Janette Oakman

'Bringing comfort &
 understanding through

    Helping to bring comfort and 
understanding through knowledge

What Is Free Will?

Inspired by spirit

Written by Janette Oakman

I thought it was appropriate to start my thoughts with a closer look at free will. Do any of us really understand as to just how far free will can take us in our life? Free will within yourself first influenced you to pick up this book of thoughts, it then influenced you to buy the book and take it home. It may have influenced you to open the book and to read a few of the pages first. If you are still in the book shop now, it will also help you to decide if you should pay for the book or to steal it, or sadly put the book back on the shelf.

God gave us all the power of free will; it was his gift to us. He hoped that with free will, in time we could use it to make our own choices in our lives that are right for us.

hout free will, where would we be today? You exercise free will every day without even realising that you are doing this. When you looked in your wardrobe you had a choice of what to wear, free will helped you to decide as to what you felt like wearing today. Perhaps you had to go to work wearing a uniform and so you now say to me, no I had no choice.

When you applied for you job, you knew that you had to wear a uniform to carry out that occupation. You may not have wanted that particular occupation but perhaps other circumstances made you have to take that job. You exercised free will, you could for example of starved or lived on benefits but decided no using your free will, this course of action wasn’t something that you wanted to do.

Whatever the job, you wanted to feed your family, or save for that car or holiday or maybe even escape the loneliness of sitting at home. Perhaps you had witnessed so many street crimes that you wanted to help make our living environment a safer place. Unless someone frog marched you in to the interview and forced you to take the job that was offered to you, then you used free will when deciding to say yes or no when the job was offered. Some may say, that all that happened to them but it was still not their free will, maybe a partner or a parent put them on a great guilt trip to take the job. At the point of saying yes or no, even if there was a gun to their head, they still decided whether to say yes or no.

Why did you say yes, when really you wanted to say no? perhaps I offer you that it was your feelings for another that forced you, perhaps you desire to stay alive and for the trigger on the gun not to be pulled…

So why were we given free will if others could so easily influence us to make choices that we didn’t really want to make? In many of the cases I’d say it is our love for another. There is an emotion that many of us underestimate, pride. To see your children all kitted out in new clothes, or just a pair of new shoes. It doesn’t matter if they are brand new or from a boot sale, knowing that you had provided for that child in your own way is immense.

Along your pathway in life you will reach many crossroads where you will be asked to use your free will. It can take you to so many different places. It’s up to you as to where you end up. Sometimes we can have a rough idea as to where we are going. If we decide to drink that glass of wine and then drive our car home, we all know that the choice was ours. If you kill someone on the way home it doesn’t matter if you are caught or not by the police.

At the end of the day, you exercised your free will when you took the first sip of that glass of wine. If you didn’t kill anyone on the way home, does it really make any difference? You had the choice, you knew it was wrong to drink the wine, unless you also made another decision at the same time exercising your free will again, to not drive home.

What of the mother whose child you killed whilst drinking and driving, how can she use free will?

For the mother she has many choices to make and she’ll take time to decide as to what choice is right for her. She’ll probably practice a few choices. Revenge, hate, anger, kill herself, teach others to learn by your mistake.

Free will isn’t used just for big decisions as much of what we are today was evolved by making many different smaller choices for ourselves. Today I wore a red top, as I always feel happy and strong when I wear a red top. I was feeling low and not very self confident this morning, so I made what I thought at the time was the right decision for me. If I’d chosen a black top I’d have felt miserable all day.

For breakfast I had a bowl of cereal, I could have chosen biscuits with a cup of coffee but I knew it was a much healthier option for me to choose the cereal. In the long run many little acts of free will can really affect us. Imagine how I would feel if I had loads of biscuits for breakfast every morning.

Whilst walking down the road I chose to say hello to anyone that I knew as I noticed them, I could have chosen to ignore them. When I smiled at a complete stranger thinking they looked sad I could have ignored them. I have often wondered when I see a sad face crinkle up and smile at me, did my smile make a difference today?

That complete stranger may have used free will and determination to not sit in doors and only see the walls again that day. As I smiled at them and maybe nodded my head, or even said hello, the world acknowledged to that complete stranger that they are alive and that perhaps the world wasn’t such a horrible place after all.

Sometimes when we use our free will in a certain direction that it becomes a habit, but whatever kind of coat you put on it, it’s still an act of free will. I’m a smoker, each time I light up a cigarette I made the decision to pick it up and if I then light the cigarette then again I exercised my free will. No one has made me light it. Oh I may kid myself in to believing that I really need that cigarette. Perhaps I will defend myself in to believing that someone made me angry and I really needed to calm down.

As a smoker I know that I put my life at risk each time I smoke. I may not be happy with my own decision yet still I smoke? Some may say it’s their way of coping and an easy option would be to say I agree with them but at the end of the day I know I could get cancer, is that really an easy option? Did I really exercise my own free will to make myself smell of smoke, doesn’t sound with hindsight that I made a really good decision for myself but I had other choices that I could have made, but for me today that was the one I made.

Sometimes we loose sight of things when we form a habit. The drug taker takes his drug to get ‘that real buzz happy feeling’ again. He looses sight of the fact that by stealing from the people that love him or even from a complete stranger, he actually instils the exact opposite feeling in them.

Making your mother cry as she finds again you have stolen from her, how can the drug dealer think that his buzz is worth the pain he inflicted using his free will is worth it, isn’t it too high a price?

We are all at different levels of understanding; we all reach our levels of understanding by the choices that we make in our life. If we learn by our mistakes or if we fail to even realise that we have made a mistake then this all influences as to where on the ladder of understanding that we are. But the most important thing that decides as to where on the rudder of that ladder we should stand is what we decide to do with the knowledge that we have acquired. Free will also means that it’s up to us if we should decide to use that knowledge or not.

When you next judge someone for being stupid, ask yourself are they really the stupid one? Or have you just reached a higher level of understanding than they have. Also ask yourself this, have you really reached a higher level of understanding or perhaps have they? For perhaps with a higher level of understanding you would actually have not thought them as being stupid in the first place. It doesn’t matter how ‘clever’ you are, it is the level of understanding that matters.

You had a choice, you could have sat and wondered as to why that person did that ‘silly’ thing and really delve within yourself as to if they were in fact ‘silly’ or if perhaps a much deeper underlying matter made them do that silly thing.

Let’s look at a classroom, is the child that shouts out and distracts the rest of the class always being the class clown the stupid one? Or did they very cleverly pick up on the fact that if they clowned around, they gained laughs. If that child receives no love at home, does that make them stupid or very clever? They realised hey I really need to feel loved and I can’t find it where I need it, but I can get it here if I act silly.

Now if you are on one level of understanding you’d think them troublemakers, on another you’d think them to be troubled, on another level you’d wonder what made them act that way and on yet another level, you’d blame the parents and on a higher level you’d not judge but send them love and on another you’d accept them for having made the right decision for them today.

God Bless free will as it is what made us what we are today, and if we don’t like what we are today, then we can only look at ourselves and our own judgements.

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