question again and think and re-think
Q; Once someone asked you "what is it that meditates?" Or maybe it was "what is the effort of meditation?" During silent sitting when the raucous mind has to be brought back again and again, is all that effort the activity of "the little man o...f luminosity" in this allegory? And if so, then it feels like the next question is "so what is free will?" (Because in the image above, it seems the figure wrapped to the tree is not having such a great time of it. Like a trap.) I have begun to question what I think about free will, which is not so great because this concept is pretty high on my list.
t.k. So I am not giving any answer here except - good ... question! And do not let questioning be tainted by emotional fears and insecurity of not getting an answer right away. Philosophy as a way of life is to live in insecurity. Sadly religion... and spirituality, as tools of social and human control, tend to be the opposite of this - though that is not their deep import.
The methods of Vajrayana (Buddhism in general) do not give you linguistically contrived propositions as "truth answers" ... they give you methods of honing the instrument of questioning (the knowing of the whole body mind).
This questioning: What is this - this body, this life, these actions? Who am I? What is free will? What is meaning? These questions are great acts of courage - they are existential adventurism where the stakes are the highest. We do not get to worship unquestioningly at the golden calf of our thoughts, ideas, opinions, hopes, fears. We do not get the comfort and security of unquestionable theistic dogma based answers.
Good! Question ... and question again and think and re-think ... with mind, intellect, body, feeling. Hone those tools of knowing in all possible manners. (this is the import of the practices we do). Let questioning make you uncomfortable. Get wet and sandy (as they say in the Navy Seals). "The "Know Thyself" of Socrates is not the stuff of weekend workshops - it is forged from a lifetime of sincerity in relation to authntic philosophical living (philo=love sophia= goddess of wisdom).