A Dissertation on Free Will


(This brief essay had such an interesting response from so many people when it was posted on FB that I had no choice but to repost it here on the TAHC blog. And I don’t really think we are robots. I suspect, for good reasons, that we are individuated expressions of Divine Consciousness, waves in the ocean of life. The currents of the ocean run the show, sometimes expressing as waves who can’t help but think they do.)

I still have a few friends who believe they have free will. Sad. Really sad. This would mean they are encapsulated, autonomous entities who directly influence the outcomes of their lives. If you really believe you have free will then demonstrate it by not thinking for just two minutes. Just don’t have any thoughts for two minutes. Go ahead. Knock yourself out! (You’d have to to not have any thoughts,) But tell yourself the truth about the outcome of this experiment.

If we had free will, would we really be wasting our lives arguing over stupid stuff like politics, philosophy and religion on FB? Hmmm? Would anyone ever willingly watch Fox News or vote for Trump? I have friends, probably reading this right now, who have sworn off of FB because they realize how stupid and what a waste of time it is. And they leave FB. And then they come back. And jump right in again!

Our brain is designed to give us the illusion of free will. But if we are able to examine the belief and experience of free will with complete honesty, the illusion rapidly disappears.

And some of you won’t be able to help yourself but to argue with this because you are well programmed philosophical robots.

Some human robots are programmed to change and transform. Others are not, can’t and won’t.

Trying to get out of this trap is the trap.

Enjoy your freedom. Be as you are. As if you had any choice in the matter.

My Mother and Meditation


My mother, Mary,  grew up in Durham, North Carolina during the Great Depression. She never went to college but was very smart, quite pragmatic and believed in being busy and getting things done. And there were certain things that were always done, like answering the telephone. Not answering the telephone was something “common” people did. ( Common – showing a lack of  refinement supposedly typical of the lower classes; vulgar.) So when I  was a teenager meditating and would no longer break my neck rushing to answer the phone  there were some problems. She just could not understand why getting up and answering the phone interfered with sitting around on the floor doing absolutely nothing. The problem escalated when she became a realtor and potential clients might call. She thought I was her personal secretary and should take very careful notes when someone called. And I did. Except when I was meditating.

Years later, she began to meditate. One of the very first times she meditated she suddenly remembered where a very much loved and valued object was hidden. She thought she had lost it for good years before when it had seemingly disappeared. She became a true believer in meditation and began to meditate regularly.

One summer in the late 1970s I invited an authentic guru and adept in Kundalini Maha Yoga to stay with us for a few days. My mother was off traveling somewhere and so she offered us her house which was in a small town in Connecticut. She had a fence along the front of the property where she grew the most beautiful roses.

Guruji (Shri Dhyanyogi Madhusudandasji – lived from 1878 to August 29th, 1994) was the real deal. Since he emanated incredible love and spiritual power,  people were drawn to him like iron to a magnet. We cleared my mother’s living room of all furniture except for one chair for guruji. People came and heard guruji’s compelling message about the importance of  awakening our Kundalini, our inner spiritual power. They wanted to receive shaktipat from him. Shaktipat is the awakening of spiritual power in the student by the guru. Shaktipat is a lot like one candle lighting another. The potential for the spiritual power to burn brightly is always already within the person.

During shaktipat initiation, certain items were to be offered during the beautiful ceremony. Two roses were among the objects.

When my poor mother returned home, ALL of her beautiful roses were gone as people plucked them to use in shaktipat initiation. She freaked out completely.  As well she should since there were flower shops in town. She calmed down upon meeting guruji.

Guruji would sit on the edge of his bed feeding grapes to my baby daughter Kelly, holding her, and patting her on her head. As Guruji would say, she was very lucky!

I have to say something about my father in all of this.  My father was a scientific agnostic/ fatalist. My parents were divorced and my father was living in Virginia with wife number two out of three. He had recently retired and was getting his old man act down.

He came to visit while my mother was gone and guruji was with us. Upon meeting guruji, who was about 35 years older than he was and beginning a new mission in life, my father changed. I have never seen my father ever treat another human being with as much respect and awe as he treated guruji. It blew my mind! He even tried to meditate once but when he disappeared into the void for a moment, he jumped out of his chair and nearly had a panic attack.

A day or two before he died I was driving my father home from seeing a doctor who wanted to hospitalize him. My father begged me to take him home, so I did. As we were driving home my father began to ask me about after death bardo states, karma, the clear light, etc. I looked at him and said, “Are you asking me to use my good karma to get you into heaven?” He looked at me with his sad eyes and said, “yes.” I laughed so hard!

For two southerners who came out of the Great Depression and World War Two, my parents were very loving and supportive of the fact that in the amazing karmic shuffle of life, they ended up with a yogi for a son. That  was my good karma! At some point, they both forgave me for never answering the phone. And as Bonnie can tell you, I still don’t.

I offer a deep pranam with heartfelt gratitude to my mother and father. Their grace and love is always with me.