by Robert Wilkinson
This is another segment in the on-going exploration of how much choice we have to abuse or not abuse, to become conscious or not in our behaviors. Does someone choose to be unconscious? Can we use our free will to become more aware and move out of bad behavior? Can an abusive person "help it?"
As I mentioned in the preceding articles, Thoughts On Our Soul Group and Forgiving Abusive People - Pt. 1 and Part 2, this is not an easy subject for many, and there are many different schools of thought regarding the issues at stake. This article came out of a dialogue around abusive people, and just how much ability they have to awaken from their abusive state of mind.
In the dialogue, it was asserted that because a person is incapable or only marginally able to "see" another way, they are not really responsible for their behavior. They felt that a being who is totally self-involved, ego driven, egotistic and deeply immature is absolutely incapable of seeing this or changing it. While there may be free will, if a being cannot perceive a better way to be, how can they change?
As it was put, "In other words, how can we fault those that have no curiosity about their world, think that sleep, sex and the anesthesia of their choice are what constitutes the universe? They simply can't see it differently."
Here we hit the fine line between innocent ignorance and willful ego behavior. When a being is ignorant, they can only awaken by seeing the light or feeling the heat. At that point, ignorance gives way to the knowledge of a different reality. Then the being chooses to move into a greater understanding of that experience, or continues to ignore whatever greater lessons that experience could lead to.
When someone has not yet had an experience that leads them out of ignorance into awareness, they are innocent. When someone has an experience that forces them to take note of a different way to be, they are no longer innocent. Their choices create karmas from that point on, whether they choose to be conscious or unconscious of their actions from that point on.
A being who consciously or unconsciously chooses to avoid growing despite an experience that has awakened them, to however large or small a degree, and continues to choose to be abusive to others, is operating out of lower ego willfulness, choosing the way of separateness. Simply put, they are refusing to "join the human race." They are capable of giving up this misguided attitude any time they want. They just don't want to.
While we're all living a dream here in this apparent material reality, there are different levels of dreaming. While some will awaken through a life altering event, there are many who will experience such events but refuse to awaken, believing the dream is real, and the reality of awakening was a dream.
Anyone can awaken at any time, but the quality of that awakening is determined by the imagery and symbols of the one who is awakened. In this sense, those who are awakened only do so within their metaphors. There is the possibility of awakening into good, truth, and beauty, and there is the possibility of awakening into evil, untruth, and ugliness. Each chooses in each moment.
All willful destructive ego behavior arises from fear, desire, attachment to experiencing strong sensations, and vanity, in various combinations. All beings feel these, but each chooses to embrace or reject these as they confront various experiences. When ego chooses to perpetuate unhelpful or abusive behaviors, it is entirely a choice. From one point of view, there is nothing unconscious about it, though there may be unconscious factors present.
In one of the most ancient and venerable books in the world, "Light on the Path, we find there are three "Eternal Truths" for humanity:
"Regard the three truths. They are equal. These written above are the first of the rules which are written on the walls of the Hall of Learning. Those that ask shall have. Those that desire to read shall read. Those who desire to learn shall learn."
"There are Three Truths which are absolute, and cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
"The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendour has no limit.
"The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard, or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
"Each man is his own absolute law-giver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
"These Truths, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them."
The Third Truth, that each is the decreer of their own life, rewards, and punishments, stands as an affirmation of the Law of Karma. Each chooses to awaken or sleep, to progress or regress, to abuse or to serve the afflicted.
Any being, no matter how ignorant, can choose to become more aware of better actions, feelings, and thoughts. Any being who wants to learn can learn. If a being won't learn from the example of good people, then it's willful ignorance, and makes them entirely responsible for all choices and actions that follow.
Tomorrow we'll continue by examining how intention relates to karma, whether free will can override ignorance, and how an unconscious being can choose to become more aware.
Copyright © 2009 Robert Wilkinson