We Can’t Control It

William B. Turner
2 min readFeb 18, 2022
Chenrezig, The Buddha of Compassion

We can set the direction. We can, we have to, choose to sit and meditate every day. That part is critical and up to us.

But past a certain point, the practice takes over. This stands to reason. I have seen no one even try to give a reason for it, but consciousness is doing what it will and we are its effects. If we understood fully what it is doing, we would not be here. Maybe the Buddha understood fully and chose not to explain it, for whatever reason. Maybe he did explain it, but no one now understands his explanation. I don’t know.

But, since all of our knowledge and understanding, even our perceptions, depend on consciousness, it makes sense that consciousness ultimately controls the process and the best we can hope for is to shut up and listen to its silence.

The Puritans had the idea of double predestination. This wacky idea is logically necessary if one posits an omnipotent, humanoid deity. It holds that this god guy has decided, for reasons that we mere humans cannot fathom, to give unearned salvation to some humans and to deny salvation to others. Lawyers call this “arbitrary and capricious.” This is only one of the many hazards of positing an omnipotent, humanoid deity.

What I call “consciousness” under the Buddhist description is similar in that I cannot explain why it operates as it does. But Ajahn Sumedho is very clear that consciousness does not judge. It only observes. It definitely does not grant or deny “salvation,” whatever that is, on a whim. Consciousness is infinite and infinitely available.

Awakening is possible for every sentient being. It is a lot easier for humans because we have the ability to study the dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha, and we have the ability to choose to meditate. That’s why the Buddha said a human birth is precious.

But the practice does take on a life of its own the closer we get to awakening. It’s as if it has its own gravity that pulls us in. This is definitely a bit weird and can feel kind of scary, but just relax into it. Awakening does require a leap of faith.

One advantage of the Buddhist path is that it does not tell us that there is a mean spirited, omnipotent daddy out there who may have already decided to send us to hell, no matter what we do.

So, keep up your consistent meditation practice and let go when it takes over. You’ll love it.

I would like to enlighten everyone. You may help, and acquire good karma, by donating here. Thanks to everyone who has already donated.

William B. Turner

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.