We all like to think that we’re our own master, that we make our own decisions and shape the life we live. And indeed, this is a universe that supports free will. A few weeks ago, we posted a blog on free will that also covered the subject of determinism, a variation on fate that’s based on cause and effect. Determinists claim that we only think we have free will because the cause is so far removed from the effect; we don’t see the connection. On the other hand, there appears to be a new belief system emerging based on quantum physics that claims our thoughts create everything that happens in our lives. Both views are extreme. The determinists fail to consider the power of choice, and the ‘law of attraction’ advocates forget collective consciousness and give individual choice more power than it has.
The interplay between quantum consciousness and energy does support free will, which means our world is built on millions of choices, events and ideas made by collective consciousness. And, whether we recognize it or not, millions of choices made in the past still play a role in our lives. Unless we’re constantly examining every minute detail of what we think and do, the past does shape our lives in very real ways.
When we were young (back in the day when dirt was invented), families used to go outdoors after dinner. Adults visited with one another on front porches while neighborhood children played and rode bikes. Everyone on the block knew everyone else and group events were common place. Currently we live in a community of older homes, most with front porches. We’ve lived here several years without seeing a single person sitting on their porch. Why the change?
Years ago, people wanted to get outside in the evening because the house had heated up all day and hadn’t had time to cool down. Researchers say that air conditioning brought people back inside and television kept them there. In the process, we lost contact with our neighbors. And, as newer houses were built, front porches were eliminated in favor of more private backyard decks that could be used to entertain a select few. As new generations come along, they don’t question the “status quo” and don’t miss the feeling of community in a tightly knit neighborhood because they’ve never experienced it.
If we took a moment to contemplate the differences in daily life that have taken place over the last 50 years as a result of relatively small changes like the air conditioner, we’d be amazed. These changes are so subtle, we’re rarely aware of what’s happened. We’ve been taught to equate change with progress, so we enjoy the cool air and the entertainment provided by the TV, internet, DVDs, CDs etc., and rarely even realize a high cost was involved. As we take regular walks through our neighborhood, older folks still say hello, but young people, busy with phones, iPods, and games don’t even make eye contact. This is the new ‘normal’ that they will pass on to the next generation.
You may have heard the story of the woman who always cut the end off of a ham before putting it in the oven. When her child asked her why, she had to admit she did it because that was what her mother did. Her mother was an excellent cook, so she assumed there had to be a good reason. Curious, she called her mother only to find out that she cut the end off of the ham because her roasting pan was too small. What are we doing that’s based on a tradition that’s been passed on through history, but doesn’t serve us? Whose previous choices are we basing our life on? Do we know? Does it matter?
We’re all conditioned by the history of choices that other people have made, but free will makes it possible for us to decide whether we want to allow that conditioning to direct our life or not. Like the woman with the ham, we can ask ourselves why we’re doing something, and if we discover that it’s valueless, we can change our beliefs and behavior.
As we grow in awareness, we realize that we need to scrutinize the beliefs that have governed our life, discover what they’re based on, and then decide whether or not they’re valuable or valueless. This is especially true of our connection with Ultimate Reality. Instead of accepting belief systems because they have a long history, we’re all free to ask ourselves whether the choices that built the beliefs make any sense for us today. We’re all free to make the choice to experience the Divine directly, to learn first-hand what Source wants us to know.
To learn more about science and spirituality, download sample chapters of our book The Beginning of Fearlessness: Quantum Prodigal Son, or sign up for a free video eCourse “Obstacles to Spiritual Growth” we invite you to visit http://www.thebeginningoffearlessness.com