D. Vader: “Luke, come to the Dark Side. It is your destiny!”
L. Skywalker: “You don’t know shit, Dad!”
We are all headed inexorably toward our destiny, like water returning to the sea.
Destiny does not mean living up to our potential. We all have untapped potential that we never uncover and use to its fullest possibility; if our destiny depended on doing so, none of us would fulfill it.
Destiny means living out the lives that, from our limited perspective, Life seems to have “planned” for us.
Here are a few possible destinies:
- raising a future President of the United States
- leading a revolution
- dying of alcoholism at a young age
- writing a series of books about young wizards
- running over your wife’s cat with a lawnmower
- making national news because you died in a funny way
- watching 273 NASCAR races on TV and dying of diabetes
- winning the Heisman trophy
- accidentally blinding your child in a fishing accident
- getting married (and divorced) eight times
In other words, your destiny is whatever will happen in your lifetime. You just don’t know what it is yet!
Whatever we do, whatever we think, however we plan and execute our lives, all of us fulfill our destinies every day, in every moment. At the same time, to a large extent, we choose our own destinies. This is yet another beautiful paradox of Life.
We can kick and fight and scream against the flow of events and experiences in our lives—and if that’s what happens, it is our destiny. On the other hand, we can learn to harmonize ourselves—meaning, primarily, our thoughts—with the flow of Life, accepting and learning from events and experiences instead of fighting them.
If this is the path we choose to take, you guessed it! This, too, is our destiny.
The path of acceptance and learning is the path that leads to peace, enjoyment, and what we call “happiness.” It is the path of surrendering our limited ego-desires to the will of what many people call “God.” The will of “God” is the flow of Life. To this flow we must surrender ourselves. When we do, the Universe starts to harmonize Itself with us. Weird.
Remember, though: we’re all part of the Universe!
Paradoxically (of course!), this path of surrender does not mean that we should resign ourselves to whatever comes our way. If a lion is about to devour you, you do not have to become his next meal! Surrender means learning to understand the way the world works, and what our place is with regard to every thing-else that exists, so that we think, feel, and act rightly—without regret.
Surrender is a process, not an event. It means becoming wise and rising above the things that happen to us, one at a time. This wisdom comes as we realize the nature of Nature, Life, and the Universe. It comes when we see that we truly are here for a reason, that there is purpose to our individual existence, and that our eventual happiness (perhaps not until beyond this present lifetime) is certain.
This understanding brings us happiness NOW.
It also allows us to let go of our attachments to people, experiences, ideas, and so on (in other words, the dead past or the imagined future), so that we can move on and begin to live better, happier lives.
We are animated by Spirit Itself, to which we are continually nudged from within and drawn from without, by way of the very Universe that so often seems so cruel and unfair. With this understanding, we can relax and let our destiny unfold. As a wild pig once said, Hakuna matata!
(written in 2009)