REFINEMENT OF THINKING
MAN HAS FREE WILL
There is no difference between animal and man as far as the physiological and biological self is concerned, and the difference starts from the psychological or the mental level. We could safely say that the difference between an animal and a man is that man has developed the power to think. Thinking is a means that could quicken evolution, and all religions do agree that it is much easier for man to reach the divine stage because he has a mind.
Having the thinking ability, there are other stumbling blocks; it is like a coin where you have the heads and the tails; with the growth of the thinking ability in man, he has also taken on not only the section of the mind which could dwell in positive thinking, but he also has taken on the ability to dwell in negative thinking.
So, to recap, the difference between an animal and man is that a man has thinking ability, while the animal has not. The animal functions on an instinctive level; its evolution automatically proceeds to the stage of man. Man’s evolution can proceed much faster than the animal. Specific laws of nature guide the animal, and it becomes the development progress as nature wants it to progress; the animal has no say how fast or how slow it wants to progress, but man has the say how fast he wants to progress or how slow he wants to progress or if he wants to remain static.
When that point is conceived that the man can expedite his progress or retard his progress or remain static, it would mean that man has free will. Because of the abilities inherent in man, the development in man is very dependent on the other side of the coin, which is free will. On one side of the coin, he has the natural tendency to progress; on the other side, he has free will, which could act as a brake or act as an accelerator.
HOW TO EXERCISE FREE WILL
How is the free will to be exercised? That is the real question. Free will can be exercised by improving our conceptions and perceptions of things around us here in the relative material plain. As we refine the thinking processes inherent in us, we take the thinking process from a grosser level to a subtler level. In the progression between the grosser to the subtler, the free will in man is also affected, because as we said, free will and the urge for development are two sides of the one coin. If the thinking processes are refined naturally, free will joins in to support that refinement of thinking. When refinement of thinking occurs, free will plays together with refinement. At the gross level, free will could lead a person into various spheres called negative, but when the thinking processes are refined, free will is directed to lead one to positive things. Man still has a choice, and to exercise choice is to refine his thinking.
Refining of thinking must necessarily draw on something which is beyond thinking. What refines thinking is the power that is beyond the thinking that helps refine the thinking. It works in a complete circle. That which is beyond thinking is the spiritual ability in a man. Refining thinking through the mental process when it becomes finer and finer and finer, more of the spiritual quality in man is drawn into the thinking and that in turn again refines or elevates or gives direction, good direction to free will. So, in the process of evolution, in the process of progressing to a better and a higher life, we exercise all these three facets of man, the spiritual side, the thinking side and that which is connected with the thinking side, the free will. When a man has refined his thinking process, he starts flowing with the current of nature and as he flows with the current of nature and not against it, that ability to choose also becomes natural in always selecting that which is right.
Let us say that you have a choice of going to the bar to have a drink, and at the same time, you have a choice of going to a Satsang. Why does one man choose to go to the pub, and why does the other man go to Satsang? The difference is there in the refinement of thinking. To one, the grossness of the pub and the liquor he puts in him gives him a kind of pleasure, while for the one whose thinking is further refined goes to the Satsang where they will receive pleasure and the refinement of pleasure which is bliss. So here we have the choice.
REFINEMENT OF THINKING
If we want to go to a pub and force ourselves not to go to the pub, we are repressing certain latent desires we are inhabiting; we are pushing it aside as if we are hiding a skeleton in the cupboard. Our practices develop the refinement of thinking that will always lead us spontaneously to the right path. When we do our meditations regularly, and with great sincerity, we will find that the thinking gradually becomes more refined, and the mind gets attracted to greater and greater bliss. That is why we come to Satsangs because our thoughts during our meditations have produced a certain experience or perhaps a glimpse only, maybe a little glimpse that makes us realise that there is more. One teaspoon of sugar will make something so sweet to a certain extent, and we know that if you put in ten teaspoons, it will be sweeter. So, when we continue with our meditations and our practices, we refine thinking by going beyond thinking, we get a glimpse of the bliss, and the natural desire is produced for greater bliss, so that is why we will not go to the pub because that is a momentary kind of so-called pleasure which only ends in sorrow and displeasure. When we pursue something that we recognise to be higher than ourselves, the pleasure or bliss becomes permanent and, by continuous practice, gains greater and greater strength in the bliss. The refinement of the mind is led to a greater appreciation of bliss. Then the mind truly says, “I will go to the Satsang and not the pub”, and it will not be done by repressing or any form of inhibition which could be psychologically damaging to a person. You hide a skeleton in the cupboard, and surely, one day, it will walk out. It gains a certain kind of energy, a momentum where while you are unaware, it will start rattling his bones there, and it will make itself known.
These are the mechanics, and that is what we do and want to do more and more.
BY DRAWING FROM DEEP WITHIN ACHIEVEMENTS BECOME MORE FULFILLING
The energies that are used in positive thinking are the same energies that are used in negative thinking. So there, too, free will comes into play on how to direct those energies. It has been taught by many schools of positive thinking that think positively and visualise what you want to gain in life, and you will gain it. That visualisation of what you want to gain in life followed by proper planning and proper action will get you what you want, but delving only on a mind level. A gross mind can also do that because it contains a powerful force that could influence another person’s mind and influence the atmosphere.
If you desire to gain a million pounds, that desire is created by the mind only. It is a desire to accumulate, and once you have accumulated the million, you will proceed further, and you want two, and then you want five, and then you want ten. These schools that teach these positive thinking’s are quite helpful in a person’s life to achieve something, but then we ask the question, why do I want to achieve it? Is it for my ego? For name and fame, everyone must respect me and say, “Ah, there goes a millionaire”? Is it for me to build many mansions and have one in every country?
These pleasures become momentary because one desire of that nature activates itself into many more desires, and with this activation of further and further desires, it could become an obstacle in the path of one’s growth. If we develop refined thinking through our practices and mediations, then the object we want can be more easily gained because you are drawing on mind power and soul force. The desired object becomes available quicker, but there is one difference from the level of refined thinking, from the level of the source of thought, which is right next to the divinity within, our desire will be a good desire. Then you will say, “Let me get these million pounds so with that I could help the poor or the needy or the lonely or the lost.”
There is the difference in using positive thinking as some schools teach whose basis is entirely on the material level; we use the same method, but we draw from deeper within whereby achievements are made into their full glory and beauty. Achievements become fuller, more fulfilling, and more beautiful, and the pleasures we gain by that become permanent pleasures. When we taste nectar, we do not worry about the little teaspoons of sugar.
WHEN WE ARE READY, WE WILL GAIN
First, deserve and then demand always. Always first deserve and then demand. Most of the frustrations in this world today, where we see frustrated people, are demanding without deserving. When we are ready to gain, we do not even need to strive. When we are ready, it just comes, which applies to one, not only on the material level but also the spiritual level; it applies in every sphere of man’s personality and the expansion of that personality.
So, it is very accurate that if we prepare ourselves, things come automatically; they do, they do. Nature supports. That is the law of nature; it always helps. Nature is never against a man; although man is a product of nature and has that free will, he goes against nature, where trouble starts. All trouble starts from there because we start going against the current; we start going against the current of life.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang SA 1976 – 06