Chapter 14

Are You Ready to Give Up Bondage for Freedom?

Mind is responsible for both bondage and liberation.
Sai Baba

Is There Freewill Or Is Everything Predetermined?

Even as a child I remember grappling with the question of whether there was freewill or if the events that were to happen in my life were intractably written. I was sure there had to be freewill, but over the years I have encountered many spiritual aspirants who insist that all is predetermined and that we really don’t have any say about what happens either in our personal lives or in the world at large. That never resonated for me and so I have spent much energy and focus on that particular question, as it seems vital to our every undertaking. If my efforts cannot alter my destiny, then I am not all-powerful as I am led to believe and will not be motivated to put forth efforts if I know my striving to be a futile exercise. I will attempt to make a case for freewill, without excluding predetermination all together.

If we are as God created us, we are all-powerful. Then we are certainly not helpless to simply and complacently accept things as they are. It must be that we have the power to change our circumstances. It must be that what is happening in our world is due to choices we made and that when we make different choices we will have different experiences. Ego is an idea that things could happen to us against our will. Without ego then, we are not under a spell where we think things are happening counter to our own choosing. It must be alliance with ego then that convinces us that we do not have freewill.

If you think certain thoughts, what is causing you to think those thoughts? Is there some force outside of you more powerful than you ordering you to think or act contrary to your better judgment? It is as you think. If you think you are helpless, you will convince yourselves of your helplessness and find yourself unable to change your mind or circumstances. However, if you know that you have the power to change your mind, the result will be a shift in consciousness, generating different thoughts. If you believe you are autonomous all your thoughts and actions will support that belief. If you believe you are one with everyone and everything, you will have thoughts and actions which support that understanding.

If someone says or does something that inspires you, you find yourself naturally emulating them to a certain extent. How is that possible unless you made a choice to do so? If everything comes from desire, where does desire come from if not freewill? If you are doing something that you know you ought not do, who is preventing you from changing your mind and making a different choice?

In the New Testament, Paul lamely suggests that though ‘the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak,’ but I see that as an excuse to make the body real. Your body is never more powerful than your all-powerful mind, therefore you can change your mind about anything and it will shift your tendency. I used to overeat and struggled with trying to stop. When I understood that my body is not real and is not my master, food stopped being an annoying presence in my consciousness. Sometimes we feel so caught up in our self-made traps that we convince ourselves we are helpless to stop our negative tendencies even if we sincerely wish to stop. We can always ask God to help us. If we do that, we will be shown how to overcome our bad habits without a struggle, just as the man who gave up alcohol by offering it to Sai Baba.

The reason freewill is rejected by most people is because then we would be responsible for everything that happens to us. That is why we do not want to make decisions, hoping someone else will decide for us. This frame of mind comes from an unwillingness to acknowledge our limitless power.

We give our power away every time we let someone else make decisions for us and this is the reason we subsequently feel helpless. When we are willing to step into personal responsibility for our particular set of circumstances, we see that freewill is a great blessing and gift and will use it wisely. When we defer to God, however, we are not giving our power away, but rather reclaiming it, as only with God are we all-powerful.

It is essential to recognize our responsibility in order that we be willing to make a shift in consciousness from victim consciousness to God consciousness. Once we take responsibility we will be motivated to change our minds and circumstances. Then we have recognized that we do indeed have freewill and are not buffeted about by circumstances beyond our control.

As long as you think of God as outside of you, you will feel that God’s will is a will that is separate and different from yours. You are God’s will. If you are God’s will and do not accept His will, you can only be not accepting what you are. If your joy is what you are and you deny God’s will, you are denying joy.

 

Are Some Things Predetermined?

There have been prophecies, predictions and forebodings since time began. There are palm readers, astrologers and seers who can predict what will transpire both in our personal lives and in the world at large with uncanny accuracy. This is certainly good evidence for the argument that there is no freewill. There are some students of ACIM who say that everything has already happened and we are back in heaven where we never left. This may be so in truth, but until heaven is my experience I must guard against complacency.

There is also the idea that we came into this birth on a particular mission or assignment in this lifetime which cannot be avoided. That assignment could be in relation to karmic consequences from the past or our role in the salvation of the world. Sai Baba says that we have about as much leeway as a calf on a rope tied to a tree. We can move in any direction but cannot really stray too far from the tree. In a way that is comforting as it means we really cannot stray too far from the purpose for which we are here.

If we find ourselves inexplicably driven or motivated, it may be that we signed up or volunteered for a specific undertaking. We can now complain to God that we don’t like our assignment, but He will probably respond, “What can I do, you signed up for this.” Everything happens at our choosing. And maybe God will cut us some slack. Frequently Sai Baba can be seen writing in the air with His finger. He has explained that He is rewriting the script where appropriate and warranted.

In India there is a tendency to surrender to one’s particular set of circumstances, understood to happen due to the laws of karma, which frequently takes the form of apathy or complacency. On the one hand it is good to accept things as they are. It is good to be happy knowing that no matter what is happening, your peace cannot be affected unless you choose to be agitated by your circumstances. But what is the cause of the particular circumstances we find ourselves in if not our own choosing? Where does karma come from if not from choices we made in the past? If we are experiencing the consequences of karma from previous lives, then it must be that karma came from choices we made at some time. Would it not follow then that if we made different choices now we could have different experiences now as well, and in time to come?

All of time is going on all the time. We saw in Chapter 3 how we can travel back in time. Is it also possible to travel into the future? I do not have any hard evidence for this possibility, but the future is certainly predictable based on the past. History repeats itself. We meet the past in the present because we have not changed our minds about past mistakes and thus repeat the same mistakes over and over again. The future is foreseeable because we are predictable. We are creatures of habit, slow learners and procrastinators, but that does not mean that the future is set it stone. What happens is pre-destiny and what we do with it is self-effort. If we have lemons, we can make lemon aid. Our cup can be half full or half empty. We can always choose how we respond to every circumstance and we can even change our circumstances when we are determined to do so. We are all-powerful.  All our karma can be effaced by God’s grace.

When I prayed with all my heart to know the truth regarding freewill, I was given a dream in which Arjuna and I were sitting across the table from each other. He was telling me about the great Mahabharata war in which he fought. Before the battle he was given a vision in which he saw everything that would take place prior to it ever happening. I was dismayed to hear this because it sounded as though everything was in fact predetermined. But Arjuna assured me, “When consciousness changes destiny also changes.” If that is so, then you are not bound by karma from previous lives. You do not have debts that have to be paid back. You are bound to karmic consequences only as long as you think karma fair and just. As soon as you view karma as ego’s idea of justice and not God’s, you change your consciousness and your destiny will change accordingly. If you change your mind about what is true, your experience must reflect that change. Baba says, “Let me efface all your karmas.”

We do have freedom of choice or we would not be all powerful as we were created. We do have the freedom to change our consciousness and thereby our destiny. It was by our choice that we experienced victim-victimizer consciousness, so we can choose again and return to God consciousness. All this takes place by our choice, because our will is free.  But we do not have the freedom to be separate from others. In that sense, our will is not free, as everyone and everything is affected by everything we do and we are affected by what others do. We are one organism and cannot be autonomous. God’s will also is not free in that sense. He also awaits our blessing for every action He undertakes.

Our Freedom Is Limited To Limitless Creative Expression

Sai Baba says there is no freewill. He also says there is no one more powerful than you. When we depend on God we have full freedom as that is God’s will for us. We are free to choose to be dependent on God or not. In our total dependence on God lies our total freedom. We thought freedom had to do with independence from God, but autonomy has been the cause of all our suffering and we cannot call that freedom.

Our need for independence and our belief in karma have been the cause of our bondage. Due to God-dependence and oneness with everyone there is no freewill as such. Due to the fact that there is no will outside of God’s will, there is no freewill. If you can be content to call limitless happiness and boundless creative expression freedom, there is indeed freewill. There is no autonomy. There is no independence. That freedom is impossible. Every decision you make and every action you take affects everyone. You do not have the freedom to act in isolation. You are only free to create and to love without limit.

We were created to create the good, the beautiful and the holy. We would not be able to create if we were not created free. What is creation without freedom? God created us free and that means forever. He did not change His mind about His beloved children. Our freedom is guaranteed and when we are in alignment with God’s will, freedom will be our experience. God’s will is our true will. Our wills are intertwined.  When we accept that God’s will is ours, we are free. If that is so, then the idea that there is no freewill merely means there is no independent will. God’s will is not independent of yours, nor is your will independent of His, nor is your will independent of the rest of humanity. We are one organism and what you do affects everyone, just as what everyone else does affects you.

In the beginning God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden. He recommended not eating from it, however it was available. Once we understand that the fruit of the tree was the making of ego, we can see that because God’s kingdom is freedom, God could not keep us from separating from Him if we so desired. Before the eating of the ‘forbidden’ fruit, the only thought that could be outside of God’s will was the wish to be different from how we were created. We were created free to experience that desire, though we could not alter the truth. Had God not permitted us the freedom to choose an experience that would be different from how He created us, we would not have been created free. It is freedom that allows us to make choices that may not be in our best interest.

Though God created us perfect forever, we have the freedom to experience ourselves as different from how we were created. We gave ourselves the experience of being birthed by earthly parents and convinced ourselves that we were born at the time of physical birth, instead of when God created us. We were free to make for ourselves a different experience than the one God created us to have. Our freedom was used to attempt to defy God’s will. We could make that choice because God willed us to be free. However, we are not free to alter God’s creation, therefore any experience that comes from a desire for autonomy is not real. We are not free to be more powerful than God, as that is impossible.

When we made ego, we attempted to make our own creator. This we did with the freedom God gave us. Now we are in an experience that is quite different from the one God intended for us. That is because we are listening to ego’s will for us. Ego’s will for us is bondage, though it fools us into believing that we are better off with it than with choosing God’s will. It convinces us that God wants to control us, that God’s will for us is not freedom, that God does not have our best interest in mind. It tries to convince us not to trust God. If ego can convince us that we want to will with it, it stays alive at our expense.

Because God willed us to be free, we have the freedom to choose that which may not be in our best interest if we so insist. He loves us too much to be our policeman, to stop us if we wish to make an experience for ourselves that will be painful. And He knows that we are unaffected forever by any unreal experience, though it may seem very real to us. He created us to be unalterably perfect and free forever. Even if we experience a nightmare, at our discretion, it cannot affect who we are. A nightmare happens when we are asleep. When we wake up, we discover it was only a dream and was not real and had no real effect.

If we want to stride into hell, God will not bar our way, for to do so would be to act counter to how He created us. Though He is pained at our suffering and at our wish to experience separation from Him, He honors us and is our perfect, most gracious host no matter what our wish. Our wish to be other than how we were created does not alter the truth. And our wish to be other than how we were created does not make us bad. It does however make us wrong, as it is impossible to act outside the Divine will. Fortunately error can be corrected and when corrected, we are back in a real experience of love, joy and delight, in unbroken communion with God and everyone. A willingness to be wrong is where freedom lies. Once you see that your wish for autonomy did not bring you happiness, would you not gladly admit that you were mistaken?

You Are Always Getting The Results Of Your Own Mind

Are you really free to choose whatever happens to you? If you are all-powerful, it must be so. If so, then why the experiences of sickness, suffering and death? If they are choices, then we can chose against them and any sane person would choose health, happiness and life, wouldn’t they? I know that there are still some who justify hardships as good for one reason or other. And there are those who complacently accept that everything is God’s will including pain, disaster, murder, etc. True, some challenges are Divinely orchestrated, but their purpose is remedial and we do know the difference. God is love and only wills that which offers the experience of love. However, you can choose any experience you wish. If you really were free to choose and yet your experience were of hard times, stress, anxiety, loss, deprivation and devastation, what is keeping you from getting what you really want?

It was in an attempt at getting around God’s will that we made ego. We made for ourselves a choice free of God’s will. A choice free of God’s will would be a choice devoid of freedom as freedom is God’s will. We stubbornly hold onto the choice for ego’s will, though it is hurting us, because we have been deluded into convincing ourselves that we are free when we are free of God’s will. In willing with ego, we still have no will of our own. All we accomplished was the ability to choose between everything and nothing. A choice for nothing is not a real choice, therefore we accomplished nothing. Sai Baba says, “You can only ever choose between God and ego, no other choice there is. Take one step toward God, He takes one hundred toward you. Choose ego and God leaves you alone.” We are never independent, whatever choice we make. Before the separation, choice was not an option. There was only God’s will.

After the separation, there was God’s will or ego’s will to choose between. The catch is that ego’s will is not real, because ego is not real. Thus any time you will with ego, you are not really willing at all. There is only God’s will and God’s will is your true will. In this way you really have only one true choice. There is no other will but God’s. However, choicelessness does not take away from your freedom to choose for nothing. You are all powerful and when you choose with ego, ego uses your all-powerful mind to limit you to unreal experiences, by your choice. When you choose with God, God frees you to use your all-powerful mind for healing the unreal, thereby restoring you to your original state of happiness. When you choose with God, you are directed to have a Godly experience, in line with God’s will for you, which is glorious freedom to create, love and know everything. God created us with the freedom to create, but not to be autonomous or separate from Him or each other, for that is impossible.

The Desire For Autonomy Is The Cause Of Bondage

We made ego to be autonomous and we will have an experience in line with our desire, complete with specialness, competition, greed, hatred, jealousy, anger and pride, all proving that we are indeed separate. This is what ego wills for us, because these baser tendencies lead to guilt. When we experience these feelings we feel guilty and if we continue to turn to ego for a solution, ego will tell us that the way to get around these feelings is to project them out or deny them. When we project guilt onto another by seeing him or her as the one with the problem, we are fooled into thinking that we have gotten rid of our problem. An idea of separation has permitted us to fool ourselves. Or if projection doesn’t work, ego advises us to ignore these baser tendencies. All the while ego knows that we have not gotten rid of our enemies and that we will suffer the consequences of any imperfections. Ego likes us to think ourselves incapable of perfection and to act imperfectly because it knows that all uncorrected imperfections are attended with guilt and ego depends on guilt for its survival.

What gives ego power to condemn you? You and you alone, and when you want, you can simply remove allegiance from ego and be free. Bondage was never your true experience because God in His infinite love created you free forever. You are always holy and pure, though your experience may serve to convince you otherwise. In your purity lies your freedom. Freedom is your truth forever and when you want freedom to be your experience, it will be so, for there is nothing to oppose your will. Freedom and bondage are mutually exclusive. You were created free forever. Our chains of oppression are self-inflicted and can be cast off when we no longer want them.

We used all our God given power to choose another will beside God’s. We thought independence would be a better experience than dependence on God and each other. We wanted freedom from God’s will, though God’s will for us is our freedom. We had freedom and traded it in for bondage. We misperceived. All we have to do is own our error and see that ego’s will is not what we really want after all. We never wanted suffering. We just didn’t realize that was part of the package when we wanted autonomy from God. God does not punish us for separating from Him, but ego does.

God’s will for you is perfect freedom, wholeness, abundance, uniqueness, joy beyond imagination and deepest peace. He wishes you to express yourself creatively eternally. He wishes you to have everything. He guarantees your survival and does not will you to work to sustain yourself. His will for you is that you never have a care again. He wills to take care of you completely, so you never need to be anxious about anything. He created you perfect and depends on you to express your perfection always. God loves you so very much. He created you as an expression of His love. He wants you to walk the earth with your head held high in the full recognition of who you are as a holy beloved child of God, with all the glory, splendor, majesty, mastery and freedom of God Himself.

Ego’s will for you is that you hate or fear God, so it tries to convince you that God doesn’t love you and that God wants to control and punish you, because if you love God, you will depend on Him and not on it. Without your support, ego is finished. Ego wants you to think it is your friend, but all along it is doing everything it can to convince you that you are not who you are. When we wake up to our truth, ego is gone. When we realize who we are, there is no sickness, suffering, lack or death. All these came with ego and go when ego goes. Ego came at our choosing and we are free of it when we so choose as well. When free of ego, we are free to be as God created us.

Salvation Lies In A Willingness To Be Wrong

God is both Spirit and mind. You are also Spirit and mind, being the same as your Creator. Spirit is unaffectable forever though mind can choose a true experience or an untrue experience, as it is free to convince itself of whatever it wants to believe, whether true or untrue. God would never wish things to be other than how they are. Because His kingdom is freedom, we have the option. It is possible for mind to make unwise choices, due to its freedom. When your mind is whole and sane it is one with the mind of God. However, it can become an unhealed mind or an insane mind, reflected in an insane experience by your choice.

We think that if we were created perfect we shouldn’t be able to experience imperfection. Can unreality change what is real? Nothing unreal can threaten what is real. It is up to you what you experience, though it is not within your power to alter your status. If you want the experience of the perfection that you are in truth, then what can stop you from having that as your experience right now? You are all-powerful and there is no force to stop you from doing what you want, not even God. Want perfection and it must be your experience. Want imperfection and that is your experience. God’s kingdom is freedom.

A mind that is willing to be wrong is free. It is possible to make mistakes and errors are correctable. When errors are corrected, you are restored to a true experience. Uncorrected error is given reality through an unwillingness to see it for what it is and correct it. It thus falls into ego’s domain and ego labels it sin, irrevocable, wreaking permanent damage, for which you deserve punishment and damnation. That is bondage. Ego judges you sinful because it wishes to remain alive now that it has been given life. Ego’s existence depends on your having traded in your eternal life for time. Time is needed for meting out punishment. Ego dependency is a sick dependency. This tale of sin and subsequent punishment is your sad story until you are ready to awaken from your nightmare only to find that you never left home in truth. Your experience with ego is not a true experience and when you return home it will be because you chose to turn your back on ego by being willing to correct error. Then you are restored to the experience of the perfection God wills for you.

True Freedom Lies In Discipline

There are those who say that it doesn’t matter what you do, as none of this is real anyway. One teacher who applied this idea accumulated 93 Rolls Royces. Can you imagine how much good could have come of those misappropriated resources had license not taken hold? If we do not control our appetites, we become slaves to our senses. What slave is free? It is a contradiction. The trap of desires is a bottomless pit. Freedom lies in self-discipline and self-control. Self-discipline means controlling the senses, controlling the mind, living sensibly, curbing desires, using time and space wisely. A mind whose thoughts are under one’s control is free. Unreality can and must be transformed into reality by using everything with love and for a sacred purpose. God is sacredness and resides in everything. When your actions are holy you have merged your mind with the mind of God and that is freedom.

Instead of, “Do whatever you like,” try “Do only that which you know to be God’s will.” It is not that you should do only God’s will, it is that only in doing God’s will is anything really happening and only then will you be happy. God’s will is all that is real. Anything else leads to bondage. Indulge in unreality and it will burn you. It is ego that taught us to believe that freedom lies in lack of discipline, because ego wants to give us a false sense of freedom, while binding us to karmic consequences. Don’t fall for its seductions. They will not give you the happiness you are looking for.

Sai Baba tells the story of a king who had five wives. This unfortunate king could not control his wives. He was not free. He was very frustrated. He thought constantly about how to control his wives but had no luck at all. Seeking a solution he sent word to all the men in his kingdom to come and share their successes or failures in relation to their wives. He put up two tents, one for those who had no better luck than he and the other for those who were indeed able to control their wives.

Subjects came from all corners of the kingdom and when the king wandered into the respective tents, he discovered the tent for those who were unsuccessful was full to overflowing. He was comforted that he was not the only man who had problems controlling his wives. As he wandered into the other tent he was delighted to find one lone man. Maybe this successful man would reveal his secret. When he asked the man how he had managed to control his wife the man confessed that he had in fact not been successful. The king was disappointed and gruffly ordered him into the other tent. “Oh please, your majesty,” pleaded the lone man, “I’ll do anything you ask, just don’t make me go into the other tent. My wife ordered me in this one.”

The king is the mind and his five wives are the five senses. As long as he caters to his senses of touch, taste, sound, sight and smell he will feel enslaved. He will feel that he is not in control of his life. The sense of touch gets you in trouble when you desire after bodily comforts or sensual pleasures. The sense of touch can be used to overcome any ideas that you are a body, such as preferences for hot or cold, pleasure or pain, etc. Taste is out of control when we over indulge the tongue. Eat to live; don’t live to eat. Food should be medicine for the disease called hunger. Our speech is also to be soft, pleasing and minimal. Eyes are a gift of God and should be used to see only those things that uplift and direct us Godward. See only good. Ears should be used to listen to only that which uplifts, music that opens the heart to love and to God, stories about God and noble character. Do not listen to idle gossip or deleterious messages. Hear only good. You can use your sense of smell to take you Godward through incense or heavenly fragrances. Do not lose equanimity over unpleasant smells. When you are a slave to your senses you are bound. Be the master of your senses to be free.

Obeying God’s Laws Leads To Freedom

If you made a mess and did not clean up after yourself, or were disorganized, after a while it would become impossible to find anything in your house and you would feel very frustrated. With a disciplined mind, you put things in their designated place so you can find them easily and avoid frustration. Discipline does not take away from creativity, but rather frees you up to be creative.

Only one who leads a disciplined life, curbing his senses and observing limits can experience that he is indeed limitless. Baba says, “Observe limits to attain limitlessness.” God has laws and if we obey them we will experience freedom. God’s laws are laws of love, out of His love, and are in place to serve our very best interests. They are given for our protection. God’s laws lay down a disciplined life-style with a code of conduct and proper protocol in relation to marriage, family and society. There are rules, God’s rules, and we all know what they are when we are willing to know and willing to be holy. Obeying them leads to freedom. When we do not want God’s will, we give ourselves the choice for ego’s will. But only God’s will is real. If your will is out of accord with God’s, you are willing without meaning. But because only God’s will is unchangeable, no real conflict of will is possible.

There is a fear that obedience to God’s laws will lead to bondage, restriction or contraction. If you trusted God to have your best interest at heart, you would know that a disciplined life-style cannot curb your creative expression, but must actually enhance it. There are those who lead undisciplined lives and who seem to be successful despite chaos. However, usually when we look more closely we see their freedom is met with frequent interludes of frustration. At the same time, the pendulum can swing to the other extreme, where one is disciplined to a fault and becomes too easily disturbed when others do not cooperate with his sense of order. The middle way leads to peace.

Only one who is determined to be free will not fall prey to temptation. That one will lead an impeccable moral, virtuous, selfless, pious, humble life. That one will have mastered control over the senses and will have reined them in. Without self-control and self-discipline one is at the mercy of every fleeting thought, sensory sensation or emotion that comes one’s way. Can that be freedom? When your life is sane, your thoughts are sane. When your thoughts are sane, your life is sane. The two support each other. Sanity is the happy dream. If you want to have holy thoughts, who is stopping you? You are all-powerful and you can control your thoughts when you so choose.

At Baba’s ashram discipline is encouraged. There is no initiating, kundalini demonstrations, dancing, jumping up and down, ‘dynamic’ meditation or enacting emotional release. One year I brought a group of 50 students of a friend to the ashram. She teaches initiations and kundalini and there is a lot of demonstrating and emoting as part of her offering. I had urged her to set all that aside. Her group wouldn’t hear it and they were all over the place. I could see how what they were doing was attracting attention to themselves and thereby making themselves special. The head Seva Dal (volunteer) came over and scolded, “No discipline.” I was terribly embarrassed. The spiritually mature do not need to demonstrate or be entertained. If you feel you cannot control your body you think your body more powerful than your all-powerful mind.

Perhaps you will be tempted to think that one who is so disciplined cannot be any fun to be around. You may resist being disciplined because it is boring, too difficult or too elementary. These are all ploys of ego to keep you bound to the rules of the world, the laws of chaos, which lead to guilt and subsequent suffering. Discipline is never a sacrifice. A disciplined mind sacrifices nothing and gains everything. Baba says that mind is a gift of God. We must discipline our minds as an expression of gratitude for our precious gift. It is we who used our minds to make ego which encourages indiscipline. Thus we must determine not to succumb to its temptations.

Discipline is a choice for sanity. God disciplines with love and always looks toward our best interests. True joy comes in holiness and a disciplined life-style. Everyone is attracted to Baba though He eats little, hardly sleeps and generally leads an impeccable life of discipline and holiness. He says, “My life is my message.” No one thinks of Him as a stick in the mud. Quite the contrary, everyone wants only to be near and dear to Him.

Discipline Does Not Mean Punishment

Where God recommends discipline, ego recommends punishment. Ego wants you to feel free to do whatever you want because it knows you will feel guilty for any indulgences, imperfections, addictions, derelictions or indiscretions and that guilt leads to self-inflicted punishment. Ego survives at your expense. The world says obedience leads to bondage. The world has everything reversed, because ego wants you to remain a slave and to think slavery is freedom. It says to do what you like and calls that freedom. It says to eat what you like, but when you are too heavy you do not feel free. You feel enslaved to food. You find yourself constantly thinking of the food you like, how to lose weight, how body conscious you feel... You are enslaved to food when you are overweight. Sai Baba tells many people who are overweight to control their appetites. He does not encourage an undisciplined life-style. We rebel against discipline, rules and adherence to God’s laws and call that freedom. God’s laws are where freedom lies and nowhere else.

When one thinks of discipline, perhaps one thinks of one’s formative years where discipline meant punishment, whether at home or in school. So this generation doesn’t discipline its children. We let them do whatever they please. We want freedom for our children and think giving them free reign is where freedom lies. That freedom had led to undisciplined television watching, school shootings, drugs, sex, abortions, single parenting, disrespect for teachers and parents and an utter lack of purpose. Lack of self-restraint has led to children hurting themselves and others in ways so deeply agonizing it needs no further discouragement. Without discipline and self-responsibility children lead lives that are anything but free. They ache because of the discipline they missed while growing up.

Our parents disciplined with fear and punishment so discipline was rejected. The baby was thrown out with the bath water. But suppose discipline took the form of a retraining of one’s mind. If a child were to understand that stealing were unnecessary because God would give him everything he truly needed, that would lead to the undoing of that unreal habit. Suppose a child stopped watching television because he was encouraged to pursue interests that really turned him on. Suppose a child were given a meaningful purpose like being responsible for pets, or tending a garden. Children need to know who they are at an early age. They need to know that God is their true Parent and that He loves them with the love of a thousand mothers, and that they can talk to Him whenever they want. He is always available.

If you discipline a child with love rather than fear, you are giving him what he needs to be happy for the rest of his life. It was discipline with fear and a stick and punishment that we rebelled against, not the discipline itself. Ask God to show you how to discipline your child and I trust your he or she will be well-adjusted, problem free for you and his teachers, and a blessing and joy to be around. A good way to discipline is by encouraging good behavior and sharing stories from the lives of uplifting and inspiring role models with your children. This helps them to connect with a positive approach to life in a world glaringly short on true role models.

Adults also can find peace in a disciplined life-style. Ego advises you to spend your money however you like, to enjoy sexual freedom, to entertain corruption, to abuse drugs and alcohol. ‘Do what you like – just don’t feel guilty,’  ‘you are God no matter what you do,’ or ‘nothing you do is real anyway.’ Ego tries to convince you that immorality is where freedom lies. All along it knows that if you fall for its lies, you will be digging yourself into a big karmic hole. You will have debts to pay for your ‘freedom’ and ego likes to see you in debt, because debts have to be paid up. That is just. To pay off your debts takes time and ego depends on time for its survival. Sai Baba says, “All your freedom is tied up in karma, in debts.” Your whole life is for payback for the ‘freedom’ you took in previous lives. Is that freedom? There is no man who does not feel that he is imprisoned in some way. If this has been the result of his own freewill, he must regard his will as if it were not free.

Fortunately, all that karma can be effaced with a simple shift in consciousness, reflected in a life of integrity and holiness. In the Bible, Jesus tells the parable of the vineyard. Someone comes to work early for an agreed upon wage. At noon another worker shows up and is offered the same pay as the one who has been working since early morning. Even the one who shows up at the eleventh hour gets the same pay as the one who came early. By the world’s standards this would seem unfair to the one who has been working all day, but by God’s standards you deserve the same pay because of who you are.

Using anger to demonstrate this teaching, the one who has never expressed anger comes to the vineyard early in the morning. The one who comes at noon has some history with mild irritability and the one who comes at the 11th hour has a substantial history with rage. All three get the same pay, peace, love and joy forever, because all three have left anger behind, thus find themselves in the vineyard. Their past is irrelevant and they all get the same benefits, because they are all equally precious souls and no past affected their truth in any way. God has no favorites. His love is always maximal.

You are already perfect and do not have to earn peace, love and joy. You come to the vineyard when you have changed your mind about who you are and know you do not have to pay back for your past. In coming to the vineyard you are ready to be as God created you, perfect, holy, loving and free. In accepting your truth, you have a clean slate, with no past debts to repay. You can come at any time. You can continue to think you need to balance the scales first through suffering if you choose. You can leave it all behind when you see that you were never guilty. Past is past. Baba says, “If you want Me you deserve Me.”  All errors are correctable, and there is no mistake that is more than an error. There is never a reason to feel guilty.

Our Will Is Equal With God’s Will

We have chosen to be in a state of opposition, in which opposites are possible. As a result there are choices which we must make. In our true state, our will is free in the sense that its creative power is unlimited, but choice itself is meaningless. In our true state then, there is no freewill, though we have total freedom of unlimited expression for our creativity. Because we made for ourselves a situation in which there is choice, we are free to choose between our true will and another will, a will that is not real, which essentially is thereby not a real choice. Let us not however minimize its reality for us. Once we see clearly what the choices are, we will be in a better position to make the wise choice.

We will choose for ego as long as we believe that doing the opposite of God’s will can be better for us and as long as we believe that it is possible to do the opposite of God’s will. When we choose for ego, it is because we believe that an impossible choice is open to us, which is both very fearful and very desirable. Our wish for other choices permitted ego to be a choice, but God only wills.Sai Baba says, “When I will, I act.” God does not wish. Our will is as powerful as His because it is His. Ego’s wishes do not mean anything because ego wishes for the impossible. We can wish for the impossible, but we can only will with God. This is ego’s weakness and our strength.

We have all convinced ourselves that we could act counter to God’s will. Any time you think you are defying God’s will, take comfort in knowing that nothing is happening. The experience of sickness, suffering and death is not real, but is the result of defiance against God’s will. It is not that God punishes us, but ego does. When we truly see the implications, we will happily do only that which we know to be in alignment with God’s will.

There is no one greater than you. God is not greater than you. To defy God’s will would be to be greater than God. You are equal with God, therefore it is not possible to do anything that is counter to His will. If you think you can defy God’s will, you are thinking with ego and you will feel guilty, because ego needs you to feel guilty to survive. You would only entertain the idea of defying God’s will if you wanted to prove your idea true or if you wanted to prove yourself greater than God. When you want untruth to be true, you will use your all-powerful mind to make it true for you. Take one step toward God and God takes one hundred steps toward you. Turn toward ego and God leaves you alone. He won’t push His way into your life. Only when you want God is He there for you.

When Adam made ego, he was frightened to be in God’s presence and that was the cause of his banishment from the garden. He banished himself. God did not banish him. It was God’s will to commune with Adam. God only wills your happiness. There is nothing opposing your will. It was Adam’s will to leave the garden because he felt unworthy to be in God’s presence. He had willed with ego and thus thought he had defied God’s will. He had not defied God’s will as that is impossible because his will is not greater than God’s. To think defying God’s will possible is erroneous thinking and when his thinking is corrected, Adam will again find himself in the Garden of Eden. God never banishes anyone. We banish ourselves by thinking there is another will besides God’s. When we think that, we are mistaken.

Outside Of God’s Will Nothing Is Happening

It is not that you shouldn’t do that which is not God’s will, it is that it is impossible to do anything other than God’s will. Does that mean that when the murderer murders in cold blood he is doing God’s will? No, he is not doing God’s will and nothing is happening. What has he killed? Only a body, which was never real. Can he kill the mind or Spirit? No. Only those are real. So he has killed what doesn’t exist. However, though nothing is happening, the action of killing comes from a mind that thinks it possible to kill, and thereby reveals that it does not know itself.

Only one who thinks he is a body attempts to hurt another body. Thus for him his action is real, and he binds himself to the laws of karma. He thinks it possible to do something that is not God’s will. That action will always be attended with guilt. So the murderer feels guilty and punishes himself for crimes he never committed. If he goes back in time to that moment where fear took the place of love and asks for help, he will be shown that truth is unaffectable. If he truly understands, he will have eradicated any and all murderous thoughts from his mind. The unreal will have been undone. His destiny will be altered as his consciousness changes to will to do only God’s will.

Most people who commit grave errors feel so badly about themselves that they tend to repeat their errors over and over again due to guilt. They feel helpless to change because they think they have done irreparable damage and identify themselves with their actions. Guilt binds and causes one to feel helpless to break negative patterns. Knowing ultimate truth is unaffectable should lighten one’s burden and at the same time shift one’s consciousness for the better. If you use it to justify unkindness, you are still too allied with ego to choose what is in your best interest. You can be the most hardened criminal and come back to God before the saint. It all depends on what you do right now.

There is no will but God’s. When you have recognized that, you know that your will is His. You are God’s will. Your will and God’s cannot be out of accord because they are one. This is the undoing of everything ego tries to teach. Ego wants to teach you that you want to oppose God’s will. This unnatural lesson cannot be learned, but the attempt to learn it is a violation of your own freedom and makes you afraid of your will because it is free.

Your will is free because your mind is all-powerful. You are free to choose God’s will in which lies your perfect freedom and you are free to think there is another choice though there is nothing outside of God’s will. When you really understand God’s will for you, you will not wish for something different.

 Freedom is an attribute of the mind, not the soul. The soul always remains changeless, because it never leaves the sight of God. If you really want to be free, you will bring your mind into alignment with your soul. If you really want to be free, you will ask God to guide your every decision, what you shall do, where you shall go, what you shall say. However God directs will be toward your freedom, because that is His will for you. God knows you better than you know yourself and loves you with the love of a thousand mothers. When you let ego direct you, it will tell you your freedom lies in doing whatever you like. All the while, ego wants you bound. That is its wish for you. It is seductive and deceptive.

Your mind can miscreate only when it is not free. An imprisoned mind is not free by definition. When your mind is held back, it is imprisoned by itself, as there is nothing outside of your mind. You are your own prison guard. You lock the doors against yourself. You hold the key to your freedom. Your freedom is in your hands. As long as you hold yourself back, your will is limited and not free to assert itself. A mind that is willing to be wrong is free. Correction of error frees your mind and reestablishes freedom of your will. When your will is truly free it cannot mis-create, because it recognizes only truth.

God Is The Only Doer

Some Sai devotees have the attitude that everything is Baba’s will, after all He teaches us to say, “It is You who made me walk and talk and think and act as I did.” If we truly give all to Sai, our lives must be transformed. If you say your every thought, word and deed comes from Baba, but it is not pure, you are choosing with ego and calling it Baba. You are not being honest with yourself. We are responsible for all our actions. Self-responsibility leads to a shift in consciousness and results in freedom. Once free of denial and guilt you open the door to the transformation of your heart.

Baba says, “I am the only doer.” He also says, “The way to immortality is through the removal of immorality.” When you understand that your mind is the mind of God, you realize that it is only with God’s energy that anything happens, even if it was a choice with ego. Even when you act with ego, ego is still using the power of God. Every movement draws on Divine energy. How are you using all that heavenly energy? Ultimately everything does source back to God, as God is the only Source. However, this does not mean that which sources from alliance with ego is God’s will. Ego is nothing and is thereby totally outside of God’s will. Lumping nothing with everything is ego’s mechanism for not taking personal responsibility.

It is thought by some that everything that happens to you is in your best interest. Everything that happens to you is not God’s will, though all can be used as God’s grace, as everything can serve the highest good. Everything can serve to bring us back into alignment with God’s will. Once a young girl was badly burned. Her mother’s spiritual teacher calmly suggested she find the blessing, as there is a blessing in everything that happens. The little girl was miraculously healed without the skin graft that was scheduled as part of her recovery, due to the teacher helping her to use her experience as God’s grace by supporting her to find the good in it and to trust in miracles.

What Is The Cause Of Natural Disasters?

 In January of 2001, there was an earthquake in the state of Gujarat. Baba, in His compassion for the victims, the homeless, the afflicted and the devastated, sent 18 huge trucks full of supplies: clothing, food and medicine. Baba was standing at the gate to bless each truck as it rolled away from the ashram compound. After a stirring send off, someone asked Him, “Baba, why do You spend so much money on supplies when You could have averted the earthquake?” Baba responded, “God does not create earthquakes or other disasters. These are due to man’s bad thoughts and greed.” Apparently mining for gold in the area had upset the ecosystem.

Sai Baba teaches that nothing happens without His will. Is everything then God’s will? Is the earthquake God’s will? On the one hand Baba says that everything is God’s will and on the other that some things are not due to His will. I asked a number of devotees what they thought He meant and most were unwilling to accept that the earthquake could have happened without Baba’s will.

There are those who complacently accept everything that happens as God’s play, unfolding as He wishes, as He ordains. There is no taking personal responsibility with this understanding, nor is there any recognition of the power of one’s own mind. There is no brightness of mind happening with this philosophy. If all the horrible things that happened were God’s will, wouldn’t that make God cruel?

To think the earthquake to be God’s will would be to have conceptual understanding of the teaching that all is God’s will. If everything is God’s will, what happened to you being all-powerful? Granted, everything real is God’s will. The earthquake was unreal and thereby not God’s will. Unreal experiences come from ego, not from God, as ego is unreal.

You can have an unreal experience and convince yourself that it is real. This does not make it real, nor does it follow that it is God’s will. We use God’s mind for everything we experience. God entrusted us with the freedom to use His mind and thus all our God power can be turned against us at our choice. It happens by wanting to experience another will besides God’s will. Once this is seen, we recognize that we can choose again and in that we offer ourselves an experience which will reflect that different choice.

Nothing happens outside of God’s will. The earthquake is nothing. However unreal events do not merely happen at random or without some will. There are no accidents. Nothing happens without our will. We have a responsibility for all that we witness in our world. Let us not use this teaching to be heartless in relation to the disruptive events taking place in the world and throughout time. They are real for us and we must treat them with compassion and a willingness to help where we can. We can always send pink light and pray for the displaced and the disquieted.

Though the earthquake must have served some purpose does not mean that those who suffered deserved to suffer by bringing it on themselves. No one ever deserves to suffer as all are God’s children, created solely to experience love, peace and joy. Everything can be used to wake up from the dream, and thereby can be seen as God’s grace. We do not know what God’s intervention prevented from happening that could have been even worse. God is always acting to uplift and restore peace where He is welcome.

When we see the unreal as God’s will we make it real and leave no room for a miracle of undoing the unreal. We set it in stone and thereby prevent it from being transformed. By accepting earthquakes as God’s will we are essentially willing earthquakes to continue to be our experience. We are all-powerful. We are in charge of whether we experience God’s will as our only reality or whether we experience a will apart from His. God’s will is perfect happiness for everyone. The earthquake took some 50,000 lives. Obviously that was not perfect happiness for everyone involved. None involved deserved to experience that nightmare. There is no justification for it. No one ever deserves to suffer.

If anyone suffers, it is not deserved, no matter what their past, as God created everyone to be perfect and incapable of sin forever. Only if you sinned would you deserve to suffer. Suffering is experienced because of a choice made with ego. Ego wishes us to suffer. Suffering does not make us bad, but it does prove us wrong. When we choose only God’s will, we cannot suffer. When we recognize that suffering is our responsibility we will be motivated to change our minds. As long we are convinced that suffering is God’s will, we will not be so motivated, and will not alter the course of our destiny. Only when we change our minds can we avert disasters. Self-responsibility is the portal back to true freedom.

The earthquake was not real, but it was very real for those who suffered. If we experience suffering, it is real for us and to say it is not real is to deny our experience. Denial will not undo the unreal, as it gives it energy of reality. When untoward events take place, we have to see that we are supporting a will besides God’s, because we believe that to be possible. As soon as we ask God to heal our minds so that we accept the truth that there is only God’s will, our experience must be free of suffering. 

I shared a story of how Baba cured me of jealousy in Chapter Eight. If I feel jealous, and if it were God’s will, why would Sai Baba urge me to overcome jealousy? Why does He bother to correct behavior and urge purity, self-discipline and noble character? What kind of sadistic joy would He get in making us bad so He could then transform us into good? We are anything but mindless. Let us determine to use our all-powerful minds to step into personal responsibility for everything that happens to us. When we take responsibility, we will be motivated to change our minds about all those experiences that are not in alignment with the Divine will. The desire for a different experience is all that is needed to have a more fulfilling life. As long as we see what is happening as God’s will, we will feel powerless to change our circumstances.

The earthquake in Gujarat happened because of the thought that there could be another will beside God’s. That is erroneous thinking. By asking that a false idea be undone we open the door to the truth that only God’s will is possible. Then our experience will be one of perfect peace, love and happiness, free of disasters of any kind. God is always eager to give us everything we need to be truly free and safe.

There Is No Will Apart From God’s Will

Making a shift in consciousness is easy but we have invested heavily in untruth and so have to be very honest to see what we really want. If an earthquake happens, it is because we want the purpose that it serves, thereby we want the earthquake. You are all-powerful. Only you are the cause of your every experience. Only you can deprive yourself of anything. We made ego because we wanted choice, because we thought choice was where freedom lie. We still think it advantageous to have a will apart from God’s. This is insane, but it is what we are thinking if our experience reflects any upheaval, loss or pain. These are not God’s will, thus they come from an idea that there is another will outside of God’s will. Having this idea does not make us bad, but it does make us wrong. When we are open to the possibility that we are wrong and to correcting our error, we will come back on the mark, in alignment with God’s will wherein lies our true freedom.

If there is only God’s will, then the truth is that those things that happen that are unpleasant, unkind, unsafe or unhelpful are not real. That is good news. Anything that is unreal is easy to undo for the simple fact that it is unreal. That is, as long as we do not give it reality. If you say the imperfect is perfect, you give it reality. If you say the imperfect is God’s will, you give it reality. If you say the imperfect is not real from a place of denial, rather than self-responsibility, you give it reality. When you do not own that it is your wish, you will undoubtedly see it as God’s will and that makes it real for you and thus keeps it from being undone. The unreal is unreal because it is not God’s will and knowing this permits it to be undone.

I was raped, though I now know the experience was not real. I know this from the place of having healed the unreal. There are those who were raped who also say their experience was not real but generally their denial comes from conceptual understanding. Only when you take personal responsibility for the unreal things that happen are you in right relationship with them. They cannot be undone as long as you give them reality in any way either through denial or guilt. As soon as you take personal responsibility, you will want to change your mind and that desire opens the door to a shift in consciousness which alters your destiny. As long as the unreal is not undone you are not free to experience God’s will. God wills our perfect freedom.

To Want God’s Will Is To Want Happiness

There is no force anywhere that can cause you to do or be or have anything other than what you want. So be clear about what you really want. To fulfill the will of God perfectly is the only joy and peace that can be fully known, because it is the only function that can be fully experienced. When this is accomplished, there is no other experience. But the wish for another experience will block this because God’s will cannot be forced upon you, being an experience of total willingness. If God’s will for you is complete peace and joy, unless you experience only these, you must be refusing to acknowledge His will. If you want to know God’s will, He will not hide it. Nothing God creates can oppose your will, as nothing God creates can oppose His will. God gave your will its power. Act on what you will and it must come to pass for there is no force outside of you that is more powerful than you. Everything that happens in your life is by your will.

Your will is your only experience. Your freedom depends on your will. Until you will for true freedom, you cannot experience freedom. Until you are free, my salvation is incomplete, for we are all one. Until not one slave remains to walk the earth’s surface is my salvation complete. Even if you are awake, your freedom is incomplete without the freedom of all humanity. When you are free, you must join the great crusade to end the suffering for all mankind.

In desiring to serve in the great emancipation of all humanity, you are desiring to step into your role as savior of the world. When you will the world to be saved you open the door to that possibility. When you will to be in perfect harmony with God’s will it is accomplished for that is your true will.

No mind can believe that its will is stronger than God’s. If you believe that your will is different from His, you can only decide either that there is no God or that God’s will is fearful. Fear of the will of God is one of the strangest beliefs that has ever been made. The very fact that the will of God, which is what you are, is perceived as fearful demonstrates that you are afraid of what you are. It is not then the will of God of which you are afraid, but your will. Your will is not ego’s and that is why ego is against you. What seems to be the fear of God is really only the fear of your own reality.

God’s will is our will only when we choose it. Our will is boundless. It is not our will that it be bound. What lies in us has joined with God Himself in all creation’s birth. God created us and through our will created everything forever. Nothing happens without our will. Not one thought that God has ever had but waited for our blessing to be born. God is no enemy to us. He asks no more than that He hear us call Him friend. What is the will of God? He wills we have everything and that He guaranteed when He created us as everything. Therein lies our freedom. May you have the courage to choose for freedom from your self imposed shackles, that all the world may see that choice is available to them as well. May all beings be free as God always intended.

Dearest Loving God, You will our happiness be undisturbed, forever increasing, eternally expanding in the joy of full creation, and wholly limitless in You. That is Your will, and so Your will provides the means to guarantee that it is accomplished. May all beings discover their freedom in the joy of doing Your will. May all beings realize that Your will is their true will. May we all awaken to the truth that there is no freedom in autonomy or independence. Grant everyone the courage to see that their chains of oppression will be lifted in a willingness to take personal responsibility for everything that happens. Help us all to realize that true freedom lies in a disciplined life-style. May freedom be restored to every heart and to every country. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven that heaven be restored to earth. May all beings in all the worlds be happy and blest, Amen.

True Freedom Lies in Doing God’s Will

Figure 14a

Mind And Spirit in Relation to Freedom

Figure 14b