Sunday, October 04, 2015
"Are our lives predetermined?" she asked.
That's a tough question... As a Buddhist the answer (for me, anyway) is both YES and NO. Guro Fred often explains it as a train running down the tracks. The destination is fixed, but we are free to decide how we ride the train (which seat, which car, aisle or window, facing front or back, etcetera). I struggled to find a suitable metaphor to use.
One possibility is to use music. Songs are a set of predetermined notes or sounds, but of course the same song can be played many different ways, using different arrangements, different instruments, different keys and so on. Each of our lives is a song, but it is up to us to uncover the music and decide how we want to play it. Some of us are rock and roll, some are jazz, some are classical. All of us are beautiful.
Some of us will find the melody, the harmony, the tempo and play our song with energy and passion. Others may struggle to find any pattern at all, and instead their life will seem to be a random collection of notes or sounds. It can also be said that we are able to hear the songs of others, some of which have a rhythm and tempo which match our song especially well and which we find particularly appealing. Maybe this is just another way of explaining what love is. The more we hear the music of others, the clearer our song becomes, and the more we realize that all music is universal - we are all connected. New songs bring us fresh new perspectives, and may even change how we think or feel once we hear them.
Our favorite songs can instantly bring us back to a time and a place - they link us to our memories and to many important events of our lives. So, too, the song of our soul is the essence of who we are, and the songs of others who are important to us will play in our heads over and over again.
Listening carefully in meditation, we will find the harmony of our own song, and even know what notes are coming next. We can add embellishments to our song and make it a song everyone will remember, a song they will sing forever. We can play our song in a sad and melancholy way, or we can choose to let our song be an anthem of hope and joy. Even though the notes are set when we are born, we have the freedom to express them as we wish.
What do you think?
As the Doobie Brothers said, "Listen to the Music"...