The question of free will is one that has dogged man through the centuries. Can we change the course of our lives? Do we have absolute or partial free will?
Silver Birch always welcomes difficult questions. Since some regard free will as a thorny problem, it is apposite to devote a chapter to it. Answering a visitor, the guide said:
“It is part of the complementary aspect of the law that man and woman help to make the whole. Intuition can help where reason cannot give the answer. You are being given an opportunity to fulfill yourselves. You have free will. You may make your choice.
Life is not chance, accident or even coincidence. The whole of life is governed by immutable natural law. Whatever aspect of being you examine, it is due to natural law. Human beings are not outside the operation of natural law. They are integral parts of it.
The law has operated at a time when you have a choice to make. It is for you to make that choice. You have been led by those who love you. It is love that directs your footsteps. And that love is capable of guiding you if you will allow it to do so.
Love, like life, is indestructible. The things of matter must perish because by their very nature they are ephemeral. The things of the spirit are eternal. Love is a quality of the spirit. Love endures, love survives, love, as your Bible says, is the fulfilling of the law.”
“Do all the paths lead to the same place, or do they lead nowhere?” the guide was asked.
“The word “place” is difficult. If I might put it my way, all paths lead to the one great divine source of creation. The Great Spirit, what you call “God,” is infinite. So there must be an infinite number of paths leading to the Great Spirit, the epitome of perfect love and wisdom.
The Great Spirit is life, and life is spirit. All that is endowed with life has the quality of divinity as part of its heritage of birth. And all the beings who inhabit your planet are engaged on an eternal pilgrimage, pursuing paths that must lead in the ultimate to the one divine goal.
It does not matter what the path is as long as the pilgrim treads it with honesty of purpose, sincerely seeking to fulfill himself, acquit himself and express those gifts with which he has been endowed so that others can be enriched for his presence on earth.”
“Many young people today are wondering if this planet will survive for very long because of what man is doing to it.”
“The planet will survive.” “Will man?”
“Yes, man will survive too. There is a limitation placed by natural law on what man can do to the planet on which he lives. He cannot destroy the whole of the planet and all that it contains. Now this is part of man’s free will, his choice as to whether he will rise to the divinity within him or whether he will fail. In that case he will not fulfill himself. He will pass to our world unequipped and unready and have to learn all over again.
No man, and no combination of men, have the power to thwart divine will. They can delay, they can harass and they can impede. Infinite wisdom and love rule the universe. These will prevail because that is the law.”
Here the visitor said: “We have destroyed many things which can never return to what they were. This applies to much of what was in the ground and it is a limited place that we inhabit.”
“But it has tremendous potentialities. There is much to be revealed in your world, much to be discovered. You are not at the end of evolution. You are still in its early stages.
Those who are familiar with the truths of the spirit never despair. Their optimum is based on the knowledge that has been revealed to them. With that knowledge they can have complete faith in the overriding power.
In its long history your world has had many disasters. Man has survived them. Man has progressed in spite of himself. He will continue to evolve because evolution is part of the natural law. And spiritual evolution is part of that same law.”
At another circle meeting came the question, “How far is free will dependent on karma, for example?” The reply was:
“The whole of life is regulated by natural laws. Nothing is left to freakishness, to miracles or to chance. All is cause and effect, sowing and reaping, otherwise the universe would be chaotic. You have evidence of the infinite plan of an infinite intelligence in the operation of natural laws wherever you look.
It is to be seen in the sequence of the seasons, the movement of planets and galaxies, the ebb and flow of tides, the growth of a myriad forms of floral life, where natural law reigns supreme. So there is the limit which the divine power has placed because nothing can occur beyond the framework of natural law. But there are laws within laws. There are not only physical laws, there are mental and spiritual ones.
You live, you breathe, you exist, you have your being because from the moment of conception spirit begins to associate with matter in individual form and gradually that individuality unfolds.
It is part of the plan that you should have an element of free will, the power and the ability to make choices in certain circumstances. Used for its best and highest, you can play your part in the spiritual unfoldment and evolution of the race, the world, the universe and the cosmos because your spirit is part of the Great Spirit.
You share in the divinity that is responsible for all that exists everywhere. You are the Great Spirit in microcosm. All that the Great Spirit has of that infinity you have and you will have eternity in which to unfold it.
You can wake up tomorrow morning at an hour later or earlier, or you can stay in bed if you like. You can go for a walk or drive a car. You can lose your temper and hope to find it again. There is a variety of things you can do for which you have the free will.
But you cannot stop the sun from shining, you cannot halt the tempest; these are beyond your power. Your free will is limited because your choice is restricted. There is another limitation placed on your free will. It is the mental and spiritual stage which you have reached in your development. You are free to kill, but your character will ensure that you refrain. So even when you have choices these are limited by who and what you are at the time. Like many things in the universe you have a paradox. You have free will within limitation all the time.
Now I must go a stage further because you introduced the question of karma. This too is a very important consideration because many of those who have work to do in your world chose to do it beforehand. Though awareness may not come immediately, the choice imposes another restriction in free will.”
“Our consciences, are they really ours or those of the guides because they are connected with free will?”
“You are receiving and transmitting stations. It is very seldom that you construct your own thoughts. You radio and television have channels, vibrations — frequencies is the right word – to which they can be attuned. So you have your frequency. That enables you to receive thoughts, ideas, suggestions, inspiration, guidance and a variety of ideas from those on your wavelengths. As you receive them they are tinctured with your individuality and sent on their way so that others capture them.
All this is determined by your evolution. The higher spiritually you are evolved the greater is the thought that can reach you. And, because of that, the greater will its effect be as you transmit it and send it on its way.”
When the subject was raised again, the guide replied:
“Nobody has perfect free will. It is free will within a restricted range. Your will is subject to circumstances which you cannot control. The soul knows what it has to achieve. It may take a long time for awareness to dawn.
I cannot change human nature. It is very malleable material. It can respond to the highest and pitifully can fall to the lowest. This is the great purpose of earthly incarnation. You have within you all the divine possibilities. You have a physical body that comes from the earth, but its animation is derived from this vitalizing spirit.
You have the choice as to how you order your existence, as to whether you give priority to spirit or to matter. That is the nature of the human problem. But you must help those who come to you wherever you can. When you cannot, leave them. For all who are brought to you it is their opportunity to find themselves. If they succeed, express gratitude for your chance to serve. But if they fail, feel sorry for them.”
When another visitor asked about free will, Silver Birch took the opportunity to explain about its relationship to time.
The question was direct. “How does free will operate?” The woman guest explained her interest “arose from something I read in Two Worlds where you refer to time as being the eternal present.” She added:
“If I look back through my life I can see all the intersections, decisions I made, the operation of cause and effect, the whole chain. Supposing I had the gift of looking into the future. I should see what is lined up for me. But if that is the case, where does my free will come in?” The guide replied:
“Forgive me for saying this, but you are a little confused. Time is the eternal present. It is not past or future. It is your relationship to time that determines your past and future. If you visualize time — this is very hard to convey — as a circle which is constantly moving round, the point where you touch it is what you call your present. The part where you have touched it is what you call your past. The part you have yet to touch is what you call your future. But so far as time is concerned it has no past or future.
What you call “looking into the future” is only that ability through clairvoyance or attunement when you escape the three-dimensional boundaries of the physical world and see what will be your future. You behold the effect of the cause you put into motion, what your free will has created. But this does not affect time itself, only your relation to it.