free will

Reminds me of (alot of things remind me of a lot of things) the Mama Cass song with the lyrics "play your own kind of music, sing your own kind of song, even if nobodys else sings along..."
I too distrust being content, or 'happy' (a great quote form the movie 'Tender Mercies' (I collect quotes-can you tell? it's easier than thinking for myself) Robert Duvall says "I dont trust happiness. never have. never will.")... I also like () & ..., but I digress
I'm often the only one around acting or speaking or feeling as i do, and I start to think i'm wrong. Well, I might be different, or even strange, but I'm not wrong-the people buzzing around me have other concerns than i do, and to me lesser concerns. They're worried about whats for lunch, or if they can go snowboarding after work-well, good for them, but I dont need these thoughts. Lunch will happen, and I wouldnt go snowboarding if you bought me a mountain...
And when i make the mistake of believing they're even noticing me, then i really feel ashamed. This happens when i go in public barefoot. My god, I think, everyones probably looking at my feet-well, they dont-unless they have a foot fetish they dont notice feet anymore than I do. Ego, fear of standing apart from the crowd, these will set you back, and keep contentment at bay.


  • edited December 1969
    As my life long belief in free-will decays, life feels increasingly like a white water rafting trip without a paddle. Wheeeee :lol:
  • edited December 1969
    I'm still not sure I'm ready to give up on free will-if free will as I;m defining it is what you mean by it. I've always been an advocate of taking personal resposiblity in one's life, that man is capable of more than he ususally allows.
    This has always been an aattraction of buddhism for me, that the buddha spirit is with in each of us, an internal force, not an external one. Therefore it's our recogniton of and surrender to this that brings about change.
    Is this giving up free will, or increasing it? is this a mis representation on my part? is this totally going against the idea of flowing with the way of Tao, or of letting Tao flow thru you...?
    When I quit drinking it was cold turkey, no AA for me, the idea of surrendering to a higher power didnt attract me, the idea of calling myself helpless was ridiculous to me-I chose to drink, I could choose to stop. is this ego? Is this against tao? Need some guidance here...
  • edited December 1969
    [cite] Buddy1:[/cite]I'm still not sure I'm ready to give up on free will.....

    ... When I quit drinking it was cold turkey, no AA for me, the idea of surrendering to a higher power didnt attract me, the idea of calling myself helpless was ridiculous to me-I chose to drink, I could choose to stop. is this ego? Is this against tao? Need some guidance here...

    I finally saw this. Very thought provoking questions my friend. Personally, I look to what forces may prod me to interpret my experience of life as I do. For me, [chref=40]weakness[/chref] is the causative 'power'. As that plays itself out within me, it comes down to my fear of weakness, and finally death.

    My belief in free will empowered me psychologically. It felt 'good'. Similarly, my instinctive pull to rich food keeps me munching away. It feels 'good'. Believing I have "choice" felt 'good'. However, the unintended consequences of believing in "choice" drew me into self guilt/hate, judging/despising other people, and into an unending conflict with how things naturally were what they were.

    I wouldn't call the belief in free will "going against the Tao", in a macro sense of that idea. But emotionally, it sure felt like it (for me!).

    Oh, and the unintended consequences of munching away make me fat and unhealthy. Those unintended consequences creep up on us don't they.
  • edited December 1969
    I can see how the instinctive force to survive would be behind a decision to stop drinking. For me, it became an issue of survival. I'll refrain from elaborating on the specifics; suffice it to say there was a moment when I was ready to give up my whole life for alcohol. Then it hit me how insane that was and I decided to surrender, first to my husband, then to the hospital , then to AA, and now I'm working on surrendering my will (or fully believing I don't have one!) I am a fully paid up member of AA and happier for it. Wonderful heart-felt honesty in the rooms of AA, that sense of being alone and separate and different eroding away.
  • edited January 2005
    (I wonder if a post can be deleted.)
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    I've been wondering about the issue of free will in relation to the Buddhist idea that there is no self behind our thoughts, our sense impressions. I've occasionally experienced that sense of no self, during Buddhist mindfulness meditation. When I'm fully present, and am focused on my breathing, or even washing dishes, I'm not aware of a self doing these things, and I'm not having thoughts that make it seem like there is someone named "Joe" doing whatever in life.

    My point with this is that if there were no true "self", who or what would be having free will? When I was much younger I thought I had free will; I thought I could make independent decisions that would create a better life for myself. Now I tend much more toward the opposite - that the reality of life happens, and we are simply vehicles for the activities/situations that come up.

    One point I'm trying to figure out is - if being totally mindful, paying total attention, implies there is no self underlying everything I do and think, then who or what makes the decision to bring my wandering mind back to the moment, to being mindful?

    As an aside, I'm curious Buddy about your experience with giving up alcohol? Did you hit the proverbial "rock bottom", and then decided you needed to quit because you didn't want the drinking life anymore? Or were you coasting along at a more medium level of discomfort with your drinking? Giving up any addiction is difficult - my hat's off to you no matter how it went for you!

    One last point I thought of. Buddy mentions being personally responsible. I too want to take responsibility for my actions. But I'm finding that the more I'm looking at Buddhist (and Taoist) ideas, the more I feel that true responsibility means paying attention to reality, not the illusions of my desires. And that sometimes I make mistakes/suffer, and don't pay attention to reality, which just reminds me that I'm an imperfect human animal struggling along with everyone else.
  • edited December 1969
    who or what makes the decision to bring my wandering mind back to the moment, to being mindful?

    The 'who' is pure consciousness/awareness. I like to believe that this consciousness is the 'mysterious sameness' or at least part of mysterious sameness and that this is what lives on after our physical form drops away.

    I spent 2 days in India sitting across from different people who asked me "Who are you." What I found is that I am not anything. Of course, my ego tells me otherwise...that I am the center of the universe.

    The struggle is letting that pure awareness bubble through into my everyday life. The other day I got really angry. So angry I had to sit with it. The anger was a rock and nothing was bubbling through its hard concrete-ness. As I watched it dissolved into hurt, then I could cry, and then my husband apologized! Perfect!
  • JoeJoe
    edited December 1969
    Thanks Lynn.

    I like what you said about it being the "mysterious sameness". That sure describes that no-self feeling - mysterious, undefineable, and yet the sameness, the underlying unity of the universe.

    Yes, my ego too tells me otherwise. Including when my daughter and I had an eruption over bedtime routine. Hard to find a sense of no-self when my emotions are raging that I should be right, and everyone else should follow along. Fortunately, I've matured enough to take a step back and recognize that I need to turn away from emotional mode, as in returning to the great way of Chapt. 53 in the Tao Te Ching.
  • edited December 1969
    I've found that you can't fight emotions and they don't like to be ignored--they just pop up some other time. Here is a good technique of dealing with emotions, given to me by a Shambhala meditation teacher named Jesse Miller. I had written to him when I realized how driven by guilt I was, but it works with anger too. "So, in practice, when guilt arises, it has the same quality of any other thought.? When you notice it arising, just label it thinking and return to your breath.? See the dreamlike, rootless, empty nature of guilt.........along with everything else that arises.? Now, this is one aspect of working with it.? When you find it has you hooked, please take the opportunity to sit down and feel it in your body.? You have to make friends with it, include it in your path, become intimately familiar with it.? Look directly at it.? Ask yourself, "What is this?" And don't come up with an answer.? Just, "What is this?" Sit with it.? Feel it.? When you speed up in response to guilt, trying to fix it, get out of it, run from it, you only intensify the feeling and begin to add layer upon layer of further complications to the initial experience of guilt.? As though you're trying to jump out of your own skin.? It's never been done."
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