When I was a younger man, I tried lived according to a belief that went something like this:
“I am the author of my own experience.”
It is not an uncommon belief for people in the first half or two-thirds of life, and is probably a necessary one. Most people have this sense, and sometimes hold it to be true for the duration. Who knows—it might even be the correct equation. Some people would insist this it is so, and I am in no real position to say they are wrong.
But as I enter what is almost certainly the third trimester of life, I become aware of another possibility. What if:
The infinite and wonderful universe, though some unspoken intent, has caused a constellation of unique experiences to come together, bonded by a mysterious gravity of individual awareness. That single constellation is what I’ve conveniently thought of as “me.”
So in my approaching old age, I’ve begun to think the reality might be different, that “I” am not the author of my experience at all, but on the contrary, am authored by the experiences and awareness gifted to me by the universe, by God. Perhaps even my willfulness—which has caused me some pride but also some heartache--is really just the play of natural laws moving within that one little constellation of experience I have labeled “me”.
Strangely, this idea does not seem to reduce me at all; on the contrary, it feels like freedom.