Before I go to sleep at night, sometimes I ask the universe a question about my destiny. The answer, as bizarre as it may seem, usually comes in the form of a song that wakes me up on my clock radio the next morning. While I haven’t done this in awhile, last night I once again had the urge. I asked the universe (God, the light, soul guides, my future self, whatever you wanna call it) what is going to happen on December 22, 2012—the day after the Mayan calendar abruptly ends. The answer I received really surprised me.
For those who don’t know, the Mayans were astrological masterminds and their incredibly precise Long Count calendar ends on December 21st, 2012—a day that coincides with a very rare cosmic event. On that day, the winter solstice sun will line up with the center of the Milky Way galaxy (as seen from the perspective of the Earth) for the first time in nearly 26,000 years. The Mayans thought this was a pretty big deal. In fact, they pretty much revolved their entire culture around it.
Anyway, since we’re getting rather close to that date, I figured it was about time I asked the question. As usual, the song that woke me up the next morning didn’t disappoint. While I was kind of expecting to hear Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” or R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” the answer sort of surprised my pessimistic musings. The exact lyric that woke me up was: “Some day, we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun. Some day when the world is much brighter” from The 5 Stairstep’s “Ooh Child (Things Are Gonna Get Easier).” (I find that the oldies stations work the best at giving me messages, probably because I admittedly know more oldies songs.)
Whether or not this has any relevance to what is going to happen in 2012, I don’t know. I have to admit, though, it at least made me smile and gave me a much needed boost of confidence to continue on my path. After all, if we all knew that the world was going to end, anything we do now would seem kind of pointless. While it all may be a trick or could mean that climate change may finally cook the Earth with the rays of the beautiful sun, I’m leaning on the side of optimism here. My initial impression was that the universe would like me to continue doing what I’m doing. And considering that you’re reading this, it probably wants you continue what you’re doing too.
Since this is supposed to be a column about Lost, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with the show, and specifically, its most recent episode, “Whatever Happened, Happened.” Allow me to explain. From the most apparent perspective, the title of the episode relates to how time travel works in the Lost universe. It is non-paradoxical, meaning you can’t change anything. So, whatever happened, happened. While this may be exactly how time really works in our world (which I disagree with since I believe in multiple parallel timelines, or multiverse theory), I think the theme of the episode is actually a metaphor for something else—destiny.
I believe that we all have a definite destiny that, like non-paradoxical time, cannot be changed. However, I also believe that there are many ways to get there and most of us, ultimately, do not. I like to think of destiny as the fate of our highest selves, the life course that would bring us the greatest joy but involves us overcoming our deepest fears. When we are on this path, our life goes relatively smoothly. When we aren’t, nothing seems to go right. When we are experiencing the latter, from our perspective it may seem like we’re total losers or that the universe hates us. The truth is though, there is a much bigger picture and at the moment, we are just temporarily coloring outside the lines. In other words, while your life may seem like it’s falling apart, you are more likely just being given room to start living a better one—one more in line with your true destiny. The universe is simply doing what it can to get you out of your own way.
After four and a half seasons of always trying to fix things, Jack finally came to this realization in “Whatever Happens, Happens.” Deciding he wasn’t going to fix Ben this time, he tells Kate that maybe the island just wants to fix things itself. That maybe, “I was just getting in the way.” Bingo! Yes, Jack was never meant to fix Ben even the first time! The island, a.k.a., the universe, was continually giving him things to fix so he would have an opportunity to so, “no.” Finally, he has!
I believe that Jack was never supposed to fix anything at all and was not meant to leave the island until he learned this. Similarly, Kate was not meant to raise Aaron forever, only until she could learn to be responsible and not run away. Sawyer was not meant to be with Kate until he could learn to commit to one woman, which he has with Juliet. Young Ben was not meant to die, because he must grow up to teach these lessons to everyone else. Just like the characters on Lost, we will struggle until we learn to conquer ourselves. We will struggle until we realize our destiny and work towards it, rather than against it.
If only we could be like the Maya, and know our destinies from the moment we were born. One of the Mayan calendars known as the Calendar Round combines their circular 260-day Tzolkin calendar with their circular 365-day Haab calendar together as two interlocking gears. Each day (one of the gears) represented a different energy to the Maya. Since the two calendars each had a different number of gears, they would interlock at varying points over time. The combination of the two gears that connected on the day you were born represent your destiny. So for me, those two gears might have been “spirituality” and “media” (in modern terms) since I believe it is my destiny to combine and interpret these energies. For you it might be “music” and “napping” or whatever it is you do best.
While we aren’t Maya, I still believe it is entirely possible to figure out our respective destinies. For starters, if you keep hitting brick walls in your life, change direction. As they say, “Out of rejection, comes direction.” Yep, they really do say that. One that I made up (since these rhyming motivational declarations seem all the rage lately) is, “Challenge yourself to grow, then life will flow.” Let life happen for you. Get out of your own way as Jack said. Leave a space and let life do its thing. This doesn’t mean you should do nothing, it means to stop doing what isn’t working. Einstein supposedly said: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” According to destiny, what you think you want (mind), and what you actually need (soul), may be two different things.
So, how can you figure out your destiny? Once you know what it isn’t, think about what it might be. What gives you the most pleasure? Something that you’re good at and gives you the most energy? Something you enjoy sharing with others. Okay, besides sex. Is there a talent you have or a hobby or something you dreamed of being when you were a kid? If so, it’s likely related. Next, look at your life. What is it that your parents do? Your mom is an art teacher and your dad a doctor? Perhaps you are meant to teach art therapy. Your mother is very religious and your dad is a scientist? Perhaps you’re meant to bridge the two philosophies. Your birth parents are hippies and your adoptive parents are accountants and your adoptive dad got divorced and remarried to an attorney and your adoptive mom now has a lesbian relationship with a waitress and your stepbrother is a circus clown? I’ll let you figure that one out, but you get the point. We all have a destiny, and if we listen to the whispers, act in spite of our fears and conquer the murky monster of doubt, we will succeed in fulfilling it. And something tells me the characters of Lost will succeed at fulfilling theirs too.
Next week: Does Richard Alpert carrying a dying Ben to a temple remind you of anything? How about Rameses carrying his dead son to the Egyptian god altar of Sokar in The Ten Commandments? Is dead really dead? Find out next week!
Marc Oromaner is a New York City writer whose book, The Myth of Lost offers a simple solution to Lost and uncovers its hidden insight into the mysteries of life. He can be contacted in the discussion section of The Myth of Lost Facebook page.