I would like to know your view on this thought: How can anyone predict my future if I have taken the choices in my hands, instead of passively leaving it to old habits, fate, and karma?
If I knowingly change myself, how can unknown things affect me? Or is my change itself a part of fate? Anyways, I don't want to be a part of the puppet show where my ignorance governs the show.
—Sai , India
Your question is a deep and important one. Pared down to its essence, your question asks about the nature of free will and whether it exists. Or as you put it initially, if one has free will, how can one’s future be predicted?
Let me try to answer your question by answering it several different ways:
According to the scriptures, and to modern physics by the way, time is an illusion that it is bound together with the illusion of space. If we were realized masters, we would see that it is all a dream, and that everything in the dream has already happened.
It is hard for us, living as we are, in the midst of time and space, to imagine an existence without causation and form. But some people who have written about near-death experiences (recently Anita Moorjani, Dying to Be Me) say that when they were in astral awareness they became aware of future lifetimes they had already lived!
The perspective that this gives one would seem to indicate that there could not be free will. God, if you will, has already dreamt our lives.
This brings me to a second answer to your question. According to the scriptures, and the testimony of the masters, we have always been one with God. The separation we perceive is also an illusion – just like time and space. So, we too, as inextricably one with God, have already dreamt our lives with Him. Our unique part of the dream was dreamt with God/by Us. Our free will has already been exercised. We are just watching it unfold.
This perspective generally makes everyone’s head hurt :).
My third answer to your question is that it really doesn’t matter. As long as we are in the illusion of time and space each and every day we must make choices. Some choices lead to happiness and liberation. Some choices lead to suffering and further bondage. No matter whether you think your future already exists, or that there is a perfectly clean slate on which to write your life, the consequences of your choices will feel exactly the same.
Puru (Joseph) Selbie