Do We Really Have Free Will?

Do We Really Have Free Will?

Do We Really Have Free Will?

I‘ve never really bought into the concept that humans truly have free will, and there’s a variety of spiritually-based reasons for that, but one of the biggest reasons isn’t spiritual at all.

In order to have have free agency of our own will, we have to be a free thinker, and the truth is, very few of us actually are.

Humans, bizarre little ego-centric creatures that we are, believe that we have the freedom of choice in all that we do, as though we have total internal autonomy over what goes on inside our minds. And of course we would think that–we mistakenly believe that the rational mind is the king of our world.

Most of us spend very little time examining our motivations for the choices we make and the beliefs we hold, our biases, our fears, or put any kind of thought into how all of that unexamined subconscious shit informs our so-called rational choices.

Learn how to identify your belief systems

Reason vs. Logic

Humans are rational creatures, not logical creatures. Reason and logic are not the same thing.

All a rationale is, is an explanation about how you came to your conclusion. It doesn’t mean it’s the right conclusion, or that it’s a logical conclusion, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you’re being honest with yourself about your motivations, or that you understand the psychological factors that are driving your behavior.

People tell themselves all kinds of stories about why they do what they do. Many of them are lies.

True free will–and true free thinking–can only be found when we begin to uncover and understand our subconscious mind. Until then, we are susceptible to all kinds of bias, propaganda, and distorted belief systems.

As an acquaintance of mine on Instagram once wrote: if you’re not facing your shadow, you’re getting fucked by it. – @rainierwylde

Learn more about shadow work and it’s role in spirituality

PS – lots of you wanted me to open back up the question submission, so I’ve added that to the post footer. Can’t wait to see what your questions are!

Xo,

Ash

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The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

The Purpose of The Ego

Question from a reader:

“I’ve been considering writing a blog for over five years. One of the largest questions I ask is: what makes what I have to say so special that warrants a blog? This concern feels like what you describe as the (spiritual) “ego” but I’m also curious about the role of the ego in terms of how society/pop culture use the term. So my question is: what is the role/relationship of (pop culture) ego with (spiritual) ego?”

The pop culture definition of “ego” tends to have negative connotations and what we really mean when we talk about someone being egoic is that they have an inflated ego.

You’ll hear people in the spiritual community talk about the ego with negative connotations as well, but I think a lot of that comes from the demonization of it from a pop culture standpoint and those individual’s lack of understanding about the purpose the ego serves. If we strip all of that away, the ego is simply a thing. It is neutral. Neither good nor bad.

From one of my previous blog posts:

I define the ego as a personality construct of sorts, a persona or an identity that we develop for ourselves. The ego is complex and it’s made up of a series of beliefs that we hold about ourselves and who we are, many of which are shaped by outside forces as we develop as children. The ego is the totality of our conscious self. It is how we see ourselves. This is the Jungian view of the Ego, wherein it is only a small part of the total self–in essence, the part of yourself that is fully known to you. The part that is NOT fully known to you, Jung calls the shadow self. – What’s in a Self? Soul, Personality & Ego

The ego serves an important purpose form a spiritual perspective: to be human is to have an ego. We wouldn’t truly be human without it. The ego is the mechanism through which we are able to see ourselves as an individual, unique person. It’s what helps create the illusion of separation from all that is, and gives us the opportunity for experience here in the physical plane. Through the ego we get to decide who we want to be. 

From the psychological perspective, the ego’s purpose is to help regulate various aspects of the self that need to be kept in check, such as the id (our basic instincts and animalistic desires). In that regard, when someone has a weak ego, the id runs amuck. When they have a strong ego, they’re able to keep themselves in check.

But back to the concept of an inflated ego…

When someone in pop culture refers to another as egoic, they are really referring to an unhealthy ego construct a person has created to overcompensate for their perceived shortcomings. An unhealthy ego would actually be considered a weak ego in psychological terms. So the terminology here is a bit at odds with one another.

At the end of my blog post on addiction and shame I talk about how each of us has multiple personas: our true self, our inner false persona and our external false persona.

We often believe that our true self isn’t good enough. That belief, in and of itself, creates a false inner-persona–a skewed view of self. This is the deflated ego, which is also considered a weak ego in psychological terms, because it, too, is unhealthy. Some people are so resistant to that false view of self that they create yet another persona–a false outer persona–to try and compensate for their initial false perception. The false outer persona tries extra hard to be the opposite of the false inner persona. This is the inflated ego we discussed above.

But as I mentioned, the ego is not inherently good or bad in psychological or spiritual terms. It’s a necessary part of the self, so what we must do is work our way through the false inner and outer personas to reach the true self, and in that process we begin to reshape the ego into something that is more closely aligned to our true self. This is what we mean when we talk about alignment.

Now, to address your implied question: What makes what I have to say so special that it warrants a blog? Your experience is unique, and it’s through that experience that you discover your particular medicine for the world. That’s what makes what you have to say so special. Your doubt that who you are is special or unique is actually a result of a weak ego as well! It’s what we talked about earlier as being the deflated ego.

When an ego is healthy, it is strong in that it has the ability to regulate the other parts of the self, and it is neither inflated, nor deflated. It’s balanced, exhibiting healthy amounts of self-respect and self-worth, which are equal to the amounts of respect it gives out.

 

Xo,

Ash

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Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Can Your Ego Screw Up Divine Timing?

Question from a reader:

“I believe there are many paths one can take in life. Some spiritual teachers who are totally loving have come across my path recently and talked about how ego can override divine timing. That you must be ‘aligned with your higher self’ to be a recipient of divine timing. I thought divine timing was always working … I realized all this talk about aligning with your higher self is just another way of making people feel bad about their choices. Could be my own issue because of what I’ve been dealing with lately, but aren’t we all already enough? Don’t we have it inside of us already?”

No, I do not believe that your ego can override divine timing and there’s actually a pretty simple reason why… or maybe not so simple, depending on who you ask. 🙂

I believe in multiple realities–that various aspects of ourselves are experiencing every possible choice our ego could ever make. We experience it all, not just this timeline that this singular aspect of our ego self sees. That’s why I don’t believe in mistakes, or that your life plan can get fucked up, or that we ever make a wrong choice. It’s all experienced by our higher self. The good, the bad, the ugly, in some way shape or form.

Basically, you said there were many paths we can take in life… I believe we take ALL of them. And they are all divine. Dolores Cannon talks about this in-depth in the first book of her Convoluted Universe series and she even discusses how we trade places with our alternate selves from time to time as our realities collide and our personal vibrations shift. Some people call it timeline hopping or quantum jumping. It’s fascinating shit! If you want to geek out a little, I wrote about it in a previous blog post.

Now, for someone who is doing a reading and they are only tapping into one line of that experience, or for someone who doesn’t understand multiple realities or just doesn’t believe in them, then of course, from that limited perspective it can appear that a person would be able to somehow screw something up. But that is a tad bit fear-based, yeah? And all fear comes from a limited perspective.

As far as alignment goes, I definitely do believe in the concept of alignment, but not the way it sounds like other people are talking about it.

Think about all of those paths we mentioned earlier as a spectrum of experiences. There’s the highest vibrational experience, the lowest vibrational experience, and everything in between. We need the lowest vibrational experiences, they’re imperative to our understanding of self. It’s why duality exists, after all–so that we can know ourselves (Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsh does a lovely job of explaining this when God talks about why it “created” itself).

Alignment, to me, means finding your way into that highest vibrational spectrum that is based more around love. It doesn’t mean that it’s right or wrong, just one direction we can go, and certainly reaching it is the purpose of our existence, however, we must experience all of the other stuff along the way in order to reach alignment, because it’s those experiences which propel us to our highest and grandest self. So we can’t look down on those experiences as being wrong or bad. We need them, they’re integral to what we’re up to here. Hell, they’re the whole reason we incarnated in the first place!

I think that’s where a lot of people miss the mark in their understanding of why we’re here. They only picture the end result and they don’t understand that the process… the experience of becoming… is what we’re here for. The journey, not the destination. You can’t become anything over there in the fluffy confines of “Heaven”–you’re already one with all that is and you know it. The only way to experience becoming anything is to first be what it is not. Thus, we come here to forget that which we already are so that we can experience becoming that which we already were, but forgot…

The funny thing is, as long as fear of doing the wrong thing or being the wrong thing is what is driving someone to make the “right” choices to get into what they think is alignment, they’ll never actually get into alignment, because they’re still living in a state of fear. Oh the irony!

Xo,

Ash

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