There is a curious dance in the progression of life between choice and letting go. A key feature of early childhood is separation from mother and establishing a sense of personal self.
As we approach spiritual awakening, we learn a new process of surrender, of letting go of those old habits of personal self. This allows the deeper cosmic Self to emerge from behind our constructs.
With awakening, the process of surrender deepens into more subtle layers of being. But it also deepens right on the surface. We discover the ego has been laying claim to our thoughts and actions even though they were driven by the body and laws of nature. We simply observe life unfold from a detached point of observation.
And yet simultaneously, we can find there’s an element of choice in there. Do we choose to favour the mind or go with the flow? What do we give our attention to? Some of that is driven by what is arising but some remains a choice. Not something to be controlled but how we use our attention.
A lot of old reactivity falls away as we heal our emotions. Progressively more subtle drivers like should’s and must’s are seen and released too. There is a deep learning to allow whatever arises.
And yet, discrimination is still required. As I’ve mentioned, we’re all composed of a blend of laws of nature with various levels of emphasis. This gives us our abilities and tendencies. But not all of those inclinations will be healthy no matter how enlightened we are.
On a physical level, for example, our gut biome develops based partly on the foods we eat. Once established, they’ll continue to ask for more of the same even if we try to change our habits. We can feel driven by subconscious calls to unhealthy foods. Our body doesn’t want them but some bacteria do and they signal the brain in much the same way the body does.
Take that example and make it more subtle and you get an idea of why discrimination is still required. I’ve seen teachers go sideways and manipulate their students when they empower less desirable laws within. It can feel “right” because it comes from the same arena as cleaner drivers. But does it have desirable consequences? What does it feed?
Often, we can monitor how smooth and natural a flow seems to determine if something is the right choice or not. We can ask “does nature support?” But what if the laws that are supporting an action are not of the highest quality?
If we’re honest, we can see inclinations that are less desirable. They’ll have shadow or resistance or lower emotions associated. These can drive us if we let them.
I don’t mean we should resist what arises. Only that we still need to choose what to feed, what to give our attention to.
We still have responsibility. In fact, the more deeply rooted and awake we are, the greater the power and the greater the responsibility. Such power also influences the behaviour of others, increasing the effects. What is the influence we’re spreading?
Of course, none of us are perfect. These things can be sub-conscious or hidden from us. But if we realize there’s an issue and don’t take corrective action, then we’re creating new karmas that will hinder our long term growth. No one who acts is immune from the laws of karma.
Responsibility remains, however exalted the awareness.