Do We Have Choice and Free Will?

I know this is a hot topic right now and that there is confusion in the 3 Principles community. There are some who are teaching that there is no free will. This is directly counter to what Syd taught.

He taught that “free will and freedom of thought are the same power with two different names.” In The Enlightened Gardener Revisited, page 126, Janet says to Andy, “So what I hear you say is that everyone on earth has what is called free will, and with this free will we have the power to pick the thoughts that we want to become alive, and ignore and discard the ones we don’t. We don’t have to act on every thought!”

Later, on p. 147, Janet stated to Andy that there are many scholars who would disagree that there is such a thing as a free will; Andy’s response was, “If their personal opinion regarding life isn’t their free will in action, what is?”

Even before I had any understanding of the Three Principles, this question has never really been an issue for me as I’ve always basically felt that we do have a choice. However, I used to see that the choices we made were based on external circumstances. I didn’t know that innate wisdom or lack of wisdom drive our choices.

Syd always talked about ‘free will’ and how understanding the Principles allowed us to make wiser choices. This makes perfect sense to me.

The way I see it is that we do have a choice, even though at times it appears that we don’t, simply because we don’t know better. So we do the best we can, given the state of our thinking. Being ‘aware that we think’ is like a pause button; it gives us a moment to choose wisely.

Mental evolution is what free will points to. In other words, the choice we have between listening to wisdom that frees us or listening to unhealthy personal thinking that can keeps us locked in the past and old habits.

Some point to the ‘Oneness’, saying that if we’re part of the Oneness, then the Oneness makes the choice for us. That doesn’t make sense to me. Why else are we in this physical form of life, blessed to be able to use the formless energy to create form, if not to evolve. The Oneness is form and formless, playing the game of life. The game is to evolve.

Free will and freedom of thought is the path to inner evolution. It’s important that people ‘see’ free will and levels of consciousness as gifts for humanity to evolve spiritually and psychologically. Free will gives us the choice to make wise or not so wise decisions. After all, isn’t the purpose of understanding how we create reality the path to creating a healthier, happier experience?

When we make unwise decisions, this is the classroom of life, a way of life educating us and pointing us ‘inside’ where wisdom resides. And it’s the ‘feeling’ of wisdom, also called our true nature that guides us.

The nature of Thought is spiritual energy. We are blessed to be able to use this spiritual, formless energy to create form, the form of our experience. Although we can’t ‘control’ thoughts, we can choose a direction we want our thoughts to flow. For example, we may have the thought that we’d be happier if our spouse would be more financially responsible. As we add more troubling thoughts to that dynamic, we become frustrated, as does our spouse, who is feeling the heat of our judgmental thoughts.

Here’s where free will or choice comes in. Instead of focusing our thoughts on what’s ‘wrong’ with our spouse, focus on ‘what’s right’ with our spouse. The feeling of judgment will dissipate, and clarity and wisdom will emerge, offering a solution. When we’re in the feeling of judgment, there is no clarity. When we’re coming from wisdom, solutions appear, seemingly out of the blue.

Focusing on what’s right in my world was a transformative insight for me. All my life my attention was on what’s wrong and consequentially, my world was not a happy place. From the time that I realized I had a choice on how I perceived my world, and focused on what was right, my reality changed for the better. For me, this is the proof of the pudding; my life changed.

Look to your own life as you began to realize who and what you are at the core. See your own evidence of how you’ve changed. Evolution begins with recognizing the spiritual gift of free will and freedom of thought.

Finally, I strongly recommend that whoever is interested, read Chapter Twelve, The Enlightened Gardener Revisited, Sydney Banks.

22 thoughts on “Do We Have Choice and Free Will?

  1. Thank you Elsie. I love this. While I’m very new to this understanding I feel I have more freedom to act or not (free will) than when I believed the outside world was the driver in my experience. While we don’t need to spend time trying to change our thoughts, we can remember that we are the thinker and not to act on the first thought that appears, but to reflect knowing that from this space more helpful thinking will present itself. That is a choice x

  2. I saw a video on the question, my wisdom said to leave it alone – it would do my head in. The point for anyone wanting to learn, you can’t read a book or listen to another from the intellect. We can listen but if nothing ‘hits us’ from within, then that’s it, walk away. But one question that should be asked if the people espousing their views – when and how did that thought come to you as an insight? And if what they are saying didn’t originate in insight, walk away. No one is talking from pure consciousness, not all high cost 3p practitioners speak truth. And learn to trust your own wisdom, it’s worth more gold than someone else’s words.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this Elsie. I love you and the work that you do. However, I see something different to you and interpret Syd’s words differently to the way that you have. Whilst I acknowledge that you had the privilege of talking with him directly it is not enough to have me ‘unsee’ what it is that I have seen. It seems unhelpful to me that those that are starting to look in this direction find they are confronted by a community that is basically pointing in opposite directions on the very points that most people have laid such importance on. I wonder if there is a conversation to be had to see if there is a mutual ground to be found that would enable what is the same message being presented in a way more beneficial to those we strive to assist. Kindest regards Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie, I thank you in return for sharing your thoughts on my blog. I appreciate and respect your comments. The reason I shared my understanding on this topic is to promote conversation, exactly as you suggest. I also respect and honor that, with your freedom of thought and free will, you “interpret Syd’s words differently to the way I have.” That’s the wonderful gift of honoring our wisdom. Please continue to do so, Debbie. Listen to your own wisdom. Kindest regards, Elsie

  4. Well said Elsie.

    Been wanting to read the enlightened Gardner revisited for awhile but can’t seem to find it available.

    1. Thank you, Gayle. There is a new website with Syd’s materials where you can read some of his books and view his DVDs for free as well as purchase. Check it out to see about The Enlightened Gardener Revisited. http://sydbanks.com/

  5. Thanks Elsie.
    Here’s what occurs to me:
    We say we can’t control which thoughts arise but can choose which thought to follow or where to look. What’s confusing is that “which thought to follow” and “where to look” are themselves thoughts – so we can’t control them either! That’s why it seems a bit of a paradox.

    1. Ilan, this understanding is paradoxical; a mystery beyond the intellect because of it’s formless nature. Here’s what I see. We can’t control thoughts before they are formed but once thoughts are formed in our mind, we do have the ability to choose what direction we go in or what thoughts to focus on. That’s what I mean when I say this understanding gives us a ‘pause button’. The choice we have are on thoughts that are already formed. Hope that helps.

  6. Thank you Elsie so much for this. It is a basic part of being human to me and you explained it beautifully.
    I, like many others here am fragile and some of the new coaches really freak me out! But you especially pick me up and I do have free will to choose who to read/ listen to!
    I am so glad you wrote this and have saved it for my next wobble!
    I love your books and podcasts. They give me such peace. Thank you

    1. Hi Mary, thank you so much for your kind and insightful comments. I really appreciate that. And I’m so glad that you trust your wisdom to guide you who to listen to, and most importantly, that you are listening to your own wisdom. Beautiful.

  7. Hi Elsie
    Thank you for the conversation. I am trying to see what it is that you see, so please bear with me. In response to Ilan above you say that we can’t control thoughts before they are formed in our mind, so HOW do we choose what direction we go in or what thoughts to focus on if they too are thoughts that we can’t control before they are formed. It just doesn’t make sense. If you follow the route of not controlling thoughts we have something other than a paradox. Would love it if you could really explain what it is that you mean. With thought as the missing link it seems to me that ‘The choice we have are on thoughts that are already formed’ can only be made from thought itself, which we can’t control and hasn’t yet been formed. Thank you. Kind regards Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie, there is a difference between the power of Thought as a Principle, which is formless energy, and the content of thought, which is form. When we begin to function more from our wisdom, which is before the content of thought, wisdom guides us to choose wisely the direction and thoughts to entertain. Wisdom, although formless, comes through us as the form of thought, as original thought or insight. That’s the power of a shift in consciousness, where we become more conscious of who and what we are at our core. I really encourage you to be patient with ‘not knowing’, rest in your wisdom, and trust the answer will come to you. Kindest regards, Elsie

  8. Well discussed. We certainly do have choice, free will. For me facing the unknown and trusting the right insight will show up is very important. That trust is another form of choice…not accepting the limited what is, and being open to what will be. I determine if I perk up my ears, l live with an open heart that is willing to see what I don’t yet know. It’s my choice…..my own thinking to hold or let go. The feeling of knowing guides my choice.

  9. Hi Elsie,
    Let me first honor you by saying I love how you share yourself and the 3 principals. Secondly I think the confusion of the “Free Will” debate really has me a bit confused and of course my intellect is trying to figure out will completely get me no where lol. But I think I had a bit of an insight or maybe question … What if in the space of the formless there is an absence of “Free Will” simple because you do not need it. But when thoughts become formed your wisdom/mind gives you the choice to choose which thought you experience therefore exercising your free will?Not sure if that makes sense but I believe makes the most of 3 states of consciousness. Your thoughts Elsie please.

    1. Hi Susan, that is exactly right. I shared my understanding about this in my response to Debbie, below comment. It’s such a gift to ‘see’ this via insight. And I also appreciate that you ‘see’ that the more we try to figure out free will from the intellect, the more confusion arises. The answer comes via insight. Lastly, thank you so much for your heartfelt remarks. You’re very kind.

  10. I think we always have free choice. But when we are stuck in a bad mood, we only see a narrow choice, eg, if you’re in a fight with your partner, it’s either, say this nasty comment, or hold your tongue. Whereas, with Wisdom and patience, we see about ten choices! 1) wait 5 minutes, maybe the other person is upset about something else entirely. 2) I’m bored with fighting. How about we play something more fun 3) oh my goodness was that a comet outside? 4) he was patient with me last week, I’ll be kind today 5) I’m safe and happy anyway, this is just the roller coaster of life experience. And 6) I don’t feel calm now but if I escape somewhere and read something calming I know I can get back to feeling that way sometime soon. 7)how about if I can say something constructive and exceptionally kind? Or maybe realise the other person is about to apologize if I wait? Or doesn’t realize how I took what he just said? 8)What Would Syd Do Now? 9) the fight doesn’t happen in the first place! Because I have a clearer sense of self, and a kinder feeling towards the other! 10) you say the horrid comment, you feel guilty and you say sorry straight afterwards.
    So with understanding the principles, your patience and freedom of choice has been expanded.

  11. The only free will we have is to be identified as the witnesser of the thinker. (A better way to say it is to be identified not as a witnesser but as witnessing). One choice leads to freedom and one choice to slavery. You can either be a slave to the thinker always chasing whatever carrot the thinker places in front of you. Or you can be freedom itself by being free of yourself.

  12. I’m glad this blog stuck a chord for you, Lori. And thanks for sharing it with others. It’s so important for people to realize they have more power to transform their lives than perhaps they realized.

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