WHAT MAKES YOU CHOOSE?
There are various levels of the mind, and only the lower mind thinks it makes a choice.
One thought in the mind wants to go to New York, and another thought says, “I want to go to San Francisco.” The lower phases of the mind would debate the point, weighing its pros and cons. But the very debate of the point, “Shall I go to New York or San Francisco,” is not entirely dependent on the lower levels of the mind because the lower level of the mind is only subjected to outward sensual input. That very thought, “where shall I go,” would go to deeper layers of the mind, and when it goes to deeper layers of the mind, to the Chitta, where the pros and cons are weighed. It is like the plaintiff and the defendant fighting each other, and that is the conflict that is felt in the conscious level of the mind: shall I or shall I not? To be or not to be? But it does not stop there. It goes further to the memory box, and there it would try to find which was pleasurable the last time: was New York more enjoyable, or was San Francisco more pleasurable?
These cases are presented in one section of the mind and then sent to buddhi, the discriminative faculty, and there it is weighed further, and that very thought gets more refined. After refining the conflicting ideas, it goes to the ego-self, which you have created and which forms the totality of your mind. The answer would come back via the usual channels from which it went there, which will make you decide where you want to go to, either New York or San Francisco.
That is as far as modern psychology goes. Modern psychology will talk to you, not only of the I-ness, the ego, but they will also talk to you of the superego, which comes about through parental and environmental conditioning. But that is not enough. There is another factor involved in you making a choice. That factor is the energy of the inner Self that energises or vitalises your thought processes, and that energy can be activated, or your conscious mind can subdue it, and then you are left choiceless.
When you think that you are deciding, you are not deciding at all with your conscious mind. This works very, very fast. The decision is already made there by the various forms of patternings in your mind. The patternings in your mind force you to make a decision, to make a choice.
So, you are not deciding. There are also external factors that influence you. You meet a friend, and he influences you; let us go and see this movie. And he will say, “Oh, no, it is not a nice movie, but the other one is better. So let us go there.” Are you using your mind, or are you using your friend’s mind? You are being influenced. In daily living, you are constantly subjected to outer influences. Your conscious mind is a very susceptible vehicle, and it could be influenced in many, many ways. You sat down to breakfast this morning, and I am sure you chose what seemed to be most palatable or something you had eaten before and enjoyed. So, your choice is dependent, not only on outer circumstances but also on the inner circumstances, the inner mechanisms that are operating with you.
FREE WILL IS VERY LIMITED
When you talk of choice, you naturally would mean free will. There is no such thing as free will in totalness. Free will operates only in a limited manner. Free will tells you that you go to Chicago either by helicopter, motor car, donkey cart, ox wagon, or whatever. That is far as your free will goes, which in reality is not free will – that is also influenced by other circumstances. You want to get to Chicago in a hurry to take the helicopter, and you want to take all your time about it, then you choose an ox wagon. And then, of course, you study your pocket, as well. The ox-wagon would be cheaper than the helicopter. So even in such a small matter, your free will, which you think is so free, plays a very small part.
We are all on this Earth, or in this universe, regulated by a pattern, and everything functions in a pattern. If you study the hemisphere, if you study the skies, you will find the orbiting planets, you will find the various stars in the galaxies and all, they are all working in a perfect precision; everything is just perfect. That is why the newspapers could tell you when the sun will rise and what time the sun is going to set because it is a pattern.
Where does this pattern come about? This pattern is what we call Divine Will, and Divine Will has to operate in a pattern to prevent chaos. Even when two planets crash, that is also part of a pattern. They had to crash to create other kinds of patterns. So, man’s will is very, very limited. Say, for example; you do not feel like having lunch today. There could be many reasons for that. Either you are not hungry, so you are influenced not having lunch because you are not hungry, or you might be having a tummy ache, or you might be fasting. So not eating lunch today is also not your choice. It is governed by other factors. The most important thing, which yoga psychology would teach you about, is the samskaras, the past impressions gathered over a long period and which create a particular kind of tendency in your daily living.
TENDENCIES CAN BE MODIFIED
What we are confronted with are tendencies that have created patterns within us. These tendencies can be modified. That is the tendency of a river running in a specific direction, but you can always brook it to run in a different direction. There only lies the importance of your will, not necessarily free, but your will, which again is governed by other factors that go beyond the established tendencies.
The other factors are the Divine Will of which we spoke. A man has a nice job, and he loses his job. Why did he lose it? Because he chose to lose it. He might not have chosen consciously, but an unconscious force brings about, that attracts, the conditions to him to lose that job.
Ninety-nine percent of the world’s people do not like their jobs. They get bored by it after a while, and they seek something else, and then after a while, they get bored of that. Then they find a third job, and after a while, they get bored of that. From where does this boredom come? Does it come from your choice? No. It comes from your mental conditioning. The man is an electronic engineer; he comes into circumstances, has to make a living, and collects dustbins. His mind is geared to be that television or electronic engineer, but he starts collecting dustbins from door to door because of the circumstances forced upon him. He does not like to collect dustbins, so the dislike of it is created first in his mind, and therefore, despite how well he does his job, he creates that emanation around him that would make him lose the job.
Two people apply for the same job; one is rejected although he has better qualifications, and another is accepted who has lesser qualifications. People would call it personality. But it is not the personality so much, but if you would include the emanation of the person in the personality, you could call it that. But without you saying a word, your very presence, your very being, influences the other person, making him give you the job or reject you. So, everything is so dependent upon our minds.
BLOCKAGES CAN BE REMOVED
We think we are analysing, but we are not. We believe we use our minds, but we use a tiny fraction of the mind. A very small fraction, a bit of the brain’s left hemisphere, the analytical side, that is all that we use. There are many billions of cells in the left hemisphere of the brain, which have been preconditioned, preprogrammed like a computer, and that is what is doing the job.
We forget or do not know how to use the brain’s right hemisphere, which is the intuitional side connected to our higher Self. When the synaptic control is not working or functioning at its true value or its most entire value, then naturally, you would think, “I am thinking, and I am making a choice.”
When you awaken the brain’s right hemisphere through spiritual practices, which is connected to your higher Self, you will find that the analytical left hemisphere will function in greater coordination of what you need, and that is provided all the time. Because with the analytical portion of the mind, of the brain, which you think is choosing, call it choosing if you wish to, but if it is empowered through the right hemisphere with greater synaptic control, where the electrons jump from one to the other. They are not connected, but a total current jumps over from one to the other. And there is a blockage there created by your modes of thought.
These blockages can be removed through spiritual practices, where you can use your mind’s higher and higher levels. The best results in life are produced when you go beyond the levels or the various facets of the mind and allow that inner Self to function. They call it the inner voice, which could very easily be heard. A few months of real, regular and proper spiritual practices will allow you to use and hear that inner voice, and you cannot go wrong. Because if you go wrong, your mind goes into greater conflicts and then you say, “Oh, I have chosen the wrong thing.” You have not chosen the wrong thing, but you have allowed the wrong thing to happen to you.
LIFE IS A HAPPENING, A PROCESS
Everything in life is a happening, it is a process, and in this process of life, it is a whole lot of happenings pierced together like in a necklace with a thread. They seem connected, yet each happening has its own particular identity. Only when you put the thread through, the beads lose their identity, and you call it a necklace. You do not have your mind on the beads anymore. You would not say, “Oh, those are my beads.” You would say, “That is my necklace.”
If you really can say that, then you would find all the processes of life become one. It assumes a totality. Because these beads alone, on their own, can do nothing, and you will probably lose them. But if they are systematically connected up, then life assumes a flow because of the connectedness of the various facets of your life. When this connectedness comes about, fragmentation disappears, and only this fragmentation makes you think you are choosing.
You are not choosing. It appears to be a choice, but it is appearance. There is a great difference between appearance and reality. I do not say everything is an illusion, that one particular bead is real. But if the importance is put on that particular bead, life loses its flow, and when the flow is lost, you are not living.
LIFE HAS TO BE A FLOW WITHOUT CHOOSING
We have to make life flow, and it has to flow naturally without choosing. This does not mean you allow the tendencies from past karmas within you to play havoc with you. If you draw from that inner source, those karmas will not play havoc. Whatever you sow, you will reap, that is very true, but this operates on a much lower plane of existence, on a very, very small relative plane. You can go beyond the sowing and the reaping, and the fruit would be there without sowing and without reaping. What fruit will be there? The fruit of burning the seeds of karma will leave your mind in a happy state, in a blissful state, in a joyful state, and is that not what you want?
Happiness and joy stems from within, and the choices that are made for you by Divine Will will always produce happy results because Divinity itself is nothing but joy. It is we that distort that joy and make ourselves miserable. Therefore, we say, “Not my will, let Thy will be done.” And who is that Thy? That Thy is your real inner Self.
If you tap those resources and say, “Thy will be done,” you are bringing forth through the various facets of your mind to your physical bodies that joy, where that joyousness permeates every cell of your body, and when you have that joyousness, why do you want to make a choice?
If your end and aim in life are to experience joy, and joy means no conflicts, you do not need to choose. You make a choice only because of conflicts in the mind. If there were no conflicts, you do not need to make a choice at all.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 198