Free Will

 

I am now on my flight home from India to Manchester and looking forward to spending time with my family, including the dogs over the Easter break, before getting back to work on Tuesday.

I used the time last week in India, after the training ended, to do take some retreat time to practice and absorb the wisdom of the teachings.

One morning I woke up with very low motivation to practice, with a mind state of CBA – can’t be arsed! This is a familiar resistance to my practice and also to certain tasks in my daily life and work. It comes with a heavy tired feeling of humph and with a battery of thoughts giving a myriad of reasons why not to do the practice or the task in hand. It is what Rob Nairn would call a default mind state.

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It comes about on the firing of a subliminal reflex, an autonomous reflex just beyond the awareness of the conscious mind (explored more thoroughly in our Level 3: Seeing Deeply course). When this reflex fires, it has an undeniable authority with the message ‘Now it has to be like this’. In this case, the message is ‘Now you will experience a compulsive mind state of CBA in relation to doing your practice.

If we can recognise this for what it is, a compulsive reflex that undermines our aspiration to practice, we can see that it is undermining our free will to act according to our aspirations. When this thought arose for me, my response was a very firm drive to exercise my free will in the face of this reflex.

Over the course of my practice that day, the CBA default mode arose a few times, countered each time by the recognition of the subliminal reflex and the urge to exercise free will. Then the CBA attitude dissolved.

I hope that I can recognise this when it happens again so that my ability to exercise free will increases.

My other tactic to resistance to practice, if I find myself telling myself excuses for not practicing or curtailing my practice, is to tell myself to ‘Stop thinking about it!’ and to ‘Just do it!’

So the next time you find yourself with a resistance to practice, become curious. What are the resistance thoughts and can you let them be and ‘Just do it’? Can you check what your default mode is and then remind yourself that in each moment you can have a choice to exercise you free will to practice in accordance with your deepest aspirations and motivations.

And if the resistance still wins, no need to put our energy into self-criticism. Instead we can put our energy into remembering all the reasons why we want to practice so as to benefit ourselves and those around us. This reinforces our motivation to overcome our resistance next time.

I hope this can help you with the very common obstacle of resistance, as it is helping me.

Kind Wishes

Heather

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