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Can we change our destiny?

Can we change who we are?.

It’s very fashionable these days to see ourselves as having no essential nature. “You can be whatever you want” is an oft-repeated mantra, a message that especially comes through loud and clear from the advertising industry.
In my experience, there are things about ourselves that we can change, and things that we can’t. “You can be whatever you want” is more true in our individualistic culture than it’s ever been before. But the question remains: “What do you want to be?”, and the idea that we can choose what we want to be is paradoxical:- because who is doing the choosing and why?
In our consumerist culture it appears that it’s the advertisers who would like to be choosing:- “OK, you’ve always been a messy disorganised slob, but you *can* be the neat, well-organised, energetic Dad who rebuilds the house in a weekend, IF you buy our power tools”.
Yes, we can certainly experiment with what we want to be. But the ultimate truth is that some things can’t be changed. We can’t change what and who we love, what we find beautiful, what we find repugnant. Yes, we can educate ourselves, and develop a taste for bitter beer, or black pudding, but deep down there will always be a part of ourselves going “Yeuch!”. And that can never be changed.
We can change whether or not we’re happy, but not simply by deciding to be happy. We have to change other things first. They may be quite simple things, such as the belief that our boss hates us, when actually they don’t. Or they may be quite complex things, such as a change of career, a move abroad, end of a marriage.

Can we determine our futures?

We can choose to live according to our natures, or against them. Yes, if we love people, we can choose to join the army and kill. But it will only bring us pain, and that can never be changed. Yes, if we love nature, we can choose to run a logging company and fell a rain-forest. But it will only bring us sorrow, and that we can never overcome.
Sometimes we are confronted with circumstances that force us to make a choice. One part of us will suffer, or the other part. We cannot be wholly fulfilled all the time. Again, the choices we eventually make are down to us.
Ultimately, whatever it is we’re born with, we bring into the world. We can ignore it, trample on it, stifle it, pretend that we can be whoever we want to be. But the energy we bring with us will express itself somehow. In the end, when we come to die, we all have a simple story to tell: What energy came into the world with us, what we encountered that inhibited that energy, and how we dealt with that.
We can change our lives, we can change how we deal with the obstacles we encounter, we can choose to love or choose to hate, or choose to be selfish or choose to be generous. We can choose to be a grumpy, bitter old man (or woman), or we can choose to do something about it. We can choose to languish in despair, or we can choose to spend our time trying to find a way out.
But in all of our hearts, there surfaces a spring, and to drink from it is to experience, from time to time at least, that joy and excitement in life that is our birthright; and we can’t change or ever fully destroy, that well-spring of our being, the flow from which our destiny arises.

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