Free Will

… the sages:
Manage the work of detached actions
Conduct the teaching of no words
They work with myriad things but do not control
They create but do not possess
They act but do not presume
They succeed but do not dwell on success
It is because they do not dwell on success
That it never goes away

TTC, Chapter 2, trans. Derek Lin

Free Will is a topic that has always fascinated me. Check out for a lengthy definition and explanation of the many aspects and philosophies surrounding this issue. Determinism and incompatibilism, libertarianism and compatibilism, argue one way or the other whether free will truly exists, or whether it is an illusion.

Wikipedia states that the I Ching contains “A shifting flow of probabilities for futures,” and that, “Probabilities take the center of the stage away from things and people. A kind of “divine” volition sets the fundamental rules for the working out of probabilities in the universe, and human volitions are always a factor in the ways that humans can deal with the real world situations one encounters. If one’s situation in life is surfing on a tsunami, one still has some range of choices even in that situation. One person might give up, and another person might choose to struggle and perhaps to survive. The Yi Jing mentality is much closer to the mentality of quantum physics than to that of classical physics, and also finds parallelism in voluntarist or Existentialist ideas of taking one’s life as one’s project.”

I myself tend to agree with the I Ching. I believe that our possible futures are constantly shifting, and that our decisions are based on our various backgrounds and psychologies. Whether Everything is predetermined is hard for me to say – it seems like if it were, life might seem fruitless – if it is, at least thinking we have a choice might be all we need. However, to control the Tao is not our job either – TTC#74, “Trying to control the future is like trying to take the master carpenter’s place.”

But I do believe that within the Flow of things, within the Tao, exists the choice that will ultimately lead to the most harmonious outcome. We work with knowledge of the Tao, allowing it to guide us, not being too attached to the desired outcome. Finding the most harmonious path and allowing it to guide, is what I call ‘Surfing the Tao’ – yet I concede that for many of us, making such choices may require a ‘revolution’ of our (perceived) free will, since it may be against popular notions of ambition and wealth.

A Revolution of Free Will

I am working hard to promote the message of love. The simple act of choosing love, with our free wills, can manifest a higher frequency of love, peace and harmony, perhaps someday changing us, and our world, for the better. Some can argue, how can we know we have free will; indeed it is a subject for philosophical debate. But in the end it doesn’t matter; within the illusion of our reality, we can still choose love. And because for some this simple act may be so contrary to the way we are taught to live in this selfish, consumer-driven society, I call it revolutionary.

Forgive, turn the other cheek, and love your enemies. This seemingly impossible task will transform your life, your very consciousness and ability to perceive. This is what it truly means to ‘Surf the Tao’. To ride the wave, the swell of love, in each moment, and not be swayed by anything negative or attempt to reroute the ‘Flow’, is what it means to be ‘enlightened.’ Save yourself, and the world, by joining the silent, internal revolution of free will.

What would our world be like?

Choosing love sounds easy,
But how many of us do it every moment?
And if we all did,
What would our world be like?

We can’t control other people
Just how we react to them
The hardest thing we’ll ever do
Is forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.

This doesn’t absolve their guilt…
It just takes it out of our hands.
And frees our minds and spirits
For other things.

To truly save our world
We must all dig deep within ourselves
The ultimate truths are not in a book
They are asleep along with our spirits.

We all create our own reality.
We can either to choose to walk in love
Or not.
It’s too bad the simplest things
Can also be the most difficult.