appear. The person, the mind, body and world arise as thoughts, feelings, and sensations. These are nothing other than objects in awareness, and are nothing other than awareness itself. The person does not experience; the person is experienced. As awareness, we are That to which these objects appear. Thoughts, feelings, sensations - these objects arise from the background of silent awareness, they subsist in awareness, and they slip back into awareness. The awareness in which they appear is not itself an object but the background of all objects. It is our true nature. But the objects come and go unbidden, without autonomy. They are powerless and cannot do anything on their own. Objects cannot possess or contain freedom.

Is there freedom?

The silent awareness in which all objects appear is the true nature of all things. Awareness says YES to everything. Even if a NO arises, awareness says YES to the NO. Awareness is without resistance, without limits or edges, without refusal and without obstruction. Awareness is not free, it is freedom itself. What we truly are is not the person but this awareness, this freedom.

The person wants to co-opt this freedom, to own it, to behold it, to be present to use and enjoy it. But in spite of this desire from the perspective of the person, the person can never own That in which the person appears.

What about teachings that emphasize free will?

Entire religions and ethical systems are based on this idea. Ramana Maharshi told a questioner that all actions are determined except the ability to inquire into one's true nature. Isn't Case 2 above different from Case 1?

Sometimes teachings and exhortations about personal freedom are a beautiful, effective and necessary step for freedom from the idea of being a person. A person who prematurely adopts a "no-free-will" teaching can lapse into depression and antinomian behavior. "You have to be someone before you can be no one." The teachings on free will borrow from the freedom that we are. Among the many objects that arise in the mirror of awareness, some objects arise as images of mirrors. These images are taken as representations of their source. Like a mirror appearing in a mirror, Ramana's teaching serves as a pointer to freedom. Case 2 is not different in this respect from Case 1. As objects, all cases and their characters, and all teachings and all discourse (even this one!) are not themselves free or self-powered, but they arise from freedom and consist in freedom.

The person is never free.

As awareness, we are never bound.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wei Wu Wei - Cease...

Cease listening to what is being heard,
Listen to what is hearing instead!
Then listening will become what is hearing,
And hearing will be what is heard.

Cease looking at what is being seen,
Look at what is seeing instead!
Then looking will become what is seeing,
And seeing will be what is seen.

Cease seeking the sought of the seeker,
Seek what is seeking instead!
Then seeking will become what is searching,
And searching will be what is sought.

Cease cognising what is objective,
Turn sentience back on itself!
Cognising will become what is cognising,
And perceiving will be the perceived.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

U.G. Krishnamurti - The Mystique of Enlightenment

My teaching, if that is the word you want to use, has no copyright. You are free to reproduce, distribute, interpret, misinterpret, distort, garble, do what you like, even claim authorship, without my consent or the permission of anybody. --U.G.

People call me an 'enlightened man' -- I detest that term -- they can't find any other word to describe the way I am functioning. At the same time, I point out that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all. I say that because all my life I've searched and wanted to be an enlightened man, and I discovered that there is no such thing as enlightenment at all, and so the question whether a particular person is enlightened or not doesn't arise. I don't give a hoot for a sixth-century-BC Buddha, let alone all the other claimants we have in our midst. They are a bunch of exploiters, thriving on the gullibility of the people. There is no power outside of man. Man has created God out of fear. So the problem is fear and not God.
I discovered for myself and by myself that there is no self to realize -- that's the realization I am talking about. It comes as a shattering blow. It hits you like a thunderbolt. You have invested everything in one basket, self-realization, and, in the end, suddenly you discover that there is no self to discover, no self to realize -- and you say to yourself "What the hell have I been doing all my life?!" That blasts you.
All kinds of things happened to me -- I went through that, you see. The physical pain was unbearable -- that is why I say you really don't want this. I wish I could give you a glimpse of it, a touch of it -- then you wouldn't want to touch this at all. What you are pursuing doesn't exist; it is a myth. You wouldn't want anything to do with this.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Rumi - Lovers have some secrets

A spirit that lives in this world
and does not wear the shirt of love,
such an existence is a deep disgrace.

Be foolishly in love,
because love is all there is.

There is no way into presence
except through a love exchange.

If someone asks, But what is love?
answer, Dissolving the will.

True freedom comes to those
who have escaped the questions
of freewill and fate.

Love is an emperor.
The two worlds play across him.
He barely notices their tumbling game.

Love and lover live in eternity.
Other desires are substitutes
for that way of being.

How long do you lay embracing a corpse?
Love rather the soul, which cannot be held.

Anything born in spring dies in the fall,
but love is not seasonal.

With wine pressed from grapes,
expect a hangover.

But this love path has no expectations.
You are uneasy riding the body?
Dismount. Travel lighter.
Wings will be given.

Be clear like a mirror
reflecting nothing.

Be clean of pictures and the worry
that comes with images.

Gaze into what is not ashamed
or afraid of any truth.

Contain all human faces in your own
without any judgment of them.

Be pure emptiness.
What is inside that? you ask.
Silence is all I can say.

Lovers have some secrets
That they keep.