I just finished my morning meditation time and this is what I am thinking. I am seeing this with great clarity right now. If you have time….if you care to….would you comment on my thoughts? Is this a good picture of free choice and predetermination? It seems pretty clear to me….does it make sense to you? Is it true? “I realize that bad times are part of a process that leads to something good! (I am trying to make sense of my husband leaving our marriage after 45 years). It is the events that follow bad times that determine the ultimate meaning of those times. In other words, it’s my future that determines my past; not the other way around. And since I am in charge of my future, then I determine the meaning of my past.
It’s interesting to think about this in the context of an age-old question: Do we have free choice or is everything predetermined? I think the answer is YES. Everything is predetermined AND we have free choice. It’s like when we play a card game. We get dealt a hand. And we have no control over the cards we get dealt. It’s predetermined.
But we also get to play that hand. We also have free choice. Ultimately, it’s the COMBINATION of the hand we’re dealt and the way we play it that determines the outcome. And it’s the outcome that shapes my view of the original hand I was dealt. God deals us a hand. There’s nothing we can do to change that. But we get to play that hand. I get to respond to the events of my life. And it’s my response, my actions in the future, which determine the meaning of the events in my past.
So how do I get over the past? I don’t have to get over the past. The past is over! What’s important is the MEANING the past has for me NOW. And the MEANING of my past is determined by my actions in the future.
If I play my hand right, my hurts become part of my healing. And, in fact, I think it’s usually bad times that awaken people to search for new ways.
I can’t make the past go away, but I can heal. I have free choice.”
Now, Nancy, I’ve decided to let your own “wonderings” answer your own question. Seldom does the questioner provide the answer in their own question. Therefore, I am going to share your own comments with our other Ask Roger readers. I love your understanding of our own free will and the practical implications that you share. I really admire your ability to articulate the issues with great insight and teach some a practical “how-tos” for handling properly the choices we make with our free will. Thank you.
Nancy, you are so right. We have to play the cards we are dealt and how we play them makes all the difference in the world.
Just for fun, let’s take this a bit further.
The issue of free will (that we have a conscious choice in making decisions and choosing how we live) and determinism (the idea that God has laid out our lives in such a way that all of our decisions and choices will occur as previously predetermined by Him) has puzzled the best (and simplest) of minds since the days of Plato (the Greek philosopher) and for multiple centuries before his time.
I am quite fascinated by the recent trends in quantum mechanics (the physics of how the universe operates on the micro level as opposed to the macro level) that are forcing physicists to face the religious and philosophical implications that free will is designed into the very nature of the universe.
Many scientists reasoned that if the location and velocity of every sub-atomic particle were known, then it is possible to predict the exact future of the universe. In other words, everything in the universe is predetermined—free will cannot exist. Quantum mechanics accurately describes what happens on the sub-atomic level. However, beyond all common sense, what happens on the micro level is everything but predetermined. Behaviors there can be affected by an interaction with human observations, choices, or even personal thinking! The religious and philosophical implications of these findings are astounding. However, they were consciously ignored, glossed over and minimized by physicists who wanted nothing to do with these implications.
“Quantum enigma” is the term used to describe the religious and philosophical implications resulting from quantum mechanics. It was not until the late 1990s and early 2000s that open-minded physicists who grew up in the 1960s began to explore these implications.” For the previous 90 years physicists simply refused to acknowledge the existence of these implications—basically because of personal beliefs—or lack thereof.
Unraveling the quantum enigma means that some sort of mental, spiritual, or as yet unidentified entity facilitates contact with different levels of the physical world. In one sense, since the macro world is simply a giant-sized micro world (if we could see it from a vantage point far enough away, everyone interacts with an unseen world with the free will to make all sorts of choices that affect the events and activities of our lives. In other words, there is a mysterious connection between human observation (and consciousness) and the physical world.