Until yesterday you were angry; you were free to be angry. Certainly, someone who has been angry every day for the last twenty years will be bound by anger. For example, there are two people: the one who has been continuously angry for twenty years gets up in the morning one day and cannot find his slippers next to his bed; the one who has not been angry in twenty years also gets up in the morning and does not find his slippers next to his bed – which of them is more likely to get angry in this situation? Anger will arise in the first man, the man who has been angry for twenty years.
In this sense he is tied, because the twenty-year-old habit of becoming angry will immediately arise in him when something does not happen the way he wants it to happen. He is tied in the sense that twenty years of conditioning will make him feel inclined to do the same thing he has always done. But is he so tied that there is no possibility for him not to become angry?
No, nobody is ever that bound. If he can become aware right this moment, then he can stop. It is possible not to allow the anger to come. It is possible to transform the anger. And if he does that, the habit of twenty years may prove to be a problem but it will not be able to stop him completely – because if the one who has created the habit moves against it, he then has the freedom to completely destroy it. Just by experimenting with it a dozen times he can be free of it.
Past actions bind you, but they don’t bind you completely. Actions grip you, but they don’t grip you completely. They have their chains, but all chains can be broken; there is no chain which will not break. And something which does not break cannot be called a chain.
Chains bind you, but intrinsic to all chains is the possibility that they can be broken. If there is a chain which cannot be broken, you will not be able to call it a chain. Only what binds you but can also be broken can be called a chain. Your actions are chains in the sense that those chains can also be broken. One’s consciousness is always free. You are always free to go back over the steps that you have taken and the path that you have walked on.
So the past is restricting you, but your future is totally free. One leg is bound and the other is free. The leg of the past is tied, the leg of the future is free. If you want to, you can raise this leg of the future in the same direction as where the leg of the past is tied. Then you will go on being tied up. If you want to you can raise the leg of the future in the direction that is opposite to the leg of the past – and you will go on becoming free, it is in your hands. The state when both legs are free is called moksha, enlightenment. And the absolutely lowest kind of hell is the state where both legs are bound.
For this reason there is no need to be afraid of the past, or of past lives, because one who has done those actions is still free to do other actions.
Someone has asked:
Who is it that thinks after becoming a witness?