Each week, spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra responds to Oprah.com users' questions with enlightening advice to help them live their best lives.
Q: Is our destiny in life predetermined from the day we were born? Are the coincidences and synchronicities that we experience not controlled by our mind, but rather by a life force that knows where we will end up? If this is the case, and I "deliberately" make changes to my life path, do those truly matter in the end? Thank you, Deepak!
— Lana Z., London Dear Lana,
Your question is so abstract that I wonder how much this issue really matters to you. When you go to a restaurant and look at the menu, are you thinking, "Does destiny want me to have fish or a steak?" Asking philosophical questions is all well and good—I greatly enjoy it myself—but, in practice, we lead our lives according to a rich complexity of desires, duties, personal bonds, family ties, inclinations, accidental happenings and deliberate plans. The mixture is too complicated to figure out through a simple formula or by answering a cosmic riddle or two.
If you are fate's puppet, what does it matter? The strings are invisible. The puppeteer stands behind the scenes, if he exists at all. On a daily basis, you make your own decisions and do the best to shape your own existence. Isn't that good enough? It has served countless generations before us and no doubt will serve the countless ones that will follow. My advice is to use your philosophical bent to find a higher vision of life and then devote your energies to fulfilling that vision.