On a cognitive basis, we may look at various philosophies and conclude that we have absolutely no control over how our lives flow, that free will is just a feeling and not real at all.  Then , why worry or be depressed? 

This is a pill that is extremely hard to swallow for many . We want to hold on to the notion that we are in control of our destinies and all that happens is  never fixed. 

What if we really had no free will and that which Doctor Manhattan said from the movie “The Watchmen” was really the case, “ I have no choice. Everything is preordained, even my responses”.  This would mean that everything , even PTSD and Depression was meant to happen and that we couldn’t do anything to prevent anything. So then there would be no “what ifs” because life then, could then only course on one timeline, and not in a multitude of possible timelines depending on our different decisions.   

We often blame ourselves for certain decisions that we have made. We call them mistakes and beat ourselves up by overthinking and replaying events over and over again, but even on a biological standpoint, we see that our genetics play an insurmountable role on how we decide. It can be from the foods we choose to our partners and friends to our careers. It is as though we are puppets on a string.

We view events and scenarios as either good or bad and formulate stories in our heads as to what outcomes could have been, but do we know the full scale results of actions and events? How can we with such hubris call an event bad or good just with our limited knowledge of future ramifications.  

This calls to mind the story of the Chinese farmer: 

Long ago, there was a widowed Chinese farmer. The farmer and his only son labored through the cold winds of winter and scorching rays of summer with their last remaining horse. One day, the son didn’t lock the gate of the stable properly, and the horse bolted away. 

When neighbors learned what happened, they came to the farmer and said, “What a sadness this is! Without your horse, you’ll be unable to maintain the farm. What a failure that your son did not lock the gate properly! This is a great tragedy!”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

The next day, the missing horse returned to the farmer’s stable, bringing along with it six wild horses. The farmer’s son locked the gate of the stable firmly behind all seven horses.

When neighbors learned what happened, they came to the farmer and said, “What happiness this brings! With seven horses, you’ll be able to maintain the farm with three of them and sell the rest for huge profits. What a blessing!”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

The next day the farmer’s son was breaking in one of the wild horses. The son got thrown from the horse, fell hard on rocks, and broke his leg. 

When neighbors learned what happened, they came to the farmer and said, “What a great sadness this is! Now, you’ll be unable to count on your son’s help. What a failure to break in the horse properly! What a tragedy!”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.”

The next day, a general from the Imperial Chinese Army arrived to conscript all the young men of the village into the army. Their assignment was to fight on the front lines of a battle against a terrifying enemy of overwhelming force. The farmer’s son, because of his broken leg, was not taken. 

When neighbors learned what happened, they came to the farmer and said, “What a great joy! Your son avoided facing certain death on the front lines of the battle. What a blessing!”

The farmer replied, “Maybe yes, maybe no.” 

When we look at this story we may understand a little better about how we view situations. What may seem as a hopeless and horrible event may actually be a blessing in disguise.

There are four principles in Indian philosophy that one may find interesting. It reflects ideas on free will and teachings surrounding deeper metaphysics and the Akashic Records. These records are regarded by yogis to be recordings of our past, present and future actions and their immutability. they are as follows:

The First Principle states:
“Whomsoever you encounter is the right one”
This means that no one comes into our life by chance. Everyone who is around us, anyone with whom we interact, represents something, whether to teach us something or to help us improve a current situation.

The Second Principle states:
“Whatever happened is the only thing that could have happened”
Nothing, absolutely nothing of that which we experienced could have been any other way. Not even in the least important detail. There is no “If only I had done that differently…, then it would have been different…”. No. What happened is the only thing that could have taken place and took place for us to learn our lesson in order to move forward. Every single situation in life, which we encounter, is absolutely perfect, even when it defies our understanding and our ego. It is said that not even a snowflake falls in the wrong place.

The Third Principle states:
“Each moment in which something begins is the right moment”
Everything begins at exactly the right moment, neither earlier nor later. When we are ready for it, for that something new in our life, it is there, ready to begin.

This is the Fourth Principle.
“What is over, is over”
It is that simple. When something in our life ends, it helps our evolution. That is why, enriched by recent experience, it is better to let go and move on. 

One theme that seems to make many of us anxious and afraid is the thought of death.  As  St Benedict reminds us, “ Keep death daily before your eyes.”

This body is mortal as far as we know. We question, what happens after? Is this the end? Many books have been written on the subject. There is one in particular that is particularly gripping,  “ Fourteen lessons in yogi philosophy and oriental occultism” by Yogi Ramacharaka.  One may find it to be simple and not forceful yet quite enlightening. 

Hopefully this bit of writing would be of some help and would offer a different outlook on things.

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