Osho on Predestined Life

Question : Are our lives Predestined or Not?

Osho : This is not a personal problem, it is a philosophical question. Our lives are both predestined and they are not. Both yes and no. And both answers are true for all questions about life. In a way, everything is predetermined. Whatever is physical in you, material, whatever is mental, is predetermined. But something in you constantly remains undetermined, unpredictable. That something is your consciousness.

If you are identified with your body and your material existence, in the same proportion you are determined by cause and effect. Then you are a machine. But if you are not identified with your material existence, with either body or mind – if you can feel yourself as something separate, different, above and transcendent to body-mind – then that transcending consciousness is not predetermined. It is spontaneous, free. Consciousness means freedom; matter means slavery. So it depends on how you define yourself. If you say, ”I am only the body,” then everything about you is completely determined.

A person who says that man is only the body cannot say that man is not predetermined. Ordinarily, persons who do not believe in such a thing as consciousness also do not believe in predetermination. Persons who are religious and believe in consciousness ordinarily believe in predetermination. So what I am saying may look very contradictory. But still, it is the case.

A person who has known consciousness has known freedom. So only a spiritual person can say there is no determination at all. That realization comes only when you are completely unidentified with the body. If you feel that you are just a material existence, then no freedom is possible. With matter, no freedom is possible. Matter means that which cannot be free. It must flow in the chain of cause and effect.

Once someone has achieved consciousness, enlightenment, he is completely out of the realm of cause and effect. He becomes absolutely unpredictable. You cannot say anything about him. He begins to live each moment; his existence becomes atomic. Your existence is a river-like chain in which every step is determined by the past. Your future is not really future; it is just a by-product of the past. It is only the past determining, shaping, formulating and conditioning your future. That is why your future is predictable.

Skinner says that man is as predictable as anything else. The only difficulty is that we have not yet devised the means to know his total past. The moment we can know his past, we can predict everything about him. Based upon the people he has worked with, Skinner is right, because they are all ultimately predictable. He has experimented with hundreds of people and he has found that they are all mechanical beings, that nothing exists within them that can be called freedom. But his study is limited. No Buddha has come to his laboratory to be experimented upon. If even one person is free, if even one person is not mechanical, not predictable, Skinner’s whole theory falls.

If one person in the whole history of mankind is free and unpredictable, then man is potentially free and unpredictable. The whole possibility of freedom depends on whether you emphasize your body or your consciousness. If you are just an outward flow of life, then everything is determined. Or are you something inner also? Do not give any preformulated answer. Do not say, ”I am the soul.” If you feel there is nothing inside you, then be honest about it. This honesty will be the first step toward the inner freedom of consciousness.

If you go deeply inside, you will feel that everything is just part of the outside. Your body has come from without, your thoughts have come from without, even your self has been given to you by others. That is why you are so fearful of the opinion of others – because they are completely in control of your self. They can change their opinion of you at any moment. Your self, your body, your thoughts are given to you by others, so what is inside? You are layers and layers of outside accumulation. If you are identified with this personality of yours that comes from others, then everything is determined.

Become aware of everything that comes from the outside and become non-identified with it. Then a moment will come when the outside falls completely. You will be in a vacuum. This vacuum is the passage between the outside and the inside, the door. We are so afraid of the vacuum, so afraid of being empty that we cling to the outside accumulation. One has to be courageous enough to disidentify with the accumulation and to remain in the vacuum.

If you are not courageous enough, you will go out and cling to something, and be filled with it. But this moment of being in the vacuum is meditation. If you are courageous enough, if you can remain in this moment, soon your whole being will automatically turn inward. When there is nothing to be attached to from the outside, your being turns inward. Then you know for the first time that you are something that transcends everything you have been thinking yourself to be. Now you are something different from becoming; you are being. This being is free; nothing can determine it. It is absolute freedom. No chain of cause and effect is possible.

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