The universe as one
From the modern physics we have learned that everything can be reduced to energy, and that everything that exist in us and around us consist of the same energy. In other words, everything is the same on an energetic level. This is the same as many spiritual traditions have also said. All is energy or God exist in all. And mystics throughout the ages have reached a stage in their spiritual consciousness where they do not experience any separation from the world around them. Their body, mind and soul are penetrated by the universal light, energy, force or God – and the experience of duality has come to an end.
Now what does this have to do with free will? If we, on a deep energetic level, are so connected that there is no separation between us and the world around us, then where does the idea that we are separated come from? My answer to that question is that it comes from the belief that we have a separate will. This is how the ego of the mind starts. The mind likes to think of itself as separate from the surroundings, separate from other people and their actions, separate from nature. And why is that? Because then the mind can think: Í did this. This is mý idea. This is mý house. This is mý creation. This is mý family. When we believe in the idea that we are separate from our neighbors, then the idea of yours and of mine also comes into play. And the mind likes to hold on to that belief, because then it can feel proud, feel strong or it can feel that it achieved something. The flipside is that the mind can be afraid of losing things. You can be afraid to lose your house, your job, your family-members – all the things that the mind identifies as “mine”. And if that happen you get sad, disappointed, depressed, angry etc.
The free will as an illusion of the ego
Most people will react very strongly against the idea that there is no free will. Most people will say: “but I chose to marry this person”, or: “I decided to go to this restaurant today.” Most people also think that if they don’t have a free will, then what is the purpose of life? Why am i here if i can’t make a difference anyway? Why are most people reacting like that? I believe that this is the ego reacting against surrendering to that which is greater than itself. People are afraid of losing control. They feel they will lose everything if they don’t have a free will. But actually the only thing they will lose is the attachment to the ego of the mind. If a person can surrender to the cosmic will, to the universal light, then the idea of my will and your will disappears. Because then all is experienced as one big family. There will only be one will, and that is the will of god. But the ego likes to hold on to the idea that: “I am in control”. The ego likes to think: “I actually can go against the universal will if I want”. The truth is that all our thoughts, all of our feelings and all of our choices are not separate from the world - we don’t make choices independent of the world around us. A drop in the Atlantic Ocean might say: “I was the one who travelled from Europe to the US”. But in reality it is dependent on the current in the sea, on the direction of the wind and on the water around it. When we talk about the Atlantic Ocean, the drop does not even exist, because there is just one single ocean. If the drop in the ocean had a mind and thought: “I am separate from the ocean”, it would not be true, and it would only be an idea in its mind. In reality the drop would be one with the ocean. In the same way we are dependent on the world around us. But we like to divide the world into categories, hierarchies and on a spiritual level we divide the world into planes, gods, chakras etc. and thus we also risk to separate us from the unity of humanity and the world. But in the end all comes from one and the same energy, and our will is not separate from that one cosmic force or energy.
Free will and “The Secret”
In the popular book and video “The Secret” we learn that we have the power to attract exactly what we want, we can make the universe our playground and make it give us what we need if we just want it enough. We can affect the universe with our thoughts, feelings and actions and thus create our own reality, because we have the power of the mind to do so. If I am sick I can cure myself, if I use the power of the mind. If I want to become rich, I can focus on money and then I will become rich at some point. I will not deny that such things can happen. There are laws in the universe that says that like attracts like. If you visualize inside yourself that you will have a red corvette, then probably if your desire and your mind are strong enough, at some point such a red corvette will materialize in front of you. But my question is on a deeper level: who is it that decides to get a red corvette? Where does this desire come from? Where did the thought:”I want a red corvette” come from in the first place?
My point is that when we have a thought saying: “I want something” and we get it, why then did this happen? My experience is that it is because the universe made this happen, not you. I have a red corvette. This might be my reality, but it did not happen because “I” wanted it, but because the energy of the universe made it happen. The ego and the personal mind likes to take credit for what we have, just like the drop in the Atlantic Ocean took credit for travelling from Europe to the US. The truth is that nothing can ever happen without the will of the cosmos, the will of the universe. We can want something, but it does not happen before the universe is ready for it to happen. We think we are the owners of the idea: “I want to become rich”. But where did this idea come from? It came from the universe and entered a body. But it is not you who is doing anything; it is the forces of the universe acting outside and within.
Everybody who has tried to meditate a little bit will realize how difficult it is to control the thoughts and feelings that enter our consciousness. Feelings and thoughts comes and goes - but we are saying: “I am thinking” or: “I am feeling”, as if the thoughts and feelings belonged to us. But actually if we look at it: was I master of the thought or the feeling? When we look deep within we will find that there is no one who is thinking or doing anything. When we realize this the burden of ego-doing will stop; the personal will is replaced by the will of god; the end of separation between us and the universe around us will start to take place on deeper and deeper levels.
Beyond free will and liberation from pain
I believe that as long as we cling to the free will of our ego, the ego will create its own pain and sorrow. This, I believe, is because we often take the responsibility of the world on our shoulders – we think either that it is the fault of others that things are as they are or we believe it is our own fault. But in reality things just are as they are – nobody did anything good or bad on purpose. If we really surrender to and accept the world around us, and accept and surrender to the world within ourselves, we will find peace. If we stop blaming people, including ourselves, we will be released from a burden of sin and pain. We blame each other because we attribute free will to actions and entities. If we stop believing that you or I are the reasons behind anything, we will start to accept all as it is, and then it becomes possible to see God in all. God is the reason behind everything, not you. The perspective will shift from body-consciousness to god-consciousness. Actions happen, feelings happen, thoughts happen – but they don’t belong to anyone, not me or you, because we are all one, we are all made of the same energy, and therefore ultimately we cannot blame anyone, because there is just ONE. The mind likes to judge, to blame, to place guilt on people and circumstances, and this is only our mind separating us from the one will of god. We don’t have a free will, we only have the will of god, and that will is perfect whatever happens.
Jesus and the Buddha
Jesus said: “not my will, but thy will”. He did not blame people for killing him, he accepted unconditionally the will of God, and he was connected with the will of God. It is only when we surrender to that one light that we will attach to the love of god and feel the unconditional forgiveness of god, and feel that everything is perfect as it is. God is the real forgiver, not us.
Buddha said that there is no “I”. “Where is the I” he said, “I cannot find any I”. Why did he say that? It is because he was united with the endless peace where no separation exists. If there is no separation in the mind, then there can be no personal ego or will, there can only be that which is, only be that which happens. Things happen as they happen, and as such nothing can be imperfect, nothing can be wrong – only the separating ego will fight against reality as it is. And this fight makes us suffer. When we will stop fighting against reality, accept it as it is, we will realize that the love and peace is right here, right now.
About the Author
Marcus Risgaard Myhr
Master in Science of Religion
Esoteric Healer and astrologer