To think that I have choice or to state that I have no choice are both simply concepts in the mind completely devoid of any reality. The truth cannot be held within any concepts.– Adyashanti in The Impact of Awakening
The question of choice has never resonated with me. It doesn’t seem practically relevant. No matter what, it makes sense to live as if I have choice.
Wholeness & taking responsibility
Everything has innumerable causes, stretching back to the beginning of the universe and out to the widest extent of the universe. If I look, I can always find one more, and one more. That doesn’t leave much space for choice. What happens locally is an expression of movements within the whole.
At the same time, it makes sense at a human level to take full responsibility for my words, actions, and choices.
One doesn’t exclude the other. They are two sides of the same coin.
Thoughts are questions about the world
And as Adya suggests, the truth cannot be held within any concept.
Thoughts are questions about the world. They are guides to help us orient and function in the world. They have only pragmatic and temporary value. They don’t hold any final or absolute truth.
A few more things about thoughts
Thoughts are inherently questions about the world. Am I this human being? Could this happen in the future? Did they freeze me out in fifth grade?
So why do they sometimes seem like statements? Because another thought comes in and says so. And that thought is itself a question.
At the same time, there is some validity in any thought, it’s just a question of discernment and finding how and in what way it’s valid. That’s why I like to look at several different thoughts on the same topic in these articles and examine the limited validity in each.
Examining our interest in free choice
As I mentioned, the question of free choice isn’t in itself so interesting for me. I take a more pragmatic approach.
Although if we have that question and it means something to us, it can be fertile ground for exploration in another sense.
What’s behind this question? What’s the question really about?
What’s the best that can happen if I have free choice? Or if I don’t have it?
What’s the worst that can happen if I have free choice? Or don’t?
What do I hope will happen in each case? What do I fear will happen?
What does it say about me? What does it say about my situation? What does it mean for me?
What’s my earliest memory of hoping that? Or fearing it?
And so on. These and similar question can help us get a sense of what our interest in the topic really is about.
We can then take it to a more thorough inquiry, dialog, or any other approach to healing we are familiar with and works for us.