Acts of volition

If everything has to be the result of a cause and effect chain reaction then I was a lost cause many years ago. So why do many of us continue; what drives us to hope for that which a strictly causal future is unlikely to present in the linear timescales we have at hand? What do we quietly know at our core and yet choose not to say outloud for fear it would make us sound “illogical”, “delusional” or “mad”? What thing inside of each of us is so powerful we fear it in ourselves (mostly, the fact we make so little use of it…) and what we are truly capable of, or as though its not polite to regard ourselves as powerful under our own volition (as in, not because of our “position” in life, because someone else bestowed it upon us or through having loads of money)?

When we step outside of those perameters, making that quantum leap outside of the cause and effect box, we become the creator that created that original bang out of nothingness. We step outside of the strict corridors of linearity and wander off piste where others have seldom gone. We even have a word for it: we call it “experiencing a miracle”, a rarified concept, but then I consider miracles to be far more available these days than most people tend to believe.

We also call it “making a quantum leap”, manufacturing that for which there were no ingredients just moments before. As in, we disregarded some “logical” conclusion and made an alternative happen anyway, through the volatility of our thoughts (Volatile: from French volatile, from Latin volatilis – fleeting, transitory; swift, rapid; flying, winged, birds, from past participle stem of volare “to fly”, one minute on the ground wishing for something else and the next soaring high). We are taught to think of being volatile as being “unreliable”, “hot-headed”, “likely to go up in smoke”, but the word root says different; so see how we have been detatched from our wings!

You could say, volatile means to be active in the sense of a creator; the original spark out of nowhere…fleeting but potential-loaded, poised to take flight, filled with the lightness of unlimited possibility, lit up with hope.

When put together with volition (from the Latin stem as in volo “I wish”), like a match to a taper, we create with a bang; our very will to make something happen caught on the wings of a creator power poised to take flight, not taking “no” for an answer.

We each have that volatility, plus that original will, inside of us…its what makes us human…but we mostly defer to the traintracks of linearity, trundling between stations signposted “Cause” and “Effect” on a one way line. When we are born, we are issued with that journey’s season ticket…and we renew it every time we succumb to the belief that “this is all there is”.

Yet what happens when we decide to get off the train, take a leap from its moving carriage, take that risk with our life in our hands? What happens when we spy an alternative destination from the corner of our eye and pull the emergency stop cord? It may look like “crash” but this is often what we have really done when we hit some life arresting situation that forces us to consider other options (as in, done by some subliminal part of us that dared to pull on that cord). Its in all the ensing kerfuffle of our crash that we often get to take a long-hard second glance at that alternative landscape we originally caught sight of in our sideways glance and, daring to see it, no longer denying it is there, is how we then break out of our conditioned linear thinking. You could say, the peripheral view now becomes the main view and everything changes. Because, one way or other, it always takes an interuption of conditioned, predictable, thinking to effect a paradigm shift!

Let’s not understate what it took for us to pull on that emergency cord, long before we had any logical reason why; an implusive, paradigm-shifting, act of volition in itself. It takes a certain kind of thinking (a certain type of daring…) to manufacture a crash such as that, even at the subliminal level; quite a leap of courage to take such a quantum leap, an interuption to “normality” and all its inherent comforts. We might do it because we are the natural-born contrarian, the one who always saw outside the box because of the way we are “wired”…or because we are an inventor or born shifter of paradigms, an Einstein in the making…or because we feel as though we have no other choice at the time. Yet, somewhere within that choice made out of coercion (such as the sudden chronic illness that drops you to your knees), hidden deep inside what felt unavoidable or inflicted, there may be a part of us that was, really, making the original bid for freedom, which is really the absolute choice of breaking everything down into its tiniest parts, in order to choose again, choose differently, choose freely, and thus reinvent your life from scratch!

When we feel most cornered and as though there is no other desirable option left ahead on the mainline of life, we may find ourselves digging deep within, only to find that volatile spark alive and well at our core. This can, sometimes, be the gift of breakdown…as in, we find our original spark and realise ourselves to be creators (more so than any conventional linear life path could have shown us).

We might need to do some work breathing life back into that spark, stoking its potential. So, for instance, we might explore mindfulness, take up daily meditation to make the habit of interupting our linear thoughts, dare to consider that there is much more to life than “all this” that seems so concrete, to think outside of mainstream and to prick up our senses around other examples and individuals hinting at a world that lies beyond what is “given”, “fixed”, “logical” or “linear”.

And then, in time, we become that creator…as soon as we make a choice (no matter how large or small) that is an absolute act of unprogrammed free will, neither driven by pressure nor precedent but straight from the heart. That requires no proof for us to believe in it as much as, or more so, than any medical diagnosis or announcement on the news or even undeniable “symptoms” that may scream at you that they are real and something to despair about. Ultimate freedom in action; an act of volition.

When we do that, and it could be, say, the choice to thrive when all else seems to be turning to chaos around us, to be “of nature” when artificial is the buzz-word of the era, to be well again, against all the odds; and then we follow through regardless of other people’s advice, opinions or “evidence” to the contrary, we step up, becoming that original creator. What we create may stop people in their tracks in awe…or go completely unnoticed, yet we felt it course through our veins and we can never be quite the same again. Once touched by it, and the more we practice holding our own freedom of choice in its purest potential (no longer regarded as a “fairy story” but respected as the most potent kind of creator power, made manifest by the force of our will) we can never go back to the humdrum of foregone conclusions, of an unreasonable yet (paradoxically) “reasoned” causal reality made into a false god, because we have experienced a LEAP!

But first, as I said, you have to put yourself in the mind space (which should really be “heart space”…) for making such a leap. You could say I have been doing that for the past 16 years of never, really, losing faith that I would recover my health; certainly the last 10 years since I worked on my mindfulness. I am doing it though my commitment to the Gupta Program, which is a powerful guide through the territory of creating new, unexpected, outcomes out of what feels most stuck in your health.

When you make such a commitment (forgive me yet another metaphor…being a visual-thinker, I do so love to use them!) its like tuning up in the lobby where the lifts go up and down, day after day, holding faith that an up-lift will be coming soon. If life’s most stuck, most vehemently predicatable circumstances seem like a circle or a closed loop then our paradigmn shifts are a spiral and the lift is like the tail end of the spiral that will lift you up to the next level. That level might look all-but the same as the lower level, at a glance (the view from the window, you could say, hardly any different than before) but even the miniscule difference in the view that one floor affords will start to impart insights into things that escaped you the last time you went around the loop and, gradually, you realise the game has shifted (you could say “elevated”) to another level, a new paradigm.

At face value, you may seem to be dealing with the very same stuck points, same crashes, same disappointments as yesterday but you start to realise the value of these upper floor action replays because you are now noticing the patterns that help make sense of it and afford an alternate “way out” to what you were able to see (as though you have much clearer eyes now) at the lower levels. So, day after day, without expecation, preconception or dwelling on any of the lower levels (“the past”), not even antipating what the higher floor will look like, and quite regardless of how “bad” or “demoralised” or “exhausted” you happen to be feeling that day, you simply show up in the elevator lobby (its a mindset…or heartset), wide-open to the posibility that an up-arrow will show up on the display and the elevator doors will open up to let you in.

This, of course, takes faith and a dose of that will I was alking about above, coupled with the all-imporant ability to detach from “what seems” for just long enough to leap into the cracks in-between. Difficult sounding (though no more than remaining stuck, surely) and its important. Because, if human choices are miniscule, yet potent, acts of volition charged with the ultimate creator power then just think what we each hold in our hands and how essential they are to what we are about to create of our world right now in this unprecedented, but brief, window of opportunity to manifest something new.

Inspired by this quotation from the short story “Omphalos” by Ted Chiang:

“…I think there are events of another category that are likewise not fixed in a causal chain: acts of volition. Free will is a kind of miracle; when we make a genuine choice, we bring about a result that cannot be reduced to the workings of physical law. Every act of volition is, like the creation of the universe, a first cause”.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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