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Will and Free Will

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on April 26, 2010 | Comments (1)

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”
“An it harm none, do what ye will.”

If you’ve been involved with occultism for any length of time, you’re familiar with these two aphorisms. The first comes from Crowley’s Book of the Law. Although detractors consistently say this is a call to do whatever you want, followers and students of Crowley point out that this really means you should discover your true purpose in life and make that your Will. Then it is literally your spiritual obligation to do exactly that. So it doesn’t mean do what you want. It means find your true path and do anything to follow it.

The question is, how do you find the path of your true Will?

The second aphorism was first published in 1964, is attributed to Doreen Valiente, and is probably a version of Crowley’s statement of Will above (although there are antecedents). It has become accepted that the meaning of “harm none” includes not harming others or yourself.

The question is, how do you know if you’re doing something that will harm yourself if you think it’s good for you when you do it?

Limiting Beliefs

From the time we’re born our minds start to collect ideas. We get concepts from books and teachers, from things we hear on TV and radio, from friends and relatives, from things picked up at random while just walking down the street, and from our inner mental wanderings. These ideas, if not countered, can become beliefs and have a profound effect on what we do. Our actions are often determined by the beliefs we are consciously aware of and those in our unconscious that we don’t even realize we have.

In a very real sense our beliefs control us. We like to think we are very logical, but many of our decisions are the results of logic based on beliefs we don’t even know we have. How can we have free will if our actions are predetermined by our responses to deeply-held beliefs we’re not aware of? How can we say we have free will when are thoughts and actions are controlled by our unconscious minds?

If we’re honest about this the answer to these questions is simple: unless we know the hidden beliefs in our unconscious minds that control our thoughts and actions, we don’t truly have free will.


Some teachers might say, “Just become aware of this” and you can get over this control by your unconscious beliefs. I say that’s a bunch of baloney. To overcome the control of limiting beliefs we need to do more than just “become aware” that they are controlling us. We need a positive way of determining what they are and whether they still serve us.

The way to do this sounds a lot easier than it really is. It is a form of self-evaluation. I would suggest taking a least a week working on this.

The technique requires you to do just one thing: Ask yourself, “Why?” For any action you do, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” When you come up with an answer, ask yourself “Why?” about the answer. When you come to a new answer, ask yourself,”Why?” again. Continue until you feel you can go no further.

At first, your answers will be superficial. Don’t worry about it. Just continue doing this with every action you make (and this will slow you down considerably, so give yourself plenty of time. Here’s an example of this process:

I’m going to have some eggs for breakfast.
Because they taste good?
Because I like the way they taste.
Because it’s the way they’re supposed to taste.
Because that’s the way they’ve tasted since I was a child.
Because that’s the way my mother made them.
Because she took care of me when I was young.
Because that’s what mothers are supposed to do.

Self-evalutation realization: I’m not eating the eggs because of nutrition or because I like the taste, but because they remind me of my mother taking care of me. I should eat based on the nutritional value of food, not because they satisfy psychological urges.

Another way to do this is with a trusted partner. When you do an action your partner asks why you did it. You respond with the reason and your partner asks, “Why?” This continues until your partner believes you have reached the core of the belief that caused (or influenced) the action.

Over your week of practice, doing this type of self-evaluation and coming up with realizations will become easier and easier. You’ll become more aware of the inner motivations that result in your actions. With this knowledge you’ll be able to consciously decide if you want to do something or change your behavior. You’ll truly have free will for the first time in your life.

Once you establish true free will you’ll be able to discover your True Will and do it or determine whether an action is good for you or harmful.

What do you think?

Reader Comments

Written By BuddhaFrog
on April 26th, 2010 @ 12:05 pm

Thanks for this. I tried this technique and came to “because I want them to be happy” and why–“because I want me to be happy about their happiness” and why–“because I don’t want to suffer and have to learn something” and why–“because then I would have to actually change myself”.

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