Question: Is it the choices we make in the present moment that form our destiny, or has our future already been pre-determined? If it's up to me, how can I be certain that I'm making the best choices?
Answer: The secret, timeless place where all of your life choices are made for you, is what we understand, in concept, as the present moment. But this state of true now is not just an idea. It's a place of extraordinary and measureless power, for the true present moment is actually a cosmic seed of a sort, from out of which springs all that comes later.
The present moment is where our being, which is a timeless unconditioned energy, meets and animates our nature. Now our nature, on the other hand, lives only in time; meaning it's fabricated from all our past experiences. Said slightly differently, our nature is a psychological body of memories and knowledge structured by our social, economic, and religious conditioning.
The present moment, where our being and our nature meet, is the instant of our destiny. And up until now, we've had little real choice in how our fates unfold, because it's always been our nature -- our accumulated past with all of its fears, compulsions, and doubts -- that has been running the show. Just a few more facts will help us to further understand some of the inherent problems built into this unconscious inner condition.
Our present nature is a thought nature. It must think to know itself. And because the only way it can know itself is through thought, this mental nature is unable to see that many of its own thoughts are not what it thinks them to be. For instance, we've all known a certain thought that told us we were strong or that our life was "really together." But later we found ourselves badly shocked at the depth of our own self-deception. Reality came along, as it always does, and made us see that our image of ourselves was just that; only a thought with no real strength at all!
Repetitive experiences such as these should make it clear enough. Our present nature can't know when it's reached a bad decision because in that moment -- as it's busy deciding our destiny using its own confused or misguided understanding -- our nature is, itself, that bad choice. Not only can't it see the forest for the trees, sometimes this nature doesn't even know it's lost in the woods!
Things would be bleak indeed if there were no other choice but to live out the remainder of our lives under the conditions imposed by this limited consciousness. Our day-to-day life-situation would not be too dissimilar from that of being a passenger in a coach drawn by six powerful horses with no driver to steer it! Yes, we would, no doubt, be able to get from one place to the next. But for the whole ride we would be nervous and uncertain not only about where we were headed, but also if we would arrive there at all! Sound familiar? I know it does! And our agreement serves to take us on to the next step in our journey. Perhaps the most pivotal one.
The time has come to introduce a third character to the horse and carriage metaphor. You're about to be introduced to a force in your own consciousness that, when brought to bear in each and every moment of meeting between your nature and your Being, produces both the missing driver and the reins you need to begin designing your own destiny.
You can think of this third force that can be at your command as a kind of special window into the present moment. It's called Awareness. And it is the most unique feature of your nature for the following reason: Your awareness of the present moment is the present moment.
You can, and should, pause here for a moment to breathe some life into this very important idea. To take it out of the realm of thought and into your direct experience, just choose to come fully aware of yourself.
If you've never tried this before, here are some helpful guidelines. Come wide awake to your total environment this moment. Just know, without thinking, what are all of the sounds, sights, feelings, thoughts, impressions, textures, and temperatures around and within you right now. Again, this knowing yourself and your surroundings is not arrived at by going into thought. And if you practice this higher kind of self-presence, you'll see that this special awareness of yourself is the same as the present moment in which you just became aware. They are one and the same. Which means this self awareness, as it includes the present moment, is also a feature of your Being. This is the inner realization we've been working toward all along.
Your awareness of the present moment, which is a secret part of your true Being, doesn't have to think about which direction is best for you. It knows because it sees. Where your usual nature is often blinded by its own unseen self-interests, your Being, represented in the moment by your awareness of it, effortlessly sees into -- and through -- this unconsciously compromised thinking even as it's occurring.
The presence of this higher intelligence keeps you from defeating yourself. And this is the same as making you newly victorious! For each time you have the awareness not to choose from that bank of old patterns produced by your limited thought nature, new and higher alternatives appear before your inner eyes. These moments, and their messages, rise to greet you from your true Being. And with these directions as your guide, designing your destiny is as effortless as you are now confident -- for how can you not succeed when reality itself points your way!
Excerpted from Design Your Destiny, Pages 13-17