Devotion 83

Manipulating the Future

You don’t have to look hard to notice the variation in beliefs about our ability to shape our own futures. So far, I have identified four distinct sets of beliefs. In this teaching, I examine each of these beliefs and share my perceptions. Full-disclosure: I am a Messianic Jew, who believes God has a plan for each of us, so, knowing that bias, both you and I can evaluate my perception openly. First, let’s examine the belief that we shape our own futures.

The perspective of our being able to control our own destinies emerges from Hinduism and reflects the understanding of accepting true responsibility for our thoughts and actions/behaviours. Coming to this realization, in practice, means to rid ourselves of the attachment to ego and let go of the pollution of ego-driven self. Only when we are connected to our true-Self will we be able to understand our true nature and achieve self-actualization, being free in the understanding of who we really are, outside of ego.

To proponents of this form of wisdom, it is ego which creates a dichotomy within us – ambiguity of our true natures and duality of natures: who we are and whom we wish to be. The wise human being, the Yogi, becomes the master of consciousness and, therefore, the master of destiny and fate. In the understanding of Atma Gyan, self knowledge in Hindi, soul is absorbed in the Supreme Self and is absolutely free.

The second belief is found in humanism or atheistic philosophy. Simply stated, humanism is the belief that human beings, through their decisions and choices, create their own futures and, with careful forethought, we can have a long and happy life. Such choices as behaviours – planned or impulsive, foods we eat – natural or manufactured, relationships we create – trust-based or ego-based, will have huge impacts on our futures. Ultimately, we are in control and the more we understand this, the safer, happier more fulfilling will be our lives. This is the ultimate goal, since when we die, according to humanist thought, there is no after-life; this is it and we are free to make the most of it or the least of it – our choice.

Then we have the branch of new-age philosophy, which makes it very clear we are to live a full life, then, when we die, we will be reincarnated. Through our reincarnation, we will be able to live a better life. This belief comes through an amalgam of Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. Life, new-age philosophy proponents claim, is to be lived the best one is able, knowing the next incarnation will allow the soul to grow closer to the ideal. Thus, it doesn’t matter what one believes, as a guiding faith; all beliefs lead to the same conclusion.

Finally, let’s briefly examine the belief of God’s plans for our lives. Through this belief system, we may understand God asks us to trust Him and allow Him to guide our path. We are also told God has a unique plan for each of us. Well, if this is so, how is this not the same as those who claim the ‘universe’ or ‘fate’ determines our future? Simply stated, God has given man the gift of free-will. This means we have the right to make our own life choices; we may choose to follow our own path, and accept the consequences of those decisions, or we may choose to follow the path God has chosen for us. Think of this analogy: you are the parent of an inquisitive child, seeking to understand the world around her/him. As a wise parent, you stand close by, as your child tests the boundaries. Do you intervene, if they are about to make a mistake which is not harmful or threatening to anything but the child’s ego? Hopefully not. Even though you can predict the child will fall or knock something over, you allow that to happen, allowing the child to learn and grow from the experience. And so, God, the perfect Parent, allows us to make our own choices, even though He already knows the outcome.

Beloved, no one has the right to force you to make a choice you don’t want to make, even God has relinquished that right. Any decision about belief is yours to make. The only caution I urge upon you – please make an informed decision, based on knowledge and not opinion. In an upcoming teaching, I will examine the question: What makes belief in God different from all other beliefs?

CONSIDER: Have you decided which belief system is right for you? Have you explored the alternatives thoroughly? Could you clearly articulate the reasons why you have chosen to believe?

ACTION: I urge you to be thorough and diligent in your research. If possibly, read the holy books of each faith in their own language or through a good translation, one which is recommended by an adherent of that faith. Ensure your choice of belief may be explained logically.

PRAY: Beloved Yahveh, our Majestic Elohim, I pray for all those who are clearly seeking for a belief which will enable them to follow a life path of their choice. I ask you to lead and guide in that decision-making process. In Your Beloved Name, I pray.

May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.