Destiny or synchronicity? Are we leafs in the wind or sailboats with tools?
Countless schools of thought and spirituality have debated and written entire books on the subject. Do we have a fixed destiny? Are we rather the creators -and to what extent- of our own path?Allow me to offer a metaphor that explains how I understand the matter after 20+ years of studying different schools of Eastern and Western thought and undergoing countless spiritual experiences. (As you can guess, I am an eclectic student of ancient ideas and modern technologies for human enlightenment.)
The ship and the sea currents
Us human beings are subject to what Gurdjieff's Fourth Way calls "the law of accident" when we live a life of unawareness. Other schools would call it "being asleep", "living by the drift" or merely being in a state of dream throughout our lives. Sometime accidents (including nearly fatal or fatal ones) are true "wake up calls" -hence the term- to the deeper truth that there is more to life than merely working, buying things and fulfilling whatever roles a particular society and its traditions demand from us.
A sunk ship. The currents of events, religious doctrines and the culture with all its virtues and flaws, push us in different directions and everything seems -and on this level it is- to be shaped by forces more powerful than us.
Coming in touch with more universal doctrines that speak of (self) discovery and growth, we can acquire both a mindset and tools to begin a process of awakening.
This is equivalent to taking the ship out of the currents of destiny and giving it a rigid sail and some rowing capabilities, as in the earliest ship designs of ancient Sumeria. On this level of awareness we can steer our destiny to some degree. The currents are there and we have to negotiate our path with them, but can row when the sea is calm and use the sail when the wind is in our favor.
Of course, the currents include our karma or unavoidable lessons (carried to the present from other times or perhaps even other lives). On the first level we were living recklessly and creating more Karmic debt-lessons to be paid-understood. On this second level, we can begin to chose better ways to learn and repay our karmic debts.
But there is still another level of awareness beyond that, one that actually has several and even infinite steps on it
With persistence or dare -think of Zen meditation and Ayahuasca rituals, as respective examples- the spiritual traveler can begin to break free from the chains of destiny and begin to create their own.
The full ship of awareness and synchronicity
Equipped with true curiosity, universal compassion and any tools -depending on one's preferred school, rite or community- for enlightenment, the spiritual seeker can take full control of his/her destiny. Life becomes and endless path of discovery, synchronicity and giving. This is the third and endless level. The path of the shaman, the Buddha and the Philosopher.
To summarize, having a destiny is unavoidable when some karmic lessons are due and we are living asleep. But the more we awaken, the more destiny is unnecessary and we can learn the same lessons via choice and compassion (for example, instead of being killed to learn the value of life, we save lives and teach others the value of life) so that we are free to the highest degree. Awareness, which is another word for responsibility -living mindfully, conscientiously- will set us free. No more destiny, but an endless path of freedom and discovery.
Floyd Lopez-Heinlein, The Andes, South America
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