Predestined? Is the world programmed?
If we go through The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, at one point he emphatically says, "Everything is predestined. Even the leaves of a tree do not move without His will." Sri Ramana Maharshi has also said the same thing. The excerpt I posted is from a book on Haidakhan Babaji written by a Western devotee. Maybe the devotee has imbibed this from Babaji.
How do we react to such proclamations? Do we become fatalist? Or does it in any way modify us?
To be on the positive side, it takes a load off our chest. We cease to blame ourselves or circumstances. We are relieved of the burden of life. If we are a part of the flow, then why worry?
Sri Ramana Maharshi gives a wonderful example, "You are travelling in a train. Yet you are clutching your baggage. Why don't you put the baggage down and enjoy the ride?" He also says that just as we trust the driver of the train, we should also trust Providence.
But this assertion can be very difficult to digest when you face a catastrophic situation. At such times you have only one thought in mind, "Why me?"
Phakyab Rinpoche did not say, "Why me?". Faced with the prospect of having to meditate to save his life, he was in fact thinking that it was a wonderful opportunity for him to practice meditation exclusively. Otherwise he would be a part of the busy world and he probably would not have meditated with such intensity. He was the gainer.
Life can really hurt you. It is said that troubled times do not last. But they do for many. Pain and suffering can linger for decades totally breaking you in the process. But in such times one can come across unexpected experiences. They appear like a sign to guide and soothe. They can be subtle signs that brush you and it may take time to realize their worth.
We are dreaming. Ramana describes it well. He says, "A man in the Ashram goes out for some work. Chance leads him very far and misfortune keeps him outside for a long time. Then he remembers the Ashram and tediously journeys home. Once he reaches the Ashram suddenly his dream breaks and he realizes that he was in the Ashram all along and was dreaming the whole thing."
This is the finest allegory that can be on living and realization. If life is a program and our mind is creating the illusion, we need to see through it and escape. There is no journey per se. We are always where we are.