Free Will and Sydney Banks
Note: Sydney Banks, for those of you who don’t know, is the teacher whose early work inspired much of my teaching, including what you read here each week. The post that follows stems from some confusion around Syd’s work regarding free will, and how I see this important concept. I hope you find it helpful. G
As a teacher, I’m not interested in sharing how things appear. I’m interested in exploring and then sharing, to the best of my ability, how things are. I’m not interested in standing pat. I’m interested in a continued exploration and a further stripping away. I’m not interested in evolution. I’m interested in involution, in returning as close to Source as the mind can take me.
And here’s where free will and Syd Banks come in.
My understanding of Syd was that he strongly encouraged further exploration. He taught, and rightly so, from what his felt experience was telling him and where it was taking him. And because self-exploration represents an endless journey inward—as opposed to an outward search into the personal, or into what the activity of ego appears to be capable of or responsible for—my own exploration has naturally taken me away from the concept of personal choice, burden, or free will.
In other words, further exploration has revealed that who we are is Freedom itself. Freedom is at the heart of our very true nature. And thus, since our lives are free, rather than mechanical or deterministic, it’s perfectly normal to feel as though we’re the ones freely making choices. This is not wrong. To the contrary, freedom echoing in our minds is a wonderful expression of what we all hold dear. Where it gets sticky, however, is examining or trying to exercise the concept of free will as opposed to taking a genuine look at who we are, what life is, and where this sense of freedom actually springs from.
Along those lines, I even stumbled upon this little ditty from Syd himself:
“Now, we all have what is called a free will and a free mind (note, he says, ‘what is CALLED a free will and a free mind.’). But there’s a little trick to this free will and free mind because this free will and free mind is what holds you prisoner. It’s what keeps you in hell. It’s what keeps you in ignorance because you have ‘chosen’ to use your own free will in this game of life, this illusion, instead of submitting this so-called ‘free’ will to the will of God. Because the will of God, in actual fact, is the only will that exists.”
Syd was simply reminding us that freedom isn’t personal. It would only be experienced upon a return, a “submitting,” to true nature—or God’s infinite Being.
Finally, as a result of this further exploration, it no longer adds up to me that a thought popping into the mind (thought #1) happens indiscriminately, yet the choice or responsibility of acting on thought #1 (thought #2) is in our control. As Syd taught, it all works the same way. All choices present themselves in the form of a thought popping into the mind. In fact, the notion that we have any power to choose which thought to follow is just another indiscriminate thought.
If you disagree with what you’ve just read, all good. The only thing I’d suggest is this: Do not take my words or the words of Syd or anyone as gospel. Go explore for yourself. What you’re reading here is a current perspective that mustn’t be turned into a belief. Sadly, Syd’s writings, which have been memorialized and held in place, have become a belief.
Again, why not look a little further?
Thank you for reading,