Category: Shifting Perspectives Written by Robert Wilkinson
Unconscious Behavior, Free Will, and Overcoming Abuse.
In part 1 we explored the power we all have to choose our behavior, and why some people are deliberately ignorant when they abuse others. We looked at innocent ignorance and willful ignorance at work, and the part ego plays in abusive behavior. Today we'll look at ego-will, the nature of the mind and choice, and how to be conscious of what we’re doing.
As part 1 set the foundation for what we’re discussing today, please take another look at it, even if you read it yesterday. Originally these two were one very long article, with yesterday’s post giving the intro to the subject of consciousness, abuse, and ego willfulness.
The primary cause of any lack of awareness we or others have is the result of ignorance. Ignorance results from two reasons. One is innocent ignorance, the other is willful ignorance.
The Difference Between “Innocent Ignorance” and “Willful Ignorance”
When we are “innocently ignorant” we literally “know not what we do.” Many problematic life interactions are not the result of intention, but rather human blundering and ignorance of not knowing how to act. However, the excuse of being ignorant is valid only if a person hasn’t been shown a different way to act. If a person is abusive after being shown a more thoughtful or compassionate way to be toward others, then they are no longer innocently ignorant, and are willfully “ignorant.” When we’re shown a better way and still choose to do bad things, that’s willfully choosing not to grow.
Even if someone glimpses a different way, a kinder and more thoughtful response for an instant, they become responsible for their future behavior. When someone knows a better way to behave and chooses to be abusive, it puts the responsibility of choice on them alone. No one else can choose for them, no one else can make them behave differently, and only they can end abusive or ignorant behaviors and replace them with helpful and aware behaviors.
Again, this is the Third Eternal Truth as found in Light On the Path. We are in fact our own lawgivers, “the dispenser of glory or gloom unto ourselves.” This is an extraordinarily empowering statement as it perfectly demonstrates we alone have the power to choose how we want to experience our existence.
Once a being has seen a better way and still chooses to be abusive, this is ego-will. When someone rationalizes a desire and chooses to be abusive or follows a willfully misdirected action, it’s always the lower ego at work. Consider that ALL abusive behavior results from the abuser following their desire to do the wrong thing. All abusers have the power to renounce their behavior, but will they? It all depends on how invested they are in their ego-will.
Ego-will comes forth when desire has been awakened. Where there is desire, it’s natural to follow the path we believe will fulfill that desire. Life being what it is, chasing our desires leads us all to combinations of pleasure and pain, with each giving us opportunities to choose which we want. When we choose a certain path of response, we are no longer innocent.
If someone chooses to ignore a life-altering event, or rejects chances to take a higher road despite someone else showing them a better way, these are conscious choices, even if they are unconscious that they are making such a choice. Anyone can change their behavior, even if they are unconscious, simply by paying attention to examples of better behavior going on all around them. We’ve all been shown alternative ways of responding to life’s challenges. Consistently taking the low road indicates willful “ignorance” which chooses to perpetuate itself.
When a Being chooses to remain ignorant despite experiences which are designed to awaken them to better ways, they are choosing to continue patterns they’re attached to. These patterns may or may not be abusive, but if someone chooses to continue to be as ignorant after an event as before the event, they are willfully ignorant. Spirit sends us all signals of how we can best evolve every day, whether we notice them or not. When we notice and choose not to grow, ego-will is manifesting. This is where the nature of human wiring provides us what we need to understand just how much choice we really have.
The Polarities of the Lower Mind and the Higher Mind
I’ll post the longer article on this subject in a few days. For now, we’ll begin this part by stating we have a Higher Mind and a lower mind. Each of these has a strong pole and a weak pole.
The lower mind's weak pole is reason and its strong pole is desire. That's why any desire can be rationalized, no matter how inappropriate, including the desire to hurt another. And it’s most definitely a desire when someone refuses to grow despite all signals that it's time to give up abusive behaviors and attitudes. The desire mind simply finds “reasons” why it’s good to continue to be abusive.
The Higher Mind's weak pole is intellect. That's why intellect alone is not strong enough to give up a desire that's been rationalized, including the desire to stay willfully ignorant. When it's time to choose a different way of living and a person desires to continue their past patterns, that's willful ignorance which is being consciously or unconsciously rationalized by ego-mind.
The Higher Mind's strong pole is the only solution to the lower mind's malfunctioning. The strong pole is Will, in the sense of Spiritual Will. When we apply our Spiritual Will in any moment, old ways are transcended immediately, and the desire mind and its rationalizations lose their hold on us.
Force is Neutral – We Choose to Use it Constructively or Destructively
As I pointed out in the longer article on this subject, this is the core of the evolutionary process, since energy is just energy, to be used for construction or destruction. Energy or force is neutral in its potential until we choose to use it for good or ill. This is without regard for intention, because energy can be misdirected even when someone is operating from their Higher Mind as they see it. An evil magician and good magician both want to be good at what they do, and use the same tools and energies, but the former uses it for ego gratification while the latter uses it in service to humankind.
In a historical example, the Nazis believed they were agents of divine Will to better the human race. Even though this was a delusion manifested through horrific actions, they were operating off their sense of what their "higher mind" dictated. So even though they believed they had a high intention, their views of racial purity and the need to exterminate all they felt were inferior were obviously rationalized misguided ego separateness focusing the energy of ego-will in extremely cruel and abusive ways exemplified by unthinkable medical experiments and the Holocaust.
This is why motive and intention don't matter when we’re examining and evaluating conscious or unconscious hurtful actions and ego-willfulness. Hitler thought he was doing the human race a favor by eliminating all he deemed "lesser" genetic stock. Does that excuse his willful actions? If we allow unconsciousness as a defense for abusive behavior and refusal to grow into a more humane existence, then we give Hitler a justification for his inexcusable actions.
In another example closer to home, war criminals in leadership positions may have believed that torture helped us avoid potentially lethal consequences in the future, but however unconscious, this was also willfully chosen abuse directed at other humans. The fact that a torturer can rationalize all kinds of hurtful behaviors while remaining deliberately obtuse regarding the insanity of their actions is no excuse for those actions.
The Lords of Karma (Lipika Lords)take note only of actions and results of those actions. The fact that someone is ignorant of the hurtful results of their actions is no excuse, since on subconscious levels they are entirely aware of the larger feeling field in which we all live, breathe, and have our Being. This is why all beings are totally responsible for what they do and do not do, regardless of their seeming inability to grow and move forward into less hurtful behavior.
Mercury – Our Mind – Is the Key to Life Affirming Thoughts
The dividing line between ego-will and Divine Will is as sharp as a razor's edge, and leads to death or life. As I offer in Saturn: Spiritual Master, Spiritual Friend Mercury’s duality is Life/Death, since our thoughts either move us toward a more coordinated Soul-ful life or toward death through self-loss in matter. The Mercurial mind can justify anything; by observing and releasing justifications leading to ignorance and abuse, we can begin to move our lives in better directions. Each chooses in the moment based in their acceptance or avoidance of the higher lessons being taught.
All beings are capable of awakening, without books or people or any other thing. We were shown that for all time by the example of Buddha, who found that life is about suffering, that suffering arises from ignorance and attachment, and that we can end suffering without needing a teacher through practicing the 8-Fold Path.
If a being chooses not to practice those 8 ways of sane and natural living, then they will surely suffer at some point. Then they either choose to end their suffering by changing patterns of doing, feeling, and thinking, or in their suffering they choose to try to find others who also suffer to justify their suffering, or perpetuate their suffering by taking it out on another. These all involve choices.
Ignorance is no excuse for one who has been offered the cup of life. Either they drink of life, or they choose to stay lost in death. No one who is on Earth must suffer from ignorance. Any who ask will be given what they need to learn to grow.
So What Part Does Conscience Play in Our Choices?
Up to now we have not dealt with the factor of conscience, that indwelling sense of what is true, good, and beautiful cultivated over the ages of many lifetimes. Each being has a conscience that allows them to know what is higher, and what is lower. It is through our conscience we remember the possibility of choosing a compassionate rather than destructive response to others.
No one is unaware of their conscience except for psychopaths and those with organic brain dysfunctions. Since this only factors in for a small percentage of the human race, it remains that most people have a conscience cultivated over countless lifetimes, and thus have a reference point, if only in their subconscious minds, to know what they should and should not do.
That means almost all of us have the ability to perceive, consciously or unconsciously, a "better way to be," and thus we are capable of change any time we want. While self-consciousness may be clouded by desires and illusions, the subconscious mind is always beholding the superconscious mind which is the gateway to Spirit. There is no separation on that level. The only thing that thinks it is separate is ego mind, and that too is an illusion.
Our Receptivity Opens Doorways to Greater Awareness
The entire universe is always sending us signals. It is up to us to pay attention to Spirit, and not stay lost and distracted by illusions, desires, avoidance and attachments. These may be afflictions of the mind, but it is our task, each moment we are alive as sentient beings, to counter these afflictions with the spiritual tools at our disposal.
Each of us are given many opportunities throughout life to grow in awareness of self, others, and the larger life in which we live, breathe, and have our being. We each choose to accept these growth opportunities or ignore them at our peril.
All beings have the opportunity to choose to awaken at any given moment in their life if they pay attention to the life around them. We are not separate from our process of Self-unfoldment. Since the evolutionary process itself always offers us new truths, we always have a choice to "see it differently." There is never a time or circumstance where we are prevented from moving from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, and from death to immortality.
The Light is always there, impossible to ignore or forget, even for those who are ignorant. That's why we always have the power to choose to awaken to a more "enlightened" way of doing our Being.
Those who ask shall receive. Be clear, demand a revelation, and you will get one. Because you are inherently one with All-That-Is, you may know whatever you desire to know, and become more than you ever imagined.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected.
About the author:
Robert WilkinsonAn internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with written permission from Robert Wilkinson.
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