Someone emailed me with the following question:
The greatest love, peace and joy I've experienced in life came from believing every day life had been predetermined before I was born. In other words I had no power to change anything. I was simply watching life unfold moment by moment. Life was wonderful...This was years ago....Now that I'm in control I'm very lost.....What does your heart say about this.....
And here is my response:
I would suggest that both perspectives are true, but the perspective of everything being predetermined is the bigger truth. Although I tend to think of it not as predetermined, but rather determined by the infinite intelligence of Being, which appears predetermined from our limited perspective.
And in that limited perspective of our everyday life, it appears true that we are in control or at least choosing what we do. Within the realm of our daily life, it is even important to choose and learn, grow and evolve the very best we can. We must act as if our choices matter, because at this level they do matter.
Yet at the same time, this much larger intelligence is unfolding life perfectly according to a divine plan that we can sense or intuit, but can't really comprehend. Again, the bigger truth is this divine intelligence that breathes our body, grows the trees, arranges the stars and galaxies and brings us to the exact experiences we are meant to be having right now.
So both are true. We must make choices and yet it is all just happening according to the plan. Or you could say that our choices are also part of the divine plan.
There is another dimension to all of this, and that is the potential to simply choose what is already so. When we do this, the two dimensions meet. We surrender our power to choose to the bigger truth of the limitless intelligence of Being. In a sense, all spiritual practices are a form of choosing what already is, whether it is a form of meditation such as just following the breath, inquiring into who you really are, or awareness practices that bring attention to the present moment experience. In every case, there is an invitation to surrender the effort to change what is and simply sense or inquire into what is already so.
This place where choice meets the deeper truth is a very ripe or fertile ground for an infusion of insight and understanding into our awareness. It is not that the spiritual practice makes anything happen, but it does put you in the most likely place for something profound to happen, including something as simple as noticing how beautiful and mysterious the moment to moment unfolding of life really is.
You may also find the article entitled What to Do When There Is No Doer on this website helpful as it addresses this question also.