Recently, I started following Deepak Chopra’s blog using Google Reader. To my surprise I find his posts very enjoyable. He is a talented writer in that he can take abstract concepts and present them simply.
How much of our life is really in our control? Are not the events in our life (and maybe also how we react to them) influenced and driven by a higher consciousness, which we are not aware of? Say, for example Arjuna’s life.. Isn’t his succumbing to despair in the battlefield of Kurukshetra preplanned, so that Lord Krishna’s purpose of coming to the earth gets fulfilled? Did he really have any choice to make when Lord Krishna asked him to take on the battlefield after explaining to him the Bhagwad Gita? Was there ever a possibility that Arjuna could have said no to the battle? What is the point of ‘our’ being, if we are just following a predestined plan through our hearts, and that our choices also are not actually voluntary.
The degree of choice we exercise in our life is a function of how developed our consciousness is. The less awake we are, the more identified we are by our actions and thoughts, and that makes us more influenced and conditioned by our past actions. That is a life of limited choice. When we have recognized our true spiritual status in enlightenment, then we know that we are limitless, free, pure consciousness. That is life lived in freedom. So for most people it is not a matter of life being either predetermined or free, it’s a mixture of both.
You ask: “Are not the events in our life (and maybe also how we react to them) influenced and driven by a higher consciousness, which we are not aware of?” Keep in mind that the higher consciousness that you say is driving events, is consciousness and your consciousness is identified with and is encompassed by that same universal consciousness. When you know your individual will to be unified with the cosmic will, then events are no longer happening to you, you are participating in the co-creation of these events.
This was the evolution of Arjuna’s consciousness with Lord Krishna. You’ll recall he actually did refuse to enter the battle initially. As Krishna guided his awareness to expand, he attained the state of unity consciousness where his individuality became universality.