Like it or not, the direction our lives move toward, is in tandem with the influences of what others speak or act. Behind the façade of an act and what is spoken, is found the origin of thoughts, of emotion, of consciousness – in short – the mind. Not one physical action can come into being without the arising of the mind.
Though I have a mind of my own, doing what I think is best, yet that doing is deeply governed by what I have experienced through my senses. The cup I leave on the table, the posture I seat myself with, the style of my conversation leads, the way I handle a situation, the grief I have in my relationship, the understanding I derive from a reflection, the action I take to respond or to react, the holiday I choose to go, the spiritual journey I undertake to pursue, in short, everything – is never freewill. At a very minute level, every action is governed by the mind, which prior to that has a view that is in tandem with the world. And the world here is to mean the minds of an overall conditioning that are set towards the direction where it is already in the process or progressing towards.
Take a cup for instance. It all started because I need a drink. And what I drink is governed by what views I already have in my head, complimentary from the world – 8 cups of water a day, drink only when one is thirsty, coffee is good for me, coke has too much sugar, that restaurant has good cappuccino – god knows what else is in my head! Irrelevant what choice I take eventually, each choice is governed by a need that is conditioned by the past – an ancient view that is connected to the world I live in.
And when I finally settle for what I think is best for me, which is none other than the views I have in my head, I call for a drink. I call for it according to what is stipulated in the menu, no more no less. And what is a menu but a suggestion of thoughts by someone else? I may request for an add-on, still subjected to the approval of the waiter. But what is an add-on, again except from another view that I have been influenced into, from a past experience which is either directly or indirectly related to someone else’s idea. And when the drink finally arrives, do I choose to pay what I feel like paying? No I don’t – I am subjected to someone’s grand idea that the amount is specific.
Finally the drink comes into contact with my mouth. Whether I sip, savor or drink hastily is none of my choice except what has conditioned me to do so from my past. And again, the past has something to do with someone out in the world who had disseminated an idea into my head. The way I put the cup on the table is not one that is unusual – do I place it very far away from me; do I place it to obstruct my flow of movement; do I place it to make my next drinking impossible? – No. I do it based from my past experience – a conditioning that has naught freewill. And finally when I leave the restaurant, do I take the cup with me or throw the cup in the bin? Whatever step I take, I take after a certain view that is set by the society, by the mind of someone else who had imposed such a view at some point in time. Hence every step I take is all calculated from the minutest level to the obvious, governed by mind conditioning that is influenced by something or someone out there which finally leads to the beginning of mind again.
The book I read is a view of someone else. The ideas I have are not any original than someone else’s who has already shared them with me. The wisdom I realized is set in motion by someone else who directs me there. Where is originality? Where is freewill? Where is freedom? Do I have a choice, really?