On Friday I had lunch with a lovely, wonderful person. Our conversation was lively and engaging. We were speaking about our personal spiritual walking. I related how my mind says, "Yes, yes, I want to work for world peace, I want to be a holy person, I will strive to be peaceful and compassionate." Then I get down to the place where the implications of these grand sentiments begin to get clear and sharp: this means giving up some things, like maybe slobbing out on the couch every night after work, watching trashy tv and munching things.
I explained that this seems to me to be the place of "free will." This is the place we need to look. Not in the grand, glorious pronouncements of our intention, but in the small, sorry little places of personal capitulation, funny little ways we circumvent internal pockets of emotional quicksand.
My friend calls it "free won't." I agree. It's what we're not willing to do that defines the shape of our spiritual environment. It's the 'little things' we're refusing to do...
And yet, it is important not to do violence, to ourselves as well as to others and the environment. So, the work seems to be about those comforting little attachments we use for emotional stability, not so much about prohibiting them as about exploring them, coaxing out their secrets, finding how to persuade them either to join us or at least not to continue to oppose us.
A lot of "not's" in that story. Refraining from doing harm. We'seem to have many capabilities to do harm. Possibly the worst of them are almost trivial in scope, rather than the drama-filled scenarios of imagination and physical violence.