It’s nice to think I’m here for something. Makes me feel all purposeful and hopeful and like my dreams count and shit. I’m not talking about the question of our origin and purpose as a whole species, but my fate as a single unit, a ME, that incredible, complex thing that I am deep inside after I’ve peeled off my Salvation Army sale clothes, the labels stuck on me by the disappointed teachers who couldn’t get me to understand physics, the mistakes and regrets I’m still carrying, the childhood dreams I stuffed in the back of a dusty box… Trash all that shit and have a look at what’s left—that’s the ME I’m talking about. Does that ME have a purpose?
I think so. I think you do too.
But it’s hard for thinking people to accept fate and the whole package it brings (soul, eternity, destiny, and all that complicated stuff) without giving the philosophy much thought. It’s hard to explain a predetermined fate without annihilating the concept of ‘free will’, and even if we can come to terms with the idea that there is something I’m here to do, then it also opens the question of: Who am I, this unit who has to do this thing?
The Quantum Soul.
Although we don’t know where consciousness comes from or where it goes when we die, there is some consensus between the scientific and spiritual communities that the consciousness that we identify with throughout our lives is unique to us – there is definitely an I in the big cosmos of us. Increasingly, science confirms (sort of) the Buddhist and Hindu belief and the modern metaphysical standpoint that the consciousness is an intricate part of the universe. That our unique consciousness can operate even when our physical bodies have given up, our uniqueness transcends from the microtubules in our brain where the quantum information is stored, and back into the Cosmos. A soul, in other words.
If there is a soul then, and it is eternal, what was it doing before it got here in my flesh? Some philosophers in modern metaphysics suggest that the soul is an expression of the collective consciousness (or unified field as Einstein called it), that has merged with life in order to bring experience back to the big G-O-D or whatever that huge thing is up there. The Universe expressing itself through us. Can it be that whatever my soul was doing before I became a person has something to do with why I’m here? Did I make a pact, to fulfill something, experience something, create something, progress something?
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:4)
It’s a fun thought, that perhaps that eternal song that hums in my heart was first composed before all the mess and blood and fluids and screaming during my birth. Maybe I arrived here with a goal, and I need to get on track. I love the idea that my husband Matt and I knew each other before, that his quantum buzz already loved my quantum buzz and we made it a game to find each other. It certainly felt quantumy when we met!
“We’re here to learn” is an axiom of masters across philosophies, but if that’s true I wish I had been put here with a syllabus or a reading list to get through. Like everyone else, I experience the yearning for expansion and fuller expression, but I have lived reactively rather than with focus and direction. Following other people, allowing whatever was going on outside my mind to influence my point of view and therefore my thoughts, actions, and ultimately my character. I studied the subjects that seemed sensible, got a job that paid well and kept the relationships that affirmed me as the character I had chiseled out of the slab of concrete handed to me by the social conditions around me.
“By an irony of fate, my first employment was as a draughtsman. I hated drawing; it was for me the very worst of annoyances. Fortunately, it was not long before I secured the position I sought, that of chief electrician to the telephone company.” Nikola Tesla
Often we don’t realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny. There is something within us that wants us to move to a higher level—we feel it as an ambition, or a calling. We recognize it, because it’s not the same as yearning for stuff, it’s not about getting, but about doing.
We all want stuff, of course, and we all get stuff. We live in a physical body that corresponds with a physical world, so it’s natural that we have physical goals. But it’s not the goal that we’re after, it’s the growth that we really aim for. And sometimes, when we stop and listen, we can really feel what that calling is.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer/musician/accountant/optician/mother/juggler!” I declare.
But how do I know that? Is there a difference between my current faddy idea and the true depth of calling? I’ve been through so many ambitions and ultimate goals that I can’t even count them. Ranging from author to parapsychologist to business owner and wedding planner to minister and back to author again, my career aspirations change as my current point of view changes. What is the golden thread?
“Getting into publishing is really hard, I don’t think you’ll make it to be honest…”
“Sure, you’re a great writer, but honey – it’s not what you know, it’s who you blow.”
Religious and spiritual teachers say they hear the call to ministry. Why can they hear their calling so clearly when the rest of us struggle to make out our intuition through the white noise of conditioning? Is it because the God source talks to them more loudly than it does to us? Or is it because they are more accustomed to listening? Deep meditation, or prayer as it’s called in religious circles, allows the conscious mind to rest and the subconscious mind to talk.
The Refusal of the Call
All heroes have to refuse the call at some point. Gilgamesh, Jonah, Frodo Baggins, Luke Skywalker, all had to frown at their destiny with a wrinkled nose and think, “Oh dear, saving the Universe? People like me don’t do stuff like that. No thanks, I’ll stick with this sensible job at Cubicle Inc.” But you can only consciously refuse the call if you’ve heard it in the first place. If you aren’t sure what your fate is, how do you know if you’re not on track? If you have a fate, are you fulfilling it?
The teachings of Abraham (Hicks) suggest that our emotions are there to guide us through the labyrinth of life, keeping us on course through the storms that come with conditioning, fear, and limiting beliefs. You know, gut feeling. Going with the vibes. Does this decision I’m about to make feel good, or does thinking about it give me that steely ball of battery acid in my gut?
You know when opportunities present themselves and you don’t take them? That lingering regret when the moment has passed and you can’t get it back? And there’s always some well-wisher who says: “Ah well, it wasn’t meant to be…”
If you still feel regret after chewing over your well-wisher’s helpful response, then I would suggest that it was meant to be, and you missed it. You know it’s true, because thinking about that opportunity and what could have come of it feels much better than the idea that all that you have right now is all you were supposed to have. Even if we have a vague idea of what we truly desire, if our thinking is shifted just half a degree off track, over the years we will end up in a completely different place. But the point here is that nagging, hollow sense of disappointment and disillusionment when you feel like you missed your chance. There! That’s it! That’s the sign that you’re NOT on track to fulfilling your dreams, the core desires you had when you arrived here, the song in your heart that never goes away.
The good news is, I believe, that there is always a green light ahead of you. If you want that opportunity to come again, it will. Next time take it.
“When God predetermined our destiny, He factored in our stupidity. Therefore there’s always enough time to finish.” (Larry Randolph)
So to say that fate can’t exist in tandem with free will isn’t necessarily right. I can always choose to ignore the calling and settle for the sensible, society-approved life path. But the chances are that niggling feeling won’t go away until I one day, hopefully before my last minutes, decide to give my dreams a punt.
If my unique consciousness transcends into the cosmos when my body packs in, does it bring with it a report? Will there be a reckoning and a stern word if I haven’t kept my end of the bargain? I shouldn’t think so. We have enough of a hell on Earth when we refuse our own hearts.
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” (Joan of Arc)