View Full Version : Meditation and will

11-28-13, 03:35 AM
Her is another instalment of my ongoing self awareness story.

This thread isnt about whether or not free will is fundamentally possible. IMNSHO that is an article of faith and even the opinion that its an article of faith is in itself an article of faith. For those who are interested, I have written about a pet theory of mine in the debate section.

I want to talk about some very practical hindrances that we face when trying to exercise will.

The basic issue before us is that despite all the talk and all the philosophy, both our mind and the substrate upon which our mind functions, which is the physical brain itself, are subject to a huge variety of impulses which can be said to influence our will.

We do not usually realise this but we do not have a singular unitary I, merely some basic patterns that keep surfacing. We can be in a bad mood or a good mood. We may have fallen in love or just been dumped. It may rain or the sun may shine. We may have money in the bank or just lost everything. In fact, we may even be different in the morning when we get out of bed than we are in the evening. We may have had too much to drink or have forgotten to take our anti depression medications or maybe we have a chronic back pain.

All those influences are done to us from either the outside of from within our own brains. All that affects our will and basically reduces whatever freedom we might have had in the first place.

If you don't believe me just think back about the last time you broke a promise. The you who broke the promise is not the same you who made it. If the you who made it had known you wouldn't be able to live up to it, that you would not have made the promise. I have a slight hunch that the life of many ADDers, including my own, is full of such broken promises.
Or think about when you get angry at a loved one? Can you truly be said to want that? Is it, at that point, your will to be angry? Yet it does happen.

And it does not matter what the mechanism is, whether its psychological or physiological. The one thing that matters is that it does happen even if we(another part of us) do not want it to happen.

Humans are not one, they are a multitude of little computer threads running interference all day long.

The weird thing is, that most people don't even have a clue that all this is going on. They think that they are going through life as a single unitary entity making firm solid decisions all the time. That is an illusion which our minds love to present to ourselves. People only look outside and almost never inside. They may express regret for what they have or haven't done but even then they do not catch on to what happened.

This is where meditation and self awareness comes in. Meditation turns our eyes, formerly aimed out at the world, back to the inside. It allows us to look at ourselves in the process of doing all those crazy things.
It tells us when we are being angry or judgemental or even when we are about to make a promise we already know we may not be able to keep.
It can show us when we are abusing logic when we are trying to defend a position we are emotionally invested in.
It lets us see our sudden urges and desires and even our feelings for what they are and realise their transient nature.
With practice it even lets us read our own body language to let us know when we are lying (and any untruth is a lie)

Beware that self awareness is only seeing and not doing anything about what you see.
Meditation and self awareness by any other method will not give us our will back, and thinking that it does is itself a trap which must be avoided. But it is the first stage in a journey that can help make us whole.