My husband and I met as pen pals about 19 years ago. Both of us have always felt that our meeting was fated. It wasn’t just that we managed to locate each other from opposite ends of the United States through the slender connection of a mutual pen friend. It was also the fact that we were and have always been perfect for one another in every way.
This type of situation, two souls destined to meet and be together, is one of the most common among those who believe in fate. Among those who don’t believe in it, there is cynicism and skepticism that meeting the perfect mate is related to luck or a feeling that those parties have simply made the best choices among their limited options.
To be honest, I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the idea of predestination. It makes existence seem rather pointless so I can understand where those who scoff at the notion of fate are coming from. The idea of predestination makes us feel even smaller and more powerless than we already are.
A lot of people stand on one side or the other of free will and fate issues, particularly in regard to the bigger moments or decisions in life such as having children, finding a partner, pursuing their art, etc. Part of the reason for this is that many believe in the view of fate as being equivalent to predestination or, if you’re religious, an indication that God’s will is at work and you’re an actor in his great play.
Despite the fact that we feel fate played a role in our union, my husband and I also believe that free will played a part. The truth is that, at the time that my husband first communicated with me, I wasn’t really interested in finding more correspondents and was actually relatively disinterested in his first few attempts to engage me in conversations. In fact, I had decided after his second correspondence that I wasn’t going to answer him and would allow the friendship to wither on the vine. He didn’t let it go at that though. He pressed me gently and appropriately for further communication and the next correspondence I received from him sent me a lightning bolt of recognition that this was the person for me.
In our case, I feel that fate provided the opportunity for two potential soul mates to come together but, my husband’s choices and his exercise of free will is what actually made it happen. After nearly 20 very happy years together, I shudder to think of what my exercise of free will nearly cost me.
This concept is one that is touched upon in Brian Weiss’s book, Only Love Is Real: A Story of Soulmates Reunited. Dr. Weiss had two patients who he felt were meant for each other based on their separate past life recollections. For both professional and spiritual reasons, he felt it was not his place to introduce them to each other. He felt that, if it was meant to be, the opportunity for the two of them to be together would be offered.
Dr. Weiss’s book also considers the perception of “soul mate” in common usage in western culture. Generally, people who embrace this concept feel that there is one perfect mate for each individual and you either meet that person and feel a feeling of oneness or you do not. Rather than viewing soul mates through this strict view, Dr. Weiss suggests that there are multiple potential soul mates that you may or may not meet in each incarnation. However, fate will at least allow you the opportunity to meet one or more of them.
This view of fate is also touched upon briefly in Jane Roberts’s The Early Sessions: Sessions 1-42 in her series of Seth books. The idea put forth by Seth is that fate offers opportunity and free will determines the outcome of each opportunity. This view of fate takes absolute predestination out of the equation and puts control in the hands of individuals without taking away the idea of guided growth through reincarnation.
For those of us who chafe at the notion that our lives are a pre-written story waiting to unfold but have a sense that destiny has had a hand in our lives, this reconciliation of fate and free will has an appealing resonance.