We figured the title would catch your attention! What the hell does it mean? We thought it would be a good way to discuss whether we have free will or whether all of our actions are pre-determined.
Before we get to that, let's discuss astrology. Some people look at astrology, the ancient art of determining how we are impacted by the largest objects in our physical environment, as total bullshit. The rest of us realize that if something is so big, it's going to have an impact on anything around it: the moon causes tides, for example, due to its gravitational pull, so why wouldn't we be affected by the moon and any other nearby massive celestial objects?
So astrology developed in Eastern and Western traditions to map these different impacts and determine how they could potentially shape people's behavior. If you explore these ancient studies, you'll see an incredible level of precision, measurement, and historical precedent. It's not our place to say whether or not it's "scientific", but we can find interesting examples of how certain patterns seem to be predictable and observable. Anyone who's met a Virgo knows that they generally happen to be very organized, for example.
OK, great, so let's assume that astrology tells us something about some of our characteristics. The ancient theory is that you came into this lifetime at the moment that your spirit was most aligned with the environment it was about to enter.
In terms of Eastern traditions, we look at the idea of karma: you are who you are because of actions that you have taken leading to the current moment. This applies to the moment you were born, since if you lived many lives, it is your karma to be born at a certain time and certain place with a chance of turning out a certain way.
Sometimes people will say about a certain situation in their lives that it is "their karma", meaning there's nothing they can do about something, they had it coming. This is not a correct understanding of karma. The same applies to astrology. To say that you are a certain way, because it's written in the planets, and it can't change is also a misunderstanding, and honestly, an excuse not to improve your situation.
Both karma and astrology do reflect that your awareness has been shaped by certain forces. However, there is free will: the ability to choose your direction, expand your awareness, go a different way at any time. If this was not possible, no one would ever evolve. But people evolve all the time. They decide they want to see a certain result, and they just go for it.
Someone who doesn't believe in free will might say that someone is able to go for it and expand their awareness only if it is in their karmic/astrological profile. We would say, from our own experience and following the stories of incredibly accomplished people, that you can rise above circumstances and do things that are not in your karmic "sequence". We don't know how it's possible or why it works. Some people refer to divine grace, free will, or both. It doesn't matter what you call it, it's there and it works.
If you are reading this, you have the ability to shape your present and the future. The past does not exist anymore. It may have led you to where you are now, but it has no inherent reality at this stage.
The Living Flow book Surfing the Himalayas explores karma and free will in depth. Master Fwap, the enlightened Tibetan master, explains the connection between karma and free will to his young American student:
“The choices we make and the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the emotions that we let run through our bodies and minds and the interests we pursue, these are the things that shape and define the spirit. That is what karma is really made of.”
Free will is the magic of life - it's a real force that allows us to transform. Master Fwap again:
“Free will is like a well that is on your property. You can choose to draw water from the well or not. That is up to you. The well will still be there whether or not you choose to use it...
By choosing to use your free will today, you can become someone vastly different from the person you have been thus far in this life, or the persons you have been in any other lifetimes that you have ever lived!"
Your destiny is altered through meditation and the path of inner evolution.
Learn more about these powerful techniques on Living Flow. We also recommend reading Surfing the Himalayas, that shows us how, by freeing the mind and challenging the soul, one can master any mountain—and master oneself!