In my first blog (An Introduction To Living Your Potential) I talked about how moving toward your potential is what will bring you happiness, and finding your unique life purpose is the path that guides you there. Often we know what we should be doing yet we have difficulty following through. There is a discrepancy between our actions and intentions. How do we get them to coincide? How do we know if we are reacting to impulses or acting with perfection?
Acting with perfection is freely moving down the path to self-realization without being restricted by patterns of behavior based on impulses; this is free will. Free will is an often-misunderstood concept as mental decisions are regularly confused for free will.
We are subjected to conscious and unconscious impulses of the mind, body, and emotions. Sometimes we act knowingly upon these impulses: we know we have addictions to patterns of behavior, but we feed them because the impulses are strong. More often we act unknowingly. In both cases we believe that it was our decision to act in the manner that we did. It was my choice, it was my free will, we claim.
However, identifying with your thoughts is what confuses you about which decisions were based on free will. You are not your thoughts. You are a spiritual being; you are your soul. When you examine free will it should be from the perspective of the soul, not the mind. Free will is exercising your intention, the intention of the soul. Every decision that moves your soul down the path towards self-realization is exercising free will. Everything else is based on impulse.
You often think that you are acting freely, but mostly you are not; you are giving in to conscious and unconscious impulses. To determine if a decision is free will you just have to answer the question – is this in accordance with my soul’s intention? With this perspective it is easy to determine what is free will and what isn’t. Otherwise you have to determine which decisions are based on impulses and which aren’t. This leads to confusion since many impulses are unconscious.
This perspective makes it easier to understand patterns. For example, if you weren’t aware that sitting on the couch for 6 hours watching television everyday was based on an impulse, you would be when applying the question – Is this in the best interest of my soul? You can then ask yourself, what is this preventing me from doing, or causing me to do? This allows you to see the effects of the pattern of behavior. Sitting on the couch in front of the television is preventing me from working. Then you can ask yourself, why am I avoiding work? It could be fear. Where does this fear come from? I am not confident in my capacity. This is an oversimplification, but this method can be applied to uncover more complex patterns. Is my attitude toward my colleagues, friends, and partner in accordance with my soul’s intention? How am I acting toward them and why? This mode of thinking allows you to uncover negative patterns of behavior and thought that are holding you back from exercising your free will.
This is about liberating yourself from patterns that are holding you back from lasting happiness. Happiness based on feeding impulses is unsustainable. As soon as the impulse is fed, a new impulse arises. Desire makes lasting happiness fleeting. However, happiness based on your true nature, will endure.