Is destiny pre-written or is the course of our lives in our own hands by virtue of our power of choice?
I believe destiny is the default setting, and choice is our ability to customize.
Life is like a game of cards; the hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.
— Jawaharlal Nehru
It does not matter what one believes though. That would be akin to being concerned about the lock and neglecting the key. The key being acceptance of the situation, regardless of it being pre-destined or brought about by the exercise of our own choices.
What we believe, is of no consequence, if we do not use such belief to achieve the effect it is designed to deliver – that of acceptance of our situation.
Belief is a tool for achieving effects; it is not an end in itself.
— Peter Carroll
Anything and everything you hear from supportive family and friends, read in books or online, or understand through analytical thinking is moot, as those are no more than means to justify to your mind why things are the way they are. They are not solutions.
The bottom line, after you have changed what you can’t accept, is to ultimately make peace with your situation by accepting the culminating product of your choices.
Change what you can’t accept and accept what you can’t change.
When life is out of control, hopelessness sets in and one wonders how will life go on, remember the answer, “One day at a time”.
As long as one is motivated, the key to accomplishing any task that is overwhelming due to its magnitude, appears unattainable or beyond one’s ability, is, ‘one step at a time’.
If I were to plan to startup a hotel, I should only think of first taking up a job at one or doing a hotel management course. Or a smaller baby step, like researching where I want to study. Not think about hiring staff for my hotel, worry about potential competition or how to achieve occupancy. That would overwhelm me and would be counter-productive.
If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.
— His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV
Worrying is worthless. When you stop focusing on what has already happened and what may never happen, then you’ll be in the present moment. Then you’ll begin to experience joy in life.
— Brian Weiss
Here’s a story – A couple were worrying about their upcoming journey that required them to cross a rickety makeshift bridge. From well before the journey and through the trip, they kept worrying if the bridge would give way when they would attempt to cross it. When they got to the bridge, they saw that the makeshift bridge had been replaced by a sturdy, permanent one. Thus their worrying was needless and they ruined their days and nights prior to and the entire journey over it. Hence they say,
Cross the bridge when you get to it.
When you’re feeling threatened by things that haven’t happened yet, remember these words:
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The concept of having one “special someone” in one’s life is a recipe for devastation that would result from when such person is no longer in one’s life. Instead we need to expand that circle to include everyone, even connecting with strangers. Draw larger circles so the world is one’s family. The more emotional intimacy we share with others, the happier will we be.
I believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. Happiness comes from:
(a) accepting unhappiness as being a part of life, not hating or fighting against it. Hate being a negative emotion causes more unhappiness. The fact that there are ups and downs in life like an electrocardiogram, is proof that one is living; without that one would flatline.
(b) being connected to other people, even strangers. Connection comes from intimacy. Intimacy comes from sharing, whether it be in the form of communication or being of service. The keys to communication and service, are honesty and compassion. If one is honest, one has nothing to hide, and thus being fearless removes any barriers to communication. Compassion helps us see and feel things from the other person’s point of view, hence the biblical saying,
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
“One great question underlies our experience, whether we think about it or not: what is the purpose of life? From the moment of birth every human being wants happiness and does not want suffering. Neither social conditioning nor education nor ideology affects this. From the very core of our being, we simply desire contentment. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”
— His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV
“I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in that religion or this religion, we are all seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…”
— His Holiness The Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World