Trumping Fate


I believe this is a playful universe, one with humor and wit, which regularly tests the strength of our resolve to self-determine the course of our future.

The universe adores its poetic ironies, often capping off our triumphant forward thrusts with full-on confrontations with what we claim to be leaving behind. How sure are we? How completely have we conquered the temptation to give in and let the currents of Fate have their way with us?

In my conception of it, Fate is not a total tyrant, insisting without compromise that our lives have been rigidly predestined to follow a single path of unfolding. However, Fate does lay out certain inescapable conditions for each of us… and, along with them, certain routes which are, far and above all else, the ones we're likeliest to follow.

At most crossroads, we face this likeliest throughway that has been so regularly trodden—by our familial predecessors, the common man and woman, and/or earlier incarnations of ourselves—it's basically been paved flat by the many footsteps. And then there's the proverbial Road Less Traveled, the choice of which Robert Frost asserts 'made all the difference' for him: because there was something more unusual to see? because he enjoyed a challenge? because he was a contrarian who preferred anything over the more popular choice? Who's to know? Poets love to wrap their motives in evocatively cryptic subtleties.

Fate's purpose may be to lure us down this path so many others in similar spots have already traveled. Whenever we do what Fate claims to have destined for us, it's one more victorious point in its battle against Free Will. The more obediently we follow Fate's call, the more accurately that fortune-telling-style astrology will predict our future. It was written in the stars, after all.

When we buck the likeliest trend, though, and choose to co-creatively fight for a different outcome, Fate doesn't just throw up its hands like a poor loser and go running home to Mommy. It plays a different hand. It pulls out tricks from up its sleeve. It flashes options that are novel, yet with eerie familiarity to something we've known before—parallels or outright repetitions, apparent opposites that boil down to the flip-side of the same coin. The compelling charge of this familiarity, whether we immediately recognize it for what it is, beckons us. But is this just another side-street connector-road leading us right back to that main thoroughfare we thought we'd diverged from?

It is easy enough to resist the lure of falling backward into a destiny we thought we'd escaped when, in those moments of confronting the familiar, we feel gut-level awareness of the chasm that has grown between our past and present… when we know in our bones that we'll never go back, the seductive influence of a person or experience we left behind no longer works on us, and we have confidently changed course once and for all.

Much of the time, alas, we aren't quite so clear, particularly if we juggled mixed feelings at the previous crossroads, when we chose left instead of right… which is perhaps why the witty, irony-loving universe often re-presents us with similar or complementary conditions at junction after junction, giving us multiple opportunities to go too far left or too far right. This continues again and again, until we finally gather enough insight to decide which direction we really want to proceed.

Up ahead, the next crossroads, and here we are again. Assuming we haven't yet resolved our inner conflict—and are not as ready to adopt a single self-determined avenue as our own as we'd hoped—which way do we go? Is Fate plotting to re-entrap us on some path of least resistance, or might we engage the uncannily familiar conditions with different actions?

In my playfully poetic universe, Fate does not hold the highest roost in the land. From down one or another of the seemingly comparable roads comes a calmer, quieter, purely loving voice of God (for lack of a more concise and widely-understood label), whispering a call to any and all who believe in evolutionary purpose: to grow further toward conscious, open-hearted loving-kindness in all we do; and to grow away from inherited behaviors, motivated by pain or fear, that block this expression. Fate, an underling, reports to this God, its job to weave the testing-ground scenarios through which we may learn to lovingly choose what's correct for us.

Our minds, meanwhile, are often just self-indulgent miscreants who'll say anything to have us believe they are in charge, though they're not. When the mind lacks rational understanding of why a choice may indeed be the correct one, it reports back that we don't know what to do. But that isn't entirely true, is it?

We might not know why we should make this certain choice… only that we know we are being called to it. The voice of God speaks clearly, though softly: 'This is where your greatest evolutionary potential resides. Proceed, with love.'

[thoughts inspired by the May 20 solar eclipse in Gemini, which squares Neptune; more info on this eclipse in this article]