Fingers & Farts, and the Limits of Free Will
Picking up where the above post left off, and coming back to Lion Attacks:
When faced with a hungry lion, zero intellectual interpretation of the situation is needed, so far as "do I run or do I make a stand?" goes. The body would simply know what to do and do it; the adrenalin rush would ensure that there was no hanging about making conscious "decisions" about it. ("Lemme see now....")
In a way, this is always the situation: every act is a life and death act.
This is what surrender comes down to, IMO: reducing the element of intellectual decision-making until all that is left is pure response. And pure response is always an opening and softening, no matter what is happening on the outside. (One can run or fight to the death while opening and softening.)
Granted, in many circumstances less extreme, we do have to make a conscious decision to act upon a response, to embody a subtler movement of being and turn it into real action. This is one more paradox of self-awareness: the more we assume responsibility for our thoughts and actions, the more we come to see that we have almost no say in them, save at the most wonderfully shallow level.
The fingers do not move the hand, much less the body.
An easy analogy would be a passenger on a train: he has lots of freedom of movement so far as where he wanders on the train, who he interacts with, and even possibly where he sits; and most of all, on where his attention goes ~ whether inside or outside the train. Yet the traveler has absolutely no say about where the train is going or what stops it makes. He could choose to jump off while it's in motion, but (besides pulling the emergency chord) that's the only real way he can override the train's trajectory: by self-destructing.
If a starving baby (or in my case, a tiny black kitten) is placed in our path, this is the conscious Universe doing its thing (i.e., it's a grand circumstance that was presumably beyond the conscious control of any of the players). Whether we attend to that baby or not in no way depends on whether we have personal sovereignty, but simply on whether we allow ourselves to respond to a movement of being (assuming there is one). Such movement is the Universe gently nudging us into that baby's path (and it into ours), in order for some exchange to occur.
It may be no more than noticing and connecting to that baby, or it may be taking that baby home and adopting it. That decision, however, isn't ours. Personal sovereignty is the illusion (and insistence) that we ever get to determine the outcome of something on that scale. It may seem like our decision, but that doesn't mean it is. I'd say it only means we aren't sufficiently sensitive to movements of being, even when they are moving us. And so we take credit for our actions, and blame ourselves when we act wrongly. Credit and blame (the whip and carrot) are the business of sovereignty, but have no meaning to the Universe.
We are only responsible if we are able to respond. If we simply act on our own volition, from a place of personal sovereignty, based on our beliefs and opinions about what is the right thing, etc, etc, although we are still accountable, we are not responsible. We are simply being used as an unconscious tool. Our actions then will always be unclean, because only conscious action can be clean.
The only way to be out of alignment with the Universe would be to attempt to serve our personal agenda, including (or especially) the personal agenda of "serving the Universe." It doesn't matter what it is: if we really think that we are doing it, then we are holding onto our sovereignty and acting unconsciously, which means we are being driven by unconscious wounds and patterns. (And dark entities.)
Those who aren't the Universe's fingers are merely its farts.