I just wrote this in another topic, shorthand I'll cut and paste it here
You may/or may not find the notions of Tzu Wei philosophy interesting, it says that there are Heavenly Stem influences - that which your soul came to experience knowingly - so like a pre-born question session that your soul wants to experience/answer in this lifetime;
and Earthly Branch experiences that come out of our choices in relation to the Heavenly Stem influences.
In more than 5000 year old 'charts' the Chinese people who subscribe to this philosophy learn to balance what is, by understanding the influences at work and riding them like the arrow flying to the target.
In some charts I studied, case studies on people's lives it was incredibly accurate - scarily so as it has no concern or respect for absolute privacy - kind of like the universal awareness outside of physical body that I experienced in an nde. The great thing is because in absoluteness no choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience
and because in this sense the 'judgement' (yaknow the big guy raining fire and brimstone on us or decorating our wings with pearls
) is or has been by many absolutely misunderstood, or distorted to have power over others in form (this too is 'okay', just brings different experiences.)
Maringa said: I get the quotes but does it mean that I have no power to change my destiny...?
Hmmm... Destiny - something that is to happen or has happened to a particular person or thing
Yes we are all going to end up at some point leaving behind the wonders of Earthly form.
According to Tzu Wei, most understood for me after an nde that made much sense of the 'bigger picture' that is not available to us in separation of form most of the time. It is in chinks to those with clair abilities and to and for those with increasing awareness of synchronicity in unfolding opportunities to raise our awareness and capacities and willingness to be all that we really are - love and compassion given the opportunities to experience fear and separation in experience.
ET does speak of this when he speaks of 'portals into the unmanifested' and spends a whole section discussing them. What he says though is love is not one of the portals - acceptance, silence etc are what allow the portals to be noticed, and what flows in to this realm through the portals that we can open is who we really are - eternal, oneness love energy.
So, technically in Tzu Wei understanding and supported in the wider 'through the veil' or light of oneness experiences', there are things that WILL happen, for which we have unknowingly signed up - the big message here is that it is all okay no thing can truly harm who you really are.
And there are (Earthly branch) things that MAY happen, depending on our choices taken in free will according to our knowledge - our awareness, capacity, response ability and willingness in the experience.
From this what we learn is that reacting in fear and ego takes us off on one experience, choosing love and compassion for self and other in separation takes us off down a different path of experience. We all end up in the same place (eternal love), just from vastly different journeys and experiences along the way.
As others have said there is a perspective of our selves far greater than we know if we solidify our perceptions of our selves in isolation and separation from the all.
In terms of the bigger picture, mortal death is a homecoming of a soul who has been on an amazing adventure of self and other discovery - a pioneer returned from the wilds - we feed our experiences into the 'whole', we feed our mis-takes, our triumphs and tragedies that really are no individual triumph and tragedy but triumph and tragedies by perspectives of the whole.
Like .... I have recently hung a multi-cut crystal in front of my computer between me and the window . it throws gorgeous absolutely random and temporary multi-coloured, different shape 'rainbows' around me and my room. They constantly change as the light fractures and splits and bounces according to external physical conditions and the swaying or not of the crystal. This probably makes no sense to anyone else, but it reminds me of the split-fractured reflections of perspectives in experience based on physical elements and experiences. Looking just at the multi-faceted crystal, wobbling with a slight breeze and my typing creating 'disturbance' - shifting energy - it is still 'complete', it doesn't fracture and split, but it enables light energy to split and fracture. That is what we are - light energy split and fractured portraying a temporary existence, shining our particular rainbow of experiences.
So, Heavenly stem 'things' will happen - by the combination of energies (colours) making up those rainbows.
Earthly Stem things 'may' happen - by the choices made in the absolute okayness of any level or combinations of levels of awareness, capacity, willingness and response ability.
Goodness knows the heavenly and earthly aspects are interchangeable - in Tzu wei charts some may have chosen experiences 'necessary' for the opportunity to find who we really are - and be love and compassion for self and others equally, and some of the same things may merely be 'earthly branch' possible choices.
In really basic sense some of these charted things might seem really irrelevant - you WILL have bushy eyebrows (for whatever reason that allows an experience to unfold - maybe in someone else's response to you) to you MAY have bushy eyebrows - but if you trim them too severely others will receive you as a sexual manifestation. Don't think your life hinges on the bushiness of your eyebrows - but such 'insignificant' detail of your design / presentation does affect your opportunities in experience.
And yes it does also allow for things like - you WILL contract a 'whatever' disease - in the Heavenly Stem realm of awareness experience, or it may hold it in the Earthly branch - you MAY contract 'whatever' disease if you chose this over that.
In all no choice is wrong, it just brings a different experience.
Are you master of your own destiny? Only as much as you are aware of the choices you are making in response to that which cannot be changed because it is fulfilling your 'bigger' picture desires of experience. Everything is and is not important - the destination is the same for us all, how we get there is our own grand adventure of discovering awareness, capacity, willingness and response ability, in separation - cloaked only - from who we really are.
The 'bigger' lesson of the LOA, in my experience, is knowing - being aware of the energies that we are creating in order to experience.
To your first question - is everything predetermined - no, everything is in constant motion of reflecting rainbows, like my crystal. As above some things for some people fall into 'agreed'/soul known experiences, and for others fall into the 'maybe' category. Regardless of who we are all things led to right here, and what we know of 'right here' depends on our awareness, capacity, willingness (to experience), and response ability expressed.
Hope this hasn't made it all more confusing.