Sidewalk Bends

Exploring the soul and it's reaches.

Posts Tagged ‘free will

Bringing Down a Phalanx

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phalanxDisbelief and self-doubt are powerful in their ability to destroy oneself and even those whom would place their trust blindly with others. No matter how inclined one is to follow a particular path or mode of thinking, seeing the doubt that others may have in the same idea can often be detrimental to one’s own ability to believe.

Where a bridge stood or a rope supported one’s weight, the support fades and we are left to question our own faith, and our own motives. Have we followed others all along, or have we forged our own path? Are we truly comfortable in our own skin, or have we lived off of the support of others?

Doubt can bring a phalanx down, but when confronted with a chance to redeem oneself, there is no turning back. There is only Us in the end, no one stronger, smarter, or more prepared. There is only Us and yet all we have to confront is ourselves.

What is Right for One

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It’s difficult to watch those around us go through challenges, especially those challenges in which we think we have clarity. However, what is right for us may not necessarily be right for the other person. We each have to find what suits us and what can sit squarely in our hearts without any regrets. Though we might want to force our way by being louder, or by doing for another person what they can do themselves, we must not overstep our bounds.

We must allow others to make their own decisions even if we do not understand the reasons or motives behind them. It is not our place to ridicule or to guilt someone into a decision that suits us rather than the person who actually has to live with the choice. We have our chance and so we must allow others to have their chance as well.

Concentric Circles

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green concentric circlesImagine time as set of concentric circles moving outward from a single starting point. As we move outward from the starting point to the outer most circle time moves forward. Now imagine that each adjacent circle is connected by any number of paths, with each path representing a choice. That choice could be anything from crossing the street to not crossing the street, to something perhaps more consequential like having a child or not having a child, or saving money versus spending all of one’s money. The circles, which represent consequences, stay the same, but the path to each circle can be different.

What if life proceeded in this way? Would that indicate predestination or free will? Would it mean that our choices do not matter because the result is the same? What if one could bypass a circle of consequence? What if one could remain at the single point? What if one could move between circles or what if there were more than one set of concentric circles, or circles that crossed other circles? Could our lives and thus our choices be distilled so easily?

Perhaps these questions do not matter all that much, or perhaps we place too much energy and concern on the time spent from going from point A to point B, when in fact they are the same? Maybe what is important is not the consequence at all, but how we come to the decision that leads to that consequence, or is it the other way around?

We can spend an entire lifetime contemplating all the possible outcomes and all the possible choices and still not be satisfied with how things turn out. If we allow our lives to be dictated by the fear of what may or may not happen, then we have crippled ourselves before giving life a chance.


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flood prophecyThe idea of prophecy has captured the minds of many over the ages. From religious and ancient texts to self-proclaimed psychics and seers to seemingly miraculous personal experiences, men and women from cultures around the world have contemplated its purpose and power. From seeing, whether in the waking state or sleeping state, to feeling, physically and or emotionally, the experience and idea of prophecy has left many to question their faith, the workings of the universe and sometimes one’s very own sanity.

For many people, the future is thought to be unknowable, but bound by something we call “time.” Just out of view it serves as inspiration, and hope for something better. It serves as motivation for improving one’s current state of existence. For others, the future is thought to be knowable, but only in dribs and drabs. Sometimes dreamlike, it entices the seer. What could be the reason for having a glimpse into the future? Is it really the future that is being seen, or has all of this happened before?

Regardless of whether what is seen serves as a warning or a fanciful “what if” moment, the experience often serves as a reminder of the mysteries that surround us. When one sees what they perceive as the future, are they an observer, or do they remain an active participant in their own lives? The idea of free will comes into question and suddenly one is thrust into contemplating a future and life that has already been predetermined. If life and existence itself were predetermined, is the value of life suddenly cheapened? Is birth, death and all that comes in between simply a formality?

Perhaps the question of predetermination and free-will are more a matter of perception than practicality. For many the idea of a predetermined life is slavery draped in different clothes. For others it is the acceptance of choices made long ago, but also made in this very moment. What if every choice, and every choice resulting from that choice, and so on, for all possible choices of every creation, existed all at once? What if like the threads of a blanket, by pulling and manipulating one thread, each thread of that blanket were affected? And so in being able to understand one choice, one has the ability to understand all other choices affected by that single choice and all other choices before it.

In that breathe, perhaps the past, present and future are all the same, existing simultaneously, although for many, experienced one at a time. Like a series of dominoes in every which direction that fall and reset themselves, the past, present and future are continuously unfolding. From the view of the domino it only knows itself, and what comes immediately before and after it. When seen together, one path is realized, and sometimes more than one path is realized at a given time. Which is the present? Which is the past? Which is the future? Does it matter?

When our choices are realized, maybe it is not the order in which they are seen that matters, but rather what is learned or understood in that moment. Like an intricate dance, all of existence is being expressed, and what we choose to see is up to us. Suddenly the power of prophecy lay not in the future, but in understanding the eternal now.

Starting Over

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In order to learn and to progress to the next level of understanding, sometimes one must start again. Sometimes we must destroy what we’ve learned in the past, and begin anew. This does not necessarily mean forgetting or discounting what we’ve learned, but to learn to see in a new light, a different light. Only then, can we begin to truly understand what it is we have missed entirely.

Often it is the case that we build upon past lessons. We learn something, we remember it and then we save it for a later time when we might need it again. Eventually that time comes and we use that knowledge to aide us in a new pursuit or dilemma. Again, we learn something new and that too will one day help us to understand what may come our way. And so it seems that in this fashion there is a progression. One thing builds upon another, which builds upon another and so on. For some there is a belief that the lessons never end. For others there is a plateau and a belief that what a given experience has to offer is beneath them.

Who is right is beside the point for we each perceive our existence differently. Some see and express themselves as individuals. They identify themselves by their personality, outwardly and inwardly. They may also associate themselves with particular groups depending on their physical traits and or personality traits. Whether by race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, political identification, socio-economic status, occupation, nationality or age, they sort and categorize themselves. This need to label and self-identify, often does not end with themselves but causes them to categorize others as well. It causes one to choose their friends and those they associate with on personal and professional level based on these categories and bins.

There are also those who could be seen as polar opposites who not only do not identify themselves with any particular group, but see the common thread in all groups. They see themselves belonging to multiple groups that when seen from a particular view, seem mixed and homogenized. The distinctions disappear, and suddenly there is no race, sex, creed, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and so on. Suddenly the things that were seen as dividing factors joins all of creation into a single entity. Some would say that to the individualist, identity has been lost. To those on the other side of the token, some would say that identity has not been lost. Instead it has been enhanced.

How can this be true if these groups that once brought cohesion, and sometimes disagreement and separation, were to disappear? How can the individual exist in a homogenous state? Some would argue that a true homogenous state is impossible if the individual still exists. Some would also argue that it is impossible for an individual to suppress that which makes him or her an individual in the first place. Further, even for the person who sees him or herself as connected to all things, they must also see them self as an individual otherwise they would not be able to contemplate the dilemma in the first place.

Where do the individual and the unity of all things begin and end? Is this a question one can even answer or begin to answer? To be part of that which we speak, one can only speculate and speak in conjectures or so it is said. This surely does not bring satisfaction to the most diligent among us for conjecture often leads to more conjecture.

Suddenly we are brought back to the beginning of the discussion. Must the individual be destroyed in order for progression to continue, must unity be destroyed in order for the individual to pursue progression, or is progression but an illusory state?

Progression suggests order, and order suggests a beginning and an end, again with each piece building upon the next. However if the beginning and the end become the same, or if all that is in between shrinks into nothingness, what are we left with? Are we left with causes and effects with nothing in between? Are we left with beginnings and ends, without context? Are we left with trials and tribulations without purpose? Or perhaps we are left with simply the Source? Is that sufficient an answer?

What source? What end? What purpose? We are left with more questions than answers. In a state of seemingly unending questions, we are left with nothing to quench the thirst of our pursuits. And perhaps that is the issue in and of itself. Each question of purpose or understanding leads to a desire for more explanations, and for a cause we can deem as worthwhile.

We each sit as judges against what we deem important and what should be discarded into the vortex of discontent and denial. Little do we realize, but all around us we are faced with the discarded. We are faced with the cast-offs of others, some of which we take in as our own and others that we see on its way.

Understanding becomes a personal choice. We can seek it in the refuse and in the discernment of others, or we can create it anew. If understanding is a personal choice, does that make progression a lever that we will pull that convinces us that our pursuits of it are not without cause? Could it be that we are running a race that has already been completed and so in that sense, the idea of progression keeps our focus on the race, rather than the reasons for why we’ve decided to take up that race in the first place?

Choice is a simple answer, perhaps too simple for some to accept. For in having choice, we have taken away blame on all others and have put the emphasis squarely on ourselves. For those who have been running away from their decisions all their lives, this can prove to be all too frightening. We are suddenly faced with the results of our own choices.

Bring Peace to Your Heart

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Share your path with another that you may illuminate the darkness. Bring love to those who would deny it for themselves. Do not make others as you, but allow others to light the way.

Personality Conflict

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If we spend our time calculating how another may bring us harm, or do a disservice to us, we lose sight of what really matters. We lose sight of what others bring to us. Throughout our lives we are presented with personalities and beliefs that seem almost alien to us. To processes them, we sometimes gloss over them, and all too often we attack them, rather than try to understand them. Why do we do this? Are we so sure in our beliefs, in the things we call true, that we would disregard something before we have had a chance to fully hear it? Are we so confident of our place in the universe that we would dismiss others? Surely there are those who have found peace, and who have found love. But if one truly found peace, would they not understand that others must find it in their own right? Would they not understand that to truly love, is to allow others to discover the love in themselves without beating them into submission? If we truly found peace, would we not be so comfortable in ourselves that regardless of how others chose to live their life, or how we choose to live ours, that there would be no need to criticize or to denigrate. Accepting others is very much a part of accepting ourselves, and accepting ourselves is very much a part of accepting others.

Written by Sidewalk Bends

March 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm