The Struggle Between Destiny and Free Will

"You know that saying that when God closes a door he opens a window? Well, sometimes out of nowhere he’ll do you one better, and he’ll kick a whole wall down." ~Glee TV series (season 2, episode 8, original airdate November 23, 2010)

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Some people say that your destiny is predetermined. Supposedly we are born, things happen to us, and then life ends. The idea that one's destiny or karma directs all life can be overwhelming. Is it true that human beings can't change anything? If everything is inevitable and unavoidable, what about "free will" and soul evolution? Those who insist they cannot change their fate are missing the point.

We are all choosing our path life-to-life. The law of karma directs our destiny. 

Destiny and Free Will Defined

It's time to take a look at what the word "destiny" means, and learn what role it plays in the journey of soul evolution. Dictionary definitions can give us clarity. It's important to understand how destiny and free will work together to define events.

Destiny is defined as: "the inevitable or necessary fate to which a person or thing is destined; one's lot. And as a predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control." Some people believe that destiny and karma are the same things. But the karma that we choose creates our destiny, which we can impact in various ways.

Free Will is defined as: "the ability or discretion to choose; free choice: for example, 'chose to remain behind of my free will.' The power of making choices that are neither determined by natural causality nor predestined by fate or divine will."

The Law of Karma

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Photo Credit: mdavidford> via Compfight cc

Every person has a destiny. But according to the Law of Karma, our individual souls have some control over many of life's events.

Throughout each incarnation destiny and free will meet, again and again. They intersect in our individual karma. 

The word "karma" comes from the ancient Sanskrit word which means "action." In practical terms, the dynamics of the physical world mean "for every action there is a reaction."

Karma is the true spiritual law governing interactions. It starts with the energy of a single thought, which develops and grows over time through our feelings, attitude, words, actions, and relations. It finally settles into our souls as personality traits, only to emerge again in the form of another thought.

Whenever a human being acts, we set off a force that reacts. This energy may be changed, but only if it is recognized.

The law of karma is simple. Every single action results in a reaction. We have a choice in what initial actions that we take. Then we have our free will to respond to the energy force that returns to us as the resulting reaction. Through our free will, we can choose actions that bring success and happiness to ourselves and others.  

In essence, we reap what we sow. We harvest our karma. The joy of living requires our participation. Our actions and reactions continue throughout our lives. Karma is not crime and punishment at all. We have chosen the circumstances that we are living today through our actions in the past. 

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“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” — William Shakespeare

Is the Future Set In Stone?

The future is not set in stone. There are many things that can change our thoughts and actions. Our destiny evolves like a running stream. Outcomes depend on actions. The reactions are not instant. Often we act at a certain point in time. Then the reaction takes place downstream, somewhere in the future.

The destiny vs. free will debate has been going on forever. Free will allows us to make choices that can modify and shape our destiny. It's important to understand that it is the individual journey, not the final result, that's important. Free will has a major influence on destiny.

Are We in Control?

Are you in complete control of your destiny? The answer is both yes and no.

Whenever something unexpected or bad happens in your life, you cannot always magically change your circumstances. No one gets to have everything exactly as they want it to be. Sometimes when you cannot control events, the spiritual solution is to accept them.

The definition of destiny includes events and circumstances that seem "beyond human power and control." It's true that there are events that it seems we cannot alter. Nevertheless, our reaction to them has a profound impact.

Even when it seems like everything has been instantly changed, destiny prevails. Using free will in the framework of destiny, people and events can make drastic improvements. But they may still be in the midst of dealing with the reaction set in motion long ago. 

As we learn and grow through experience, we are shaping our destiny. Making decisions and taking actions create our karma and shape our future in this and future lives.

We all face the consequences of our actions. How we face them can balance karmic debts and mend the fences in soul groups (the people we reincarnate with). In times of trouble, it's best to follow a spiritual path. Sometimes it feels like you should be running from the energy wave that is destiny. That never works.

It's strange how a single encounter, decision, or event can change your life. Keep in mind that right actions always create positive reactions. So even if you are feeling the repercussions of past bad actions, you can break the cycle.

Old patterns of behavior and thoughts can keep us from having new ones. History may repeat life after life, but it doesn't have to.

Through karma, we learn the lessons that we need to change our destiny. You can’t eliminate all the energy in our karma created by past actions. But when you take the right actions and make the right decisions, you increase the rewards and change your life for the better.

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