In Chinese Medicine, there is a concept of the “heavenly mandate” or “heavenly contract”.
The heavenly contract is that which is most important thing in your heart of hearts, the thing that you must accomplish in this life – if you do not accomplish it, avoid it or ignore it, you will be fraught with unsurpassable obstacles. This concept, that there is something that one must accomplish in life, is referred to as one’s Ming, or destiny.
Destiny, in this definition, is not fate (what you have no control over in your life), it is that which you have been endowed with and have the potential to do if only you choose to cultivate it. It is the choice between staying asleep, or waking up. Going down the rabbit hole, or walking around it, taking the red pill or taking the blue pill.
Your destiny is what differentiates you from everyone else: it is that special seed within that you are obligated to cultivate, to grow, to nourish.
Some people are seemingly born to do something like be a musician, doctor, teacher, CEO, writer, artist, psychologist, mother/father, herbalist, social worker, inventor, programmer, or any other number of things. I’ve been a little envious of people who have known from a young age that which they were supposed to do with their lives – after all, I did not “discover” what I was supposed to be doing until I was well out of school and on a different path.
There seems to be no self-doubt when people have known what it is that they were meant to do with their lives, or if there is self-doubt, it is nor allowed to take over and run the show. There is a direction, an unwavering concentration and intentionality in a path such as this – you are on your path, you know it, and nothing will deter you. In Chinese medicine, this is called Will or Zhi.
If you are one of those who has had to root around for a while, really sit with these questions and let the answers come to throughout life because you did not have the “I am a [enter your dream purpose here]” moment, don’t despair. Perhaps you were someone who: one year wanted to be a dancer, another a pilot, another an Egyptologist, another a musician, another an artist, another a jockey, another a diver, another a this, and another a that, and another… Each new thing may have left you feeling bereft of meaning, of purpose. There was, seemingly, no inner direction, or intention, with flitting from one thing to the next.
Intention in Chinese medicine is Yi. Yi is what is communicated directly from the heart, Yi is saying what you mean, Yi is learning from life experience and integrating it into your being, then speaking from that place of wisdom. Saying that you are going to eat healthier because you know you must is Yi, Zhi is the concentration of the words, allowing the action to follow. One of my teachers says that the Zhi follows the Yi. You speak, you act. You practice what you preach. You say you are going to eat healthier, and you do it. Act upon your words, follow through with the intention and direction you’ve set forth. Speak, and act, from the heart. Otherwise, it’s a bunch of white noise in an already noisy world.
If we set our sights on cultivating and living according to the potential, to the gifts, that we have been given, our paths are cleared of obstacles. This does not mean that things will be easy; this simply means that obstacles will not be a problem or deterrent to our success.
Nothing will stop you once you set your foot on your life’s path of destiny.
It is like opening up the flood-gate, the water will find its way to the ocean no matter what. If only you’ll dig deep and break the wall down…
If you speak and act from your heart, if you direct your life according to your sense of purpose (inner drive that makes your heart sing), what must you accomplish with all of your concentration, heart, and intention, without making compromises… where does that lead you? Each of us has been given a gift, potential, purpose – what is yours? Are you living your life according to this knowledge? Why or why not?
Jarrett, L – Nourishing Destiny
Tierra, M – Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine, Vol. 1