Design Your Destiny || Inner Engineering

Design Your Destiny 

I was once at an international conference on how to alleviate poverty on the planet. There were several eminent participants in positions of public responsibility, including a generous sprinkling of Nobel laureates. 

At one point, a participant said, “Why are we trying to solve these problems? Isn’t all this divine will?” 

And I said, “Yes, if somebody else is dying, somebody else is hungry, it must be divine will. But if your stomach is empty, if your child is dying of hunger, you’ll have your own plan, won’t you?” 

Whenever we have had to do something about our lives, we have taken it into our hands. Whenever it comes to other people’s misfortunes, we have a word to explain it: destiny. 

And what a convenient word that is. Destiny has become a popular scapegoat, a way to deal with failure, a fatalistic ruse to reconcile ourselves to all kinds of uncomfortable situations. But turning inward is the first step from passivity to agency—from being a victim toward becoming a master of your own destiny. 

A variety of diseases that people believed to be “God’s will” until a hundred years ago, are in our hands today. This is because we have taken charge of certain situations. Polio is an example. The very word “polio” would strike terror in the hearts of many in recent history. When I was growing up, I saw quite a few polio-afflicted people about my age, in school and in my neighborhood, who were doomed to live out their lives in wheelchairs. It was a common sight, and it was an acknowledged fact that they would never be able to walk in their lives. Their affliction was usually seen as an act of God or destiny. 

At the start of the twentieth century, polio was the most feared ailment in industrialized countries, irreversibly paralyzing thousands of children. Effective vaccines helped practically eliminate this disease in the 1950s and ’60s. When it was recognized as a major problem in developing countries, immunization programs were introduced. In 1988, polio afflicted 350,000 children around the world in a single year; in 2013, the number had dropped to 416. By 2012, India was no longer on the list of polio-endemic countries. A combination of political advocacy, public and private partnerships, effective reasonably priced vaccines, community participation, and teams of global healthcare workers, proved that despite all the obstacles, even in a country as vast and challenging as India, eradication was possible. 

To be human means you can mold situations you are living in the way you want them. But today most people in the world are molded by the situations in which they exist. This is simply because they live in reaction to situations they are placed in. The inevitable question is, “Why was I placed in such a situation? Isn’t it my destiny?” Whatever we do not want to take responsibility for, whatever we cannot make sense of logically, we label “destiny.” It is a consoling word, but disempowering. 

To mold situations the way you want them you must first know who you are. The crux of the matter is that you don’t yet know who you are. Who you are is not the sum total of accumulations you have made. Everything that you currently know as “myself” is just an accumulation. Your body is just an accumulation of food. Your mind is just an accumulation of impressions gathered through the five senses. What you accumulate can be yours, but it can never be you. 

Who then are you? That is yet to come into your experience. That is still in an unconscious state. You are trying to live your life through what you have gathered, not through who you are. What’s more, you are not even a hundred percent conscious of what you have gathered! 

You have acquired certain tendencies over the years, depending on the impressions you have accumulated. These can be transformed entirely. If you do a certain amount of inner work, if you implement certain inner technologies— irrespective of your current tendencies, your past experience of life, your genetics, your environment—you can completely rewire yourself in a short span of time! 

Everything in this existence is happening naturally according to a certain organic law. If you know the nature of life within you, you can completely take charge of the way it happens, but within the broad parameters set by the laws of nature. What do we mean by this? Let us look at a concrete example. Although we are wingless creatures, we have still, in the last one hundred years, managed to fly. How? Not by breaking the laws of nature, but through a deeper understanding of the laws of nature. So, the technology we are going to explore in this book is a small part of the much deeper science that eventually enables an adept to take the very process of life and death into his or her hands. 

Your destiny is written by you unconsciously. If you have mastery over your physical body, fifteen to twenty percent of your life and destiny will be in your hands. If you have mastery over your mind, fifty to sixty percent of your life and destiny will be in your hands. If you have mastery over your life energies, a hundred percent of your life and destiny will be in your hands. 

Even now you are choosing your life, but you are choosing it in total unawareness. But whatever you do in unawareness, you can also do in awareness. That makes a world of a difference. It is the difference between ignorance and enlightenment. 

Unpleasantness is happening to you, in the form of anger, fear, anxiety, and stress, because your basic faculties—your body, mind, and life energies—are doing their own thing. When mind and body exist only to serve the life within you, why is your life currently enslaved to the mind and body? Isn’t this a complete distortion of the way life should function? 

Taking destiny into your hands doesn’t mean everything will happen your way. The outside world will never happen a hundred percent your way, because there are too many variables involved. Wanting the outside to happen exactly the way you choose is the path of conquest, tyranny, dictatorship. 

Once it happened…Shankaran Pillai (a certain South Indian gentleman you met in the introduction and will meet several times more in the course of this book) went drinking with his buddies. He thought he would have a quick drink and go home at eight o’clock. And so he did. He had a quick drink, and a quick drink, and another quick drink. And then one more quick drink. He looked at his watch. It said two thirty. (Drink makes people like yogis—timeless.) He got off the barstool. It is such an unfair world: a man is expected to walk on a round planet that spins. With great skill and dexterity, he balanced himself and started making his journey homeward. 

Taking a shortcut through a park, he fell headlong into a rosebush. His face became a mess. He gathered himself and started making his way again. In this condition, he reached home, and tried to find the keyhole. But those wretched keyholes nowadays are made so small! That took another twenty minutes. 

He finally got in and stumbled into the bedroom. Fortunately, the wife was a big sleeper. He went into the bathroom, looked at himself in the mirror. His face was a real mess. He opened the medicine cabinet, took out some medicine and a box of Band-Aids and fixed himself, whichever way he could. Then he crawled quietly into bed. 

Next morning, his wife threw a bucket of cold water on his face. 

He woke up gasping, feeling water-boarded. He said, “Why, why? It’s only a Sunday!” 

She said, “You fool! Once again drinking?” 

“No, honey, I promised you six months ago. Since then, I haven’t touched a drop.” 

She held him by the shirt, dragged him into the bathroom, and showed him: the Band-Aids were all over the mirror! 

When pain, misery, or anger happen, it is time to look within you, not around you. To achieve well-being the only one who needs to be fixed is you. What you forget is that when you are sick, it is you who needs the medication. When you are hungry, it is you who needs the food. The only one that needs to be fixed is you, but just to understand this simple fact people take lifetimes! 

Creating your own destiny does not mean you have to control every situation in the world. Creating your destiny is about steadily heading toward your wellbeing and your ultimate nature, no matter what the content of life is around you. It simply means making yourself in such a way that, whatever the events and situations around you, you don’t get crushed by them; you ride them. 

The spiritual process is not about imposing your ideas on existence; it is about making yourself in such a way that the creation and the Creator, and every atom in this existence, cannot help yielding to you. When you pursue your own likes and dislikes, you feel alone in this vast existence, constantly insecure, unstable, psychologically challenged. But once existence yields to you, it delivers you to a different place of grace—where every pebble, every rock, every tree, every atom, speaks to you in a language you understand. Every moment there are a million miracles happening around you: a flower blossoming, a bird tweeting, a bee humming, a raindrop falling, a snowflake wafting along the clear evening air. There is magic everywhere. If you learn how to live it, life is nothing short of a daily miracle. 

It doesn’t matter who you are, life doesn’t work for you unless you do the right things. You may consider yourself a good person, but if you don’t water your garden, will it flower? You need to do the right things if you want results. Judgments about good and bad are essentially human and socially conditioned. These are fine as social norms. But existence is not concerned with these conclusions. Existence is not judgmental. It treats all of us the same way. 

One winter morning in Michigan, an old-timer went ice-fishing. It was ten o’clock in the morning. He cut a small hole in the ice and sat down with a crate of beer beside him. Fishing is not just about the catch; it is a patience game. He knew that. He put the line in. One by one, the beer cans started emptying out. The fishing basket also stayed empty. 

The day drew on. At four o’clock in the afternoon, his basket was still empty. So was his crate of beer. 

A young boy came along. He was carrying a big boom box that played deafening heavy metal music. He cut a hole in the ice nearby, and sat down to fish, his music still blaring. 

The old-timer glanced at him with ill-disguised contempt. “I’ve been sitting here since morning quietly, with not a single fish, and the fool thinks he can catch fish with music blaring, at four in the afternoon! No fool like a young fool!” 

To his amazement, within ten minutes, the boy landed a huge trout! The old man dismissed it as a lucky break and continued fishing. Ten minutes later the boy caught one more big trout. 

Now the old man could ignore it no longer. He stared at the boy, dumbfounded. And just then, to his utter disbelief, the boy landed one more huge trout. 

The old-timer cast his pride aside and walked slowly over to the boy. “What is the secret?” he asked. “I’ve been sitting here the whole day and my basket is empty. You already have three huge trout. What’s going on?” 

The boy said, “Ru ra ra ra ru ra rum.” 

The old man put his hand to his ear and asked, “What?” 

The boy turned down the stereo and said, “Ru ra ra ra ru ra rum.” 

The old man was perplexed. “I don’t understand a word you’re saying.” 

The boy spat a blob of something into his hand and said, “You have to keep the worms warm.” 

Unless you do the right things, the right things will not happen to you. Principles and philosophies are only of social consequence. It is time to wake up to yourself as an existential being, a living being, rather than a psychological case. Then your destiny will be your own. One hundred percent your own. 

This is not an idle promise. It is a guarantee.



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