As my friend Tom notes, different people use the same terms differently. His Sufi teachers define “destiny” as what one is meant to live, what one was meant to become… fully embodied highest self, requiring conscious, intentional choices and the employment of will. However, they define “fate” as the outcome of living an unconscious, unintentional life, much like a cork floating down a river.
When I talk about “Fate” I use it in the old sense coming from the latin fata with root meanings that “include sentence of the gods” or to be “spoken of by the divine.” In seeking to live our destiny we inevitably encounter the obstacles of our fate. That does not mean we must accept these obstacles as barriers to our destiny, rather as guideposts to our surprising potential and future. In my use of the terms, fate describes an area or territory that we are bound to enter. Destiny involves finding a way out or through exactly those areas and aspects that constrain the vitality of our lives.
During Lent we meditate on our destiny. The story written into the fabric of our soul, and it is inevitable as we discover our destiny that we suffer the disappointments of fate in order to arrive there. When we brush up against the limits of our fate, we stand right outside the doors of our destiny. Fate places us at the very entrance where our meaning and purpose can be explored. When we face our fate in life we begin to move it, and with each movement destiny gets closer.
During Lent we explore these threads in our soul, so we can reach God’s purpose for us and our destiny.