No, they don’t exist.
As we begin the “study” of the self, and observe our mind and how our interpretations of the world are heavily affected by our conditioning, then we will perceive how what we call “Life” and what we call “I” are heavily intertwined in such manner that those “two” apparently separated entities are one.
When there is an observer (I) separated from that which is observed, then apparently there is someone operating out of his own volition. It is that collective “illusion” the one governing our general perception of the world.
Sentient beings (humans, animals, plants, minerals, etc) are agents of change just like cells of the human body. The “illusion” is that every cell has a “free will” to act, when in fact; their activity is in unison acting through the laws of cause and effect.
What we call “good” or “bad” luck are merely shallow perceptions based on what is apparently convenient for what we call the “I.” However, there is a gross ignorance of what lies beyond the surface. In fact, we label happenings as “luck,” when we do not know the causes underneath, that is the label “luck” hides our sheer ignorance.
How could there be “luck” in a world of duality which changes through cause and effect? Consequences and repercussions go beyond what we could perceive on the surface.
Observe your own lifetime. Observe the “decisions” we thought were “beneficial” for “ourselves” at first sight. Many times they will come true, but many times they will not. Throw the dice. Why is that?
There is a plot already happening which many times we label as “destiny,” “God,” “luck,” “fate,” “doom,” etc. Labels do not matter, what matters is to be able to observe without bias, prejudices, reasons, beliefs or expectations.
A friend told me that she attended a retreat of a known “guru” and this guru explained that “Everything was predestined.” That was a major shock to some. My friend told me that one person was crying in disbelief.
Even though this explanation was only a mental idea, it was enough to trigger an emotional reaction. That explains our level of engagement with our minds and our need to find theoretical “truth” even though it may differ our own experience.
The “problem” of free will vs. predestination is a popular topic among thinkers and even regular folks. Movies are introducing this topic to the masses who strongly believed that they had “free will.”
Why is it that we cannot figure it out ourselves?
Mostly because we are stuck in a certain level of consciousness, the “I” who is separated from everything else. In separation we are unsure if destiny plays a part to mess up “our” plans or if we didn’t “think” things enough to come up with a better plan. Another “reason” is our high level of social conditioning. For most of us given 3 choices, the answer can only be one. “It is A or B or C.” That logic does not work in Life.
The consciousness of being an “I” a “ME,” separated from everything else does not see the relationships, the interconnections as a piece of a jigsaw puzzle has with every other piece. We cannot see that the purpose of a piece of a puzzle resides in belonging to the jigsaw puzzle.
The same is with a human being in relationship with the Universe, with Life.
Thus, the belief in “free will” supports that separation from the jigsaw puzzle. When someone comes from that consciousness, the belief and acceptance of free will is very important.
As a person moves to a different position in consciousness, that person will experience less of an “I.” That “ME” is no longer the most important, the center of the Universe. We will observe that we do not have control over many things in Life: our own birth, our own childhood, the conditioning that went through us and finally we will acknowledge randomness, serendipity, synchronicity, etc; observing how mysterious Life is. Then predestination is no longer a hard to swallow pill.
There is another stage of consciousness, that is when the “I”, the “Me” moves away.
If the “I” is like a closed door, we are no longer just the door itself but also the space when the door opens. That “nothingness” scares the hell out of most human beings. However, in being that space, we ARE everything as well: The space in the door, the door itself, the house, etc. for space is in them as well.
Therefore, we are Nothing, ONE (I,) and Everything all at the same time.
It is in that consciousness when the words predestination and free will are completely meaningless.
The jigsaw puzzle will be orderly completed only to be chaotically dispersed. Those are the forces of duality which allow for change. That is the nature of the Universe, whether we believe in free will or predestination.
A belief is just our attempt to label some experience. We need to contrast that something with its opposite to give life to our description, so others know what we are talking about. How can we speak about God without bringing the Devil? How can we speak of Night without Day? However, those apparent opposites are coming from the same phenomena.
In a nutshell, free will and predestination are exactly the same thing in Life. The conditioning of our minds will not allow us to see that for we are stuck in the description of words and our mind thrives in seeing opposites to grasp a mental understanding, which in Life is not “true” understanding.
Step outside of your mind, to see.
Life is open for many views. Humans are concerned in finding the correct view, the “truth.”
For example, what if I say that God and Santa Claus have similar life expectancy. Let me push a button: I could assure everyone that we are all predestined. There is no free will… “You” are not in charge of your destiny, because there is no “you.” That “I” is only a mirage… although persistent, “real.” Did I push any buttons? How do you like “my” truth? 🙂 Not a “best seller” material for sure.
Probably most readers will not believe that “nonsense.”
The above is not part of the collective experience where pampering the “I” is a “must have.”
The collective experience is invested “In God, we trust.” The collective experience is sure that “I” am in charge of my own destiny. I just need tools, methods, techniques to get what “I” want in Life; from a “good job” to illumination. It is all about “me.” The collective experience believes in free will. That is the material of “best sellers.” It must be the “truth.”
Here is the catch: Both contradictory statements (mine and the collective consciousness) are “true.”
How is that possible? Different people, different consciousness.
Look at the sky. Do you think that because you see blue there, the color of the sky is blue?
We can only “see” what our eyes will allow us to see. Whether that is “real” or not, we will never know; for any time we “see” things, we are coming from a particular perspective given by our organs of perception.
Life accommodates every “truth,” every belief.
You want to believe in heaven. Fine. You don’t want to. Fine too. No problem.
Life does not mind about our beliefs in “truth.” We are defined by our perceptions.
As we open up to Life, we will not define ourselves through our beliefs, ideas, experiences, traditions… truths.
It is a matter of perception… and all efforts made to find the “truth” are futile. Our search for “truth” does not matter at all. That is my statement.
Humans are so good about fighting for ideas! That is how we can easily demonstrate that humans are living in their minds.
Beliefs, traditions, dogmas, ideas, ideals, truths… are all unnecessary.
Those are keeping our minds in a cage.
If you call your belief “truth,” then use the same label for the others as well. Those are “truths” too.
But, which one is the only truth? That is all I want to know!!!
Please, don’t waste your precious life in that. We are all bubbles. We go on for a few seconds and then disappear in the vastness of Life.
Is it true that we are bubbles? No! We are soap mixed with water.
So, are we truly soap OR water? We are truly soap AND water! Not bubbles.
What makes water? What makes soap?
Two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of Oxygen.
Soap is made of Sodium Hydroxide, (NaOH) water and oils… and the nonsense goes on… More research, more “light” into the “ultimate question.” Give me a break!
As we dissect who we are, as we go smaller, we will discover that we become “larger” for we share the same components with everything else…. We are everything! But that realization does not bring any change in consciousness.
The world of ideas and the mind interested in finding the “truth,” is missing the opportunity to enjoy the existence of being a bubble. That is all! That experience is precious, that is the “now” without the interference of the mind.
That experience is only meant to BE. It doesn’t matter who is “right” or “wrong.” It doesn’t matter if our belief is the “truth.” What matters is if there is a constant and honest sense of relaxation, wellness in us, coming from enjoyment of our experience in Life. That translates into an easy smile in our faces. We are fulfilled. That experience may be the “truth” but if it is not, what a fantastic falsehood it is!
1.”I want to ask a question. If my destiny is already decided that I will fail in an exam. I pray to god to fulfill my wishes. I worshiped him …but I failed in the exam, because it was written in my destiny. I also worked hard to pass that exam..where I am wrong. Please help me…”
Thank you for your question.
Who is that “I” that you are referring to?
Is it your body? Is it your mind? Search for that “I” in all places first.
If you find it, then observe how “failing” or not failing in an exam will affect that “I.” Why is an exam so important for that “I”?
The “Office world” has priorities that are deep inside our minds. But, those priorities are only valid depending on what we decide the “I” to be.
Most will not go into this basic thing. Most will take it for granted that “I have to achieve to become better”. This is compliance with a dream which we believe to be the only “reality”. Whether you “have” (achieved) money, power, love, enlightenment, happiness and any other “good” label that you can imagine; observe if your Life is fulfilling for you, if you are enjoying it. Passing a test is not part of this. You can pass it or fail it, but fulfillment is not a consequence of that.
You “know” that destiny is already made. What is the reason to pray to a God then? Change in Life is done through DOING, but that is not done by someone’s ego. You studied “hard” and did not pass. The “I” was trying to get his agenda of “success” going. It did not happen. Someone else may not have studied as hard as you did; but he passed. Then we believe that “Life is not fair” when it doesn’t move according to our conditioned wishes.
The “I” feels “bad” when hearing about destiny being already made, but it may be that this “I” is just another creation of the mind, an illusion even though compelling, even though it appears “real”, it is an illusion.
Your destiny is woven together with others, with the Totality. We are together in this, although it appears that we are separate just because of our separate bodies and conditioned minds.
Please observe that the problem created by your mind is inferred in the words: “failed, work hard, and wrong.” Those words are creating hell in your mind. Failure does not exist in Life when there is a fixed destiny. Failure is an invention of the “office world.”
It is a game my dear. Don’t take it seriously. “You” are still alive, breathing. Passing an exam could give you more money, more “office world stuff,” to enhance the illusion of the “I.” That is not “bad”. But if you believe that game to be “real” rather than a game, then you are destined to suffer.
That is why, awareness is the key. Awareness is the help that you may be looking for.
2. “I am so appreciative of your rare sense. Krishnamurti (no followers please) comes to mind. The spiritual supermarket grows larger and more insipid daily. You are refreshing.”
Thank you for your kind and honest words. Some individuals have seen Alan Watts in these writings. Others, have seen Osho and yet others, Krishnamurti. We align with a particular writer because we understand their viewpoint as they put words to our own realizations. Many will try to put Ahnanda’s sharing into a bottle of a well known label: Ahnanda is Non-duality, Hinduism, Osho-ism, and any other “truth.”
Ahnanda does not share “truth” for that conveys falsehood as well. He shares his experiences and a different perspective. These perspectives may have encountered other writer’s paths, but at the end of the road, Ahnanda’s path is unique, just like everyone else’s.
Yes, the “spiritual supermarket” is filled with salesman offering “solutions” when there are no “problems”. Offering “Life changes” when Life is change by itself.
However, the spiritual supermarket has a role in Life. They give hope and inspire others to get out of their comfort zones, although with a “small/large fee” attached. For most that is part of the conditioning that “you get what you pay for”.
In Ahnanda’s experience, anything that has been of great value in his Life, has always been free of charge.
That word (predestination) implies religious servitude of the “I.” It implies for the “I” to be a puppet of destiny, determinism.
That is why, I’d like to replace that word with “choice-less action” for choice is of the “I” and so is predestination. “No-I” means that choice and predestination are flushed down the toilet. That is freedom from predestination and the “I.”
To be ONE with Life is to be Life itself, choice-less action. There is DOING, but not “I did it.” It happened through “me.”
The understanding of the above is so important, even if only at the intellectual level. Otherwise, we are stuck in “spirituality of the I.”
“Life works for ME. Everything happens for ME. God is there watching after ME. “I” am his most precious creation. “I” can manifest all my desires, Life is about God and MYSELF, etc.”
It is all about ME, I and MYSELF making choices, controlling Life, accomplishing objectives, becoming someone else… All that triviality is masked in our society with beautiful labels. “Self-help books” are there to give methods so “I am successful.”
Carol didn’t have a good sleep. Was it her choice?
She woke up when the alarm sounded and she felt crabby. Her choice?
Even though her body wanted to rest, she used her “willpower” (pretty word for the mind) to get up ( Not her choice but the conditioning of being tough) and even though the coffee machine didn’t work that morning, she swore at it, hit it and magically… it started working. Her choice?
She was half awake and she drove her red Mustang. (That was her choice, for she did not have other choice. )
Anyway, a car cut her off. The driver was a chauvinistic teenager. He looked at her through the driver’s mirror and made some faces.
Carol saw that and interpreted that as an insult (Her choice due to her conditioning, thus not truly a choice.)
Carol felt very angry. Was that her choice? She stepped on the gas pedal and wanted to cut the teen as he did to her. She wanted to get even. (Not her choice, conditioning of an “eye for an eye, also known as “lame justice for all.”)
A police car passing by took action and gave Carol a citation for speeding and endangering the road with reckless activity.
Was that Carol’s choice?
Obviously no. She didn’t want for those things to happen… but they happened anyway.
The moralist in us could say: “Carol made the choice to step on that gas pedal. She is guilty!”
With deeper observation, we could see that everything started from lack of sleep. (Not her choice) Anger was increasing in a subtle way. That wasn’t her choice either. That was only HER, unmasked. The minute her mental guard was off, the “perfect I” is gone, that is the minute that Carol will appear as she is.
Nevertheless, through ‘spiritual teachings,’ Carol will be taught to suppress that anger through “thinking” before acting. (That is, using the mind to choose based on some conditioning.) Through that teaching, Carol will never know who she truly is. Labeling anger as “bad,” will encourage Carol not to look at it, to repress it. Labeling anger as “sin” will make sure that Carol feels guilt whenever an anger bout comes up. To ask for forgiveness for being what she is, will be the next teaching, as she has to be “perfect” that is, she needs to be someone else to be accepted.
If Carol was AWARE of what is going on inside her, those spiritual teachings wouldn’t be necessary to hide who she IS.
AWARENESS is not a choice. It is growth, maturity.
“Choice-less actions” are there to show us who we truly ARE. The “I” cannot hide behind something that it cannot control.
As long as there is an “I” there will be the duality of predestination and free-will, the puppet of destiny versus the “I” making choices.
The bottom line: Whether free will or predestination exists, is of no consequence for those are only conceptual labels. What truly matters is awareness of the experience of Life, to observe the mental baggage and the traumas created by the “I.” 🙂
Ananda is not sharing stuff out of his intellectual, analytical abilities. That is all theoretical stuff, everything depending on “critical thinking” skills.
We need to go through the experience to understand. We need to “pay our dues,” for that change of consciousness to happen, that change comes with inner openness, readiness, just as a mature fruit in a tree. The limit is made by our belief system whatever it may be. That belief system is another way the “I” has to survive.
A belief system is like a baby crib. It protects the baby while the baby “is” a baby.
Once the baby grows up, then the baby crib becomes a nuisance, a limit, an obstacle.
Teachings, teachers, beliefs are just “tools” which serve a purpose in our lives.
Take the tool, use it and then discard it. Move on. It is critical to have a sense of timing, for many times we may abandon the “tool” before we are ready due to some inner need; but when we abandon the “tool” at the right time, then there is no looking back.
We could understand that “past is past” and the person living “now” is not the one from before.
At that point, we acknowledge change in Life and with that we will move into a different experience.
To “be born” again is not a small thing. It is a total change, which cannot happen if we are still clinging to the past or past experiences.
That is how we could understand how absurd it is to be “worry” about the future. By all means work to get your 401K to make sure you have something when you turn to be a grandpa, but don’t stress it, do not make it a “life or death” situation, don’t be worried about being “ahead” of the game…
Every experience that you experience is exactly as it is needed for you to become one with your destiny.
Ehem…isn’t that predestination?
Only if there is an “I” speaking, thinking, trying to make sense. Otherwise, it is Life itself. At that point, we could trust life and then relax, unwind… enjoy the moment.
How could you enjoy Life if you need to “do” something all the time?
Beat the Smith’s. Get ahead. Go to heaven. Fear God… I mean, “Love” him.
At the end of the road, believe in anything you want, do whatever you want, find the purpose that you want… Still You will be looking for “something.” The “I” is insatiable.
It is all according of what it needs to be. We cannot separate from Life even if we believe to be separated. Living in separation, we may perceive life as hostile. Seeing the bird catching the fish to eat it, may be perceived as cruel, but…all of those are just experiences to experience, to live… which are not affecting the fact of our immortality.
“That is not a fact… It hasn’t been proved!”
That my friend, is something that you will need to find out for yourself. Your God cannot help you. Your 401K cannot help you neither your Life insurance. If you have not experienced it, the above is just another belief for you, which will not let you sleep at night for fear of going away, of dying or even for those who are ready to take their life away at any moment, it will be just a by product of not finding meaning in Life.
It is the “I” wanting to survive and giving up in desperation.
When the “I” changes into “no-I,” what you are, what you think you are, what you believe you are, has no longer meaning.
That is why, self –realization cannot be taught to the masses, it is not something to be learned by following a religious group, but something that happens when you are ready through the assimilation of Life experiences, ripe as a fruit and then Life will provide the “tools” for you to know.
Is that the ultimate? Is that the destination? 🙂
There is no destination. It is an ongoing ride through different neighborhoods, through different landscapes. It is all newness all the time.
“No-I” goes back to “I,” automatically. Just like day goes back to night.
There is no need to miss anything. It comes back without “doing” anything.
Knowing that, you can relax.
Enjoy the experiences, enjoy the ride… 🙂
Imagine that you find out that “consciousness changes all by itself.”
For most individuals even though “we” have experienced this in our lives, we are not aware of it, much less of the consequences of this finding.
Have you played with dolls? Have you ever believed in Santa Claus? But then one day… the behavior and the belief were gone all by itself.
Nothing to cry about. No drama.
But here we go into the “adult” world when we better be certain of our beliefs and behaviors for otherwise, we will lose our “prestige” or worse than that, go to hell forever… in the “afterlife.”
A dogmatic, rigid life begins and consciousness is unable to change because ego, the “I” will get a hold of something to believe or cling for self-preservation.
“I have the truth.” “This is the way it is, listen to me. You will be safe if you follow me.”
Can we pinpoint the difference between the un-attached way of a child’s mentality and the clingy, rigid ways of adulthood?
For god’s sake, what “method” did we use for that change? 🙂
How was it possible for our thoughts to change from “I wonder if my Gold fish knows who I am? into, Life is suffering and then you die….?”
What method did we use for that?
But yet, we “think” that we can “change our thoughts to change our behavior.”
Caught up in that thought, we have decided to divide our thoughts into “good,” positive thoughts and “bad” negative thoughts…
Wait a minute, I was thinking about eating an avocado.. Is that “good” or a “bad” thought?
That is how “neutral thoughts” were added into the mix.
Here a colorful “spiritual” example:
Are you thinking about sex?
That is bad.
Are you thinking about helping someone?
That is good.
Do no think about sex and think about helping others.
That is the method to be virtuous.
Interestingly enough, If we try not to think about sex, what will happen?
We will think about it.
To deny a particular thought means to preserve it. By denial, we accept it.
Isn’t that paradoxical?
That is why self-awareness, to observe, to be a witness, a detached observer, were labels used to express a particular state of consciousness which was located beyond the duality of acceptance through negation.
Many took those labels as the “method” to follow.
It is a not a method. It is a state of consciousness, which cannot be “obtained” by following a human activity, a method; but something that we will stumble upon, something that will happen when the moment is ripe for us.
Consciousness changes all by itself, we could embrace that change or we could deny it to cling to the past, the safe, the old.
We are never the same, but yet all of us are One.
How is that possible?
Because consciousness changes all by itself.
We “are” because we are conscious.
“- But… that is sad that I cannot control my consciousness!”
Who is that “I”?
How is Oneness possible when there is that “I”?
“-But… “I” have free will…”
Did you choose your parents? Your language? The settings of your childhood which determined lots of your experiences later in Life? Did you choose your DNA?
“- So… you are saying that “I” am predestined then…how sad!!
No. I am not saying either way. Just observe at that “I” which is always caught up in duality. That “I” is the victim of destiny, the one who wants to achieve, become “better,” accumulate things and be remembered when death arrives…. Or even better, to believe in a God that will preserve that “I” into a “better” place… Paradise.
The point is not to debate whether Paradise exists or not. That is a pointless belief.
What is important is to observe all the games that the “I” uses to preserve itself.
The “I” who wants to control its thoughts. The “I” who wants to control people. The “I” who wants to control destiny. The “I” who wants to control consciousness.
The “I” who divides itself into the “good I” and the “bad I.” The “I” who wants to conquer the “bad I” by rejecting those things considered “bad” and by supporting those things considered “good.”
Do we see the craziness?
“Spirituality” has offered many methods for centuries to conquer the “bad I.”
“Spirituality” has made the ”do not lead us into temptation” into a way of living, a way of inflicting self-pain for the sake of “obtaining good.”
Beliefs and more beliefs which cannot stand up in front of a experienced human being who is in balance with Life.
Body, mind, spirit, soul are One not many.
Living beings are One not many.
The Universe is One not many. It is the Uni-verse in the poetry of Life.
For some funny reason the “I” keeps separating, dividing, analyzing, finding many… Controlling, pursuing, becoming, fighting, getting, labeling, etc.
Is the problem within thoughts? Is the issue in our actions?
It is in being aware of that “I.” That is all.