The last in this series of articles takes one universal law – the Law of Free Will – and uses it as an example to illustrate how the universal law operates and how the operation of one law is affected and worked upon by other circumstances and laws.
My assertion is that the same observations made here could also be made about the Law of Karma, the Law of Attraction and the dozens of other laws that form the design of life in which we operate on our virtually-endless journey of self-discovery.
It’s a commonplace in channeled discussions of life to state that life is characterized by free will. But almost as soon as that statement is made, our guides in the matter begin to list the factors that moderate, mitigate, or impact the individual’s exercise of free will. Because the discussion helps us understand the workings of the universal law, I’d like to spend time in this article looking at how free will is said to operate.
“All souls have free will”
The standard presentation of free will states, as Matthew Ward does here, that “all souls have free will regardless of their evolvement status, whether living in spirit worlds or physical civilizations, or their location in the universe.” (1) SaLuSa makes a fairly similar statement when he says that “your freewill has operated all through your experiences.” (2)
But almost immediately exceptions to free will are presented. For instance, SaLuSa implies that we in Third Dimension have less free will than beings in higher dimensions. He says:
“We [ascended beings] are … allowed more say in what we do, having reached a high level of understanding. In your case decisions often have to be made for you by your mentors. It depends on how spiritually advanced you have become. After all the purpose of living many lives is to follow an overall plan that leads to your spiritual evolution. It is the only way to advance and leave the cycle of re-birth behind.” (3)
An unnamed spirit teacher agrees with what SaLuSa says: “Free-will is developed in proportion as the spirit acquires the consciousness of himself.” (4)
Apparently, we all have spirit guides and the question of how free will operates comes up many times when we look at how they work with us. Speaking from the astral plane, John Heslop says that spirit guides know that “no one can be helped against his will,” according to John Heslop. (5) He continues: “Keep ever clearly before you that man is a free agent in all matters and, though he may receive great spiritual help, he is never coerced by anyone from this higher sphere.” (6)
Heslop explains how the guide will use “holy influence” instead to attract the guided one to a wise or appropriate course of action.
“Holy influence may be likened to the magnet, but it is necessarily inactive (because of man’s free will) till he turns voluntarily toward it. But once the desire for holiness and purity is set up, then the holy influence is all-compelling and draws the lowest and the basest, as well as the best, into its sphere of purity and goodness.” (7)
Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson also explains how the spirit guide on the other side of life will advise his or her incarnate charge on a course of action but never violate their ability in the end to exercise their free will.
“It must never for one instant be thought that the influence of the spirit guide [negates] or violates the possession or expression of free will. If, upon the earth-plane, you were to observe somebody about to take a false step into a stream of traffic upon the road, the fact that you put out your hand to stop him would in no way impinge upon his exercise of free will.
“A spirit guide will try to give advice when his advice can be got through to his charge; he will try to lead him in the right direction solely for his own good and it remains for his charge, in the exercise of his free will, to take that advice or reject it. If he does the latter, he can only blame himself if disaster or trouble overtakes him. At the same time, the spirit guides are not there to live a person’s life for him. That he must do himself.” (8)
The same thing applies to us when we leave the body and migrate to the astral planes. Spirit guides there allow complete freedom of will to people who arrive in the afterlife. The unnamed teacher of medium Betty Bethards advises us that “we never push our free will against any soul crossing over. He is given total free … choices on this side.” (9)
To be sure, the life the individual graduates to on the other side is a reflection of his or her free will choices, as an unnamed spirit teacher tells us in Life Here and Hereafter:
“The divine law is one of personal freedom. Each soul can choose its own future. Each soul, still embedded in its human life, is choosing that future now. The old theologians, in their half-knowledge, described this life of the human soul as either a harp-playing multitude about a golden throne, or a descent into a fiery burning hell to be suffered forevermore. But this was only a human, emotional effort to describe the indescribable. The life here is the reasonable result of one’s choice of one’s character.” (10)
Finding ourselves in this destination is as it should be. The purpose of the original granting of free will is to allow us to see the results of our choices and educate us in a slow but effective manner.
The universal laws work together
Many people cannot understand why free will seems to be abrogated in some circumstances because they don’t realize that the universal laws work together. Here SaLuSa discusses how free will is itself tied into or related to the Law of Attraction:
“Freewill is a gift from the Creator that is sacred and covered by the Law of Attraction. Human beings sometimes blame others or God for their experiences, but in truth they are attracted to you by your thoughts and actions. How else could freewill operate?” (11)
On another occasion, he suggested that free will itself is itself limited in that “there are laws that are applied should it cause harm to others, or interfere with their freewill.” (12) Thus the Law of Free Will is impacted by other laws that come into operation when one being’s exercise of free will negatively impacts or harms another.
Another difficulty is that many people cannot see or accept that some aspects of life are planned while other aspects allow for free will. For instance, before birth people agree to a soul contract, which plans the events of their lives, but free will comes in later: they have the free will to respond to the planned aspects of their lives as they so choose. SaLuSa explains:
“You may ponder how amongst millions of people it is possible [that people are attracted to each other and show up in each other's lives]. It is because every aspect of your lives is planned, and you are each part of soul groups that come together with the purpose of gaining experience.
“We hear some question where freewill comes in, but there would be no plan unless you exercised it prior to incarnating. Freewill is still your prerogative, but having agreed to a plan for your life you are drawn to those people and experiences that will help fulfil it. Your Guides are also very active in keeping you on track, but the final word is with you.” (13)
Thus some aspects of our lives are planned and some allow for free will – and this can prove confusing to people. This is one reason why the avatar Sri Ramakrishna says that we have as much free will as a tethered cow.
“Just as, when a cow is tied to a post with a long tether, it can stand at a distance of one cubit from the post, or it can go up to the whole length of the tether according to its choice, so too it is with the free will of man. A man ties a cow with the idea, ‘Let her lie down, stand or move about as she likes within that area.’
“Similarly God has given man some power. And He has also given him freedom to utilize it as he likes. That is why man feels himself free. But the rope is fastened to the post.” (14)
It may not be obvious to us at ground level that we have as much freedom as a tethered cow, but it becomes more obvious to beings who progress ever further in life and ever further in understanding.
“Free Will” is ultimately part of the Illusion that life is
Interimly, spiritual teachers recognize free will and will not breech it in a student, as Sri Yukteswar Giri, the teacher of Paramhansa Yogananda, tells us here: “Every individual in the world has an inalienable right to his free will. A saint will not encroach on that independence.” (15)
But ultimately free will is part of the overall illusion that life is, an illusion designed to provide life forms with the learning that propels them from unconscious awareness of their identity as God to conscious awareness.
The function of the universal law is to take an individual from illusion to knowledge. The main illusion is believing that we are separate individuals when in actuality all life forms are nothing other than the one God having donned a form.
It should not come as a surprise then to find that a second illusion centers around whether or not we have free will.
Though the Law of Free Will bestows upon us the opportunity to choose and act, given that ”we” do not exist save in the illusion, it should not be surprising that, once the illusion is removed, we discover that we don’t have free will at all. Sri Ramakrishna explains: “Those who have realized God are aware that free will is a mere appearance. In reality man is the machine and God its Operator, man is the carriage and God its Driver.” (16)
As Mata Amritanandamayi reminds us, if the universal law does its job, then “the thought that ‘I am the doer’ should go. God is the doer.” (17)
Thus it’s true that a universal Law of Free Will operates as a teaching mechanism designed to impart a total learning experience in which the individual comes to see the wisdom of his or her choices and “trues up” to higher and higher standards leading to the final realization that all of us are nothing other than God incarnate.
But at the same time, this Law of Free Will operates within an environment in which other laws also operate and the operation of one law may impinge on the operation of another. Moreover, free will may increase the higher in dimensionality we go. And it is also affected by the existence of soul contracts negotiated before we enter into incarnation and by other factors.
It therefore becomes a task expected of us that we study the circumstances in which universal laws operate and reach a point of understanding the intent behind the Divine Plan in which all universal laws play a part. Until we do so, seeming contradictions will cause us to be confused and wonder how the whole round of life operates.
However, once the manner in which the whole of life’s journey is designed to operate is seen, including the place within it of universal laws, these areas of confusion disappear.
We are left at some point, I would imagine, not only seeing the wisdom of the total design of life but also being the beneficiaries of having participated in life as it was designed, the benefit being the realization of our own identity as the very one who designed the total round of life and the enjoyment of all the benefits, such as peace and joy, that that realization brings. But that realization, it would appear, is a very long way off.
In these six articles, we’ve looked at numerous aspects (not all) of the nature and operation of the universal law. A look at all the laws that regulate existence is beyond the scope of this series. For now, this concludes our look at some of the principles and characteristics of the universal law.
(1) Matthew’s Message, Aug. 11, 2011, at http://www.matthewbooks.com/mattsmessage.htm
(2) SaLuSa, Nov. 26, 2010, at http://www.treeofthegoldenlight.com/First_Contact/Channeled_Messages_by_Mike_Quinsey.htm
(3) SaLuSa, Oct. 4, 2010.
(4) Unnamed spirit teacher in Mike Timns, “What the Advanced Spirits Told Allan Kardec,” Gaia Community, 30 Jan. 2008. Downloaded from http://metgat.gaia.com/blog/2008/1/what_the_advanced_spirits_told_allan_kardec , 20 Feb. 2008, n.p.
(5) John Heslop through F. Heslop, medium, Speaking Across the Border-Line. Being Letters from a Husband in Spirit Life to His Wife on Earth. London: Charles Taylor, 9th ed., n.d., 21.
(6) Ibid., 23.
(7) Ibid., 50.
(8) Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson through Anthony Borgia, medium, Life in the World Unseen. M.A.P., 1993, 185-6.
(9) Unnamed spirit teacher through Betty Bethards, medium, There is No Death. Novato, CA: Inner Light Foundation, 1976; c1975, 33.
(10) Unnamed spirit in Fred Rafferty, ed., Charlotte E. Dresser, medium, Life Here and Hereafter. Author’s edition. Downloaded from http://www.harvestfields.ca/ebook/02/001/00.htm , 2 Feb. 2008, 123.
(11) SaLuSa, Sept. 18, 2009.
(12) SaLuSa, May 25, 2011.
(13) SaLuSa, Sept. 18, 2009.
(14) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Saradananda, Sri Ramakrishna, the Great Master. Madras, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2 vols, 1979-83, I, 94.
(15) Sri Yukteswar Giri in Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi. Bombay: Jaico, 1975, 114.
(16) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 379-80.
(17) Mata Amritanandamayi, Awaken, Children! Vallicakavu, India: Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, I, 49-50.