It’s Your Life and Your Destiny

By Paul Dunion | October 9, 2017

You will inevitably live out some kind of relationship with fate, which is your life.  As in all relationships, you adopt an attitude toward fate, some way of thinking, feeling and acting toward it. However, a great deal can be lost when we don’t pause and examine what kind of relationship we are constructing.  Let’s look at what it means to create a relationship with fate, as well as a life well lived, by exploring the two participants in such a relationship.

You and Fate

Similar to relationships we have with people, there are two participants in our relationship with fate.  The life you create is the result of how you relate to what fate brings to you.  An old definition of the word fate is “the will of the gods”. Hence, we can understand fate as everything you do not intend to take place, a great deal of which will be out of your control.  Fate consists of the choices of others as well as the forces of nature.  You have two ways to participate with fate, by either exercising your will or by surrendering and letting go.  For example, you desire to visit your friend (your will). Your town and the local towns created three roads that can support your driving to your friend’s home (fate).  You choose what you believe to be the most scenic route and you drive the speed limit on the right side of the road (your will).  After traveling some ten miles, an oncoming vehicle crossed over into your lane. You attempt to avoid the collision but are unable to prevent an accident (fate and your will).  You are taken to the hospital with a concussion and several broken bones (fate).

As in the above example, we often do not quite know how much control you have over what fate is presenting to you.  Your control will vary from a little to a lot to none at all.  You may have a little control over how others treat you.  You treat your friend with kindness and encouragement and you notice such treatment is returned to you. However, some mood can easily change how your friend treats you.  You may have a good deal of control over how you care for yourself in regard to diet, rest and exercise. You will have no control over the happiness of your adult children.

Your will is driven mostly by your desire.  Having clarity about what you want helps a great deal to create an intention and willfully manifest your desire.  The importance of willfully expressing desire is that it places you in the uniqueness of your own story.  When you are not allowing your desire to animate your will in some particular life direction, you are living in some else’s story authored by their will. You are risking creating an unlived life.  Here are some questions that can help energize your will: Am I facing some aspect of fate that I have any control over?  Is there anything I want in regard to what fate has presented me?  Do I need to gather more information before deciding to exercise my will? If I do possess some control, is it in my best interest to exercise my will?

Surrender is your second option when fate comes to visit.  Surrender is a meaningful way to participate with fate when we are facing something very much out of our control. If fate presents us with an unhappy friend, someone we love dearly, then it serves us to surrender to the status of our friend’s unhappiness, since we can’t make someone happy.  Surrender is often challenging for the ego which enjoys seeing itself as capable of basking in a myriad of wonderful achievements and triumphs.  Here are some questions that can help guide moving into surrender:  Am I facing some aspect of fate that is very much out of my control? If I did have jurisdiction over what is happening, then what might I desire as an outcome? How do I feel about my lack of power in this situation? Where can I access support for the loss I might feel regarding my inability to meaningfully impact this situation? Is there any small expression of control that I don’t yet see? The more you learn to appropriately surrender, the more you understand that you surrender not so much to what fate brings to you, but simply what fate presents to everyone.

Make the Relationship Real

You are co-creating your life with fate as you would with an actual person. Fate presents you with a variety of life opportunities, some exciting and potentially rewarding, while others are devastating and tragic. It calls for years of disciplined practice in order to become effective at identifying whether will, or surrender will best serve your relationship with fate. It means often being convinced that you can change some situation, only to find yourself in the depths of defeat. Or to surrender when there was plenty you could have actually done.  It is easy to either turn against yourself or against fate when you either feel defeated by fate or criticize yourself for being excessively passive.

You would have appropriately believed in early adulthood that most of what fate presented, you had control over.  It is an illusion that massages the ego, as surrender is mostly seen as an unnecessary way to engage fate and create a life.  By mid-life, you may have been willing to settle for a 50-50 split between will and surrender. Hopefully, by elderhood, you more deeply appreciate the old definition of the word fate, which is “the will of the gods”.  From such an appreciation, you would have begun to accept that some 95% of the time, fate will have its way.  Coming into an acceptance of fate’s immensity is at best a humbling, arduous task.  Along the way, you will fundamentally have four options regarding your response to fate, four ways to co-create your life.

The Four Responses

  • Protest is a common response to fate not cooperating with some of our fondest wishes.  It is a rather healthy adolescent response, suggesting you are more than ready to champion your desires, and feel deserving of being treated well. However, it is also a way to cope with feeling defeated by the forces of fate, everything from losing a loved one, not getting a much-deserved promotion, to your vehicle breaking down on the way to an important meeting. Rather than feeling the vulnerability of being overpowered by fate, we puff up into an angry protest.
  • Refusal to play. This can be seen as an avoidant posture energized by a resistance to the amount of risks it takes to be fully alive. This response is expressed by an inadequate amount of will with excessive surrender. It is also an attempt to mitigate the amount of mistakes being made, which allegedly exempts you from learning how to forgive yourself.  This response is natural to anyone whose adolescence was characterized by a disproportionate amount of compliance and adaption.
  • An old definition of the word victim is “a person taken advantage of or hurt”.  A common response to the enormity of fate and the suffering it is capable of causing is to define yourself as a person who is hurt and taken advantage of.  The victim response has elements of both the protest response and the refusal-to-play response.  This response says, “I suffered too much in order to play. Fate is into hurting me. I’m too small in order to handle what fate deals out.”
  • Living life on life’s terms. We can define life as our and our ability to surrender in response to the immensity of fate. It is a readiness to discern what is in your control and decide if you want to willfully impact what you can control, and let go of what is beyond your best intentions. It is an honoring of personal limits. It is also about learning how to bring meaning to your inevitable suffering. It calls for learning to forgive yourself for mistakes or when some risk yields unfavorable results. Unless you’re willing to forgive yourself, you will avoid taking risks, and avoid a lived life.

Destiny, in very simple terms, is your destination. It is where you are going. Your destination will likely possess depth and meaning if you refined your use of your will and your ability to surrender. You would have come to know and accept both the power and the limits of your will, as simply an expression of whom you are. Your destiny will reflect a kinship created between you and fate. This rapport between you and fate then settles easily within you, held in serenity.

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