Differing philosophies


Registered Member
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.....

I'm new to this forum. Just discovered it a few days ago actually. So glad I did because I think it's really what I need right now. I'm having a problem discerning the level of control I have in directing the course of events in my life and to what extent the universe is working to bring me to my personal destiny. I suppose in a way this is a classic "freedom of choice vs. destiny" question.

There are so many theories that imply that fighting the waves will only cause you to drown, but if you remain calm you will float. Others suggest that if you don't take control you will find yourself being pushed wherever the current takes you - usually into dangerous waters.

I can clearly discern that there is an element of choice in my life and also an element of destiny. Somehow my personal destiny is wrapped up in both the things I have chosen and more importantly the things I have not chosen.

To what extent should I be looking at people and things in my life and say to myself, "Based on what I know right now at this moment in time, I do not think this person or job or activity is putting me on the path to my personal destiny and therefore I should take conscious actions to change that", and to what extent should I be saying, "I trust that the universe has a plan for my existence. Althought I am confused by my current reality, I will have faith that the universe is working to bring me where I need to be. With patience I know that in time my current confusion will be removed with some future reality that will make sense at a later date".

However, the latter sometimes seems to me like a cop-out and the lazy mans way of saying "I realize there may be things in my life I need to change but I just don't want to do it".

I believe that the largest influencers of my life (parents, year of birth, etc..) were not chosen by me. Am I wrong in this belief? To what extent is God pulling the strings?

I appreciate anyone's thoughts. Thank you.
Welcome here, Stocco.
Usually, the more spiritually advanced you are, the easier it is for you to detect what your life is all about. Here are some signs that will show more frequently the more you progress:

1. syncs. You think or talk about something and it happens. The more syncs you have the clearer you are able to determine the way you are going (although sometimes those syncs can be quite confusing).

2. You develop a “gut-feeling” that is always true, never fails. You are right about people, about space, about time. You sense lies. You sense goodness and evil.

3. Your life falls into place. Say your job contract expires. Exactly the moment you want to start looking for work, something comes up. Usually there is no “good luck”. You can earn it.

4. You can even exert a certain influence about what happens to other people, and whom you will encounter, whom you will miss/avoid. Not at a conscious level, of course.

The other side to all of this: by the time that happens, you have usually acquired sufficient wisdom to not care too much about your own little life :cool:
Well, perhaps one way of thinking about it is that you dont have control over much of your bodily needs, except that you can put some of htem off for a while. you cant quite control your need to eat, (yet ;) ) but can put it off until you need to. Then your basic reliance on your body feeds into how you feel and think, whether you have enough energy to do what you want to do. You might jsut wake up one day and not feel bothered. Or feel very bothered all the time and stress yourself out, whysically and mentally. So you have you, body/mind, as one, but yet theres still "you" the "stocco" that seems to be able to control yourself. I believe meditation helps for that.
So yuo think you can control yourself, but int eh meantime you are dependent upon the "outside" for lots of other things. People for company, plants and animals and people for food. And you cant control them. You can try, but it doesnt work. so for control, you can only really depend upon yourself. the point about what Sparkle says is that you dont go for control, not consciously, not deliberately, that just turns into manipulation and gets you only so far. Which is the problem with the first approach you suggest, looking critically at everything and asking if it is taking you where you want to go. Yet religion etc is full of examples of people persevering at things they thought were wrong, and getting to where they wanted to go in the end. And your right, the latter shoice is a bit of a cop out viewed in the light of the first method. But then thats life, it sometiems seems mutually incompatible, you get choices that make no sense. As an agnostic, I have ultimately no true idea of whats pulling the strings. I think its all fairly random, but you needent.
I guess what im trying to say is hang in there, your talking about one of the age old problems with "reality" and so on, many people have been here before, you can get by it.
Ill pop back again when i have more coherent thoughts.
hey Stocco - welcome to.

My approach to life is minimalist.

If you are familiar with Ockham's Razor, apply that in your search for truth:

It simply dictates that you should not include more elements in your theories, that needed be.

My comment to your questioning as to your place in this world, and how it came to be: Start out by not assuming the existence, of something you dont know the existence of for sure. Start out with what you are familiar with, and proceed from there.

The world is huge and complex, and CONFUSING, yes, but do not conjure up mystical entities, just because all of the piece of the puzzle dont fit at first glance.

My .02$
Never trust yourself to destiny. You have a will...use it. You can shape yourself and your future, all it takes is a little guts.
Thanks for having me. I am so glad to be included in this forum.

In reference to what Sparkle wrote about "syncs", I have experienced this multiple times - too many times to count actually. I will meditate on something and somehow several days later it will appear mysteriously in my life. It can be material things or even questions to answers I may be dealing with. The more I allow myself to be accepting and open minded, the more profound these experiences become. After awhile I become so reliant on this process that I use this willfully directed meditation as the only means to acquire what I want - sending my mental request into the Universe and somehow always receiving a reply. This process has enabled me to let go and rely on whatever magic is guiding me.

But.....once in awhile something happens to throw this process off balance - like what you said about the syncs being confusing. I look at this person or thing or outcome and I say to myself, "That is not what I expected at all - that's the complete opposite of what I meditated on." Suddenly the buzz words start to enter my head, "Never trust destiny", "Use your intellect - Kant", "Reason should govern faith". I watch the news or open the newspaper and see the awful things that happen to people and I start to agree with Voltaire in thinking that not all things happen for the best in the end. Perhaps reality is completely random.

That's when my floating stops and I start to sink. I start to clam up and revert to the traditional ways of taking control of my life - intellect, reason, and manual labor.

Like I said, there are so many contradictory philosophies and there is proof to support each one of them. Is it possible that the true philosophy is the one you accept for yourself? If this is true, then what does that say about the definition of reality?

Am I afraid of faith?
HHMm, its very tempting to project my own thoughts and feelings onto you.

That said, it seems you have gone far in what you want to do, and then you trip up.

"Like I said, there are so many contradictory philosophies and there is proof to support each one of them. Is it possible that the true philosophy is the one you accept for yourself? If this is true, then what does that say about the definition of reality? "

In my opinion, hte definition of reality is, well, tehre isnt really one. You can have your own one, but as soon as you start trying to define realities common to people, then you run into trouble. Yet I still think there is a "reality" out there, just that our means of comprehending it are limited and abstract. Which therefore leaves room for each person to have his/ her own philosophy, based on what they experience and think. Therefore, you are likely correct/ most useful to say that the true philosophy is one you accept for yourself, so go for it man. And what it says about reality is that we dont know much about reality. If you want REALITY then your out of luck. Unless, you get faith.

"Am I afraid of faith?"

POssibly. Faith seems to me to have connotations of certainty, especially in a religious context. " i have faith in god" etc, an idea which seems out of place with how i percieve the world, therefore i lack faith. with faith you can move mountains, to borrow the phrase, yet at the same time it seems taht those with faith are the narrowest minded. So, do you want faith? or just to know? The sufis seem to think their aim is to get rid of faith, so that you instead know that the religion etc is correct, not merely belevee it.

Your asking good quesitons here stucco, carry on please.

Throw away your philsophies and concepts and you will be a hundred times happier. Whether you think you have control or not does not really matter. The title of this category is "eastern philosophy" for lack of a better term, but that is not precisely the case. There is no underlying philosophy behind zen buddhism. Philosophy is an idea, a metaphor, with no reality of its own. What is needed is to stop living in a world of ideas, and trust everything will work out on its own. For something to control or be controlled it must exist separately. Since nothing exists separately, we must conclude that control is just an idea, like destiny. Instead of trying to capture a wave in a bucket, learn to surf.
I don't think it's right to knock faith too much. The scientific view depends on faith as much as Deism. In both cases the articles of faith are listed openly in their axioms.
This morning I received an Email from a friend I haven't heard from in quite some time. In the Email my friend included an article he read on Taoism written by Fritjof Capra. He said that after reading the article, he thought of me and decided to send it to me. After reading it, it gave me chills, since this was, in part, the answer to my original question posted to this board last week. The article is quite long, and therefore I have not included it, but I have included one paragraph of particluar interest.

"Those who follow the natural order flow in the current of the Tao.
Such a way of acting is called wu-wei in Taoist philosophy; a term which
means literally "nonaction," and which Joseph Needham translates as
"refraining from activity contrary to nature," justifying this
interpretation with a quotation from the Chuang-tzu:
Nonaction does not mean doing nothing and keep-
ing silent. Let everything be allowed to do what it
naturally does, so that its nature will be satisfied.
If one refrains from acting contrary to nature or, as Needham says, from
"going against the grain of things," one is in harmony with the Tao and
thus one's actions will be successful. This is the meaning of Lao Tzu's
seemingly so puzzling words, "By nonaction everything can be done."

If anyone is interested in the entire article, let me know and I will post it. The Universe and it's methods of operation never cease to amaze me.

Spidergoat - Thank you so much for your inspiring words. Regarding what you have written, "What is needed is to stop living in a world of ideas, and trust everything will work out on its own. " It would bring me such peace to be able to do this. Is there some advice you could me? Deep in my heart I know you are right, but sometimes I doubt.....