Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of April 16, 2012

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Destiny

(The Path of Purpose: Part 8 of 9)

Ö I have set before you life and death...
So choose life in order that you may liveÖ

Deuteronomy 30:19

When we see an infant, we feel the childís almost limitless possibilities. At the beginning of life, everything is open to us. But many of those possibilities vanish with time. Can we live in such a way as to open new possibilities? We want to fill our life with meaning, to live our life fully, and to be ourselves. To what extent is that up to us?

Similar to fate, the notion of predestination claims that God has foreordained all that will happen, including all that will happen to us personally. But it seems obvious that we have free will and that our choices matter, otherwise life loses much of its meaning. If our destiny has something to do with Godís plan for us, then surely our talents, understanding, and choices play key roles. We are given this body and we make our choices, but the imponderables, the unpredictable events of life also shape us. Together, our genes, our circumstances, and our choices determine our possibilities.

Surely Godís plan for us embodies our highest possibilities. We have the central role in fulfilling that plan, in attaining our own unique destiny: to overcome our limitations, the box of fate, to understand our destiny, the most meaningful and fulfilling path of life for us, and to make the choices and efforts necessary to walk that path. In so doing we enter a kind of conversation with our destiny. What actually becomes of us is not predetermined; what we do matters and uncertainties accompany us at every step. We can never be fully certain what our destiny is. There can be no certainty of the ultimate outcome of our choices. But the closer we come to making the right choices, the more we align ourselves with our destiny, with Godís will for us.

Given that our highest possibilities are multifold, our choices can create our destiny, our vision of our best role in life, of what we can become and do. That vision may lack detail, may be no more than an intuition or drive in a particular direction. Yet if we hold to that vision and allow it to evolve, it can guide us toward the future that is meant for us.

And we can fail to achieve that destiny, fail to actualize our highest potential. That uncertainty, that possibility of failure makes life interesting, gives meaning and urgency to our choices, and makes us responsible. Without that risk of failure, we could not evolve; we would be stuck in a dependent state like children. So we do what we can, without demanding assurance of success or some particular result.

Like many other endeavors, the spiritual path is uncertain. It is an exploration of an unknown territory. Yet the path changes our being and enables us to be more ourselves. In becoming more who we are, we inevitably approach our destiny as well. So our inner work can and does help us see and achieve our destiny, even when that destiny does not concern the spiritual path directly. If we are to enter what we envision as our lifeís work, the practices of the path can help us in that pursuit.

Destiny is not only about a destination, about the future. Rather, it concerns living our highest potential now, today. Of course, we prepare ourselves for our destiny, through education and practice. But that can only happen now. Obviously, we create our future by how we live today. And given time and direction, all of our small efforts, small changes or improvements, can add up to significant results: new skills and abilities, long-term projects completed, relationships cultivated, services rendered, or whatever else may be part of our vision for ourselves. Who we are, our core, does not change, for our I comes into us from above. But we can gain experience, skills, and inner freedom. As our destiny unfolds and the vision grows clearer, we become more committed to it, we come to see the possible as attainable, and the attainable as doable today.

For this week, contemplate the direction of your life. Where are you going? What do you envision for your life? Is what you are doing of value in itself? Is it leading toward what you envision? Imagine yourself at the end of your life, looking back. What would you want your life to have been? What would you want to have become? Are you taking the steps to realize that vision?

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