In ancient times anyone entering the Promised Land was confronted with a very powerful statement between two markers. On one marker were blessings. On the other marker there were curses. One got to choose between life and death. Having just spent 40 years in the desert, the children of Israel now had to choose.
Free will choice is the distinguishing mark between being free and being a slave. Slaves don’t have free will choices. Free will is a gift that we have for our spiritual evolution. Sometimes people come from the place of ego when they are promoting free will choice, and, yet, free will choice is extremely important to the spiritual path. In a subtle mind-controlled, politically correct society, the question is raised as to whether one can make a free will choice. It requires an awareness of these forces and liberating yourself from the “sheepledom captivity” to be able to make free will decisions. This is important because free will is important part of the initial spiritual life. (In enlightenment the illusion of free will disappears, but I am not speaking about that here.)
We are faced with the decision of blessings or curses, all the time. This feels very heavy. Is it then better not to make a decision? The problem with that is that you cannot make the right decision if you are not willing to make decisions. In basketball we say that you can’t score points unless to take a shot at the basket. This is an important principle. If you spend your life avoiding decisions and commitments, you can’t really evolve into wisdom because you’re avoiding the issues that stimulate the development of wisdom. Likewise, if you wait until it’s the perfect decision, such as the perfect mate, the perfect refrigerator, etc. you may never be able to make a decision. People can get paralyzed waiting to make a decision until things are perfect. Our decisions do not have to be perfect. The question to ask is not “is it perfect?” but rather “Is it in alignment with my dharma?”
The highest dharma is to know the Divine. Second to that is your personal dharma, which is a right way of life that leads you to continue to evolve spiritually. Another level of the question is, “Is this decision in alignment with the cosmic teachings of the great traditions?” and “Is it in alignment with the moral and ethical matrix in which I live, and with my intuitive understanding?” Decisions do need to be aligned in some way to the perennial cosmic truths. At the same time, sometimes people get paralyzed by the terms “right” and “wrong” because they may not be politically correct. When we use them in this context, the right or good decision simply means evolutionary.
In order to win in the game of life, you actually have to play. You have to play knowing you could loose, and you can get off track. You can make decisions that can take you in the opposite direction. There are times when you may lose track temporarily. Yet if you don’t choose, you can never really tell where you are going and you cannot receive wisdom feedback on your decisions. In essence, without the opportunity to make free will decisions your evolution is at least partially blocked. To choose between blessings and curses takes a certain amount of courage and wisdom. You have to make the decision whether or not you want to evolve. This involves looking, seeing, thinking, and risk-taking. In order to play the evolutionary process of life, you have to move in a direction.
The good news is that if you have the right understanding, you see that everything you do is about your spiritual evolution. In that context, there is no “right” and “wrong” because even if the decision takes you off, your evolutionary input puts you back on course again. There isn’t necessarily a “wrong” decision unless you continue to move in that direction away from the Divine. As I often say in all seriousness, there are many dead bodies along the way. This may be literally dead or spiritually dead. People run the spiritual hazard of going off track following what seemed to be very interesting, attractive, or pseudo-evolutionary, but involving actions that end up being devolutionary. Yet, if we have a spiritual perspective, whatever direction we may go in for a short term can be turned to become evolutionary. This is difficult to look at, but it is true. Even people with great sincerity can get caught up in just a little bit of the dark side, and it becomes a trap. It looks good in the beginning and you get something from it but you have to be able to see through it.
On the spiritual path, there is a real requirement and a certain amount of wisdom so that you don’t end up in a Jonestown, the commune lead by Jim Jones that committed mass suicide. They had a temple in Ukiah California, not too far from where I used to live. Over 900 people drank cyanide cool-aide. I’ve worked with people to help them to get extracted from those types of situations. It is very serious because it can literally lead to many dead bodies along the way. This shows us that we have to be very thoughtful. We have to question whom we are associating with and how solid is our path? Is our path leading us in the right direction?
Generally speaking, everything has a little dark side to it. That is the nature of the world. But if we focus only on that, we’re not seeing the fuller picture. It may be 95% headed in the right direction. It is never perfect. The nature of the world is that it is a cracked egg. One of the great things that I appreciate about the Torah teachings is that even great teachers such as Moses and Abraham had their flaws. The patriarchs and the matriarchs all had their flaws. That’s ok, because that’s the human condition. In this model we don’t start fantasizing about the perfect being. If you seek perfection, you’ll be paralyzed. Nothing is really perfect.
We have to get clear then, by asking the question, “Is this my dharma?” as we consider our decisions. We may see a little bit of darkness or imperfection and yet there is a huge path of light going through. It is helpful to have a spiritual collective or community and a spiritual teacher whom you can trust, so that you can get some counsel. Most people know that I don’t support drug use, which some confuse as a spiritual path. In one of my slide shows, I show photos of what the brain looks like when one is taking drugs. Drugs that damage the brain include Ayahuasca. There is this warning. An important question to then ask is, are there any examples of people who were liberated through the use of drugs? Looking at all of the different traditions, the answer is, “No.” Have people blown-out their minds, gotten brain-cancer, and various other side effects? The answer is, “Yes.” People don’t always like to hear this, however, because it’s not popular. Not every path is a path of liberation.
In summary, we always have to choose between the curses and the blessings in our lives. To not choose is to go into paralysis, which is the choice not to evolve. If you choose the curses temporarily because you thought it was right but it took you a different way, the key is to be flexible enough to be able to change course in order to get back on track again and to undo it. The wrong decision with the right intent can still elevate you if you go back and try to see it. The key is to hold the intent of spiritual evolution and ask the important questions regarding your dharma, your social matrix, and your intuition, while receiving support from your spiritual community and teacher(s) that help to guide your decisions and to elevate you spiritually.