Many people believe that destiny controls your life. If you’re wondering if your life is beyond your free will, and if you have to surrender to destiny, read on to find some answers.
Do you know the story of the man who was caught between a deadly tiger and a venomous snake?
It goes like this…
A man was being chased by a tiger in a forest. In his desperation to save his life, he jumped into a dry well that was just in front of him, thinking the tiger couldn’t reach him in the depth of well.
As the man jumped into the well, he saw a coiled snake hissing at him from the bottom of the well.
Before he fell to the bottom, he somehow grabbed hold of a tree root hanging from the side of the well to save himself from the venomous snake.
Now he had nowhere to go.
From a hiding spot near the tree root…. out came two little mice!
And then they started to chew off the root.
Yes, while the man was hanging for dear life – surrounded by danger – his last resort to being alive was now slowly being ripped off by these two little harmless mice.
Can you relate to how this man felt in that moment?
Do you sometimes think…
Well, it’s time to find some answers to the question of:
“Which is more in charge of your life – destiny or free will?”
But first, we need to first take a little philosophical detour.
Human beings have always wanted to control their present state and future fate.
While it may seem possible to some extent, true control will always be out of our grasp.
Destiny is a belief that events in life are pre-orchestrated by some otherworldly power beyond our thinking.
While we can ponder on what can happen, we can’t say for sure what WILL happen.
You can read a wide range of meaningful quotes all about destiny, life, fate. But none of these various profound sayings can give you a resounding, definitive answer to the big question: “Does destiny or free will control your life?”
There are only 2 things you can ever know for sure about life:
Oh, and maybe there’s a third thing to know too.
Yep, we crave to find a consistent, familiar rhythm in our life. And when we get comfortable in this familiar flow, we then start to think that we might actually have some semblance of security in our life.
But getting comfortable in this pretense only makes us more vulnerable to what comes next:
No matter how much we try to cling to our sense of security (and all the good things we’ve managed to attract in our life), the turns of events we wind up facing are simply unavoidable.
There’s no way to find out until the event happens.
When the change happens in our favor, we tend to accept it freely (aka: winning a lottery or promotion at the job).
But when the change negatively impacts us, we try to resist it (aka: getting diagnosed with a deadly disease).
Deep down, we all have a part of our souls that is a total control freak. From micromanaging our day-to-day life – to even planning how our life will pan out in the long term. Basically, we try to control everything. And a lot of our anxiety (or even grief) can be tied back to this urge to hold control.
However, letting go of that worry, and accepting life events as they are, will make us feel far more comfortable.
In fact, in stoicism, embracing destiny – without thinking about the “what ifs” – is a big part of being able to feel content.
However, embracing fate doesn’t mean you will (or should) be completely passive about your life. It means you have to make the best with what’s within your grasp – and let go of what is beyond your control.
Let’s get back to the story.
As the tiger was trying to paw at the man, a nearby tree was being shaken by all the tiger’s commotion.
There was a beehive on the tree, and the tree’s shaking started to make the honeycombs drip. As a result, a few drops of that honey fell into the well.
The man caught some honey with his tongue and thought to himself, “Mmmm, that honey tastes sooooo good!”
Yes, even in his dire strait, he didn’t forget to appreciate life’s blessing, however insignificant it may be.
In our desperate attempt to run from our problems, we tend to fall into an even bigger problem. We can wind up overlooking all the blessings which life sends our way.
Basically, we can worry so much about the future, that this preoccupation can wind up jeopardizing our ability to be happy in the present.
In order to experience life in its full vitality, you must not forget to savor life’s nectar as it comes.
Battling with destiny is similar to swimming upstream. You can quickly lose your energy by resisting a force far bigger than you. On the flip side, when you go along with the natural flow, you can gain more speed, and moving can become effortless.
And that is the key concept of Taoism– the act of letting go and embracing the natural flow of life. While “letting go” might seem like a sign of weakness, it is actually more empowering.
When you try to evade the inevitable, you only prolong your struggle. And by doing so, you might even fall deeper into your problem. But when you let nature take the rein, you are more in power. And while you can’t completely control all of your circumstances, you can indeed harness some of the power in your hands, and work it in your favor.
There is no objective, singular way of defining fate and its effect on life.
It all depends on how you want to perceive your life and what you want to focus on most.
I won’t leave the story on a cliffhanger.
You’ll be happy to know that even if destiny positioned the man in such a dire strait, it didn’t leave him in a lurch.
As the tiger was ravenous, it couldn’t wait any longer for the man to climb up. When the tiger reached for the man, it got too close to the edge and slipped into the well. And then the tiger wound up crushing the snake on its way down.
The man safely climbed out of the well before the mice could chew off the root.
While fate is unpredictable, and you can’t bend it to your wish, it has a way of presenting you with the most unlikely solutions. But only if you are willing to stay open to seeing potential possibilities when they come to you.