Today I will talk about locating destiny—locating our destiny. This idea of destiny relies on a sense of oneself. To know yourself, you should know where you are and where you are going. The three questions that represent this journey of clarity and insightfulness are: Who am I? How should I live my life? and What do I honor?
The answers to these questions will establish you on solid ground. Who am I? How should I live my life? What do I honor? The word destiny derives from the Latin word destinare, which means to “make firm or establish.” It is from the same root as the word destination. Its etymological meaning is “that which is firmly established.”
Without knowledge of who you are, where you’re going, and what you’re doing, how can you be firmly established and find solid ground? Being on solid ground enables you to resist temptations. Not the enjoyment of life, the passing little things that bring us pleasure and comfort, the pleasantries of life, but the illusions and the delusions we suffer when we ally ourselves to fantasy and un-Reality and lose our groundednesss.
Tests, Trials, and Ordeals
As we climb toward our destination we encounter seemingly endless distractions and seductions. Sometimes it is as if that is all there is. The tests, trials, and ordeals along the way persuade us sometimes to give in to feelings of self-importance, feelings of inner power and domination, to manipulation and deceit (of which self-deceit is surely the most harmful).
Shallowness, the thievery of the ego, fantasies of self-aggrandizement, delusions of our capacity and affect on the world, a disproportionate evaluation of our self, our abilities, and our talents (either over- or underestimated), are among the delusions sent to try us. Sometimes even our lives seem illusory and our destiny may seem intangible, vague, distant, mythical, and remote, merely a chimera, a fantasy that is as formidable and intractable as a dragon.
For many of us the psycho-spiritual journey begins with blind faith. We don’t necessarily know where we are going, but we are compelled to set out, to search, to question, to quest. Some of us are blessed with early successes: meeting the right people, being exposed to the teachings that work for us, falling in with a supportive group or network. Others it seems for whatever reasons require more guidance, more help, more steering. So even here at the outset some self-awareness is desirable. Falling in with the wrong—in the sense of misdirected—people at the beginning can result in shipwreck, maudlin stagnation, or disaster.
As a practitioner I try to see the positive side. When a client has been misdirected or manipulated by a therapist, a guide, or a mentor, it’s easy to throw your hands up and say, “What a disaster. You lost all that time. You were taken in. You were taken for a ride and you can never get that precious time back again; that stage of your life was filled with inauthenticity and misdirection.” But turning over the stones you eventually seem to find the gold.
Tamsin was a young woman who had fallen in with a cultish therapy sect. The community was run by a charismatic, perhaps even partially enlightened, American teacher in his mid-forties whom I shall call Seth. The commune attracted people with little material resources who were encouraged to exchange their work for the archetypal and spiritual wisdom of the teacher who acted as a personal mentor. When Tamsin first came for therapy she was full of admiration for Seth and all that he had done for her. In the commune a series of events had resulted in her being ostracized and she was forced to leave. Seth had remained supportive and spoke up on her behalf. Following er eviction from the community and becoming an outcast, Seth had encouraged her to join an inner circle of followers, thereby retaining his control over her, obtaining her further gratitude and respect, and giving her a false sense of self-worth, merely based on his approval.
The full extent of Seth’s control and manipulative behavior over Tamsin came to light when she finally described the relationship as abusive (which she revealed that she had always secretly suspected). She came to realize that Seth needed acolytes who looked up to and needed him. It was a relationship of reverse symbiosis in which the care-giver gets what he wants by deceit and manipulation. Realizing she had been two years in the shadowy clutches of Seth came as a great blow to her, as if she had awoken from a spell. She had to realign herself and revision her life.
The positive side showed itself almost immediately, however, when the complex, mentally intrusive and psychologically confusing relationship she had with her father surfaced in her inner work and was worked through comparatively quickly. Two years “wasted,” but those two years accelerated the healing of her father complex and led to great clarity and liberation from an emotional-behavioral pattern that would have continued to be damaging and infantilizing until she transcended it and resisted the temptation of its false rewards.
Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at email@example.com.
Richard Harvey is a psycho-spiritual psychotherapist, spiritual teacher, and author. He is the founder of The Center for Human Awakening and has developed a form of depth-psychotherapy called Sacred Attention Therapy (SAT) that proposes a 3-stage model of human awakening. Richard can be reached at [...]