Saturday, 13 June 2015

Mindfulness and Free Will; Hope is Never Lost

Guest Article By Thomas Parisi

                                One of the greatest philosophical discussions of all time centers around the greatest gift we've ever known as a species. It is something that is ever-present and often overlooked. It leads us to our passionate and most joyful moments or to our agonizing and painful mistakes. I am talking of course about Free Will.
                                Free Will exists in every circumstance.  Even when we are unable to affect the unalterable confines of physical reality we can still choose how we think and act. We can choose how to address and handle each situation. We can even choose how we feel by reinforcing the patterns of thought and action that help us feel joyous and alive, or by abandoning the ones that promote negative emotions and behaviors. Feelings surround each of our choices, and if we recognize how we are affected we can learn to choose wisely. 
                               I have heard the argument time and again that we do not possess Free Will. Proponents of this theory believe that we are thinking, behaving, and existing solely at the end of a long progression of events that have given us no choice as to what will occur next.They make claims that Free Will is an Illusion. I find that statement oddly ironic because believing that free will is only an illusion can only be ascertained by exercising the free will to believe so! 
                               While I understand that yes, we are standing in the here and now, at the end of a lifelong progression of events that have led us to this very moment, I wholeheartedly disagree that we have no Free Will. We are not omniscient or omnipotent, so our freedom is limited only to what we can control as sovereign beings, and that is our choices. 
                             Life is a series of choices. Those choices lead us down an infinite number of pathways. Sometimes we choose incorrectly and we feel as though we are trapped. We sometimes feel that we have less freedom than we did before the choice was made, but this is only the illusion of reality. We can choose the wrong path over and over again only to feel trapped and in despair, but this is the true illusion. The illusion that hope is lost and that Free Will is non-existent is the antithesis to life, and it leads only to suffering and pain.
                            We are never without hope because we can always choose again.  We sometimes construct the negative thoughts and feelings that keep us bound but they are just that; constructs. They can be destroyed by action. No matter how confined you feel, or how stuck in your current situation you think you are, that can all be changed by choosing to act in ways that will change your situation. Action is always the result of a choice, we need only become mindful of our choices.
                           As conscientious and thoughtful creatures we possess the ability to think before we act. Consciously we can choose each step carefully and with intention. This is Free Will at it's essence. No matter how limited you believe your choices have become hope is never lost. Through a persistent mindfulness to discern the proper choice (and therefore course of action) you can begin to reshape the world around you, and with it your life.
                           Free Will should be viewed as making proper and healthy choices. Nourish yourself. Physically we must eat nutritionally complete meals and get enough exercise. Mentally we must be stimulated with information and experiences that keep us feeling fulfilled. Spiritually we must feel connected with Life and each other. 
                          Our sub-conscious minds collect and store everything we think and experience, every action and every feeling is catalogued to create a deep sea, and the undercurrents will affect you in a plethora of ways. By choosing the healthy choice each and every time you are enriching yourself. These proper choices add up over time- and before you know it you can and will be free; Free to choose wisely in every circumstance. 
                        Through mindfulness we can learn what choices enrich and inspire us. We can learn how we are affected by the patterns that develop from choosing one way or the other. We can choose to learn through observation how our choices affect us, and our surroundings. We can choose to exercise our Free Will and begin to step in the direction we were meant to. The journey becomes better than the destination when  each and every step is better than the last.
Thank you Samadrita Ghosh for allowing me to guest post here @!!
Authored by: Thomas Parisi
Website: Hoping to enrich and inspire toward social good.

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