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Ask the Patriarch 90
Did I Make a Prediction?

from Tracy

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I know I am no psychic, predictor nor have a great mind! I had not really meditated before I went for a Buddhist weekend retreat in June. The morning I was due to go to the retreat I was lying in bed, having only just awoken.

Still drowsy I was thinking about what I was going to do before going to the retreat. I decided I was going to go downstairs and meditate in the shrine room. I thought about it,and saw in my mind's eye a little bird fly in through the open patio door and into the room where I was going to meditate. Then I wondered how I would help it out.

So I got out of bed, showered, changed and went to meditate.

During the last 20 minutes I heard a tiny chirping sound from within the roomer. When I finished meditating, I investigated the sound and found a little fledgling in the patio-doorway and so I let it out.

The time between possible prediction and actualisation was 45 minutes.

Am I to believe that I predicted this,or was it just a coincidence?

The Patriarch replies:


Thank you for writing.

The type of incident you described is very typical of occurrences that bring people to believe in psychic powers and the supernatural. That is because an incident you imagined was closely followed by an incident that resembled it. Your mind, naturally, connected the two. Our brains are wired that way.

But consider how often we imagine things that do not come to pass. We don't make special note of these events. We don't write them down. We don't tell others. We don't link the imagined even to the non-fulfillment. We forget all about it.

The only occurrences we remember are the small fraction that actually relate.

So, I do not think you made a prediction.

Now, was it a coincidence? Perhaps, or perhaps not. It depends on how aware you were of your surroundings, whether you knew the patio door had been opened, whether you previously knew that birds do on occasion fly through open doors, and whether your subconscious mind considered the possibility that this might occur.

To change the example, suppose I drive to a store to pick up a magazine. I forget to lock the car when I go into the store, and I realize this as I approach the cashier. I think - "Someone could steal my laptop from the front seat." When I get back to the car, the laptop is gone. Is that prediction? Is that coincidence? Or is it just a possibility I considered that came to pass?

My view is the latter. And that may be the case in your example also.

Best wishes