Our next orientation call is Saturday November 20th, 1:00-1:55pm Pacific Standard Time (4pm Eastern, 9pm UTC)
How free is our will? I like this question much more than the ol' chestnut, "Does free will exist?" Framing it as a binary creates apparent paradox because at the scale of experience the answer is obviously yes and at the scale of physics the answer is obviously no, but debating yes versus no just confuses the frames.
I say that our will is as free as our attention is wide. Here I'm using attention to mean "we are consciously focused on a thing in the present moment" as contrasted with awareness meaning "we have some sense of a thing being present, though our attention can be focused elsewhere." The former is a subset of the latter: We can't pay attention to anything we're not aware of, and we "pay" attention to many fewer things than we have ready-to-hand.
There's also another layer below that, of "there in our senses, but we're not even aware of it". When we pay attention to our awareness itself, we can notice those sensations that we would otherwise filter out or ignore, and bring them into awareness. Once in awareness, they become objects that are possible for us to put our attention on, to use as we choose.
Choice isn't free if we don't know what the choices are. What about in relationship, interacting with another human? We make many choices in that context, and we are unaware of many of those or why we choose them. We react continuously, do much of our reacting unawares, and often hold such a small focus that our attention can be trapped in the content of a conversation even when the relational container is on fire.
This week in Intentional Society we'll be practicing Circling (as practiced by Authentic Relating aficionados and the 3 major schools) to bring our attention to our experience of ourselves with others. Circling is a relational (or "intersubjective") meditative conversational practice which, similar to T-Group, focuses on present moment experience in a relational context. It calls us to really get what someone else's "world" looks like, which can be quite a powerful experience, and which seems very aligned with the pull of our current path of connection and connectivity as a community. Stay tuned for the experience report, I guess. 📖