by Robert Wilkinson
Yesterday, I gave you some ideas about the choice we have to be abusive or not, to become conscious rather than unconscious, and the difference between innocent ignorance and willful ignorance. Today we'll continue by examining Divine Will versus ego-will, the nature of the mind and choice, and our ability to learn how to become more conscious in the moment.
Even if you've already read part one, you may want to re-read it before continuing with this one, since these two were composed as one piece. As with the initial articles in this on-going dialogue, I realized together they were too long for a single post, and that's the only reason I split them in two.
To reiterate a primary point, any lack of perception of how to be or not be arises from two sources. One is innocent ignorance, the other is willful ignorance. When we are innocent we all get at least one pass. However, after we've been shown a different way, a higher or more thoughtful or compassionate example from any source whatsoever, then we are no longer innocent.
Even if a being is only marginally able to glimpse for one instant a different way, it puts the responsibility of choice on them, and them alone. No one else can choose for them, and no one else can choose to set aside abusive or ignorant behaviors and replace them with helpful and aware behaviors. Again, the Third Eternal Truth.
Once we have seen a better way and choose to follow a rationalized desire into abusive behavior, or obsolete responses, or willful misdirected actions, that is ego-will. Someone in this state is choosing to follow a desire, and yet they still have the power to grow beyond that desire any time they choose.
Ego-will arises when desire has been awakened. Where there is desire, there is subsequent experience leading to combinations of pleasure and pain, and in each the being chooses which way to continue. They are no longer innocent.
If a being chooses to ignore a life-altering event, or even a chance to take a higher road because of someone else's example, they are making a conscious choice, even if they are unconscious they are making such a choice. Any being can change their behavior, even if they are unconscious, simply by paying attention to examples of better behavior going on all around them.
When a being chooses to remain ignorant despite signals that could awaken them to better ways, they will continue in whatever patterns they are attached to, whether abusive or just continuing to be whoever they were before the event. I have observed that Spirit sends us all signals of how we can best evolve every day, whether we notice them or not. When we notice and choose not to grow, ego-will is manifesting. This is where the nature of human wiring provides us the clues to understand just how much choice we really have.
As I have mentioned in many past articles and comments, we have a Higher Mind and a lower mind. Each of these has a strong pole and a weak pole.
The lower mind's weak pole is reason and its strong pole is desire. That's why any desire can be reasoned out, including the desire to hurt another or refuse to grow despite all signals that it's time to give up abusive behaviors and attitudes.
The Higher Mind's weak pole is intellect. That's why intellect alone is not strong enough to give up a desire that's been reasoned out, including the desire to stay willfully ignorant. That's different than simple ignorance. When it's time to choose a different way of living and a being desires the same patterns, that's willful ignorance that has been consciously or unconsciously chosen by ego-mind.
The Higher Mind's strong pole is the only solution to the lower mind's malfunctioning. The strong pole is Will, in the sense of Spiritual Will. When we apply our Spiritual Will in any moment, old ways are transcended immediately, and the desire mind and its rationalizations have no hold on the being.
This is where we hit the rub of evolution itself, since energy being energy, it can be used for good or ill even when a being is working from their Higher Mind as they see it. An evil magician and good magician use the exact same tools and energies, but the former uses it for ego gratification while the latter uses it for the service of humankind.
In a historical example, the Nazis believed they were agents of divine Will to better the race. They were operating off their sense of what their "higher mind" dictated, even though it was actually rationalized misguided ego separateness focusing the energy of ego-will in extremely cruel and abusive ways.
This is why motive and intention don't matter in examining conscious or unconscious hurtful actions and ego-willfulness. Hitler thought he was doing the human race a favor by eliminating all he deemed "lesser" genetic stock. Does that excuse his willful actions? If we allow unconsciousness as a defense for abusive behavior and refusal to grow into a more humane existence, then we give Hitler a justification for his inexcusable actions.
In another example closer to home, war criminals in leadership positions may believe that torture helps us avoid our potential to suffer in the future, but however unconscious, this is also willful chosen behavior. The fact that a torturer can rationalize all kinds of hurtful behaviors while remaining deliberately obtuse regarding the insanity of their actions is no excuse for those actions.
The Lords of Karma take no note of intention, only actions and results of those actions. The fact that someone is ignorant of the hurtful results of their actions is no excuse, since on subconscious levels they are entirely aware of the larger feeling field in which we all live, breathe, and have our Being. This is why all beings are totally responsible for what they do and do not do, regardless of their seeming inability to grow and move forward into less hurtful behavior.
The dividing line between ego-will and Divine Will is as sharp as a razor's edge, and leads to death or life. Each chooses in the moment based in their acceptance or avoidance of the higher lessons being taught.
All beings are capable of awakening, without books or people or any other thing. We were shown that for all time by the example of Buddha, who found that life is about suffering, that suffering arises from ignorance and attachment, and that we can end suffering without needing a teacher through practicing the 8-Fold Path.
If a being chooses not to practice any of those 8 ways of living, then they will surely suffer at some point. Then they either choose to end suffering, or in their suffering try to find others who also suffer to justify their suffering, or perpetuate their suffering by taking it out on another. These all involve choices.
Ignorance is no excuse for one who has been offered the cup of life. Either they drink of life, or they choose to stay lost in death. No one who is on Earth must suffer from ignorance. Any who ask will be given what they need to learn to grow.
Up to now we have not dealt with the factor of conscience, that indwelling sense of what is true, good, and beautiful cultivated over the ages of many lifetimes. Each being has a conscience that allows them to know what is higher, and what is lower.
No one is unaware of their conscience except for psychopaths and those with organic brain dysfunctions. Since this only factors in for a small percentage of the human race, it remains that most people have a conscience cultivated over countless lifetimes, and thus have a reference point, if only in subconsciousness, to know what they should and should not do.
That means all beings do perceive, consciously or unconsciously, a "better way to be," and thus are capable of change any time they want. While self-consciousness may be clouded by desires and illusions, subconsciousness is always beholding superconsciousness, or Spirit. There is no separation on that level. The only thing that thinks it's separate is ego mind, and that too is an illusion.
The entire universe is always sending us signals. It is up to us to pay attention to Spirit, and not stay lost and distracted by illusions, desires, avoidance and attachments. These may be afflictions of the mind, but it is our task, each moment we are alive as sentient beings, to antidote these afflictions.
Each is given many opportunities throughout life to grow in awareness of self, others, and the larger life in which they live, breathe, and have their being. Each chooses to accept these growth opportunities or ignore them at their peril.
All beings have the opportunity to choose to awaken at any given moment in their life if they pay attention to the life around them. Since the evolutionary process itself always offers us new truths, we always have a choice to "see it differently." There is never a time or circumstance where we are prevented from moving from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality.
The light is always there, impossible to ignore or forget, even for those who are ignorant. That's why we always have the power to choose to awaken to a more "enlightened" way of doing our Being.
Copyright © 2010, 2012 Robert Wilkinson