Is It Fate Or Is It Destiny?
by Beach T. Weston
“Just Beachie Column”
Fridays in Hawai’i are always referred to as Aloha Friday—give us any excuse to end the week with the shorebreak at our side, friendship, and Happy Hour. It’s one of the joys of living in paradise (or visiting paradise).
It was on one of those perfect Aloha Fridays. The Palm trees catching the balmy breeze as if they were saying look how beautifully I dance the Hula. I seized the charm of the moment and presented two questions to my aloha friends.
Do you believe in fate and destiny? And how are fate and destiny connected?
The chatter stopped—you could have heard a Whale sing. I had their full attention and proceeded to read from my ole dogeared dictionary, which I had brought in anticipation of a lively conversation. Knowing their thoughts could easily drift off to Aloha Friday Never Never Land, I quickly read the definitions of the two nouns, fate and destiny.
FATE: “The power supposed to determine the outcome of events.
DESTINY: “The seemingly inevitable succession of events.”
While my friend’s took pause to digest the definitions, I continued: Is Fate another way to say destiny or do fate and destiny have two different meanings?
“In other words”, I said to my happy friends (who were growing happier with each sip of their tropical delight), “Is it fate? Or is it destiny?”
The question was a hit! Their opinions couldn’t be verbalized fast enough:
“Your Destiny is fate, and it’s going to happen…no matter what choices you make,” said the ever pessimistic Bob.
“No, no, no…destiny and fate are different,” Jane emphatically chimed in, “the actions you take turn into fate, but I think your destiny is set in stone.”
Not the most uplifting thoughts, but I was grateful my friends started the exchange of ideas, which kept flying faster than I could write them down.
My snorkeling buddy, Josey, quickly added her passionate opinion.
“Predetermined? I’m not sure, but I believe destiny is definitely the end. The grand finally. And fate is a collection of things that happen along the way to your destiny.”
Josey was on a roll.
“We can be indecisive, fussy and frightful when making choices, or choose harmony and make peaceful choices. It’s kind of like a road map where we can have a wonderful trip or a burdensome trip. Or it’s more like a dance—a two partner thing we create together with the Universe. It’s like Destiny is the bed that you make and fate is the hell—or joy you go through until you get to make the bed.”
Bless her, that was an extraordinary thought, but luckily another friend piped-in or she would have continued non-stop.
“O.K.,” said my aloha friend as he inhaled a portion of his beer, “if we’re going to use flowery metaphors, here’s one…not sure if it’s original, but it works for me. Fate is the thoroughfare to destiny. Maybe fate is the sidewalk running parallel to the destiny sidewalk directly across the street.”
My friend took another swig of his brew, feeling proud of his keen analogy. And I have to say, I was surprised, for he was usually the light hearted, don’t-get-too-deep, jovial member of our Friday get togethers.
Fate vs destiny talk continued long after that perfect Aloha Friday. Whenever the amigos would meet the inevitable debate began. It was a discussion that never found an ideal answer—but it was fun to try.
Our lively, and often hilarious debates lead me in the pursuit of answers to the question: Is it fate or is it destiny?
I found an elevating theory from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now. Eckhart states “it’s not what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you that creates your destiny.” When you are angry then you will attract displeasing situations. And your anger will influence your choices, which inevitably leads to a darker or more chaotic destiny.
It seems as if Eckhart was saying that we have a predetermined destiny IF that is what we believe. But if we believe that by being aware of our choices (our fate), we have a better chance of creating a different destiny, a better destiny. To choose calm objectivity rather than fury to influence our choices will lead to a more positive future.
For me, this way of thinking gives me hope. And when I have hope, I’m much happier and more creative. Symbolically, often it seems the Sunflowers in our gardens will never push through the thicket of weeds. But if you believe you have the influence to change your destiny it’s better to make a choice to pull the weeds everyday and give the garden fresh water and allow plenty of sunshine. That said, there are days when trying to reach for sunshiny choices can be like trying to clean your toilet using the palm of your hand. And yes, that is a gross metaphor, but you won’t forget it!
I appreciate, and use Eckhart’s wisdom throughout my day, but I also use the wisdom from a beloved little bug…Jiminy Cricket.
Jiminy believed that when you give all your love to your heart’s desire, fate will step in and your dream, your destiny, will come true. And when you are upset or not sure which path to take, be still for a moment and “give a little whistle, and always let your conscious be your guide.”
In peace, love and brilliant choices,