Much has been written in the last 20+ years about manifestation and our role as co-creators of our world. It seems self-evident that our beliefs and attitudes shape our view of the world and therefore shape our experience of what happens. The way we interpret the events in our lives can be radically different from one person to the other who, objectively speaking, lived through identical circumstances. The work of Victor Frankl, a holocaust survivor, is famous in illustrating that principle.
Some religious creeds claim that our lives are pre-determined. Astrology offers glimpses of universal forces at play in our lives that we seem to have no control over.
So here are the polar opposites: either, we (co-)create our lives through the power of our minds, be it in productive or destructive ways. Or, our lives are pre-determined by fate, God or some unknown universal forces.
How do we find our way between these extremes?
My personal belief is that the soul chooses a path of learning for this life and maybe many other lives on our eternal journey of evolution. The soul or higher self is strangely detached from the trials and tribulations of the human experience. I realized that fact during my near-death experience: the physical body was in tremendous pain, undergoing challenging aspects of illness and medical procedures intended to save my life. During that time, the soul was strangely detached from the body, looking down on the physical self with compassion but detachment.
Did I create the illness that brought me to the brink of death? Not consciously. Was I a bad person for having brought on this crisis? I don’t think so. Did some uncaring God present this painful lesson to punish me for some past misdeeds? That is not my truth either.
On some level, the soul/higher self chooses the next step on our evolutionary journey. Out of pain and loss higher consciousness can arise, greater appreciation for life can come about. My near-death experience deepened my gratitude for all the gifts, great and small, that life has to offer. It also empowered me to help others in their times of crisis and to feel compassion for human suffering. In that way, the challenge turned out to be a deeply rewarding gift to myself and others.
So the old adage may just be true: we have no control over the cards we are dealt, but how we play them and how we react is our choice. In that sense, destiny is not a contradiction to free will: we always have a choice in how we interpret what happens in our lives and how we react to the events, large and small, that shape our character. It takes a lot of pressure and heat to shape coal into diamonds; shiny sparkling diamonds we are, each and any and all of us.