article-0-1363DA73000005DC-803_634x504-300x238The universe operates in mysterious ways. We understand little of the workings of the cosmos—we cannot tell how much dark matter exists, what black holes are about, or what else is out there, just yet. And because we have no idea how the universe was formed, or how it has changed and evolved, we cannot predict its ultimate fate, control it, or influence its future. Instead, the choice we can make on the path to enlightenment is to let go of the ache to control and instead develop our understanding—to accept that the only real constant is change and find ways to embrace our uncertainty.

While cosmic uncertainty affects us on a scale of galaxies, it is also hidden in the minutiae of our day-to-day lives. We cannot control our own paths with absolute certainty, but we are hard-wired to struggle to do just that. Our eyes are open to the beauty of everyday life and all that the world has to offer, but humanity has evolved with an entrenched desire to direct its own fate. And when we seek answers to questions that our species cannot yet fathom, it is easy to become disappointed when our theories turn out to be wrong. To be truly content, we must let go of this illusion of control.

Take the Law of Attraction, for example. This is the notion that like attracts like and focusing on the positive will attract positive results. This idea has its basis in the belief that thoughts are made of pure energy, a force that does indeed attract like. The Law of Attraction, as wonderful as it can be, is also an example of humans attempting to exert control over the unknowable; it can sometimes work, but not always, and the disillusion can be crushing when it fails. When we rely on simple cause and effect, our eyes stay focused on the smallest of pictures.

The ancient doctrine of karma is fraught with the same flaws. Sometimes we desperately want a particular outcome, and karma tells us that doing right by others can earn us the karmic points to receive our deepest desires. The universe, it says, is a place of balance and it is possible to earn fate’s favor if we accumulate goodwill. Many world religions are built around this desire for certainty, claiming that rewards will come if we can only stick to the rules. But immediate consequences for straightforward actions is not always how the universe works.

A study on karma by Benjamin Converse of the University of Virginia revealed the importance of looking at the bigger picture. Participants were found to be considerably more generous when putting out positive energy into the world, focusing their efforts much more strongly on doing good. Those who believed in paying it forward displayed the kind of behavior that aligned them with their soul’s best path and allowed them to follow it consistently.

Thinking positive, taking action and believing in cosmic balance is not the complete answer to our communal quest – but it does form part of it. There will be times when things happen that will ‘shake’ us up, despite how strongly we have built our foundation and followed our routine. We must embrace the idea of cosmic uncertainty and let go of the aching need to find a fixed point in an always-changing universe. Contemplating the cosmos with an open mind also brings its own rewards. We begin to understand that our asking questions and seeking answers, in itself, brings wonder to our lives and allows us to nurture our soul through the simple act of inquiry. From scientific experiments, to meditation and contemplation, to art and poetry; all these things enrich us on the deepest of levels.

Meanwhile, the actions we take and the path we tread throughout our lives must always match our soul’s intentions. It is when we live a heart-centered life and turn our attention to achieving personal growth through generosity, kindness, and care, that our own actions keep us on that right path. But when we listen to our desires, we are apt to stray.

Our Creator knows when to deny our ego-driven requests, and when to gently nudge us back to the path we should be taking. If we can dismiss the need to possess, then perhaps the simple act of emotionally letting go may trigger us to receive our true hearts intention. Positive thinking may indeed attract positive results and karma yields encouraging rewards, but the process is more mysterious than action leading directly to consequence. Only by removing our need for control and accepting the exquisite nature of divine surrender can we let go of our egos and recognize the cosmic. When we allow our soul to guide us, it shows us exactly where we need to be, each step of the way.

Image credit: Daily Mail UK