We can make an important distinction between destiny and fate. The concept of fate comes from a one-dimensional, mechanistic perception of reality in which consciousness and intelligence are not seen as creative and dynamic processes. Most people essentially live mechanically and have no control over their lives, so the idea of fate becomes an appealing projection of their own powerlessness. And even many traditional spiritual teachings have embraced fate within their simplistic vision of ‘one-reality rules all’, together with a kind of passive surrender into the universal self and relinquishing of individual will.
While fate is predetermined and fixed, destiny is more probabilistic. For instance, a mountain stream by nature and the force of gravity, finds its way through rocks, carving the corridor of its flow down toward the plains to merge with the ocean. But even though the mountain stream follows its natural course, it is not certain that it will reach its destiny. Sometimes it disappears underground, sometimes it is blocked or diverted, sometimes it dries up on the way. In addition, the mountain stream cannot reach the ocean by itself, but only by joining bigger rivers that have enough volume and force to move through large areas of terrain. In a similar way, our individual destinies are dependent on many other forces in the outer and inner realities, and we must have support from the whole of existence to realize our soul’s purpose.
Destiny and Intention
Unlike a mountain stream, which is wholly dependent on natural laws, we possess our individual faculties of discernment and willpower, which can alter the direction and speed of our flow into the future. We are making choices, and what fills each of our choices with life and spirit is the magical power of intention. In order to create our highest destiny, we must activate our highest intention and, for that intention to be linked to the soul, our intelligence must have an understanding of our path. If our intention is not supported by intelligence it will not discover the way to our destiny and could even pull us backwards, away from our ultimate future.
Intelligence is not only a tool that allows us to arrive at our destination, it is also also a goal in itself, meaning the evolution and completion of intelligence is an essential aspect of our destiny. Without intelligence we will never be ready to meet our destiny, because our destiny is not outside of who we are and who we will become. The evolution of intelligence depends on our active intention to understand our own life, the nature of me, and the reason for our existence.
To live with purpose we must be connected to our intention and use that in accordance with our higher intuition and wisdom. There is an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And indeed, having good intentions in general is not enough to realize our positive destiny; this intention must be aligned with our higher spiritual purpose. Our spiritual awakening is an inseparable part of the awakening of intention, and these together represent the alignment of consciousness and intelligence. As we mature on the path and our intelligence begins to reflect our spiritual goals with greater precision, our intention can also be directed more accurately. After we have embodied our light and become one with the will of the soul, our intention becomes merged with the intention of our higher self and embodies our spontaneous wisdom and goodness. This ‘pure intention’ is not the same as the more general ‘good intention’. Only pure intention that is rooted in our soul and the inner knowledge of our ultimate purpose can open the doors to our true future.
Destiny and Karma
Each person has a unique karma. Karma operates in three main ways. Firstly, who we have become on the level of our consciousness, intelligence and emotions is a result of the karma of our individual and collective past choices. In this sense, each person can be seen to be to a large extent responsible for who they have become, because it is the fruit of those choices. If the concept of karma is used as an excuse to take our personal responsibility away from us, it is incorrectly understood. Karma is both independent of us and created by us. As an example of this, we have little control over the biochemical composition of our body and how nature and the universal laws have created it. However, we do have some control over whether we take care of that body, or neglect and leave it to deteriorate.
The second way karma can be viewed relates to the physical and environmental circumstances which determine and influence our external life situation, such as the parents we are born to, the country in which we are born, our schooling, the people we meet, the work we do, and so forth. This type of karma is the result of a complex interplay between various layers of cause and effect occurring on universal, collective, and personal levels. We only create part of this type of karma. The larger portion of it, which is universal and collective, is beyond our personal control and, from our standpoint could even be interpreted as ‘accidental’. Although it may appear accidental to us, it is not really accidental when viewed from a higher perspective.
The third way karma operates is in relation to the principle of higher justice. This reflects how much we have followed our higher intention in our past and how much we are following it in the present. This higher justice should not be simplistically interpreted through notions of reward and punishment imposed by some omnipotent external agency. Rather, it operates according to a natural law that is intrinsic to both inner and outer realities: that low intentions will manifest negative results and high intentions will manifest positive ones. It should be quite clear that anything that does not serve our higher truth and spiritual wellbeing, or most generally anything that is connected to the energy of ignorance, will be in conflict with the integrity of the soul and will manifest suffering sooner or later. As respects this third type of karma, it is important to understand that actions motivated by higher intention cannot manifest negative karma, even if their outcome is negative. However, such negative outcomes could occasionally result in negative karma of the first two types we have described.
We evolve into our destiny within the boundaries of our karma, but these boundaries are not necessarily fixed. Each person is conditioned by his upbringing, culture, language, education and the people in his surroundings. This is inevitable. Even great spiritual masters have this conditioning. That’s why Indian masters behave and think in Indian ways, and often express themselves in ways that are characterized by Hindu spirituality. However, our karmic boundaries are not just a limitation. They can also be an advantage, and serve as the foundation on which we grow above and beyond our past. How we respond to our karmic circumstances either reinforces our past karma or creates new and better karma. For instance, experiencing abuse in childhood can be detrimental karmically, catching us in an endless search for healing, or can be used as a motivation to wake up and transcend the past. A seeker has to learn how to use everything to his advantage.
Some seekers have a lower capacity for responding to karmic issues than others. For some, this can mean they have a harder time awakening consciousness or meeting their me. Such increased difficulties are an indication that this kind of work is new to them in this life and they did not develop a requisite level of spiritual sensitivity and maturity in their past lives. While this is their past and karma, it does not mean that they should remain stuck because of it. When their higher intention is activated with sincerity, they can accelerate the maturation process rapidly and transcend their karmic limitations. Those who passively keep repeating and recycling their karmic tendencies are like slaves of their pasts. They have insufficient intention or power to oppose their karmic limitations and open the door to their future. In a similar way, most people repeat their negative tendencies, negative thought-patterns, and immature emotional reactions and responses over and over again. But when they activate the intention to change and, above all, gain access to their inner light, they secure the necessary power to dissolve their past and transform.
When people are passive, dull, and uncreative, they remain victims of their karma. They are prisoners to the same lives and social circumstances as are dictated by their karmic predispositions. They keep having the same family ties, friends, and acquaintances because they are incapable of changing. In this sense, their karma is purely mechanical. A machine also has karma, and it is even possible to cast an astrological chart for a newly purchased car. But humans are not machines. We have free will, intelligence and the force of spirit that constantly allow us to transcend our boundaries and limitations. This is why, using astrological data, it is most difficult to predict the life and future of someone who is intelligent. People who have less intelligence and are not in touch with consciousness are also naturally more mechanical in nature and are not in control of their lives or of who they are, so their futures are much more predictable. Their level of free will is rudimentary.
We all have the potential to transcend our mechanical karma and to change many things in our lives. Obviously, we are still bound by the limits of universal and collective karma, and we are restricted by our potential and individual pasts, but one thing is certain: change is possible for us, and this is what is expected from us by the creative force that endowed us with the gift of existence.
In terms of karma as spiritual justice, even though awakening is our birthright, we must also play our part in earning it. We must become worthy of spiritual emancipation by purifying our mind and intention. Some seekers feel unworthy, but this is just a negative psychological pattern that blocks them from their true worthiness. We become worthy through loving ourselves, not by punishing ourselves. Our greatest tools for dissolving our negative karma are self-love and surrendering to our inner self.
When negative karma is excessively burdensome, existence often makes one wait for spiritual transformation. One has to embrace the suffering during this waiting time as a part of the purification process. Suffering is indeed one of the ways we can release our negative karma. This kind of suffering should be used positively to deepen our existence rather than to reinforce self-pity. We must take responsibility for our suffering, so that it can liberate us from the shackles of the past. So, although suffering used in this way can burn karma, this is not true of all suffering. We often create suffering or reinforce old suffering through negativity, lethargy, or yielding to negative karma. In these cases, our suffering just creates more bad karma. Only when we take responsibility for who we are and for our destiny, and link our suffering to our higher intention, can negative karma be dissolved. This is the meaning and purpose of conscious suffering.
Destiny and Blueprint
What we call the ‘blueprint’ is the soul’s plan for our destiny. When we build a house we need a plan or vision of what we want to achieve, or else we would just put bricks together at random; this is the same for our soul. Our blueprint is like the DNA of our evolution. And just like DNA, our blueprint has the potential to mutate and evolve over time, perhaps even more so. Our destiny is flexible because our blueprint can be changed to some extent. Our blueprint is not a fixed potential outcome of our future, but indicates the general direction the soul is meant to take according to her predisposition and potential. Some souls can expand their potential, some entirely fail to activate it. Both will result in the modification of their blueprint. Our blueprint can also become higher and more expansive through grace. An example of this is when a spiritual guide alters the blueprint of a seeker by opening him to new possibilities. In any case, to have a blueprint at all one has to have a soul. One who is not yet awakened, and who lives mechanically according to his karma, does not yet have a blueprint.
Blueprints can also change as a result of changes that occur in external reality as a whole. We are both part of this manifested universe and part of the inner universe, and our individual destiny is inextricably connected to the destinies of both of them. As an illustration of this, if our evolution in the inner universe is accelerated, it affects all of the more conscious souls who we are sharing the outer dimension with. It alters their blueprints and accelerates their individual evolution too.
Not all souls have the same blueprint, even though they may share a similar destiny. Reaching spiritual completion and becoming complete as a human is a general blueprint applicable to most souls. But what constitutes human completion and what constitutes being spiritually complete may differ from one person to another. The differences in each of our blueprints reflects our differing intelligence, creativity, evolutionary capacities, and depth of spirit. The potential creative influence we have on our blueprint and destiny through our free will, the choices we make, and the responsibility we take for ourselves can have a power equal to that of the blueprint we are born with.
So the concept of blueprint should not be regarded as a fixed and unalterable template for our destiny. Working with the blueprint is a creative process through which we can modify and improve it, if we have the capacity to transcend our mechanical karma. Our soul is a being of intelligence who walks the path uniting individual and universal consciousness. Her inner wisdom is able to adapt her blueprint in accordance with the higher wisdom of the now. Our now is constantly changing because existence itself keeps unfolding. Reality is not static, but expands and evolves in a continuing universal equilibrium. Should the universal equilibrium stop this process and begin stagnating, the universe as a whole would collapse upon itself.
Since our soul lives in the now of the universe, she is able to take the maximum advantage of this evolution to activate her higher future. An engineer who is planning and constructing a complex project can improve his design based on his creativity, the availability of newer or higher quality materials, or other new information. In a similar way, the soul is not just moving from a fixed mechanical past into the future, but she is flowing from the living now into the living future, constantly opening to new circumstances and the shifts and progress of reality itself.
Time and Economy on the Path
We have been given a limited time to fulfill our spiritual goals. This time seems even more limited if we take into account that most of it is spent on making living, and pursuing their human happiness in various ways. Considering how short our available time is, we can really begin to appreciate how very precious it is. To use this available time efficiently, we need to be economical and wise.
For an average seeker, much of their time is spent unravelling conceptual confusion and searching for the path, rather than actually walking it. Finding clarity about the path and a correct vision of the next steps involved is fundamental to the efficient utilization of our time. Then, we must see that understanding on its own is not enough; the actual inner work has to be done. A seeker has to be persistent and know how to dedicate all of his existence to the service of his spiritual actualization. Even to begin to grow on the path, we must find and have the right understanding of where we are and of what our next steps are, and receiving the help of a qualified teacher is invariably essential.
Since not everything can be attained by one’s own effort, one also has to learn patience and understand when to allow one’s inner evolution to unfold naturally by itself, or through grace, rather than relying on trying to do everything with one’s own force and willpower. Evolution in time is a flow of consciousness and intelligence that begins with pure attention and blossoms into the river of pure subjectivity.
Forging our Destiny
As we have said, intention alone cannot take us to our destiny. For actual progress to be made, we must also take the right action. To put our intentions into action we must activate our will, energy, and persistence. Some people are incapable of making the transition from a spiritual intention to actual effort and progress. Even if their intention is based on right understanding of the path, they have insufficient will to manifest their future.
There is a Sufi saying, ‘trust in god, but tie up your camel’. Failing to tie up the camel, based on the naïve trust that god will prevent it from running away, is a trap of spiritual passivity. Many people think that god is something separate from us, but the truth is that we are manifestations of him. We are god experiencing himself as human beings in this dimension. We are his hands, his legs, and his mind. He cannot tie up the camels without using our hands. He cannot make us progress spiritually without our helping through the use of our own intention, will, and determination. There are natural places on the journey where we must surrender to and trust the higher will of existence, but, even within this trust, we must take responsibility and be open to our discerning intelligence in choosing our steps on the emerging path of our destiny. Tying up our camel acknowledges and dignifies our humanity.
A true seeker is a warrior of light. He must have strength of spirit, including the power to oppose his lower tendencies and to oppose any resistance to surrender to his pure light. As we walk the path, doors to our potential open and we create our future. As we serve the truth of evolution with our very life, we become part of the larger and universal evolution, which now also becomes conscious of our existence and intention. By helping our soul, we help the whole of existence and, in return, we receive its support through continuous revelations from the spirit of totality.
Our Destiny is a New Beginning
Our destiny is not fixed, it is not our fate. In addition, it is not even an endpoint of our journey. It becomes an opening to a new destiny and a succession of new and expanding destinies – one after another. Still, the word destiny can be used first to refer to completion for the human soul. This is our soul’s blueprint and our highest purpose while living in the human body. For the human soul to reach her destiny is to graduate from the dimension of human childhood and enter that of the universal adult.
Beyond the horizon of our destiny, our next adventure into the mystery of creation awaits us. This is the new stage of our evolution that is no longer linked to suffering. This is the evolution into unity and perfection: the evolution of light into higher light – from the soul, through universal subjectivity, into transcendental subjectivity and beyond. It is the journey of consciousness, being, and love into the unfathomable heart of the creator.
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