I’m constantly attempting to stretch the boundaries of our understanding of agency to show that the free will we think we have is an illusion. That while the brain undoubtedly decides (based on memories) what to do in the moment, there’s a microsecond pause during which we can, if we are fully aware (mindful, if you like, though I loathe the word – mind empty is better! Aware or realising are better still!) see or fully experience the state we are in.
In this microsecond, or possibly quantum, gap, we bring into play a meta or overarching experience of our awareness that is a part of but also an extra dimension of consciousness. It is in this state that we can see ourselves angry, sad, stressed, in love, etc, and we can see that all these are reactions to previous actions.
In seeing this, we can, if we are very careful with our attention, elicit, that is, allow to come into being through us, an attitude. The most rational attitude to take to our situation is compassion, or kindness, or love. And this is us cooperating with the cooperative principles that run through every system, living and more-than-living. Everything cooperates.
This is like the Dao, or flow, or The Way. We become a part of The Way. Our practice is The Way. We disappear into it, and yet remain ourselves. In fact we are more fully ourselves than we are in the state of reactivity, which is part of Karma, Cause-Effect, Samskaras building scar tissue on scar tissue, tightening us into the knot of suffering.
When we are practicing in this Way, we let love, or compassion, or kindness, do what needs to be done. In that microsecond, instead of reaction, we become responsive.
I think this is what sages have been talking about for generations. Thich Nhat Hahn has said this time and again.Jesus of course could be said to have said this: I am The Way. But the I that he referred to is itself The Way. It is love, compassion, and the cooperation of all things with each other that we have the possibility of becoming one with.
Ultimately, it is the way that you practice that counts.