Seventy thousand years ago, Homo Sapiens were still insignificant animals minding their own business in a corner of Africa.
In the following millennia, the Homo Sapien transformed itself into the overlord of the entire planet and the threat of the ecosystem. Today, it stands on the verge of acting as God, poised to acquire not only the eternal youth, but also the divine abilities of creation and destruction. In fact, despite the astonishing things that humans are capable of doing, we remain unsure of our fate and seem as discontented as ever. We have advanced from the basic creation of fire to clone formation – still nobody seems sure where to we are headed. The more we outmarch expectations, the more power seems to be piled up by certain groups that do not necessarily give the individual sapiens more ease in life, but also brings about immense misery to other animals. Although the improvement in the lot of humanity is too recent and fragile to be certain of, humans are getting the picture that every single sapien is destined to have a mark on this muddy ball we live in and life to have a story told about.
Every religious doctrine there is or that is coming into existence promises certain things to its followers. Among them lies the anticipation that whichever God you’re following has preordained an eternal fortune set aside only for you. This so called fate of yours can only be accessed and put into effect when you start to commit yourself to the cause of the religion. Whether it is Islam’s kismet or Buddha’s karma, the very first piece offering expected of believers is their unconditional devotion to their religious cause. Once fulfilled, then all the gateway to your ultimate satisfaction unfolds and you get to live happily ever after. That was when times were simple and information flows were one-way. Nowadays, people manage to grow their egocentrism exponentially and develop intuitive feeling of over-the-top livelihood expectations. We tend to use parts of religious teaching that assure us that we are called upon for some ultimate reason that plays a role in the world. They even go so far to imagine without their sacrifices, the sun would not rise and the world would disintegrate. History even shows that this kind of ideology often leads to people believing that they are the center of the world, their cultures being the linchpin of human civilization. Take, for example, Orthodox Jews are genuinely convinced that they are the most important thing in the world. Name any human achievement or invention and they will quickly claim credit for it. Funny thing is they quote biblical passages like Genesis 25:6 which reads “And to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.” Jews use this to take credit for practices like yoga believing all basic yoga postures derive from the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
At a certain point in life, most of us embark on seeking the reason for our existence assuming there is one. Mark Twain once said that the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. Likewise, current thought leaders urge us to stand out as extraordinary people and work to reach our calling. Thing is, the word extraordinary contains two parts: “extra” before “ordinary” designates that you have to be a bit more special to fit the description. But, here everyone feels like extraordinary being and the new extraordinary is that same old ordinary being. How come all folks in the world are born to stand out in community whereas in reality the vast majority end up going through pretty normal routines. God can’t just make plans for all of us to excel in life but later end up getting cold feet. Every single one of us is unhappy about where we are because we believe greater affairs are arranged for us while we are only spending days engaged in mediocrity. It goes without saying that everyone deserves jubilant modus vivendi and life should be about moments that elate time to come.
Buddhism argues that your idea of who “you” are is an arbitrary mental construction and that you should let go of the idea that “you” exist at all; that the arbitrary metrics by which you define yourself actually trap you and thus you’re better off letting go of everything. When we let go of the stories we tell about ourselves, to ourselves, we free ourselves up to actually act (and fail) and grow. There is little that is unique or special about your problems. How come matters that bother us are different from the ones in our surrounding unless they were faced and dealt with to begin with? Any belief of provided fate entitles oneself to be threatened by everything. Instead let’s give up the supply of emotional highs that you’ve been sustaining yourself on for years. Like a junkie giving up the needle, you’re going to go through withdrawal when you start giving up these things. But you’ll come out the other side much better. Let’s choose defining ourselves in the simplest and most ordinary ways possible: a student, a partner, a friend, a reader or somewhat harmonizing our life.
There is a certain comfort that comes with knowing how you fit in the world. Anything that shakes up that comfort – even if it could potentially make your life better – is inherently scary. But, life is all about chances we take in it because as Samuel Butler says “Life is like music, it must be composed by ear, feeling and instinct, not by rule.” For this music to echo with distinct melody, we need to invest to making our time worthwhile not expecting to land something just because we are destined to be. People see God as a stern and worldly lawgiver, about whom one knows only too much but always seems to forget the fact whichever God one has in mind doesn’t work for, but with oneself. That’s why one needs to give Him reason to help for his/her cause, if one believes He has a say in it. Let’s not make our lives devoid of charms, of the mornings that make waking up worthwhile. Keep in mind that actions express priorities; man is made or unmade by himself and with the right choices, he ascends. Life is not a story before us and that same story to be told long after we leave. The privilege of lifetime is to be who you truly are. Destiny it can be after we discover ourselves, in the meantime we are bound to be happy and enjoy the time we spend because it is not wasted if reveled.
Destiny is a destination after a life journey with many bumps in the road. Ours should be able to reflect our past and the goals we checked out along the way. We may not end up with the picture we had in mind because there is nothing easily remade as our definition of ourselves. But that shouldn’t keep us from reckoning that hard work can result in much better version of ourselves, a version one didn’t even see coming. The moment you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect. This gives you a prospect as the extraordinary being you believe to be your destiny, only this time through the decisions you make in real life. We are destined to work for the achievements in our dreams, the ones that don’t allow us to sleep. Only then will things fall into place with all the little pieces we managed to do right. Let’s admire life for what it is, a play where the actors get to write their own lines regardless of what everyone else thinks and feels. We give meaning to our existence, not the other way around. We are entitled to a life worthy of the efforts we pour out to the world which brings me to a saying that goes like “Whatever follows ‘I am’, comes looking for you.” So, the notion of any transcendent reality beyond the thought of destiny should bring joy because the very motion of our lives is toward happiness, the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot as Aristotle put it beautifully.