The Eternal Paradox of Free Will and Predestination By Drs. Frans Langenkamp Ph.D.

Free will is the greatest gift of God to man,’ says Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (Bh.G. 1.39). ‘Man has freedom of action; thereby he can adopt any channel, good or bad, through which he wants the course of his life to flow’ (Bh.G. 2.27). We know that freedom is very fulfilling, we all want more and more freedom. Freedom equates with happiness, independence and sovereignty. And indeed, man seems to be more free than any other life form.

Intuitively we may feel free – aren’t we free to think, speak and act as we like? However, certain kinds of behaviors are regarded as more wise than other kinds of behaviors. Actions do call forth reactions. Actions do have consequences. All of us are acquainted with the Law of Nature that requires that the reaction is equal and opposite to the action. Or, as the ancient saying goes:

‘As you sow, so shall you reap.’
This is universal village knowledge, as Maharishi once put it. We can do as we please, only we should be ready to bear the consequences of our actions.

Is this the whole story of free will and predestination? Certainly not, since we can ask ourselves the very important question: Why do I act the way I act? Why do I speak the way I speak? Why do I think the way I think? Why do I desire what I desire? One person goes for art, another for science. Some go for philosophy, others for religion. The one likes silence, the other is fond of action. We all have different tastes and likings. We all have different natures.

Where do all these differences come from? The nature of one person predisposes one for a certain profession, the nature of the other predisposes this one for a completely different profession. All of us act more or less on the basis of our free choice. But our free choice definitely seems to be based on the structure of our personality, our nature. Is it not our nature that inclines us to do certain things, and avoid other things? There is an saying in Dutch: The character and the fate of a person relate to each other like the key to the lock. Obviously, free will is somehow based upon our nature.
Let us examine our own experience a bit closer. In the ordinary waking state, we feel somehow that we are pretty free, but not completely. On the other hand, we intuitively feel that something is predetermined for us, in other words, we feel that, to some extent, we are destined to have certain experiences in life, but we are not able to determine exactly what.

It is only natural, that sooner or later we ask ourselves the question: How far does the freedom go? What exactly is its nature? And similarly: how far does the predestination go? What is its nature?
In the normal waking state, we shall not able to sort out the answers to these metaphysical questions. Throughout the ages, philosophers and wise men have tried to define the range of our freedom and the nature of predestination. But because perception in the waking state of consciousness is very much limited, hardly anyone has hit the mark. Let us take up some of the generally expressed viewpoints in this matter.

Dog on a Line
Some say our situation in life is like that of a dog, who is taken out by its master, and is attached to a leash. The dog is allowed to frolic around somewhat, ease its nature, and – if it is lucky in life – its master is lenient enough to take notice of its wishes, and allows the dog to lead him on somewhat. Especially recently, the freedom of dogs is rather great, since the invention of leashes that can be extended up to 10 meters or so. Like this, we human beings are free to some extent, but simultaneously bound to some extent.

Fish in a river
Others compare our situation with a fish in the river. The river is flowing downstream, and carries the fish automatically to a certain destination.
‘Certain things are meant to be, as rivers surely flow into the sea.’
The fish can choose to swim left or right or in the middle, etc. Some fish can even exert will to work themselves upstream.

Game of cards
Others are fond of saying that life can be likened to a game of cards. Destiny allots a set of cards to each of us, containing some good, some medium, and some bad cards. Then it is up to each of us to use our Creative Intelligence to make something out of that hand of cards. Either we focus ourselves on winning, and use all the alertness that is in our command, or we do not exert ourselves very much and leave many opportunities unused.

Dark labyrinth
Others say that our situation on earth is like that of many persons trying to find their way in a dark labyrinth. The structure of the labyrinth is so complex that hardly anyone finds the way out and is finally liberated. The majority grope in darkness, not possessed of a comprehensive map of the place, and are destined to die before finding the way out.

Some say that the free will of today is the determinism of tomorrow. This viewpoint is illustrated in the following analogy: At an airport, we are faced with hundreds of options of where to go. But once we have bought a ticket for Chicago, and entered the plane, we are bound to end up in Chicago. We must be ready to accept the consequences of this free choice.

Experiences in the waking state of consciousness
When we take a close look at these different analogies, however, we will find that they do not provide the ultimate answer regarding the nature of free will, nor do they define the ultimate nature of predestination. It is clear that these analogies relate to the experiences that we have in the waking state of consciousness, and it is for this reason that they do not tell the whole story. They leave many things unexplained.

For instance, regarding the analogy of the dog, we can ask, why did the master at a certain point in time buy such a modern extending line by which the freedom of the dog was increased?

Regarding the fish analogy, we can ask ourselves why it is that one fish is so headstrong that he swims upstream while another takes it easy and lets himself be carried on by the river. Regarding the game of cards, we can ask the relevant question: ‘What did I do to deserve such a lucky set of cards? If you say it is coincidence, then what happened to that universal village knowledge: ‘as you sow so shall you reap’? Is it suddenly not applicable anymore? Regarding the labyrinth we could ask: ‘Why is the world experienced as a labyrinth?’ or ‘How did we end up in this labyrinth anyway?’ Regarding the airport analogy the valid question would be: ‘Why did I prefer Chicago to San Francisco?’
Every philosophy is simply the expression of a certain level of experiences in life. The Science of Creative Intelligence explains that knowledge is structured in consciousness, and that knowledge is different in different states of consciousness.

The reason for the existence of so many different philosophies is the fact that we each experience life from our own individual viewpoint.
The waking state of consciousness covers an infinite range of experiences, but they all have one thing in common: They do not touch the ultimate truth of life. The waking state of consciousness is like a house with a few windows here and there. Dwelling in the house, we are not able to see the entire range of our environment. When something passes in front of our window, we can see it clearly, but we are not aware of where it came from, nor are we able to determine where it goes to. This tempts us to believe that we are living in a world full of coincidences. Moreover, this restricted perception of the waking state poses an open invitation for us to indulge in speculation.

Cosmic consciousness, mentioned earlier, is like a house made of glass. We are able to see 360 degree of our environment. To the farthest horizon, we can see certain events coming up and taking shape, before they pass by and merge once again with the horizon. Cosmic consciousness is characterized by 360° openness of awareness. This makes for good scientists, and for good artists as well. From this platform of unbounded awareness , now we are able to distinguish both subtle causes as well as the subtle mechanics that structure our life.

Furthermore, in this state of cosmic consciousness, we gain clear insight into the nature of ourselves – we are possessed of self-knowledge. We bring true fulfillment to the ancient Greek teaching:
‘Gnothi Seauton’ – ‘Know Thyself’, the central advice of both Socrates and Plato. We experience the absolute, unbounded and eternal nature of our Self; we have discovered our true identity.
From this unbounded and, therefore, unbiased viewpoint, we are capable now to appreciate that all actions of persons, including ourselves, are based upon their own very nature.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:
‘Sadrisham cheshtate svasyah
prakriter gyanavanapi prakritim yanti bhutani’

‘Creatures follow their own nature. Even the enlightened man acts according to his own nature’ (Bh.G. 3.33).

This expression is based upon a deep appreciation of the unique nature of every single individual. It is clear that the free will that we as individuals exercise is determined by our very nature.

Herein lies an answer to the question why certain fishes swim upstream, while others are happy to be carried on by the river. It suggests that the more self-knowledge we develop, the more insight we gain into our deepest motivations, and desires. But this is not yet the ultimate resolution of the paradox of free will and predetermination. For instance, what about the influence that creatures exert on other creatures, and what of environmental influences?

In order to provide answers to these deepest questions that life poses to us, the wise, throughout the ages have advised us to meditate – to transcend our thoughts and feelings, our memories, desires, worries and plans – in order to obtain a complete, and all comprehensive insight into the mechanics of life, the mechanics of creation. In the second chapter of the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna advises Arjuna to transcend all phases of relative experience, and just be:

‘Nistraigunyo bhavarjuna
nirdvandvo nityasattvastho
niryogakshema atmavan’

‘Be without the three Gunas, O Arjuna,
freed from duality, ever firm in purity of awareness,
possessed of the Self.’ (Bh.G. 2.45)

Be without the three Gunas: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, the three qualities of nature that are responsible for conducting all processes of change, all transformations, and all processes of evolution in the universe. Transcend them, Arjuna. Just be yourself, be established in your simplest form of awareness, get out of the field of change, and experience pure being, the source of all change.

That is to say, establish your awareness in the state of unity, beyond diversity, beyond thoughts and feelings. In that state, the mind is freed from boundaries. When the mind has transcended itself, and has identified itself with pure, unbounded consciousness, it is absolutely free. Thus we see that pure consciousness, transcendental consciousness, is the state of real freedom. To put it even more clearly: freedom is a quality of pure consciousness. The more our consciousness is pure, the more we experience freedom in daily life.

Absolute freedom
The freedom that we experience in the waking state is just the reflection of the absolute freedom which is inherent the nature of pure consciousness. Thus it is a universal experience that we only experience real freedom when our mind has identified itself with pure awareness, pure consciousness, pure being. We are not the mind, we are not the body, we have a mind and we have a body. Mind and body are the instruments through with we are able to express our Self.

Having established ourselves in the state of being, the singularity of pure consciousness – we feel subjectively free. This freedom is of an absolute nature, because now we have identified ourselves with the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature, the intrinsic quality of which is absolute freedom. This experience – which is now easily available through the technique of Transcendental Meditation – is traditionally described as ‘liberation’, or ‘moksha’, in the language of Vedic Science.

Having established our awareness in a state of absolute freedom, does this mean that our thinking, speech, and behaviour becomes lawless, or anarchistic? Rather the opposite is true. Once we have established ourselves on the level of transcendental consciousness, all stresses in our nervous system which impeded and disturbed the natural and efficient functioning of our mind-body system are dissolved. In Transcendental Meditation, this occurs simultaneously with the expansion of consciousness. The growth of purity in our mind-body system automatically leads to more balanced functioning of both the physiology and the psychology, which makes behavior more natural and more balanced. In other words, we begin to act more and more in accord with all the Laws of Nature.

The Uninvolved Witness
Thus, we make the paradoxical discovery that the more we experience real freedom the more we become open to the fact that all our thoughts, speech and actions are conducted by the eternally fixed Laws of Nature. What is crucial in the context of the mechanics of creation – the mechanics of our consciousness – is that, when we have taken our stand in our real Self, in the purity of our consciousness, we start to be a witness, an uninvolved witness to all the activity that goes on in our mind, body, environment and the universe at large. This witnessing aspect of our consciousness is called ‘saakshi’ in Vedic Science.

This witnessing quality of consciousness is inherent in the very nature of consciousness. In a sense, all that consciousness ever does is witness. When our awareness becomes grounded in Self-awareness, we simply become more and more aware of this witnessing role that our consciousness has always been playing. We no longer identify ourselves exclusively with our mind-body system. In cosmic consciousness, we experience our real Self as pure awareness, and we are aware that the mind-body system is simply a part of the whole of nature which performs its actions spontaneously and automatically.

Cosmic Consciousness
Cosmic consciousness is the concrete experience when pure consciousness, gained first in meditation, has become an established feature of our being – pure consciousness, as the witness, is spontaneously and naturally maintained during all activities of the waking, dreaming and sleeping states of consciousness. In this state of all comprehensive awareness, or cosmic consciousness, we find the resolution of the eternal paradox of free will and predestination: Subjectively we are absolutely free, but objectively speaking, all our activities are carried out by all the Laws of Nature. From this cosmic perspective, we are able to see the truth about both the subjective and the objective sides of our existence. Subjectively, we know we are part of the eternal and absolute silent value of consciousness; and objectively, we know that we are part of the eternally dynamic value of existence.

In cosmic consciousness, we directly experience that our subjectivity belongs to absolute silence, and that our objectivity belongs to the eternal dynamism of the ‘automatic production line’ of creation. When we no longer identify ourselves with the mind or the body, we know we are just the silent witness of all that is, was, and will be. Or, as the Bhagavad Gita puts it,

‘Naiva kincit karomiti yukto manyeta tattvavit’
‘He whose awareness is united and knows the truth,
he will maintain “I do not act at all”.’ (Bh.G. 5.8)

Not that the mind-body system stops being active after having gained a higher state of consciousness – we simply become aware of the fact that we are not acting, and that in the past we have never been acting, and that in the future our true Self will never be acting!
What is it then that makes our mind, body, intellect, and senses act? It is nature, nothing but nature, as Lord Krishna says to Arjuna:

‘Prakrityai va cha karmani kriyamanani sarvashah,
yah pashyati tathatmanam akartaram sa pashyati’
‘He verily sees, who sees that all actions are done by nature alone, and that the Self is actionless.’ (Bh.G. 13.29).

The Yoga Vasishtha confirms this experience, which is the characteristic of cosmic consciousness:
‘When thus one realizes the supreme, which is the only essence of truth beyond this ocean of Samsara, one realizes “I am not the doer, but cosmic Creative Intelligence alone is the doer, not even in the past did I do anything”.’ (Y.V. 6.1. 32)

The more our awareness is anchored in eternal silence and absolute freedom, the more we become aware that it is the cosmic Creative Intelligence that conducts all activities of mind, body, behavior, and environment. These mechanics of creation are also revealed by a verse of Rik Veda:

‘Yatinam brahma bhavati sarathih’
‘For him, whose awareness is withdrawn from the field of change, whose awareness is established in its own unbounded nature, the cosmic Creative Intelligence become the charioteer of all actions.’ (Rik Veda 1.158.6)

The more that we are consciously identified with our essential nature as pure consciousness, the more we become aware of the perfect and orderly development that characterizes the ‘automatic production line’ of the universe.

Absolute Freedom and Absolute Predestination
The more self-referral we are, the more we realize the mechanics of nature’s functioning. In this experience of higher states of consciousness, we resolve the paradox of free will and predetermination. In one and the same process of establishing our awareness in transcendental consciousness, we have discovered the truth about freedom, and we have discovered the truth about predestination! From the perspective of cosmic consciousness, we are able to see that these two fields of life exist side by side. Both are 100% in their own right.

In cosmic consciousness, we experience absolute, eternal freedom as the essential quality of our own consciousness, and on that basis, from that transcendental viewpoint, we see the truth about activity – namely that it is conducted by the Laws of Nature, by almighty Nature itself, which moves according to a cosmic plan, outlined in the ‘instruction manual of creation’, the Veda.

However new and perhaps unbelievable this may sound to people in the world, it is exactly the experience in cosmic consciousness. Not that the freedom becomes 100% available in cosmic consciousness, we only become aware of the freedom that has always been there. Likewise, not that predestination becomes 100% operable in cosmic consciousness, we only become aware of the predestination that was eternally there. Vedic Science is not a religion. Nobody is asked to believe anything of this description of life. Vedic Science can verify that it is so! And this is exactly the job that Jyotish performs for us.

In Chapter Three, we mentioned the Vimshottari Dasha system, which allots different Grahas to different periods of our life. With the help of this timetable, we have an overview over the entire ‘production process’ of our life. When we combine this system with the study of the actual position of the Grahas at any given time (the so-called Gochar or transit system), we are in a position to gauge the actual mechanics of our life on a day to day basis!
Having performed this experiment hundreds of times, we have become absolutely convinced that everything develops according to the cosmic plan. All processes of thinking, speaking and acting are the expression of the cosmic mechanics of creation. Having observed this to be true, over and over again, we develop an intuition, a feeling for the perfect and orderly set up of creation – even when our subjective experience is still limited to the waking state of consciousness.

In this way, the study of Jyotish is helpful in expanding our consciousness into cosmic dimensions. In the event that we are meditating, the study of Jyotish becomes supportive to the development of our consciousness that results from regular experience of the absolute level of awareness in meditation. Maharishi emphasizes that knowledge and experience always go hand in hand. Combining the intellectual study of Jyotish with the experiential development brought about by the regular practice of TM, we soon begin to experience glimpses of the cosmic reality, and, in due time, this most natural, blissful, and most exalted state of consciousness becomes a permanent feature of our daily life.

Mere coincidence?
Having secured our subjective existence in absolute bliss consciousness, we begin to recognize that everything big or small, important or non-important is organized by the Creative Intelligence of nature. We start to cognize that all actions and all events are products of the Laws of Nature. In the normal waking state, we were not able to figure out reasons for many events in our lives, and, indeed for many events that were happening in the world at large. But now, when the comprehension of the mind has reached a cosmic perspective, everything begins to make sense to us.

Wise men throughout the ages have had insight in the perfect, just and mathematically precise functioning of Nature. In his Essay on Man, dated 1774, Alexander Pope in England wrote:

‘All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
all chance, direction which thou canst not see;
all discord, harmony, not understood;
all partial evil, universal good;
all chaos, reason which thou canst not see;
One truth we know there is – whatever is, is right’.

These poetical expressions do not come from what we can call the ‘normal’ waking state. These enlightening words come from an experience of a higher state of consciousness, where an intimate unity is experienced with Nature. This experience enabled him to see that ‘all is well and wisely put’ as another great poet once said. The Laws of Nature operate with absolute precision. There is no ‘mere coincidence’ in creation. Every single event, big or small, important or unimportant, good or bad, perfect or imperfect, future or past, is part of an all-embracing, cosmic evolutionary process, in which consciousness is manifesting itself.

God is Not Playing Dice
Is ‘normal’ waking state, we may not comprehend the truth, but that does not mean that it isn’t there. Experiencing the enriched, enlightened state of consciousness, wise men have always tried to awaken us to this cosmic truth. For instance, there is a popular song in India, that says:

‘Dane dane pe lika hai, khane wale ka naam.’
‘On every grain (of rice), the name of the eater is written.’

Here we are also reminded of the great Albert Einstein, who is known to have said:
‘God does not play dice.’
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Einstein of consciousness, once said:
‘Everything is fixed, all the transformations are fixed..
The exact moment of gaining enlightenment is forever fixed.’

Must these expressions of wise and enlightened men lead the mentality of the world to a kind of fatalism? No, not at all. This would be a wrong conclusion, drawn from perfect knowledge. Admittedly, these wrong conclusions do exist, and they form part of the wide-spread misunderstanding in which the world is today engulfed. But of course, these misunderstandings also form part of the cosmic plan. They must serve some purpose. But the fact that all processes are fixed, does not mean that we are forced to accept the situation as it is, without trying to do something about it. The tendency to help fellowmen who are in distress is just natural.

To give food to the hungry is just human. To give shelter and affection to the needy is just an expression of human nature. To help others to enlightenment, and to experience freedom and success in life, is only natural. To strive for happiness, health, wealth and enlightenment is just natural, embedded in the structure of life itself.

Two Sides of the Same Coin
Brahman, the wholeness of consciousness, the wholeness of all that exists – contains all: knowledge and ignorance, light and darkness, birth and death, freedom and predestination, creation and destruction, good and evil, positive and negative, yin and yang, past and future, perfection and imperfection. To say that everything is ordained and organized by nature should not bewilder the wise. To say that everything is fixed does not mean that we cannot improve anything. To say that everything is fixed does note mean that we are not absolutely free! Our freedom is absolutely fixed. We are all destined to be free. We have the total freedom to create our destiny. Freedom and predestination are two sides of the same coin, the coin of life. Maharishi once said: ‘Life is a composite of a 100% freedom within a 100% determinism.

Master of Our Own Creation
Miraculously, all of us are essentially and totally one with cosmic intelligence, which makes each one of us our own predestinator, whether we are aware of this fact or not. Man is born to be the master of his destiny – we have heard this saying many times. It means that all of us are bound to realize that we are essentially one with the cosmic Creative Intelligence. The more our life evolves in the direction of this realization, the more intelligent and creative our thinking, speaking and acting will be.
Once we start to experience that we are the masters of our own creation, we automatically start to behave in a more and more evolutionary way. We no longer obstruct – as it were – the cosmic force of evolution working in each and every one of us. In this way we start to make use of our full mental potential.

The only reason that we are not making full use of our Creative Intelligence is because of certain stresses that are inhibiting the normal and natural flow of energy and intelligence in our mind-body system. Stress gives rise to frustration, and even to destructive behavior. Crime is the natural expression of stress. It is stress that restricts our awareness and makes us feel bound, makes us feel forced to a certain type of negative behavior. When the stresses are gone, we feel free and unrestricted, and automatically we start to think, speak and act more in accord with the evolutionary Laws of Nature; we feel more supported by the almighty forces of evolution. This results in more positivity, and in health, wealth and wisdom in life.
It is in this light that Maharishi once said:
‘Human life is all divine.’

We are all the creators of our destiny – whether we know it or not! Our mind, the human mind is so infinitely powerful that it creates whatever it contemplates – whether we know what is going on in our mind or not! When the nervous system is free from stress, we have a clear mind, and we naturally create a life that is pleasant for all of us. When stress no longer obstructs our mind-body system – as is the case in cosmic consciousness – we are more and more aware of our infinite free choice in life. Naturally, we choose for progress and happiness. In the state of enlightenment, we naturally desire ‘all good to everyone, and non-good to no-one’.

Becoming enlightened just means that we claim our birthright, and that we start to make use of our inborn potential, which, according to Vedic Science, is unlimited in its scope and power.

When we become dedicated to the idea of creating a heaven on earth, it is bound to happen. And in fact, the study of Jyotish is an excellent aid to that: we study the wonderful orderliness and harmony of the celestial mechanics, and apply this knowledge here on earth. This is the whole purpose of Jyotish and, in fact, the whole purpose of each and every branch of Vedic Science. Each of those branches of ‘Brahma vidya’ – knowledge of the totality – gives a complete insight, each from its own vantage point, into the mechanics of creation. Each branch of Vedic Science offers the potential to raise life to its full dignity – enlightenment to the individual and a disease-free, problem-free society for every nation.

As It Should Be
The whole truth about life – the whole truth about freedom and predestination – is summarized in a little interaction of Maharishi. A few years ago Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was interviewed by a French journalist, who asked: ‘Maharishi, how does the world look like in the highest state of consciousness?’ Then Maharishi said:

‘Then you see that everything is exactly as it should be’.
The man, not realizing the depth of this expression, asked: ‘But why then, are you working so hard to improve the situation?’ Whereupon Maharishi smilingly answered: ‘Because that is exactly as it should be’.

In this little anecdote, the whole wisdom of the Vedas and the Vedic literature is contained. Thus, it forms a beautiful summary of the solution to the riddle of free Will and Predestination!

Copyright © Drs. Frans Langenkamp, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

Author’s Bio:
Frans Langenkamp is Vedic Astrologer and Vedanta Expert. His specialties are Life Purpose Readings and Cosmic Coaching.

Keeping the Faith Without a Religion by Roger Housden [updated Mar 18, 2015]

A Compelling Exploration of the Emerging Secular Spirituality

What is faith? It is not something we must receive from a religion, nor is it a quality we must abandon in order to become rational. “Faith,” writes bestselling author Roger Housden, “implies a basic trust in the way life weaves its patterns-an awareness that is not passive or fatalistic, but actively engaged with and accepting all of life’s twists and turns.” At a time when more and more people self-identify as “spiritual but not religious,” Housden’s new book Keeping the Faith Without a Religion offers us a way to recognize and embrace the extraordinary mystery of our lives without resorting to dogmatic beliefs or nihilistic scientism. He invites us to investigate:

. Faith and belief-how the unattainable desire for certainty has come to replace our true understanding of faith
. Becoming your own spiritual authority-guidance for building a personal faith based on your own inner experience
. How we can integrate a regular spiritual practice into our lives without subscribing to a particular tradition, and more

Today millions of people are seeking a new approach to spirituality that honors both the rational and the mystical in equal measure. With Keeping the Faith Without a Religion, Roger Housden offers a guidebook for this growing population of free-thinking seekers-an inspiring call to step beyond the need for answers and trust ourselves to the unfolding of our singular, extraordinary life.

Roger Housden grew up in St.Catherine’s Valley, a cleft in the Cotswolds on the edge of Bath, in England. He has led contemplative journeys all over the world, and in an earlier life was a freelance feature writer for The Guardian newspaper and an interviewer for the BBC. He has been a full-time author since 1997.

He is the author of twenty books on poetry, art, and travel,including the bestselling Ten Poems series which started in 2001 with Ten Poems to Change Your Life. His next book, due to be published by Sounds True in March 2014,is called Keeping the Faith Without a Religion. Roger emigrated to the United States in 1998 and now lives in Marin County, California.

Click Here to browse inside.

Trust the Changes: from Keeping the Faith Without a Religion with Roger Housden

Trust the Mystery: from Keeping the Faith Without a Religion with Roger Housden

Faith Without a Religion

Roger Housden – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Roger Housden is the author of 20 books, including the New York Times bestseller Ten Poems to Change Your Life (Crown, 2001). Housden’s work has been featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post. He lives in Sausalito, CA. For more, visit

Other books: Keeping the Faith Without a Religion (book) Keeping the Faith Without a Religion (CD or audio download) For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics (Hay House, Jan. 2009) Seven Sins for a Life Worth Living (Harmony, December 2005)

Transforming Fate Into Destiny: A New Dialogue with Your Soul by Robert Ohotto (Author)

In this penetrating book, renowned intuitive, speaker, and teacher Robert Ohotto guides us on an investigation of the Heroic Journey of the Soul. Exploring three modern-day manifestations of Fate, he shows how psychic energy from family patterns, cultural influences, generational legacy, and global evolution inform our self-concept every day, and how they often block our highest potential and “Fate” us to challenging circumstances and relationships. But, he reveals, these Fated encounters are actually the keys to our unlived life. Each chapter maps our psyche and unravels the mysterious connections of Fate, Free Will, and Destiny, transforming our Fate into Destiny and our limitations into gifts.

Through this seminal work based on years of experience, discover how we’ve made two fundamental agreements with the Universe as part of our Heroic Journey—one with Fate and the other with Destiny. As we learn to dance with these two forces, they become two voices challenging and beckoning us to discover our ultimate purpose—the primary task of the modern-day Hero and Heroine; and in the process, serve to unleash the power of our Soul in delivering grace to the world.

Robert Ohotto is a renowned writer, teacher, and professional intuitive. He has a diverse background of study in mythology, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Jungian psychology, Buddhism, Eastern Philosophy, and Western Hermetic teachings. As a pioneering new voice within the field of multisensory development and human consciousness, he is highly sought after worldwide for his dynamic lectures and intuitive consultations. Robert has taught regularly with world-renowned medical intuitive Caroline Myss at her CMED Institute in Chicago and has founded his own institute of intuitive, archetypal, and astrological studies. Robert’s first book, Transforming Fate into Destiny. Website:

BROWSE HERE to take a look inside.

Want to live your destiny? Robert Ohotto

Robert Ohotto is a world renowned radio show host, teacher, and Intuitive Counselor, Coach, and Life Strategist based in Boulder, CO. He is also the author of the groundbreaking best-selling book Transforming Fate into Destiny.
Robert is recognized as a trailblazing presence within the field of psycho-spirituality, multi-sensory development, and human consciousness. Highly sought after for his dynamic lectures and intuitive consultations, his leading-edge work challenges the conventions of mind-body-spirit paradigms by integrating intuitive perception, archetypes, and life cycles.
Robert spent his collegiate years immersed in the study of Mythology, Christian mysticism, Kabbalah, Jungian psychology, Buddhism, Eastern philosophy, and Western Hermetic teachings. After his collegiate studies, Robert cultivated his profound skills as an intuitive by establishing a profession in the intuitive arts, which has kept him busy for more than fifteen years. During three of those years he taught alongside the acclaimed medical intuitive Caroline Myss at her Caroline Myss Education Institute (CMED) in Chicago. He has since founded his own Ananke-Apollo Institute of intuitive counseling and life coaching studies.
Through various TV appearances and speaking engagements Robert has become a promising TV personality known for his keeping-it-real candor, humorous delivery, and grounded style that continues to garner fans around the globe. Whether through his radio shows, seminars, TV appearances, or private consultations, Robert is highly praised for his singular ability to help people understand their life’s purpose and develop practical strategies to claim their Destiny with courage and grace. – source

To watch more of my video interviews, visit and

“Everything Is Predetermined” Einstein and Ramana Maharshi – Gary Weber

Both Einstein and Ramana Maharshi made almost identical statements that “everything is predetermined”. Nobel Laureates Eugene Wigner and Francis Crick (co-discoverer of DNA) made similar statements. The ground-breaking experimental work of Libet and many contemporary cognitive neuroscientists support these statements.

This is the first part of a presentation at the Science and Non-Duality Conference in San Rafael, CA in October 2009. The second part is covered in the video “Intelligence Choice is Impossible”; the third and last part is covered in “You Are Not In Control”.

There is a new video “Predestination, free will, control and the illusion of time” which explains much on these concepts.

Additional information is @ website: book: Happiness Beyond Thought: A Practical Guide to Awakening. Downloadable @ youTube: Gary Weber Nonduality FB

Is Your Life Mapped Out? Your Mind and Free Will vs Destiny by David R. Hamilton, Ph.D.

These are questions we all ask ourselves, but it’s hard to get past conjecture or gut feeling to find any definitive answers. Now, in this groundbreaking book, David Hamilton looks at hard scientific evidence to bring us closer to understanding the balance between the forces of destiny and the power of free will.

Exploring the new scientific research into presentiment – how the mind and nervous system are able to perceive events ahead of time – David examines the origins and nature of consciousness and how the mind influences the experiences of our lives. Drawing on research in such diverse fields as quantum physics, epigenetics, solar cycles, astrology, and even reports of life after death, David shows that there appears to be an element of predetermination in life, but also suggests that there is much opportunity for us to take control of our own destiny, allowing us to shape our lives and our world with powerful results.

David R. Hamilton acquired an honors degree in biological and medicinal chemistry, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry before working as a scientist in the pharmaceutical industry for several years. His research into the mind-body connection ultimately led him to leave that profession and become a motivational speaker. He went on to co-found an international relief charity, and he appears regularly in the media. He spends most of his time writing, giving talks, and leading workshops.

Quantum entanglement, Mystery of Destiny, Free Will – Dr David Hamilton, Glasgow,

David Hamilton looks at hard scientific evidence to bring us closer to understanding the balance between the forces of destiny and the power of free will.

Exploring new, cutting-edge scientific research into the nature of time, and drawing on fields such as quantum physics, epigenetics, solar cycles and even reports of near-death experiences, David explores how, rather than being a question of one versus the other, destiny and free will can in fact work simultaneously in his fascinating new theory, ‘The Tree of Probable Life’. He shows how, ultimately, we create many of the conditions of our own lives and offers some powerful, practical principles that can bring amazing results.

Latest book: Is Your Life Mapped Out?: Unravelling the Mystery of Destiny vs Free Will
By Dr. David Hamilton

After completing his PhD, David worked for 4 years in the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs for cardiovascular disease and cancer. During this time he also served as an athletics coach and manager of one of the UK’s largest athletics clubs, leading them to three successive UK finals. Upon leaving the pharmaceutical industry, David co-founded the international relief charity Spirit Aid Foundation and served as a director for 2 years.

While writing his first book, David taught chemistry and ecology at James Watt College of Further and Higher Education and tutored chemistry at Glasgow University.

Now a bestselling author of 6 books published by Hay House, he offers talks and workshops that fuse science, the mind, and spiritual wisdom.

Is Karma Real? Why Do Bad Things Happen? (Part 2) ~ Deepak Chopra

Because suffering is part of human life, everyone asks why it exists, and the answers we give to ourselves make a great deal of difference. Explanations lead to action, for one thing. Billions of people choose religion as a way to accept suffering or to try and escape it. In the first post of this series we began with the opposite of religion, however. The modern tendency, deeply influenced by science, is to explain the bad things in life as random and accidental. This explanation also leads to action. If you accept that random events will bring pain into your existence, with no blame or guilt on your part and no higher being who is punishing you, you won’t behave like a devout Christian or Muslim.

The notion that science has raised us above superstition has become a stick that staunch atheists like Richard Dawkins use to beat religion over the head. Yet the issue is subtler than the war between belief and skepticism. In the world’s wisdom traditions suffering has a cause and therefore a solution — such is the message of every great spiritual guide. The answers that they delivered have shaped civilization. In the first glow of discovery, Darwin and Freud, not to mention Marx, were eager to throw out the worst of religious excess. Yet as we saw in the first post, substituting randomness for God was not a psychological step forward. An accidental universe is almost impossible to live with for creatures like us who shape our existence to be meaningful.

If the good parts of your life are to have meaning, the same must be true of the bad parts. That, too, is a continual message delivered by the world’s wisdom traditions. How, then, are the dark and the light related to each other? There are cosmic answers to this question, and by a kind of trickle down effect, the cosmic answer turns into the answer we accept in normal, everyday existence.

Here are the basic choices for how the two aspects of life, pain and pleasure, came to exist.

1. Two universal forces contend for control of creation, one being good, the other evil. Human beings are caught in this titanic struggle between light and darkness.

2. Creation cannot exist without destruction. These forces are not opposites but two sides of the same eternal process.

3. The only real existence transcends good and evil. All events that we perceive as good or evil, pleasurable or painful, are illusions compared to the “real” reality, which is whole and therefore not divided into opposites.

4. Creation was originally good, with no blemishes, and life was without suffering. Then sin entered the world through human error and disobedience. After that disastrous event, creation changed.

5. The cosmos is presided over by higher beings who sport with humans. Our experience of pleasure and pain reflects a game that is played out beyond our ability to comprehend it.

6. The cosmos is in the state of constant evolution. Good and evil, pleasure and pain are prompts to guide us forward in our own evolution.

7. The relationship between this world of light and darkness and some other world cannot be known. Going beyond pleasure and pain reveals a kind of emptiness, which is the only escape route, despite our yearning for higher purpose.

Although there are countless variations on these seven themes, they will serve as a template for how people explain good and evil as cosmic forces. For the devout, there is no mixing of stories — a fundamentalist, whether Christian or Muslim, adheres to the teachings of his faith. Yet increasingly we feel confused; some bits and pieces of each explanation tug at us. On some days we watch the news and an airplane crash is shrugged off as a terrible accident. On other days a well-known villain gets his comeuppance, and we tell ourselves that good has won out over evil; a just punishment has been rendered.

Confusion makes it more difficult to lead a meaningful life. In the back of our minds, we’d prefer to know, with some certainty, that our lives mean something, that we aren’t pawns in a game of blind chess. In an effort to tell yourself a consistent story about who you are and why you are here, you can’t escape the temptation to choose a cosmic explanation, even if it’s the explanation that rests on randomness. Depending on which explanation you finally accept, your whole life will unfold along a path. Call it a spiritual path or not, the implications are spiritual. You are testing through your daily actions how the universe works; you are making a silent wager over the state of your soul (for atheists, the wager is that the soul doesn’t exist).

In later posts we’ll see how each of the seven cosmic explanations alters your existence and guides your choices in life. As a preview, here are the primary decisions that each of us can choose:

1. You can live to obey God and resist the temptations of the Devil.

2. You can choose the most creative life.

3. You can decide to offer yourself in service to others.

4. You can seek to purify yourself of sin or bad karma.

5. You can pursue enlightenment in order to go beyond the world of illusion.

6. You can work to maximize your inner potential, speeding up the process of evolution.

7. You can become a co-creator of your own reality, aligning yourself with cosmic intelligence.

These are big choices based on big stories about how creation works. They are the most fascinating issues but also the most troubling that we face every day. Your ability to settle these issues becomes the most important power you possess, once you realize how deeply your life reflects the workings of the universe.

(To be continued)

Why Do Bad Things Happen? (Part 1) ~ Deepak Chopra

As the blame game continues to engulf politics, with neither side agreeing on any measure to get the country out of trouble, except for trivial half measures, one thing is obvious. You can’t figure out how to fix bad tings until you know why they happened. This applies to society but also to our personal lives. Bad things cause pain, suffering and confusion. They overturn the rhythm of normal life. Fear and anger surface, breaking apart a person’s emotional picture of reality. By “emotional reality” I mean the assumption that your existence can be calm, secure, prosperous, and unthreatened. Different as they are, a terrorist attack, bankruptcy, and a diagnosis of cancer are all bad things that create the same responses inside us.

The way to meet bad things is complicated. Being inconvenienced at the airport in the name of national security isn’t the same as pursuing cancer treatment or rebuilding your credit record. Yet there are similarities. Bad things need to be countered by returning, if possible, to a calm sense of normality where the pursuit of happiness is possible once more. Words like acceptance, balance, healing, community, compassion, justice, and security come to mind, but they are generic. Each bad thing is personal, no matter how vast the scale.

So, looking at it personally, why do bad things happen?

Let me sketch some answers and connect them with fix-its that might work along with those that won’t help at all.

Accidents: Some bad things are random. Auto accidents, sudden illness, and acts of God like tornadoes and floods fall into this category. In modern times, when science explains the universe and evolution through random chance – even “the accidental universe” has been proposed – people are more aware of chance occurrences than at any time in the past. In an age of faith, almost nothing was random. God had his reasons for even the slightest of misfortunes, and the larger ones, like the Black Death, were enormous acts of God, a phrase that meant divine retribution, not our current usage, where acts of God are mindless natural events.

When bad things happen by accident, we should feel no personal responsibility; morality lets us off the hook; there is no blame to pass around. But in reality the emotional freight is huge. Accidents remind people of how helpless they are. They instill survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress. The very unpredictability of accidents is what frightens us, and therefore, to regain a sense of control, our psyches thrash around, often in a panicked state, until we concoct an answer to fill the void.

Even as everyone around you keeps repeating “It’s not your fault,” when a bad thing happens, you can’t rest easy until you satisfy the unconscious need to explain the inexplicable. Why did burglars hit the house next door and not mine? Why did I survive the roadside bomb and not my buddy? Accidents throw us into strange and uncanny emotional territory. This leads to a schizoid division between rational understanding, which knows that tornadoes and bombing deaths are random – and emotional instability, which finds random events the most stressful kind. Repairing this self-division is the primary way to deal with bad things that are accidental.

What works: The first step is to be aware that you are fighting an inner war between reason and emotion. The second step is to realize that both sides are right, even though they are in conflict. The third step is to give both sides their due. The fourth step is to inform both sides that neither is going to win the battle. The fifth step is to find a place inside that isn’t at war, a place where you feel safe, complete, and no longer agitated.

What doesn’t work: constant repetition of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior. Relying on reason as a means of tamping down emotions, using repression, suppression, denial, avoidance, and distractions. Using emotion as a way to act out helplessness through panic, hiding from the world, isolation from family and friends, spiraling depression, victimization, and other negative emotional states that display a lot of action but never find an escape route.

It’s not as if we lack knowledge about post-traumatic states. Everything I’ve touched on is taught in Therapy 101, but making these steps personal isn’t easier just because you — or a therapist, counselor, or minister – knows how to analyze what’s going on. Self-awareness is the key, and it moves in different directions with every passing hour. Feeling safe one minute and panicked the next, at peace today but devastated tomorrow, keeps a person from any sense of control and normalcy. Without an anchor of objectivity, the healing process becomes chaotic and thus fuels the threat of randomness that is the problem you are trying to solve. The situation calls for a place of stability inside, however difficult that place is to find. Self-awareness if fluid, yes, but it rests upon a solid foundation known as the core self.

The reason that accidents and random disasters affect some people far more than others goes back to how secure they are in their core self. It’s not the only reason; we have to leave room for factors that are mysterious or unknown, perhaps even unknowable. (Sometimes we are faced with tragic irony, as i the recent sad stories about the trapped Chilean miners whose rescue made world news; a year later they face major psychological problems of depression, divorce, the inability to hold a job, and so on, all the marks of a mind that cannot come to grips with randomness but will never cease struggling against it.)

Finding your core self isn’t a mystery. The following steps are the most helpful, even though some may seem tangential to self-awareness – they set the stage of it anyway:

– Keep close to family and friends. Restore your daily routine. Do the external things necessary to fit into the rhythm of everyday life.

– Connect with other people who have gone through your situation. Become familiar with the various stages of healing. Look for support from those who know the lay of the land. Don’t isolate yourself.

– Be easy on yourself. Forgive your relapses into obsessiveness or panic. Be patient with the mind’s healing process and its ups and downs. Don’t believe in your worst moods; take the attitude that they are steps of normalization, not personal weakness or failure.

– Don’t trust the voice of fear. See fear as one emotion among many, not a reliable guide to danger. When fear and anxiety become strong, resist the urge to hide and disguise your feelings. Exposing fear to the light of day is one of the best ways to counter it.

— Take meditation and stress release seriously. The core self lies deeper than the level of moods, emotions, rationalizations, and defenses. Those layers are thick; we are used to inhabiting them. We aren’t used to seeking the source of the self in consciousness. To find the core self requires two things: actually experiencing it and removing the obstacles that mask it.

— Realize that distress creates a fog of illusion. The illusion can be so powerful that you feel fated to be unsafe, threatened, confused, and self-divided. Actually, these are all false states. Do everything you can to reach clarity, and the first step is to know that clarity is possible.

– Experiment with different avenues of healing. Conventional medicine is of minimal use, since the system is set up to offer short doctor’s visits followed by a pat on the back and a prescription. The healing arts cover a vast field, and there is wisdom out there that you should seek to take advantage of. Don’t give up early or easily.

Ultimately, the bad things that happen to us by random chance belong to the texture of life. They aren’t a sign that you have been singled out or cursed. They don’t indicate that you have sinned or that God hates you. The fact that we react so drastically to accidents reveals something deeper, that the texture of normal life is a thin layer of security, beneath which deeper waters stir. We will discuss those deeper waters in the next post.

(To be continued)

The Adjustment Bureau: Does God Change Our Minds, or Do We Change God’s? ~ Cathleen Falsani (updated)

Cathleen Falsani
Religion Columnist aka “God Girl”

It goes by many names: Kismet. Adrsta. Predestination. Determinism. Destiny. “God’s will.”

The ancient Greeks dubbed it “Moirae” and gave it personality — Fate. Or, rather, “The Fates,” three female supernatural beings who spun, pulled and cut the literal threads of life that controlled when a person was born, what they did with their life and when and how they

In an intriguing new film that explores themes of fate, destiny, divine and human (free) will, that same idea is called “The Adjustment Bureau” — an otherworldly bureaucratic organization controlled by an unseen entity (or, perhaps, deity) known as “the Chairman.”

A cadre of caseworkers in fedoras and dark suits — a cross between G-men, IRS agents and guardian angels — carry out the Chairman’s will by making sure we humans don’t stray off course. They track our movements and decisions on a kind of heavenly GPS device and make small “adjustments” to our decision-making processes.

The idea is to keep us on a predetermined track — on a course we know nothing about and can do nothing to change.

In “The Adjustment Bureau,” God’s G-men carry out their duties on the periphery of the natural world where the curtain separating the here from there is as sheer as gossamer. They’re around us all the time, everywhere, watching and, occasionally, tinkering as needed.

The clandestine machinations of the Adjustment Bureau are revealed to David Norris (Matt Damon) a young, rising political star running for U.S. Senate in New York. On the eve of his first unsuccessful bid for the Senate, Norris has a chance encounter in the men’s room of the Waldorf Astoria with a beautiful ballet dancer, Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt), who is hiding from hotel security after crashing a wedding reception upstairs.

Their attraction is immediate and powerful. Emily is charming, whimsical and passionate. David is enchanted and transformed by her honesty. They kiss — instant soul mates — and then Elise makes a Cinderella-esque exit without ever giving David her name.

That encounter was part of David’s fate, we learn, but it was “fated” to just be a one-time thing. They were not “supposed” to meet again, ever. But when they do meet again on a city bus, David strays from his preordained course. That’s when the Adjustment Bureau’s agents

The curtain is pulled all the way back when David walks in on Bureau agents “adjusting” his business partner in the conference room of their venture capital firm. He tries to run, but the Bureau minions capture him. In an empty warehouse, Bureau honcho Richardson (John Slattery of “Mad Men”) explains to David what they’re up to and then warns him not to tell a soul, unless he wants his brain to be rebooted (i.e. erased) at the Chairman’s behest. He is not to see Elise again. It’s not part of the plan.

But the heart wants what it wants, and David begins searching for Elise. After three years, he finds her on the street, and their bond is cemented a bit more than with just a kiss.

A romantic comedy wrapped in a science-fiction thriller with ample chase scenes and intrigue, “The Adjustment Bureau” traces David’s attempts to alter his destiny, a move that will, he’s warned, have significant consequences for the fate of his ladylove and the rest of the world.

The film poses a question that is left open-ended when the credits roll: Is it possible to change our fate?

The Chairman — i.e., God — has written the stories of our lives and the Big Story of the world. God knows how the story begins and ends. But is that story set in stone? If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, is there anything that happens in our lives that isn’t part of God’s
will and design?

Are human beings, created with a free will, capable of changing God’s mind? And if we are, what does that say about the nature of the Divine?

It’s a question theologians have wrestled with throughout the ages, without ever finding a true consensus. It’s no wonder that the filmmakers appear unable — or unwilling — to provide a clear answer to such a spiritual/existential conundrum.

In the film, David appears to change his fate first by chance and then through his own volition.

His story changes. The Chairman does a rewrite. Or does he?

In a universe ordered by such an Almighty, perhaps there is no such thing as chance.

With the Chairman holding the eternal pen, what passes for serendipity might just be kismet in a clever disguise

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