Your plan VS. His Plan

Monday, December 24, 2012

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama

Many times in life I find that I am not necessarily happy with the way things are going or have gone. I have regrets, misgivings, fears for the future, anger, resentment and doubt. Why didn't things go as I had hoped? Why didn't I get the exciting new job in New Zealand or the project assignment I wanted at work? What's wrong with me? Am I not good enough, smart enough? Worthy enough?

Woe is me, right? Right.....

No, not right. Not right at all. I believe in making plans. I believe in striving for success. I believe in making efforts. I believe in putting myself out there and following my bliss. But I do not believe that my trifling little plans are necessarily what is best for me. In the heat of the moment I may be disappointed or get caught up in the "woulda, coulda, shoulda"s, but do I really know what is best? Just because I want my life to head in a certain direction does not mean that is the way my life is going to go, or that it should go.

I believe there is a Higher Power with infinitely greater wisdom than I who truly wants what is best for me. The challenge is recognizing that, believing in it and maintaining my faith in His Will rather than my own. As I mentioned earlier, I do not believe that means sitting around waiting for something divine to happen. It means striving towards goals, while remaining detached from the results and recognizing the futility in hoping and wishing things were different than what they are.

Don't get me wrong - I believe in free will - that is where our actions and focus come in - what are we striving for? We have the free will to strive for whatever we want. The challenge comes when we strive and we strive and we feel as if we are never reaping the fruits of our labor, right? What gets in our way? Could be God. Could be our own warped perceptions. Honestly, it may be irrelevant.

In my opinion, it is a matter of focus. If I completely and unreservedly let the Divine (as always, whatever that means to you) in my life as a part of my striving, then I am connecting myself with my Source. To me that means seeing the Divine in others (Namaste) and being of service to humanity - that is how I show Him love. And if I can maintain that, I will be the better for it. A quote from the Bahá'í Faith states "Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee." I absolutely love that saying, it's so incredibly deep and important - pause and ponder it for a bit.

I wrote a three part blog post along this same vein a couple of years ago that I'm really proud of, Water Park Wisdom. (You can read them here: Water Park Wisdom #1 Water Park Wisdom #2 Water Park Wisdom #3) Those posts really describe in detail the feelings I have about this subject and the intricacies involved. When do we let go and let God? Why do we flail about so much trying and trying to accomplish that which may not even need our focus or attention? And why in the world would we question Him or rush the process he has put in place for our life?

As always, here are some quotes from various religious traditions on this subject:

 "O SON OF BEING! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant." ~ Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words

"Only the LORD give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of the LORD thy God. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfil the statutes and judgments which the LORD charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed." ~ King James Bible, 1 Chronicles 22:12-13

"The retina of outer vision, though sensitive and delicate, may, nevertheless, be a hindrance to the inner eye which alone can perceive. The bestowals of God which are manifest in all phenomenal life are sometimes hidden by intervening veils of mental and mortal vision which render man spiritually blind and incapable, but when those scales are removed and the veils rent asunder, then the great signs of God will become visible, and he will witness the eternal light filling the world. The bestowals of God are all and always manifest. The promises of heaven are ever present." ~ Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 90

"All undertakings (in) this (world) depend both on the ordering of fate and on human exertion; but among these two (the ways of) fate are unfathomable; in the case of man's work action is possible." ~ Hindu, Laws of Manu


"Trust in God, as opposed to human exertions.
The beasts said, "O enlightened sage,
Lay aside caution; it cannot help thee against destiny;
To worry with precaution is toil and moil;
Go, trust in Providence, trust is the better part.
War not with the divine decree, O hot-headed one,
Lest that decree enter into conflict with thee.
Man should be as dead before the commands of God
Lest a blow befall him from the Lord of all creatures."
He said, "True; but though trust be our mainstay,
Yet the Prophet teaches us to have regard to means.
The Prophet cried with a loud voice,
'Trust in God, yet tie the camel's leg.'
Hear the adage, 'The worker is the friend of God;'
Through trust in Providence neglect not to use means.
Go, O Quietists, practice trust with self-exertion,
Exert yourself to attain your objects, bit by bit.
In order to succeed, strive and exert yourselves;
If ye strive not for your objects, ye are fools."
They said, "What is gained from the poor by exertions
Is a fraudulent morsel that will bring ill luck.
Again, know that self-exertion springs from weakness;
Relying on other means is a blot upon perfect trust.
Self-exertion is not more noble than trust in God.
What is more lovely than committing oneself to God?
Many there are who flee from one danger to a worse;
Many flee from a snake and meet a dragon.
Man plans a stratagem, and thereby snares himself;
What he takes for life turns out, to be destruction.
He shuts the door after his foe is in the house."
 ~ Mathnavi of Rumi (E.H. Whinfield tr), The Masnavi Vol 1

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." ~ King James Bible, Jeremiah 29:11-13

"Know thou, O fruit of My Tree, that the decrees of the Sovereign Ordainer, as related to fate and predestination, are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable, the other is, as termed by men, impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. God, however, is able to alter or repeal it. As the harm that must result from such a change will be greater than if the decree had remained unaltered, all, therefore, should willingly acquiesce in what God hath willed and confidently abide by the same.
The decree that is impending, however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it." ~ Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 132


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