Sliding Doors is a movie that came out years ago with Gwyneth Paltrow, in which they alternate between two different realities based on her making it through the sliding door of the subway home. If she catches the train, she also catches her husband with another woman in her own bed. If she misses the train he is alone when she arrives and stays married to him.
In each parallel universe she becomes a different person. How many split second decisions based on timing of the moment can you think of – those cases where if only I was one minute later or earlier that would not have happened?
About three weeks ago I was on jury duty. Driving home on the second day, another car making a turn came into my lane and dented up my car. I finally got it out of the shop this week, (delayed due to waiting until after jury duty was over) and his insurance is not covering my deductible because I have no witnesses. So as I am a work in progress just like everyone else, I am working through my personal feelings of “it’s not fair” and why do I now have to go through presenting my case to the state insurance board, etc……, because I am refusing to just roll over and take the $720+ hit to my finances.
So anyway, when this guy hit me, I immediately went into how if I hadn’t been on jury duty, I would not have been in the intersection making this turn at that time, and he would have either not had an accident because no one was in the lane, or he would have hit someone else, but not me. For me, jury duty was a sliding door. Not as big an impact as Gwyneth had in the movie, but a sliding door nonetheless.
What is interesting about the movie is the ending. They take her back to one version, in which she didn’t catch her husband. In this version she is leaving the scene in which she now discovers his affair. The final scene is with Gwyneth in the elevator with the man she had a relationship with in the other version, tying up the ending to mean that no matter whether she made the subway or not, she was destined to be with this man.
So how much of destiny really occurs in our lives? Did my having a very minor accident with this man, which delayed me getting home about an hour change my destiny? Did the minor accident keep me from having a major accident further down the road? Was there a purpose to the accident, a meaning that I will get as I take my case to the state insurance board?
This is one of my back shelf beliefs. Things that I learn about and am curious about but not yet sure it constitutes a belief or not. What is destiny really? How much does destiny or fate really play into our lives? How much does our desire to tie everything up into neat little bows, make us put fate or destiny as the causation of what happens to us? If destiny is true where does that put free will? Does that eliminate choice and make it simply an illusion?
Then there is the concept of Karma. Is Karma a destiny that you have consequences for your actions that play out throughout your life?
I don’t have all of the answers. I think that all of them are right in some aspect though. I do believe in a core destiny, that we come to bring something to this world, or experience in this lifetime. I believe that we have free will and choices at every step of the way as we live our life, to encompass that destiny or run away from it. I do believe in some sort of concept of karma, that our choices all have consequences, both intended and unintended. But each moment of our life, we have a new opportunity to make new choices and we can always turn our ship around if it is off course.
The woman in the photo made the choice to climb up the cliff. Each moment she is making a new choice for a hand or foot hold to take her up to the next level. I think that we are all like this woman, choosing each moment to take ourselves to the next level. I would have chosen the rocky path up to the top, rather than the climbing up to the cliff. Each path is a different choice but the same destination. Is one wrong or right, or does it matter? What do you think?