Gravity and Fate
Personally I don’t like the idea of fate. When we talk of fate it makes it sound as if everything is predestined, predetermined, laid out like a train on its tracks, taking us on a journey from here to there without us having a say in the matter.
That’s the meaning of the word “destiny”. It means destination: the place where we are going.
But, thinking of it in a different way, maybe fate is more like gravity than predestination. Maybe it’s this huge cosmic force which has a hold of us and which we can’t escape, but it doesn’t tell us what to do. It is large scale not small scale. It is about all of us, not just any one of us.
So gravity holds us here, on a planet circling a sun, but it doesn’t say where we have to go on that planet. It makes it very difficult for us to fly, but it doesn’t say we can’t hop up and down, or invent aeroplanes, or base jump from high buildings.
In fact the challenge of fate, like the challenge of gravity, is not how to overcome it, it’s how to use it.
This is a very good analogy.
Every so often we meet people we feel instantly drawn to: a complete stranger who we can open up to, who we can genuinely talk to. It feels like we already know this person. It’s like fate, like this person has some part to play in our lives. We feel a pull towards them.
Two ships in still waters with their engines shut down will slide towards each other as if on either side of a dip in the ocean. This is gravity. The Earth and the Moon embrace each other with the invisible arms of gravity. It is a form of attraction.
It is gravity which holds us to the light-giving solar source at the heart of our planetary system. Perhaps it is fate which holds us to the life-giving spiritual source at the heart of our emotional system.
It’s not that this person is predestined to meet you, but that on some fundamental level you already know them. You know they have something to say, something to offer you.
Gravity makes it hard for us to walk in high places. The steeper the slope the harder it gets. But it is also the force we use to control water, forcing it into downward pipes and channels to guide it across the surface of the Earth and into our kitchens and bathrooms.
Sometimes fate seems to intervene in our lives in a rush of events that can wash away our ability to control things. Sometimes love can feel like this. That’s why we call it “falling in love”. Then the only choice is to “go with it”, to allow fate, or gravity, to take its course, to lead you where it will.
Gravity makes it dangerous for us to climb. It is always threatening to drag us from the crevices where we have a hold and to cast us careering to the earth below. But for some people rock climbing is a pleasure. They enjoy the challenge and the risk. You can’t overcome gravity, but you can test yourself against it.
So too with fate. An accumulation of circumstances can push us to the limits of our resources at times. That’s when it feels like a test. But this is precisely the moment when you are made stronger, when your grip on your own purpose – your free will and destiny – is strengthened by the challenge.
It is gravity which keeps our feet on the ground.
It is fate which reveals our true purpose.
So the next time you experience that pull in someone’s presence and you feel compelled to spend time with them, remember: it is gravity. You can’t escape it.
© 2010 Christopher James Stone