Black, White & Shades of Grey - Life and It's Subtle Nuances

When I first started pursuing a spiritual path, I was under the assumption that it was going to help me connect with God and become "spiritual" for lack of a better word. As I continued on my path, I still believed this. I believed I was becoming more "spiritual. " Things improved in my life, and I was happier, healthier and more at peace. But as I continued on the path even further, my entire vantage point shifted. I realized that my life was getting better because I was becoming more human, not more spiritual. I was relating to myself, and others, in a different way. My perspective and vantage point had grown to be more inclusive.

This all started happening when I used the capacity of inner discernment to understand why and how my approach to my life and spiritual practice did not work for everyone. I've never believed there is a single way to do something, and I've always known all paths lead to God, but digging deeper, really contemplating on it, showed me that people don't have spiritual problems; they have human problems. And spirituality is merely a way to help you handle your very real, very human, very mundane problems in life.

Life is not simple. It's not black and white, unless you are very new to your journey and still have a lot left to learn. There is no one way, or right way, to do anything. Your life is is what you make it to be, and the possibilities that your life contain are only as limited as your mind, and your perspective is. If life is black and white to you, you have very little options, or opportunity. If you can expand your perspective to include shades of grey, and ultimately color into the spectrum of your perception, anything is possible. You'll also become a more tolerant, less judgmental person. The more you come to understand this, the more compassion you'll have for yourself and others. And compassion goes a loooooong way towards helping cultivate the inner prosperity necessary for you to achieve your goals.

 

Destiny, Fate, Karma and Free Will - Everything You Need To Know

Someone asked me a great question. How do you reconcile free will with either the concepts destiny or karma? Let's take a look at this because it's an important concept. I like to conceptualize it like in this diagram, where free will is the central point:

 
 

Before we get started, let's first define the terms being used here

Karma literally represents cause and its effect. In this sense it's defined as any situation that happens to you in life, and what you did previously for that situation to be brought to you.

Dharma is the way in which you are intended to live your life, based on your individual temperament and constitution that comes from your unique energy type. This has nothing to do with the concepts of good or bad - It has to do with living your life's purpose and being fully aligned with your innate nature (your unique energy type).

Destiny is the greatness that comes to you in life, based on how well you navigate your karma and dharma through free will in order to live your life's purpose. Destiny happens when you learn the lessons from karma and use all of your life's experiences as a way to support your life's purpose (even and especially the negative things). This comes from discipline, consistency, gratitude, how well you know yourself and overall good decision-making capacities.

Fate is what happens when you have weak will-power and lack of ability to follow through on what you know is right and best for you. When you use free will to make bad decisions that go against your innate nature, or don't learn the lessons from your karma, fate happens.

Free Will is our capacity to make decisions in life and express our desires to the universe. While you can't control your karma or dharma (because dharma comes from your unique energy type and karma is merely cause and effect), you can use free will to steer the outcome of what happens to you in life. After all, life is not about what happens to you, but how you choose to respond to what happens.

Let's look at how they work together

Destiny and Fate are two sides of a single spectrum, just as Karma and Dharma are two sides of a single spectrum. Free will sits right in the middle and determines where on this diagram you end up in life. It's the force that controls which direction you move in. Karma and Dharma are both neutral concepts used to navigate you towards Destiny or Fate and cannot be labeled as good or bad. You can label Destiny and Fate, however, because this spectrum is a direct reflection of how you've navigated the challenges of life, for better or worse.

The Karma/Dharma line relate to Being, or the Shiva transcendental aspects of life. You can't change them. They just "are," whereas the Destiny/Fate line is totally up to how you play the game of life. It's the changeable aspect of Shakti and Prakriti. Karma and Dharma enable you to know who you are, through the experience of life. How well you exert your free will is the sole factor that determines the outcome of your life. While you can't change the Karma/Dharma line, you have absolute control over whether you move towards Destiny or Fate. That's what makes life life, and what makes it worth living.

Emotions and how they contribute to Destiny or Fate

Certain emotions can lead towards fate if you leave them unmanaged, including fear, anger, blame, avoidance, escapism, bitterness and other related emotions that weigh you down. If you're heading in a bad direction, the good thing is you can always choose to change by realizing it's your own responsibility to shape the outcome of your life, despite what happens in life itself. Positive emotions including confidence, fearlessness, faith, trust, openness, hope, love, faith and joy are all emotions that will help you make good decisions in life that will lead you closer to your greatness and Destiny.

If you learn from your life's experiences (even and especially the difficult ones) letting them mold you in accordance with your life's purpose and what's in your heart, you'll learn to use free will as the most powerful gift and tool life has to offer. It takes courage, faith and gratitude to do this, though, so persevere and always believe in yourself!

Moving towards Destiny takes a lot of hard work, accountability, discipline and integrity, but the rewards are beyond measure. Life really is up to what you make of it, so choose your thoughts and actions wisely!