Is our life really mapped out for us? Does God have a definitive plan for each of us, with each step clearly marked?
Do we really have the freewill to make choices, to change direction?
How do we cope with life when it doesn’t live up to our expectations dreams and goals?
It is commonly believed in spiritual teachings that yes – our lives are mapped out for us. We arrive in this incarnation with a definite plan for our life’s purpose. The lessons we have to learn, our goals, our pathways, have been decided before we reincarnate. Some believe that these goals are indeed set by our own spirit before we return. Others that God decides. Perhaps these two things are the same as we are all a part of God, we all have God within us.
Is that plan rigidly set in stone with each footstep carefully choreographed with no deviation? Or do we have a certain amount of freewill? We are told that God did indeed give us freewill, the ability to choose.
I am sure we have all made what we would call bad choices, perhaps we have gone against our better judgment and knowlingly taken the wrong pathway. This choice may prove to be destructive and may appear to steer us off course onto dark and frightening tributaries. However, in retrospect, it is often these apparent wrong choices that teach us our most important lessons. So, one could then question whether these seemingly wrong turns were actually part of our life’s plan after all. The whole of our life’s experiences shape who we are and without what we perceive to be the bad things, we would not be the same people. So we could question whether we do indeed have freewill or whether we are following the pathway to the letter, and that free will does not actually exist, or that our free will was executed before we returned to Earth, we just don’t remember. We will, of course, despite endless debate and consideration, never know the answer to this most profound of questions until we ‘go home’.
And what of coincidences? Spiritual laws tell us that there are no such things – what we perceive as coincidences are really signposts which can change our direction completely. Perhaps it is in the form of meeting a significiant person who will offer us insight or teach us something we need to know at a particular point in our journey through life. Coincidences can come in any guise – the passage of a book, the lyrics of a song, a radio broadcast to name but a few. Following these flashes of serendipity is of course a choice, we can choose to ignore them if we want. We can exercise our freewill and not pursue these coincidences, but be sure another one will follow shortly and perhaps this time we will have to pay attention – be sure they keep appearing until we do take notice.
And how do we cope when our expectations are not met? When our dreams are not fulfilled? Growing up as a child of the fifties, expectations were limited to finishing our education often leaving school at 15. Higher education was a privilege in those days and our career choices were varied; hairdressing, office work, factory jobs, nursing or shop work. Following a career really didn’t seem so important, what we really craved was to meet the ‘man of our dreams’, to marry, to have children and of course, to live happily ever after. A fairy tale ending is very rare and often we can find that actually achieving those dreams doesn’t always fulfil us or sustain us. Happiness Looking to another person to deliver happiness is impossible – it can only come from within and takes nurturing, commitment and effort.
When life does not pan out as we hoped, when we have suffered loss, ill health, financial ruin etc. we can become bitter, feel like a failure and rail against the obstacles we imagine have blocked our way. How very infuriating it is, when our dreams have crashed down around us, when we are lost and desperate and someone tritely remarks ‘oh well, it was meant to be’ or ‘there is always a reason why this has happened’.
Leading a spiritual life, full of faith and trust helps us to realise there is really no other way to look at things. We must believe that nothing is random, that the Universe isn’t conspiring against us or that ‘we must have done something terrible in a previous life to have to suffer so in this life’.
Life can be full of disappointments and regrets, no one is exempt from life’s blows, but remember we all have the free will to choose how we react to them, whether we sink or swim, whether we find a way to be philosophical about the ‘swerve balls’ or we choose we wallow in self pity and sadness, hankering after the dreams we had. Surely better to find a way to accept our hand gracefully?
I am sure there is a pre-conceived plan in place for every one of us, the understanding of which, becomes clear on reflection – the twists and turns of our journey through life, the coincidences, the opportunities, the choices we have made all affect our lives, sometimes dramatically – without them life would be a random set of circumstances impossible to navigate. God has a plan for us and using the gift of free will dictates our path through life.
Article by More to Life Elder Kathy Searle
The Seekers Trust