By Brian Foster
If you are one of those hardworking, honest and humble persons who watches carefully what they spend and deals with the world as you would want them to deal with you; bless you! For you are proceeding through your life and you had intended, your plan is working. In addition, if you are able to instill in your family a notion of God and the spiritual duty of all, then you are learning the lessons that you desired.
The trials of the poor are one of unfulfilled dreams and ambitions, coupled with constant self-denial of material goods they are craving. The stories of real people described in Spiritist literature are full of the theme of a rich or powerful figure returning in the next life as a humble worker at worse, a homeless beggar. Emmanuel, the spirit guide of Francisco C. Xavier, himself was a powerful Roman Senator, who actually meets Jesus and rejected his offer to join his revolution of peace. In Emmanuel’s next life, he comes back as a slave, who dies in the circus, as a Christian devoured by lions.
Such are the trials of the poor. Glamour is noticeably lacking and the daily grind is on display. Day after day of making ends meet is the repetitive message being taught. Most probably interspersed with small tragedies and disappointments and hopefully opportunities to succeed and celebrate. The lesson is one of humbleness and understanding of those less fortunate. Coupled with the knowledge of the effort it takes to pull yourself up without the step ladder of a more prosperous upbringing.
The Spirits Book talks about the choice of trials and the choices we must make during our sojourn here on earth;
259. If the spirit has the choice of the kind of trials which he will undergo, does it follow that all the tribulations we experience in the earthly life have been foreseen and chosen by us?
“It would not be correct to say that such has been the case with all of them; for you cannot be said to have chosen and foreseen all the things which happen to you in this life, and all their details. You have chosen the kind of trial to which you are subjected; the details of this trial are a consequence of the general situation which you have chosen, and are often the result of your own actions.”
“If, for instance, a spirit has chosen to be born among malefactors, he knew to what kind of temptations he was exposing himself, but not each one of the actions which he would accomplish; those actions are the effect of his volition, of his free-will. A spirit knows that, in choosing such and such a road, he will have such and such a kind of struggle to undergo; he knows, therefore, the nature of the vicissitudes which he will encounter, but he does not know whether these will present themselves under one form or under another. The details of events spring from circumstances and the force of things. It is only the leading events of his new life, those which will exercise a determining effect on his destiny, that are foreseen by him. If you enter upon a road full of ruts, you know that you must walk very warily, because you run a risk of stumbling; but you do not know the exact place where you will stumble, and it may be that, if you are sufficiently on your guard, you will not stumble at all. If, when you are passing along a street, a tile falls upon your head, you must not suppose that ‘it was written,’ as the common saying is.”
Hence, not all events are predetermined, depending on the path we chose and the decisions we make, the road may be smoother or rougher. With the trials of the poor, the effects of events may be harder to glide over, for the lack of money tends to make life more difficult and responses more limited.
Trials of the Underclass
There are also trials where a person is not only born into poverty, but also in the underclass. Where he or she will expect to be immersed in criminal enterprises. Truly this would be an exceptionally challenging trial, demanding great character to resist the lure and pressures of the immediate family. The Spirit’s Book tells us why this would transpire;
260. How can a spirit choose to be born among those who are leading a bad life?
“It is necessary for him to be sent into the conditions which will furnish the elements of the trial he has demanded. To this end, there must be a correspondence between the imperfection of which he desires to free himself, and the social surroundings into which he is born. For example, if he has to struggle against the instinct of brigandage, it is necessary for him to be thrown among brigands.”
It would be tough to come up with a harder task than this. Although, I am sure, there have been many who were successful. For instance, one reads report about Roma who have successfully sought an education and escaped the typical gypsy life of petty theft and con games. It is a testament to the character of those spirits who ask and triumph in such dire circumstances.
Trial of Envy
When you have only what you require to survive, the urge to be jealous of others with visible signs of prosperity is immense. People connect possessions with happiness and believe, like a child believes, that only if they could get that one object, they would feel better. Yes, the pleasure may last for a bit, but in the long run you are left with yourself. It is your attitude that enables one to feel pleasure in life’s little moments, not objects. Besides, don’t be fooled by the seemingly happy façade of the better off, as is articulated in The Gospel According to Spiritism; the spirit Lacordaire, writes in 1863, about the sad thoughts of a poor young woman;
“You would love to adorn your head with flowers and mingle with the wealthy of this earth. You say to yourself that, like these women who pass you by, nonchalant and laughing, you too could be rich. Oh! Be Still, child! If you knew how many tears and nameless sorrows are hidden beneath those embroidered dresses, how many sobs are muffled under the noise of that joyous orchestra, you would prefer your humble solitude and your poverty.”
Modern poverty in the western world brings about another sort of envy. Whereas in Europe and America the poor class is provided with the basics required for daily life, in many instances, no other demand from their part is made. Hence, these suffering souls are left idle, watching our media beam propaganda to them, convincing them they are missing out on the latest gadgets. Thereby, causing immense jealously amongst the poor and idle class.
This type of social dysfunction is what causes riots, like the one in London, where the youth looted, not grocery stores to gain food for their families, but shoe stores and others like them that contained the latest fashions, so they too could wear what is popular.
These spirits who are on earth to learn the dignity of a day of hard work are being done a disservice by society. The spirit world doesn’t encourage idleness, far from it; dedication and the pursuit of knowledge are the qualities they want us to absorb. On one occasion, when Francisco C. Xavier, the most famous medium and Spiritist in Brazil was asked if he wanted to tell the people of Brazil anything, he said in essence, work hard and don’t complain.
A more detailed explanation of the process of reincarnation is in my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
Brian Foster has a BSCS degree and a MBA. He has worked in R&D for medical device corporations and in IT for large financial institutions. Brian Foster has a blog at http://www.nwspiritism.com.
Kardec, A. (2008). The Gospel According to Spiritism. Brasilia (DF): International Spiritist Council.
Kardec, A. (2010). The Spirits Book. Guildford, UK: White Crow Books.
 Kardec, A., The Spirits Book, Guildford, UK, White Crow Books, Ques. 259
 Kardec, A., The Spirits Book, Guildford, UK, White Crow Books, Ques. 260
 Kardec, A., The Gospel According to Spiritism, Brasilia (DF), EDICEI, Chap. 7, p. 142