“We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not, or die of despair.”
~ Philip Pullman
The word has a solemn, mystical air about it, pointing to a sense of purpose and forces larger than ourselves. Will “the fates” help us to fulfill our destiny? Do we have a choice or, “are we simply clockwork toys wound up and set on a course we can’t change?”
This last question is asked by one of the characters in Philip Pullman’s extraordinary book, Northern Lights, when he is discussing the notion of free will.
Like many of us he doesn’t like the idea of being subjected to the hand of fate, as our ability to choose is one of our most dearly held beliefs. We are taught that our power comes from asserting our free will, yet we also experience events that make us question how much control we have over our lives.
These come in the form of crises or coincidences and synchronicities that spark wonder within us and a sense of being guided by the invisible.
We reap what we sow.
Karma is an example of an unseen force that can influence our lives. Whether we are spiritually minded or not, most of us believe that we reap what we sow and this helps us maintain a check on our behaviors, both personally and globally.
A more expansive view of karma includes the idea that our soul has chosen to learn certain lessons within a given lifetime. This allows us to see certain events and people as teachers, not predicaments and perpetrators.
How many times have we all moved through a painful experience only to become stronger? Our characters are forged in the furnace of life and when we relinquish ideas of “right” and “wrong” we can begin to work with the forces that help us fulfill our purpose instead of being overwhelmed by them.
“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”
~ Antoine de Saint -Exupery
So why is a sense of purpose important to us? In her book Defy Gravity: Healing Beyond the Bounds of Reason, Caroline Myss describes our search for meaning as a quest that both inspires and heals us:
This desire we all share is an archetypal appetite to transcend the ordinary, because along with a burning need to shed our limitations we are also discontented with the mundane aspects of our lives.
We all have an innate desire to move beyond the commonplace and connect to the greater flow of life, but this takes trust in forces beyond the comprehension of our logical minds. In order to do this we need to see beyond the realm of the ego, which is concerned with the material universe and survival, and where we base our decisions on comfort, logic and reason. It is reasonable, logical and comfortable to maintain the status quo and adhere to societal norms.
Our need for jobs, houses, relationships, children and material wealth often come before our desire for adventure, freedom, passion and purpose, and this is why many of us find it hard to fulfil our destinies.
The antidote to gravity is creativity.
Our lives are full to the brim with survival necessities, so finding time to develop our creative side is less of a priority than most of us would like. Yet expressing ourselves creatively is essential if we are to live meaningful lives.
When we discover our unique creative passion, we align with our purpose. The joy that comes from connecting to our creative spark is infectious. When we listen to a talented musician, look at an artistic masterpiece or see anyone immersed in a creative pursuit, we are reminded of the infinite potential that resides in all of us. We become inspired by these people’s abilities and strive to find our own unique expression.
If everyone spent more time doing what they loved we would have a more harmonious society. When we learn how to balance logic and creativity and give our inner selves the freedom to be authentically creative, we connect with like-minded people, or “soul mates,” who have a similar destiny.
“The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
~ Albert Einstein
By making unreasonable choices we are led toward our purposes, although it is often not what we expect. We may have a vague idea about what we want to do with our lives, but the details are often obscured by a veil of doubt. If we spend too much time thinking about our purposes, we may miss the signs that point the way through the underbrush of fear. By learning to trust the inner voice that quietly nudges us in the right direction, we strengthen our intuitive muscles and begin to live life in the moment, making one choice at a time and marrying head with heart.
When we trust ourselves completely we become whole and balanced, which is part of our collective destiny. This refined level of self-esteem is the way to true liberation as we are no longer dependent on others or society to guide our decisions. That inner knowing is something for all of us to strive for, so we can become sovereign and powerful directors of our lives while being in tune with the rest of humanity. We are many and varied but we are not so different.
We all want love, support, connection, passion, freedom, creativity and a sense of meaning in our lives. How and where we find those things is unique to each of us and our destinies are not the same. But they are within our reach if we are prepared to relinquish our control and partner with universal forces that will guide us along our own evolutionary trajectories. I’ll close with some lyrics from a song sent to me serendipitously by a friend last week.
We’ve been missing the point of who we are and why we came/And as this reality deceives us, we get caught and lose our aim/We get in the way of ourselves, and we dismiss the call/We get in the way of ourselves and we make it so hard.
~ “Star People” on Seasons Change by Fertile Ground
They helped remind me of something I’d forgotten:
“The universe is full of intention… Everything happens for a purpose.”
~ Philip Pullman.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Rutz / Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons