Many people have a vague idea about destiny. Some equate it with Fate, whose outcome is mysterious and unknown, and whose unknown hand appears suddenly in human life. Others think destiny is charted in the stars, and if one can only correctly glean information from the alignment of the stars through astrological interpretation, one can in effect look into the future and know one’s destiny. Others know that they have a powerful pull for going to a certain locale, or entering a certain career—this obsession hounds them day and night until they finally act on this feeling.
These types of understanding based on feelings do not yet reveal what destiny actually is, a karmic pattern or path. Destiny patterns can be discerned in meditation. They are of four types.
Behavioral Destiny – these are behavioral patterns encoded in your unconscious mind that act outside of your conscious, volitional control. These repetitive patterns condition how you react to objects, people and places, and may subtly guide your selection of a mate or career, for example. This type of karma is known as Pralabdha karma, often called Fate or Destiny karma.
Creative Destiny – this occurs when you align with your Self and you guide your future according to a plan that you make. These patterns consist of goals that you have set for yourself that you have made your highest priority and are fully commitment to achieve. Here you create your destiny through an act of will. This type of karma is the personal octave of Kriyaman Karma, the creative karma of the will.
Service Destiny – this occurs when your Soul and higher vehicles of the Super conscious mind align to carry out a particular project or service to the Divine. This takes the form of a mission to which you are called, that you follow with clear understanding and act as a conscious co-worker to carry it out. Unlike the calling which is based on feelings and faith, this service is taken on in full consciousness and understanding. It is one of the hallmarks of the disciple stage of spiritual development. It functions within the transpersonal octave of Kriyaman Karma, using the aspects of the will that operate in the super conscious Mind.
Spiritual Evolutionary Destiny – this pattern traces the future initiations of your Soul as it makes progress towards its Soul Purpose. This is called Adi Karma. Closely related to this pattern is the unconscious map of the path of the spirit. These channels link the spirit with its source. This type of karma is called Sinchit Karma. These two varieties of spiritual evolutionary destiny point to the potential within you, those aspects of your being that you have not yet brought into expression and actualization.
The law of destiny determines what forces influence our lives to ensure we encounter the life experiences that we require for our continued development. Destiny is essentially a series of opportunities that enable us to learn lessons, acquire new abilities, develop our consciousness and help others.
Destiny is commonly regarded as fate; a fixed timeline of events that is inevitable and unchangeable. Although the words are often used interchangeably, fate and destiny have quite different meanings:
- Fate is usually seen as “set in stone” and often has negative connotations, e.g. the jury decided his fate. Fate is an agent that predetermines and orders the course of events. It means that events are “meant to be” and are set in motion by an external force or intelligence.
- Destiny is more of a likely outcome and often has a positive feel, e.g. he is destined to become a star. Destiny guides us towards a specific goal, but without our wilful participation we will not achieve our destiny.
Put simply: destiny is opportunity and fate is karma. We are in control of our destiny but have no control over our fate. Destiny cannot be forced on us; if we are forced then it is our fate. Destiny gives us an opportunity to turn a situation to our advantage and accomplish something great through our own efforts. It is designed to give us the best opportunities for the development of our consciousness, but it is only an outline – not an exact script. It doesn’t detract from our free-will in any way, because we decide exactly how we want to act in any situation.
The basic outline for our life was planned (pre-destined) before we were born to give us the right opportunities for growth. But we don’t have to follow the pre-destined route if we don’t want to. A life plan can be compared to a maze, and our life’s purpose is to complete the maze. We don’t know where we are going or where we will end up, so all we can do is make our way through life using our best judgment.
Every wrong turn leads to a dead-end and every correct turn leads to progress. A correct turn may not correspond to success in the physical sense, for example: failing to get a promotion may not seem like the best outcome from a financial perspective, but it might actually be the best outcome for the development of your consciousness. We all occasionally make what appear to be bad decisions, but if we learn from those seemingly wrong decisions, we eventually discover that they were in fact right decisions. If we deviate from our life’s plan we may need to be coaxed back on to the right track, and the further we stray from the optimal path the harder the lessons get. Every choice we make affects our future and therefore our destiny. Right now we are experiencing the destiny (and the karma) that arose from choices we made in the past.