Religious people often say, "God has a plan for me." People who fall into the spiritual-but-not-religious camp often say, "The universe has a plan for me." Deepak Chopra assures us this is the case.
Some Googling revealed lots of examples of the second variety of planning. I looked at a few.
In The Universe Always Has A Plan, I read:
You aren’t sad because you are an unhappy person. You are experiencing sadness as part of your healing journey, to create space for more light to be embodied. You will receive everything you desire at exactly the moment in time it is meant to arrive.
There is a destiny. It is guaranteed, and it also requires your participation. It may include outcomes the ego may desire, but it can only be fulfilled by the light of your soul.
In 6 Ways to Accept the Universe's Plan For You, I read:
However, eventually things turned around for me and I did find some answers by learning to trust that the Universe had simply put me on a much more suitable path. In the process of making my life better, the first step that I made was to put aside my university dreams and study astrology instead.
I did much of my coursework from my bed during my illness, but, as I made changes, the Universe showed me signs that I was on the right track. At first, I didn’t understand these signs. I didn’t know the meaning behind seeing the number 11:11 everywhere I looked, or by seeing other number patterns and coincidences. At this time I had no idea that other young people all over the world were having the same experiences with seeing 111, 222, 333, etc.
Well, I have difficulty understanding the difference between God having a plan for me and the universe having a plan for me, since in either case a supernatural sentient being is aware of me and is actively working to change the direction of my life in a way that the being views as desirable.
Seemingly the main benefit to viewing the universe as my planner, rather than God, is that the universe doesn't demand that I do anything special, like going to church or praying. And the universe is, not surprisingly, universal, while God comes in all kinds of guises depending on what religion is followed.
My personal position is that I see no reason to believe that anyone has a plan for me. Sure, it'd be nice to have an all-powerful being on my side. But the idea that such a being exists makes no sense, and the notion that this being wants to direct my life in a certain fashion makes even less sense.
However, I do accept that the universe has a plan for me in this way.
There are laws of nature. Causes and effects take place in accord with the laws of nature. Whatever happens occurs in accord with those causes and effects. So whatever is happening right now in my mental and physical life can be thought of as the universe's plan for me.
It isn't a conscious plan. It isn't a plan created prior to happenings. It is simply that portion of the unimaginably vast network of causes and effects in the universe that impact little me.
Tonight I was drawn to write this blog post. I know this was the universe's plan for me because it is what happened. Now I'm going to eat a small slice of frosted carrot cake, my favorite evening snack. That also was the universe's plan for me, assuming it happens in the next few minutes, as I suspect it will.
Meister Eckhart, the great medieval mystic theologian, had a similar view about God's will, as I quoted him in a 2006 post.
Now I hear you ask: “How do I know that it is God’s will? My answer is that if it were not God’s will even for a moment, then it would not exist. Whatever is must be his will. If God’s will is pleasing to you, then whatever happens to you, or does not happen to you, will be heaven.