There is of course a big difference between realizing and believing in the complementarity of the freedom of awake emptiness, and the absence of I and free will in the world of form – in our case, as a human being.
Realizing absence of freedom
Realizing it is Spirit awakening to itself as awake emptiness and form, inherently absent of I anywhere – and as a whole as an I. This is liberation. It is a liberation from an exclusive identity as a segment of this field, it is a liberation from seeing this human self and its actions as an I, it is a liberation for this human self from having a sense of I placed on top of it.
Believing in absence of freedom
Believing in it, just attaching to ideas about it, is quite different. This happens when there is still very much a sense of I there, placed on the local causality of this human self such as thoughts, decisions and actions. It is still taken and experienced as an I, yet there is a belief in infinite causes, in an absence of free will in this human self, maybe in an absence of I.
And this can take different forms.
Believing, yet still acting as if there is free will
One, and the more healthy variation, is to take it as a spur to practice, to explore this, is it really true? Can I find it in my own experience? Are there really infinite causes to anything I think, do, and experience? Is there an absence of I in this human self?
In exploring this, we take our experience seriously in two ways.
First, we take our findings seriously. We explore seriously, in detail, over and over, and take what we find seriously. We explore the implications of what we find, we feel into what it would mean to live more fully from it.
And, equally important, we take our current experience seriously in the context of our daily life. If there is still a sense of an I here in daily life, then I live from that as before. I take responsibility for my actions. I sincerely try to make the most informed and compassionate choices. I live as if I have a free will, because it seems I do.
Even if we don’t explore it further, it is a good thing to act as if we have free will. It does help in making our lives easier on us and others.
Yet, this too, this acting as if we have free will, is the local expressions of the movements of the whole. This too has infinite causes. This too is inherently absent of an I and free will. It may be good to realize that, but also keep it in the background. Acting as if there is free will is in the foreground, realizing that this too is absent of free will, that this too is grace, can go in the background.
Believing, and making wrong conclusions
The other, less healthy, way, is to take a nihilistic approach and abandon any sense of responsibility. Of course, what we are really doing here is to first attach to a belief of an absence of free will, and then attach to an idea that this means nihilism and abandoning responsibility. This is miles away from what happens in a real awakening, when there is a real realization.
How it unfolds when realized
In a real realization, this human self continues to operate much as before. It still explores options and alternatives. It still tries to make informed and compassionate decisions. It is still very much active and engaged in the world. If anything, there is more of an incentive to making informed decisions, to live from compassion, and to be engaged in the world.
The only difference is that now, there is no sense of an I there anymore. There are thoughts, choices and actions, yet no I there anywhere. It is just an expression of awake emptiness and form, as anything else happening.
There is very much doing, but no doer anymore.
Grace, and also planting seeds
All of this, believing naively there is free will, taking on a nihilistic attitude, Spirit awakening to itself, all of this is also absent of any I or free will. It is the local expressions of the movements of the whole, it is Spirit expressing, exploring and experiencing itself in various ways. It is all God’s will. It is all Grace.
At the same time, there is a planting of seeds in the world of form that allows these things to happen and unfold. There is a planting of a seed that spurs someone to explore for themselves, and some guidelines for how to do it. There is a set-up that brings someone into cynicism and nihilism when they read something like this. There is the infinite causes coming together so that someone still acts as if there is free will, even if he realizes, to some extent, that it cannot be.
Anything happening in and through us has infinite causes, and we can plant seeds for ourselves and others. We can plant seeds for happiness, release from suffering and awakening. And we can plant seeds for misery. We do both.
And both are themselves the fruits of infinite causes.
But here too, it is a good idea to act as if there is free will.
And around and around it goes, until Spirit awakens to itself.