WORKBOOK

 

 

Joining in Truth Toward Planetary Enlightenment

 

On Line Course - Addendum for Book: “Not Guilty” 

 

Questions and Answers

 

Q&A XIV - How much freedom do we really have?

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Related Reading - Chapter 14 of Not Guilty

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XIV. Questions : How much freedom do we really have?

  1. Can anything happen to you against your will? Why or why not? Where does your will come from?
  2. Is everything predetermined? If everything is predetermined, what's the use of self-effort? How can destiny be altered? How are pre-destiny and freewill reconciled?
  3. What is karma? When do the laws of karma apply? Are we bound to the laws of karma? How is karma wiped away?
  4. What is freewill? Were we created with freewill? What did our freewill look like before the separation? Do you have freewill now? What keeps us from getting what we really want?
  5. Is freewill an attribute of our mind or of our soul? Do we have freewill in the ultimate sense? Do we have an independent will, separate from God's? Is God's will our true will? Yes. What is God's will for us? If we had everything, what did we perceive ourselves as lacking that caused us to make ego in an attempt to gain greater freedom?
  6. Is God's will independent? Were you created to create? Can creation happen without freedom? What does it mean that our freedom is limited to limitless creative expression? Are we free to create now?
  7. Can anything happen without God's will? How is your will different from God's? If nothing happens outside of God's will, are we responsible for our actions? Is there some force outside of us causing us to think and act against our volition?   How can the idea that there is no freewill be misapplied?
  8. Did God create us free? Baba says we have about as much freedom as a calf tied to a rope. What kind of freedom is that? Why does Sai Baba say there is no freewill?
  9. What do you think Sai Baba means when He says we are like puppets on a string? Can you be both a puppet on a string and all the power in the Universe?
  10. Before the separation, that is before the making of ego, was it possible to make mistakes? How is it possible to make mistakes if we were created perfect? What kind of mistakes might we make? Is it possible for God to make mistakes? Does that make God greater?  
  11. Is it a weakness to admit mistakes? Is it good to be willing to be wrong? Do mistakes make us less than each other?
  12. Are freewill and susceptibility to errors compatible ideas? Are errors and perfection mutually exclusive ideas? How were errors dealt with before the separation? After the separation? How do we heal the separation? How does the willingness to be wrong lead to freedom?
  13. Are we in the experience of the freedom God intended for us when He created us? What happened? What is the source of an experience of bondage? How is the desire for autonomy the cause of bondage?
  14. Is the wish to be in the experience of freedom to be autonomous or separate a problem? Why? How is autonomy possible? Do we have the power to defy God's will?
  15. Would it have been possible to make ego to replace God if not for freewill? What happened to freewill after ego was made? Before ego was made?
  16. Can anything happen without God's will? Is everything that happens God's will? Are natural disasters and impure behaviors God's will? Is a murderer doing God's will? Who is responsible for unpleasant experiences in your life? I am, for there is no one outside of me. What happens when we deny unpleasant experiences? What happens when we step into personal responsibility for them? Do you have the power to change your experience?
  17. How should we deal with untoward events? How can self-responsibility for untoward events be free of guilt? What is self-responsibility?
  18. If there is no one more powerful than God, can there be another will besides God's? If there is no one more powerful than you, can there be a will besides yours? Is it advantageous to have a will apart from God's? How do you reconcile there is no one more powerful than you with there is only God's will? Is your will bound? Does anything happen without your will? Is your will stronger than God's? Is God's will stronger than yours? Can you defy God's will? Is making ego an attempt at defying God's will? Did we actually succeed in making a replacement for God? Was God angry when we made ego to replace Him as source?
  19. What is surrender to God's will? What would keep us from surrendering to God's will? Is God's will fearful? Is it weakness to surrender to God's will? Are self-responsibility and surrender to God's will compatible ideas or are they mutually exclusive?
  20. When you give yourself permission to cut loose and follow a worldly desire do you experience freedom? How is body consciousness bondage? What is self-discipline? Are discipline and freedom compatible ideas? Are discipline and punishment compatible ideas?
  21. Do we have the freedom to change our thoughts?
  22. What will it take to reestablish an experience of freedom? Does true freedom require dependence on God? Are freedom and dependence a contradiction in terms? How does purity lead to freedom? How does impurity lead to bondage?
  23. What is freedom from guilt? Is it ok to do whatever you want as long as you don't feel guilty? How are we guaranteed freedom from guilt?
  24.   Does God have rules for us to live by? What is their purpose? What are God's laws? What happens when we don't obey God's rules? Will God punish us? Is obedience to God's rules bondage? Is defiance of God's rules bondage?
  25. Is your will different from ego's? What is ego's will? Does ego have rules for us to live by? What are they? Are you free to control your thoughts? Are you free to control your actions? Is it important? Why?
  26. How does the story of the vineyard in the Bible point to freedom?
  27. If God is all-powerful, how could He allow some of the horrible things that have happened to us? If God is all-powerful, why doesn't He save the world? Is it your will that the world be saved? Do you have the power to save it? Is it possible to save the world? What is the salvation of the world? Can you be free while the world is in chains?
  28. Is your will limited? What will it take to be restored to an experience of true freedom? What do you want?

 

XIV. Answers - In our total dependence on God lies our limitless freedom

  1. Can anything happen to you against your will? No, that means there are no victims, no random happenings, no accidents. Why or why not? When God created us, He created us with power equal to His, therefore whatever happens to us, we have asked for and have received as we have asked. It is ego that wants us to think things could happen to us against our will. Where does our will come from? Our will was given to us by God when He created us.
  2. Is everything predetermined? No, although we did take birth with a rather fixed program, including karmic consequences from the past, the consciousness we came in with from previous lives and the unfulfilled desires we drag with us from the past. We also came in with an assignment or spiritual purpose. If everything is predetermined, what's the use of self-effort? If what we have done in the past affects us now, what we do now will play out in time to come, and can even change the events already set in motion. If we have lemons we can make lemon aide. How can destiny be altered? Through a shift in consciousness from victim consciousness to self-responsibility, a shift from ‘I am a body' to ‘I am mind and spirit.' That happens when we want to make that shift. Its that easy. How are pre-destiny and freewill reconciled? Pre-destiny comes from choices made in the past, so its all freewill. The law of cause and consequence – as you sow, so shall you reap forms our destiny, and what we do with our destiny is freewill or self-effort.
  3. What is karma? An idea of reaping the consequences of past actions. When do the laws of karma apply? When we think we are our bodies and are guilty for past actions. Are we bound to the laws of karma? No. How is karma wiped away? By making a shift from body consciousness to God consciousness, by taking responsibility for all that happens to us, by turning over a new leaf and leading a life of purity, nobility and loving kindness now. In the past, we may have done something for which we felt guilty. That guilt had no basis as we cannot do anything that can defy God's will. We can only hurt bodies and bodies are not real. However, as long as we think bodies real, we are bound to our past guilt and as long as we hurt others we do think we are our bodies.
  4. What is freewill? Freedom to choose. Were we created with freewill? No, in the sense that there is no will apart from God's will and yes, in the sense that God's will and our will are the same. God awaits our blessing for every creative act He undertakes and never forces His will on us as He honors us and respects our freedom to choose what we will. What did our freewill look like before the separation? Unlimited freedom to co-create with God, meaning everything we wanted, we asked God's blessing for, before acting on our desires. Adam wanted a helpmate and discussed the idea with God. God blessed the idea and Eve was co-created by God and Adam. We did not have freedom to create independently from God, because we share God's mind and are not independent. If we share God's mind, we also share His will, and cannot have a will independent from His. Do we have freewill now? Generally speaking we find ourselves doing what we have to do to survive rather than what we really want to do, so we cannot call that freedom. Also, we do not find ourselves able to manifest any of the things we think we want. For example can you manifest a million dollars now?   Never-the-less, we are indeed always getting the results of our own minds. We are getting what we think we deserve, even though it may not be what we thought we were asking for. What keeps us from getting what we really want? Making ego to be free of God's will. We have to relinquish ego in order to be restored to an experience of true freedom.
  5. Is freewill an attribute of our mind or of our soul? Of our mind, as our soul always remains changeless or allied with God's will. Do you have freewill in the ultimate sense? No, as there is no will apart from God's, however God's will is our will. Do we have an independent will, separate from God's? No, our will was given us by God and though we made ego to give ourselves the experience of an independent will, we could not succeed as independence is not a real choice. Is God's will our true will? Yes. What is God's will for us? Perfect freedom, perfect happiness, limitless creative expression, ever increasing love and joy. God wills us to have everything and this He guaranteed when He created us as everything. If we had everything, what did we perceive ourselves as lacking that caused us to make ego in an attempt to gain greater freedom? We misperceived ourselves as lacking independence and special favor neither of which contribute to our happiness as we have surely discovered, regrettably the hard way.
  6. Is God's will independent? No, God gave up autonomy when He created us. He awaits our blessing for every creative act. Were you created to create? Yes. Can creation happen without freedom? No. What does it mean that our freedom is limited to limitless creative expression? It means that since God created us inseparable from Him and everyone, we have no independence. We are free to create freely, but not free to be independent or autonomous. Are we free to create now? As long as we have an ego we cannot create, we can only heal our mis-creations and only after healing the unreal are we restored to a real experience of creation.
  7. Can anything happen without God's will? No, if our will is out of accord with God's we are willing without meaning and nothing is happening. How is your will different from God's? In the truest sense, there is no difference. We chose a different experience from the one God intended for us when He created us, but that experience had no real effects, thus we can change our minds and reenter a real experience of true freedom whenever we so choose. If nothing happens outside of God's will, are we responsible for our actions? Yes, if we make mistakes, we are attempting to will without God, but in the ultimate sense, nothing is happening. Is there some force outside of us causing us to think and act against our volition? No. How can the idea that there is no freewill be misapplied? We can pretend to ourselves that when we do something we know we shouldn't its not our responsibility because we have no freewill. That means that we are saying that God is responsible, but God would never ask us to do anything senseless or hurtful so we fool ourselves when we justify imperfections in anyway, and ego thrives on our fool-hardiness. Those who use this teaching to do whatever they like because everything is God's will are digging themselves into a big karmic hole. Only purity and holiness can content us for only they are a guarantee of freedom from guilt and only freedom from guilt is true freedom.
  8. Did God create us free? Yes, God wills our freedom, though that freedom does not mean freedom from God's will which is what we were hoping to accomplish in making ego. Baba says we have about as much freedom as a calf tied to a rope. What kind of freedom is that? A calf can choose whether it goes round the tree from the left or from the right. We can choose only between God and ego. We are never independent. When we choose with God, we choose for freedom, when with ego, we choose for bondage, and ego always speaks loudest and first so we have to be very, very vigilant.   Before ego, there was not a choice between freedom and bondage, there was only freedom. Once we free ourselves of ego, bondage won't be a choice we have to struggle against. Why does Sai Baba say there is no freewill? All our will is bound to karma from the past, we have no independent will and only God's will is real. However, God created us to be and have everything including limitless freedom. It is God's will that we be free.
  9. What do you think Sai Baba means when He says we are like puppets on a string? Can you be both a puppet on a string and all the power in the Universe? Yes,   God gave our will its power and when we choose with God, God empowers us to be all-powerful, majestic, glorious, noble,   grandeur, resplendent; we are both the Lord of the Universe and a puppet on God's string, though hardly powerless. When we made ego, we gave all our power to ego, and fell into an experience of powerlessness. So with ego we are also a puppet on a string this time seemingly powerless, however, we are still all-powerful, because the truth could not be altered, as God did not change His mind and ego is not more powerful than God. All we have to do is change our minds about what we really want to be restored to a true experience, and take back our power by seeing ego's nothingness.
  10. Before the separation, that is before the making of ego, was it possible to make mistakes? Yes. How is it possible to make mistakes if we were created perfect? Because God created us free. What kind of mistakes might we make? Thinking we lacked or that we could be different from how we were created, self-created, self-authored, independent, for special favor, to excel, to learn, to be better than - competition, choice, behavior, imperfect, impure, unholy… We acted on those thoughts, ego was born and we entered an unreal experience. We traded in everything for nothing. Is it possible for God to make mistakes? No, God would never have a reason to make ego for God is source and first cause. Does that make God greater?   No, because God created us equal with Him and our mistakes had no effect on the truth. Our mistakes are correctable and when corrected we return to the experience God created us to have for all eternity as His perfect equals.
  11. Is it a weakness to admit mistakes? No, it is where salvation lies. When we view our mistakes as mistakes we are in a position to correct them and when corrected we restore ourselves to a true experience. Is it good to be willing to be wrong? Yes, ego is an error and when we admit error ego loses its hold over us. Do mistakes make us less than each other? No, however leaving mistakes uncorrected leads to needless suffering, so we must always be vigilant, always willing to be wrong, always willing to do whatever it takes to reenter a true experience, especially while we find ourselves in bodies, because until we are free of our physical bodies, we will constantly be tempted to fall into ego's guilt trap.
  12. Are freewill and susceptibility to errors compatible ideas? Yes, if we were not free to make choices that were not in our best interest if we so chose, we would not be free. That is what the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden represents. We are free to enter an experience that is not in line with God's will for us if we so choose. God will not stop us from an insane choice because to do so would be to interfere with our freedom. Are errors and perfection mutually exclusive ideas? No, we can err, but those errors cannot adversely affect our perfection. There is an exhilaration in perfection, because it is our true and natural state. How were errors dealt with before the separation? When we made mistakes we admitted and corrected them eagerly and instantly. After the separation? We defend, justify, make someone else responsible, blame each other, fight over who is right,   deny, avoid, err in secret, cover up error, punish ourselves for our mistakes, feel guilty, suffer punishment and make amends for our errors. How do we heal the separation? By admitting our mistakes and correcting them, by accepting our dependence on God and each other, by wanting to be one with God and everyone, by wanting to be the holiness and perfection God created us to be. How does the willingness to be wrong lead to freedom? Errors need correction and as soon as they are corrected, we are restored to a true experience. Only errors that are seen as errors are correctable.
  13. Are we in the experience of the freedom God intended for us when He created us? No. What happened? We wanted to try independence, and that independence led to an experience of bondage. What is the source of an experience of bondage? Making ego to replace God as source. When we made ego, ego convinced us that God wants us bound while in truth ego keeps us bound by convincing us that it has our best interest at heart. We projected guilt outside, which ensured bondage. We changed our allegiance from God to ego which assured ego's freedom and our bondage. How is the desire for autonomy the cause of bondage? In separating from God, the source of freedom, we stepped into an experience of ego and self-imposed limitation and bondage.
  14. Is the wish to be in the experience of freedom to be autonomous or separate a problem? Yes. Why? Because it is a wish to be different from how we were created and since God did not change His mind, there is a conflict of interests. God is not conflicted, but we are. How is autonomy possible? By pushing God aside, becoming self-created, self-authored, by willing without God. Autonomy requires separating mind from soul. Do we have the power to defy God's will? No, we are not more powerful than God, therefore making ego to replace God did not really happen, but because we have been endowed with all the power in the universe, we have given ourselves the experience of the impossible and convinced ourselves that the impossible was possible. We can have any experience we want, and we did all want to experience independence. Therefore, we do all have egos that want to survive at our expense, and that is our only problem, which fortunately has a very simple solution. All we need do is see that ego's basis is false, and ego vanishes into thin air. It is ego's will that we not see just how simple is the solution to our grave though non-existent problem.
  15. Would it have been possible to make ego to replace God if not for freewill? No. What happened to freewill after ego was made? We lost it to ego for we gave all our God given power to ego which it turned against us. Our will is bound to karmic consequences and to running after bodily desires, designed to produce guilt on which ego thrives while we suffer. Before ego was made? Our will was limited to limitless creative expression, boundless joy and an all consuming love for God and everyone. In short we shot ourselves in the foot big time in making ego to replace God!
  16. Can anything happen without God's will? No. Is everything that happens God's will? If it is love, beauty, inspiring, holy and joyous it is God's will. Anything else is not real, as only God, God's love and God's will are real. Are natural disasters and impure behaviors God's will? No, thereby they are not real. Is a murderer doing God's will? No, and nothing is happening in truth. Only bodies can be killed, and God only created mind and spirit which are eternal and cannot be touched. Who is responsible for unpleasant experiences in your life? I am, for there is no one outside of me causing me to do things against my will. What happens when we deny unpleasant experiences? We make them real. What happens when we step into personal responsibility for them? We step into right relationship with them and shift from victim consciousness to God consciousness, and when consciousness changes, destiny also changes. Do you have the power to change your experience? Yes, because we are all the power in the universe, and we can take back our power any time we so choose. It does mean the relinquishment of ego, but once we see that ego is the cause of all our problems, that won't be so difficult.
  17. How should we deal with untoward events? By recognizing that we are supporting a will beside God's and changing our minds toward self responsibility and miracle-mindedness. How can self-responsibility for untoward events be free of guilt? Just because we are responsible does not make us guilty. If we could affect God's will we would be guilty, but since we are not more powerful than God, we can rest assured that we did no real damage, and thereby remain guilt free. Paradoxically, to the extent that we are unwilling to step into personal responsibility, we are making our errors real. What is self-responsibility? Taking responsibility for all that happens to us, by owning that when negative things happen they are due to choices made with ego as God only wills our true freedom.
  18. If there is no one more powerful than God, can there be another will besides God's? No. If there is no one more powerful than you, can there be a will besides yours? No. Is it advantageous to have a will apart from God's? No, it is the cause of all bondage, suffering, lack… How do you reconcile there is no one more powerful than you with there is only God's will?   It is God's will that we be all-powerful. Is your will bound? Only to the extent that we have bound it by making an ego to replace God and giving our power away to it. Does anything happen without your will? No. Is your will stronger than God's? No. Is God's will stronger than yours? No, our wills are equal and one. Can you defy God's will? No. Is making ego an attempt at defying God's will?   Yes. Did we actually succeed in making a replacement for God? No. Was God angry when we made ego to replace Him as source? No.  
  19. What is surrender to God's will? Trust in God that He knows better than we what will give us true peace and happiness, without needing to tell Him how to do His job. What would keep us from surrendering to God's will? An idea that God does not have our best interest at heart. Is God's will fearful? No, for God is but love and His will but reflects His boundless love for His creations. Is it weakness to surrender to God's will? No, just the opposite, it is where true strength lies. In the world surrender means to give up, to give in, to weaken, but surrender to God's will is sanity for only in doing God's will can we find true happiness. Are self-responsibility and surrender to God's will compatible ideas or are they mutually exclusive? They are totally compatible, only you are in charge of when you surrender to God's will, which is your true will.
  20. When you give yourself permission to cut loose and follow a worldly desire do you experience freedom? Sometimes, though usually gratifying worldly desires does not lead to the happiness we were hoping to experience in giving in to bodily or worldly temptations, or there are strings or setbacks. Nothing in the world lasts, so to look for happiness in the world is to set ourselves up for disappointment. We must put a ceiling on desires as desiring is a bottomless pit, leading to bondage, not freedom. How is body consciousness bondage? The body is perishable, vulnerable, subject to fleeting desires, whims and weaknesses…To think you are a body is to be a slave to the body's senses and you cannot be a slave and free at the same time - it is a contradiction in terms. What is self-discipline? A willingness to restrain the senses and control our thoughts, to turn to God to guide our every action, a willingness to be the holiness and perfection God created us to be. Are discipline and freedom compatible ideas? Discipline of the body brings freedom of the mind. Freedom of the body brings bondage of the mind. True freedom lies in discipline. Thoughts and senses under control equals freedom. Are discipline and punishment compatible ideas? No, discipline with love is of God while punishment is of ego.
  21. Do you have the freedom to change your thoughts? Yes, once I was in lust with a man from Australia. I happened to be at Baba's ashram in India, panting for him to show up. Every morning I would sit by the temple at 3:00am, looking pious enough, could have fooled anyone, but in my thoughts I was a yearnin' and a burnin'. One morning, after about a month of this, Baba's voice popped into my mind and suggested that if I wanted to be with Robert so much, why not go there? It was very startling and embarrassing, but immediately I changed my mind, and focused my energy on God, the purpose for which I was there. I saw how all that lust was only a thought and a thought can be changed. Its so simple.
  22. What will it take to reestablish an experience of freedom? Surrender to God's will,   content to be one with God and everyone, limited to limitless creativity, and to let God's will be our true will. Does true freedom require dependence on God? Yes, God gave us His mind, we can do nothing without God. Are freedom and dependence a contradiction in terms? No, as independence from God's will means dependence on ego's will, which means bondage in the form of suffering, sickness, death, evil, corruption… none of which have anything the do with God and God's will for us. Ego promises greater freedom while offering only bondage. How does purity lead to freedom? A pure heart can discern what is real and what is not, what is the voice for ego and what is the voice for God. A pure heart is innocent and innocence is freedom. How does impurity lead to bondage? Impurity lead to guilt and when guilty you will fear punishment and punishment is hell not freedom. The only true freedom is freedom from guilt.
  23. What is freedom from guilt?   The discovery of the joy of holiness, purity, perfection, love, peace… Is it ok to do whatever you want as long as you don't feel guilty? It is impossible to entertain corruption and remain free of guilt.   If you touch it, it will burn you. How are we guaranteed freedom from guilt? By making sane and wise choices, by wanting to be holy, striving to our maximum capacity for excellence and purity in every undertaking and surrendering the results of our actions to God. If they fall short of our expectations, this is no reason to feel guilty, for we have the satisfaction of knowing we did our very best.
  24. Does God have rules for us to live by? Yes. What is their purpose? God's rules are given for our protection, safety and freedom. What are God's laws? Love God and fellow man, lead a life of integrity,   discipline, perfection and holiness, observe limits to attain limitlessness, do only that for which you know you won't feel guilty and don't feel guilty no matter what you do, marriage is to be limited to one man and one woman in an eternal commitment, in giving we receive, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, correct your mistakes, depend on God for everything… What happens when we don't obey God's rules? We hurt ourselves and perhaps others too and feel guilty. Will God punish us? Nope, but ego will. Is obedience to God's rules bondage? No, just the opposite, it is freedom from guilt and there is no greater freedom. Is defiance of God's rules bondage? Yes, not because God punishes us if we break His rules, but because we bind ourselves, because they are given with our best interest in mind, not to limit us, but rather to free us.
  25. Is your will different from ego's? Yes. What is ego's will? Ego wills us to be bound while thinking that God is the cause of our bondage rather than it. Does ego have rules for us to live by? Yes. What are they? Do whatever you want, include your corruption in, to give is to lose, truth is different for everyone, chaos is desirable, impurity is freedom, take care of yourself at all cost, freedom means independence from God's will, separation from God and others is freedom, holiness is different for everyone… Are you free to control your thoughts? Yes, there is no force outside of us causing us to think anything other than what we want to think. Are you free to control your actions? Yes.   Is it important? Yes. Why? What we do either frees us or binds us, makes time or collapses time.
  26. How does the story of the vineyard in the Bible point to freedom? It demonstrates that when we turn over a new leaf our past is completely wiped away without a trace or a need to make amends and we stand free and innocent with a clean slate, totally new in this moment. It does require a willingness to be who we are right now, holiness, perfect… as God created us.
  27. If God is all-powerful, how could He allow some of the horrible things that have happened to us?   He isn't behind them. We, aligned with ego, are responsible. If God is all-powerful, why doesn't He save the world? Again, we are responsible for the state of the world. If the world is not being transformed, it is not because God is not willing,   it is because we are not inviting the hand of God to act in our behalf. God is our perfect host. He will not force His will on us, because He honors us and awaits our blessing for His every act. Is it your will that the world be saved? Yes. Do you have the power to save it? Only God has the power, but we can harness God's power by wanting the world saved. Is it possible to save the world? Yes, with God all things are possible. What is the salvation of the world? The enlightenment of all humanity, peace on earth… Can you be free while the world is in chains? No, for the world is in my mind.
  28. Is your will limited? Yes or no depending on what choice we make. When allied with God our will is limited to limitless creative expression leading to boundless joy and peace, when with ego, it is limited to independence from God, leading to freedom to be imperfect followed by guilt and subsequent suffering = bondage. What will it take to be restored to an experience of true freedom? A willingness to admit that we made a mistake and surrender to God's will as our true will. What do you want? The end of suffering,   peace on earth, that all my brothers and sisters know who they are as precious children of God, that the world to be restored to the world God created… Baba frequently asks this question. I think He's trying to tell us that we are always getting what we want. Desire is the source of all experience.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."