In a discussion elsewhere, the quote “Character is Destiny” came up. This is a quote from the Greek Heraclitus. This lead to an interesting discussion on the difference between destiny and purpose.
We may see these as more or less the same and they are indeed closely intertwined. Character leads to response and consequence and thus destiny. Purpose may indeed mold character. But is your purpose your character? Are you your character? Are you your destiny?
This is the nub of confusion that arises from the ego. What is effect, what is cause? If you observe your life, you will see that you take on different roles or personalities in different circumstances. At home, the mom or dad. With parents, the kid. At work, the boss. With friends, the kidder. (or whatever) Each of those characters leads to different consequences. Some areas of your life work better than others. But which role is the “real you”?
None of them. Each are roles you have adopted to adapt to consequence. With practice, they became habit or conditioned. You thus take on different roles automatically. You may find yourself asking why you behave in a certain way with a certain person because much of this response is sub-conscious. Unless we stop and pay attention, then we can choose. We can step out of our roles, break the habits of relationship. But only if we can step back a bit and see there is choice.
Who are you when you can step back and observe? Who is observing the roles? Who remains common to all roles? Someone with your name? Is that real?
Purpose is what brings us here and drives us to action. Destiny is the consequence of that action. The intention and the intended. Intention arises in consciousness. Destiny plays in the field of action.
We may have obligations in our life that are part of our destiny but this may only be related to purpose in the sense of the need to take care of business to get it out of the way.
Notice how neither purpose nor destiny – even perception – is actually personal. We may associate things as happening to us and respond accordingly. But this is simply taking it personally. The field of action and consequence is not personal at all. It is simple physics. All actions are closely intertwined. We cannot fully separate the doing of one person from another. One may initiate but then the consequences reverberate to that Brazilian butterfly and return, often in unexpected ways.
Intention, action, and perception all occur in the group or whole. They are the interplay of the One. There is simply a point of observation we call a person. We could say you are a point of view.
And this is not an intellectual point. (laughs) Only an intellectual process to explore it.
We may see that when your character is focused on your purpose, your destiny will tend to be more aligned. But if it’s all taking place in the whole, how can it be out of alignment? What is out of alignment turns out to be our resistance to the flow of it. Or is it? If we look closely, we see that the rough spots in our life are our blind spots – places where we don’t see as clearly. And what determines clarity? Consciousness. What determines consciousness? Itself.
What is true and real for you is what is true and real for you right now. As your awareness shifts, what is true and real will also shift. Simply allow for the possibility of change, and all will unfold as it is.
If you enjoyed the opening quote, here are a few more from Heraclitus.
“There is nothing permanent except change.”
“Where there is no strife there is decay: The mixture which is not shaken decomposes.”
“To do the same thing over and over is not only boredom; it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do.”
“It would not be better if things happened to people just as they wish.”
“Much learning does not teach understanding.”
“We are most nearly ourselves when we achieve the seriousness of the child at play.”
“Man, like a light in the night, is kindled and put out.”
“To God all things are beautiful, good, and right; human beings, on the other hand, deem some things right and others wrong.”
“From out of all the many particulars comes oneness, and out of oneness come all the many particulars.”