If you watch animals in the wild, one thing is obvious: The nature of an animal and its natural experience of life are indivisibly related. For example, deer attract biting flies. In the high heat of summer you won't see one without the other, and I have seen deer driven nearly crazy by these pests. They have no choice but to suffer this seasonal torment. An animal's nature attracts to it the elements that define its life. I make this point because the same holds true in many ways for human beings. Not only does our present nature attract what we call our life experience, but it also determines the way in which we see and experience these same events.
We may doubt this timeless truth -- that one's inner nature determines one's experience of the outer life -- but the outcome will show that this is true. All of us know what it's like to find ourselves in a swarm of stinging thoughts and feelings born of past painful experiences and other disheartening regrets and be unable to outrun them or otherwise escape their punishing presence, save in a moment here and there of some pleasurable respite. But this is where the similarity to our animal brothers and sisters ends, or at least where it ought to. An animal has no choice but to tolerate what its nature attracts to it from the world around it. We alone may choose what we receive from life -- that is, providing we awaken to reclaim our True Nature.
Most of us have felt, somewhere along the line of our life, a silent prompting to realize the truth of ourselves, even though we may not have recognized it as such. For instance, at some point we have all felt, intuitively if nothing else, that we are not created to live with mental torment of any kind -- that we are meant to be more than hapless victims forced to yield to passing conditions. And as we shall see, this is a true intuition.
We are not made by that Great Intelligence that balances whole star systems, to suffer from the conflict that arises from an unbalanced understanding of our own essential nature! This is why if we ever wish to gain conscious control over our present nature -- along with what it attracts into our life -- we must gain what the great saints and mystics have always held in the highest esteem: true self-knowledge. But this needed higher knowledge cannot be acquired from sources outside of us; it must be gained through personal self-discovery. Only real changes in the level of self-understanding can help us effect real changes in our present nature, for the two are very much related. Change one and we change the other, including what it has been attracting into our lives.