By Brian Foster
There are many types of trials that we must experience. Most of our trials on earth are there to pay for our past wrongs, and teach us how the other person felt when we committed the incorrect act, one important point to remember is that besides the trials we are assigned due to our own failings, there are an additional four possible reasons for what we live through here on earth.
1. Random Events
2. Trials that we Request
3. Trials that increase our range of experiences
We may not know what type of lessons we are entertaining at the time, but if we analyze our attitudes and behaviors, we may deduce with high probability the broad category. Let’s start with the most common.
Random Events – Synchronicity
I will be clear up front, some Spiritist believe that none or very close to zero random events occur to us. They believe; there is no such thing as coincidences. Almost every encounter, every event, such as meeting a friend on a street corner by accident, isn’t actually an accident. That uncle that called you out of the blue did so for some purpose, which may remain hidden from us forever, or at some time in the future the purpose will be revealed.
There is a word for this; Synchronicity. According to Wikipedia, “Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related, where they are unlikely to be causally related. The subject sees it as a meaningful coincidence. The concept of synchronicity was first described by Carl Jung, a Swiss psychologist, in the 1920s.”
Jung dived deeper into the term, and in fact he saw these random events guided by some higher order, or in his words a “deeper order”. He believed that life was not composed of random events, but was laid out for a purpose. There is an orderly framework to our life, which would assist in our intellectual and spiritual growth, “with the purpose of shifting a person’s egocentric conscious thinking to greater wholeness.”
Below is a diagram illustrating Jung’s concept, from the Synchronicity Wikipedia site;
“Shifting a person’s egocentric conscious thinking to greater wholeness” could be the definition for the reason for reincarnation. What are we but immature souls on a planet where we reside to learn to be less selfish and more fraternal? Not only was Jung correct about our supposedly unique life, but his theorem could be used to prove the arc of our multiple lives, as we advance from a primitive, brutal animal who takes what he or she can, to a civilized soul, who understands the importance of self-discipline in order to make society function smoothly.
Jung, in his book Synchronicity, supplies us an example;
“My example concerns a young woman patient who, in spite of efforts made on both sides, proved to be psychologically inaccessible. The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably “geometrical” idea of reality. After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself. Well, I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab — a costly piece of jewelry. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the window-pane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose gold-green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, “Here is your scarab.” This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could now be continued with satisfactory results.”
In the works of Francisco C. Xavier, the books dictated to “Chico” Xavier by the spirit Andre Luiz, have many examples of how the spirit world influences events. An example from the “deeper order” aka the spirit world, would be the episode when a medium was supposed to go to a meeting so a séance could take place which would assist discarnate spirits. The woman was about to leave the house when her slightly drunk husband returned from his bar hopping early and demanded dinner and for her to stay with him. The spirit team in charge of the mediums meeting quickly influenced the husband’s sister to come over to the house, offer to make dinner and to stay with the husband while the medium went to her important meeting. To the medium, it appeared as a coincidence, a lucky break that her sister-in-law decided at that moment to pop over and allowed her to make her appointment.
It wasn’t a lucky break; it was an example of a manipulation of events by a power not of this world, belonging to a universe that we do not perceive, but we are part of and ultimately report to. What is the extent of their influence? Do they regulate the flight of each butterfly, which could affect our weather patterns? I don’t know the answer and this knowledge may be shielded from us.
All of us can think back and spot a moment when we either needed something at a precise moment and got it by pure chance or tried to do something stupid (looking back at it from a mature point of view) and were prevented by circumstances beyond our control. Was it chance or predetermination? Or when we did a completely idiotic stunt, were we allowed so we could learn the hard way? Did the potential girlfriend or boyfriend we passionately wanted to get acquainted with during college, but could never arrange it; was that the guiding hand of the spirit world, herding us to a more constructive relationship at a later time? Once you start considering the alternate paths we may have traveled and how the unseen hand of destiny opened some doors while closing others, you begin to see the amount of effort and planning that is involved in getting the human race onto the correct road. We are like elementary school children, being actively manipulated, all the while totally clueless, enjoying ourselves, constantly wandering off the planned path, but being gently herded back onto it, all in the hope that we, the little ones, may somehow pick up a useful amount of knowledge.
Therefore, is everything completely planned? I don’t think so; I believe there are accidents and coincidences. Randomness still occurs. That bee sting could just be what it is. On the other hand, the overall arc of our life, the trials, the major sufferings, they are prearranged, tracked, and our conduct is reported upon and the results are stored. Welcome to the classroom of life!
Trials that we request
These are the types of trials that ambitious spirits sign up for in order to advance toward perfection. Good spirits are eager to climb the ladder to excellence. By the way, these are the types who continuously raise their hand in class, or keep asking questions to the teacher, when all you want is to get out of there. Unfortunately, they are also successful in later life, thereby proving that hard work pays off. I detest it when taking the shortcut isn’t successful.
Whereas, most understand the need to pay for their accumulated debts, many want to go beyond the cycle of slow growth toward perfection and request more difficult tasks. The type of tasks that are considered are ones that impose a heavy burden, such as devoting your life to helping a disabled brother or sister, thereby sacrificing your happiness in the service of another. To be of service to our fellow souls is a difficult calling. Taking away your options for a fuller life, where it could be the chance to acquire property, love, or the pursuit of your dreams.
Good spirits may also request and be granted an opportunity to help a soul reform. As an example, the prospective parents wanting to be of use to increase the spread of virtue among the human race volunteer for an additional level of difficultly. This type of request is indirectly referred to in The Spirits Book;
209. How is it that good and virtuous parents often give birth to children of perverse and evil nature? In other words, how is it that the good qualities of the parents do not always attract to them, through sympathy, a good spirit to animate their child?
“A wicked spirit may ask to be allowed to have virtuous parents, in the hope that their counsels may help him to amend his ways; and God often confides such an one to the care of virtuous persons, in order that he may be benefited by their affection and care.”
How many of us have seen wonderful families, with good parents, had that lone black sheep. We look at the family situation in wonder and attempt to analyze how that child could be so different from the others. The answer is that even with the best of intentions, reforming an errant spirit is a daunting task. Blessed are those who step forward and demonstrate their dedication to assist needy souls.
As covered before in the topic on childhood and reincarnation, a child is malleable until their true character becomes apparent, usually in the middle or late teens. Hence, we see small children, under the influence of their parents, behaving dutifully, and then a transformation occurs, where their past lives intrude on their behavior, for their conscience and instincts have been reinforced in the wrong direction. If they had retained the force of will to fervently wish to grow toward the good, these children are able to surmount their past. If not, they will leave a path of sadness and destruction among their parents, brothers and sisters. Whatever the outcome, the parents will be rewarded for their intent.
A more detailed explanation of the process of reincarnation and what could be your set of trials in your life is in my book, The Case for Reincarnation – Your Path to Perfection.
I hesitate to use the terms debit and credit, because it implies an impersonal ledger, where one must carefully weigh the good that we do, our credits, with the wrongs we commit, our debits, and hope that we come out with a positive balance at the end of each life. For this doesn’t measure the amount of our love, the expansion of our attitude to be forgiving and helpful to all, the holistic growth that our soul may have experienced. Nor does it peer into the extent of our selfishness, our love for our possessions that may have ruled us. Outwardly seeming to be at peace with the world, but in reality loving our goods more than our family.
At the end of the day, we still must sum up the positive and negative to arrive at the distance that we have gained. Overcoming obstacles, contributing to others or societies well-being insures that we have a positive mark for our ledger. Hence, from a purely accounting view, taking on more is logical. Whereas, the amassing of credit is familiar to us, the spirit world sees this differently. We shouldn’t underestimate their desire to be of service. The love that is showered upon us springs from their hearts. We need to always be aware that they too have walked in our shoes. They have felt the pain and the confusion that comes with a physical body.
Socrates said that no human can ever know wisdom while locked in a container with a thousand distractions. The best that we can do is find temporary haven in our studies and meditations, feeling those moments of bliss when we are detached and can concentrate on our progress. Outside of that, we must soldier on, performing what we can, maintaining a good attitude. After all, this is but an instant of time in your immortal life.
When you see the social worker helping the dispossessed, your friend that is trapped providing constant care for a relative, the reverend or priest who walks among the deserving poor, please realize these are altruistic souls who will not only serve those in the here and now, but shall be a force for good for many lives in the future.
Rounding out our Training
Sorry, we aren’t allowed to fly through a good life and graduate with honors. No matter how saint-like we behave in one life, we are still required to accumulate an impressive set of proficiencies. As discussed earlier, to become an effective high level spirit we need to be forged in real-life events. Some are educational, some are painful, and others are a nuisance. All are meant to expose us to varied sections of life.
Pure spirits are powerful entities, who are able to travel instantaneously by thought and manifest themselves in varied levels of matter and appearance. One would not want these uber-souls to lack the training required. An effective army is measured by their reaction to every circumstance. The reactions are not mere collective happenstance, but brought about by repetitive drilling and participation in real life scenarios.
Want to know what to do during a peasant revolt? Then you have to spend time as a peasant. Helping soldiers cope with the stress of battle; then you need to have lived through the hard times as a soldier, and most probably felt the end of your life as you were beaten in combat by an adversary. Need to influence a prestigious leader; then you too should have lived through a time of critical events, where only you were capable of making life and death decisions to insure your community survived and prospered.
Do all of us need to live through every permutation and combination of events? I doubt it, but then we are immortal, so big numbers shouldn’t scare us. At the very least, we should be aware of the different points of view, the motivations, the wants and desires, the anxieties and the passions of people from every segment of society. Only by living in their shoes feeling the hunger or fear they do, can we begin to comprehend the depth of their feelings. Only from that standpoint, could we begin the long process to guide them to a better road. A road which may take lifetimes to find.
Without the viewpoint on high of the trajectories a life must journey, how could we guide the immature spirit in a succession of lives to expose that soul to the required events to evoke a change of heart. To be a leader requires decisions, judgments which may progress or retard a valuable spirit’s quest for perfection.
Where I am leading with this? Here; when you ask yourself during those exasperating times, why in the heck do I have to go through this? Now you know one of the possibilities. It could be a valuable stepping stone, or more aptly, one more brick in your foundation to supply you with the fortified structure to build your future upon. You have acquired a valuable data point, a reference, which at some future occasion may prove to be a key to your success. Every event adds to your instincts. Remember, that when you are reborn, your instincts are available for you to utilize.
It’s not only with age do we get wiser, but with each new birth, after we are finished with childhood, our conscience and instincts kick in. If you are able to grow in each life, then in the next life, your early adulthood won’t be a missing decade of bad decisions. You will be able to build upon your past, insuring a smoother road to success, as opposed to the constant struggle to make something of yourself. You shall have more time to gain more awareness, devote yourself to charity, become more spiritual and survive your trials with élan, instead of complaining at every step.
Does this seem impossible? Haven’t we all looked with envy at that young woman or man, who remains calm and composed in every circumstance? Who, by their actions, gain the notice of powerful people, who then target these mature spirits for advancement in positions of power and influence. When, these young enterprising people move into their thirties, they are ready for a career of distinction and substance for decades. Ready to make a difference in society and in many lives.
“I am on a mission from God”, to quote Elwood from the movie “The Blues Brothers”, and most probably many other films and novels, all used in varying degrees, as a comedic line, a reason cited by a fanatic, or from a divine spirit. Wouldn’t most of us love to say that line with certainty? With meaning? We all have a longing to be part of a movement larger than ourselves. We spend time, day dreaming of making a contribution to the world, wishing to make a difference. Well, we are here to make a difference, while it may be small imperceptible increments; we still are able to contribute to society’s progress, if only by our example.
The spirit world does send members to earth, in the hope that they will be valuable contributors to our progress. Missions are referred to in Allan Kardec’s The Spirits Book;
572. Is a spirit’s mission imposed upon him, or does it depend on his own will?
“He asks for it, and is rejoiced to obtain it.”
— May the same mission be demanded by several spirits?
“Yes, there are often several candidates for the same mission, but they are not all accepted.”
573. In what does the mission of incarnated spirits consists?
“In instructing men, and aiding their advancement; and in ameliorating their institutions by direct, material means. These missions are more or less general and important; but he who tills the ground accomplishes a mission as really as he who governs or instructs. Everything in nature is linked together; and each spirit, while purifying himself by his incarnation, concurs, under the human form, to the accomplishment of the Providential plans. Each of you has a mission, because each of you can be useful in some way or other.”
“Accomplishment of Providential plans”, in other words a mission from God. Missions with a direct purpose. There is a starting point, milestones in-between, and an end state. Not just some amorphous statement, such as peace on earth, which is so general, although well meaning, but as a tactical plan, worthless.
Are spirits sent on missions and then forgotten, like throwing a fish back into the water after catching them and forgetting they existed in seconds? No, like any organization that has goals, there is a department, composed of resources committed to the attainment of the objectives. No successful company or government makes a statement or dispatches a person on a task and then supplies no support, no management, no analytics and no reward.
Hence, whenever one of us is sent on a mission, we are not alone. We have been trained and prepared. We may not know consciously that we are meant to accomplish a certain task, but we shall be guided, with spirit hands, and possibly by other physical team members to our aim.
All the while, there must be a support team, monitoring our progress, creating reports and determining modifications to the original plan. At times, we may seem to be solitary, but in reality we are never alone. Spirits on a mission must be scrutinized at every step for hints of failure or unexpected success. New opportunities could present themselves which could be advantageous to pursue.
Are spirits who incarnate and perform missions infallible? Certainly not, for the simple fact that as soon as a spirit merges with a physical body, all actions become massively more difficult, for instead of preparing in a controlled environment, we are now on the battlefield, with a multitude of distractions. Yes, spirits fail, and it is referenced in The Spirits Guide;
578. May spirit fail in his mission through his own fault?
“Yes; if he is not of a high degree of elevation.”
— What, for him, are the consequences of such a failure?
“He is obliged to begin his task over again; this is his punishment. And, besides, he will have to undergo the consequences of the mischiefs caused by his failure.”
There must be many failures, for we are a very frail vessel. Take comfort that we are never given tasks that are beyond our ability. Plus, as the difficultly of a mission increases, so does the support. While on a mission, there may be a team of incarnates and discarnates, with additional help from high-order spirits. Therefore, missions don’t fail because of a lack of backing; they collapse because of the failure of our will.
Whenever we choose a dubious quick and easy monetary reward over the long and honest road or if we let our passions overrule the sound advice from our conscience, these are the points of failure. A spirit wouldn’t be charged with a mission that couldn’t be accomplished. What occurs is that in response to emotions or events we stop listening to our conscience, that valuable voice inside your head, and attempt to find an erroneous way out of our predicament.
Is this easy? Of course not, for I am absolutely certain I have failed many times. Always weakening at a vital point, searching for the fastest escape route. Giving into the current morals of society or following bad advice and doing the wrong thing because everyone else is. Or worse, worshipping that material good or the chance of power at the expense of my moral health; how could I have been so stupid? Easy, I am human.
Blessedly, with every failure comes experience, valuable reconnoitering, so at the next time when approaching that fulcrum, the right path will be determined. The beautiful aspect of being immortal is that you have an eternity to improve. Like the combat video games of today, you can be shot, knifed, drowned or your body parts scattered across the plains, it doesn’t matter, you can still just pick yourself up and get back into the game.
Even with some failures, there are small victories. While the end goal may not have been attained, a few positives will appear. For instance, those on a mission to raise an errant spirit, may not totally reform that poor soul, but they may have nudged their progress a notch or two. The Spirits Book mentions this type of trial and its probable outcome;
583. If a child goes wrong, notwithstanding the care of his parents, are they responsible?
“No; but the more vicious the disposition of the child, and the heavier their task, the greater will be their reward if they succeed in drawing him away from the evil road.”
As stated in the beginning of this section, in one respect, we are all on a mission. Our primary duty is to prepare ourselves. Believe, for those who are sincere, you are supported and if you ask for guidance, you will receive it. Examine the popularity of people reporting their NDE’s (Near Death Experience), what are the recurring themes? The feeling of love, the review of their life, and lastly the acknowledgement that there is a higher power, are constantly reported.
Upon recovery, most have a greater appreciation of their place in this world, an understanding that we are here to help ourselves, as well as others, find their spiritual goal. Is all this by accident? No, the reports of NDE’s are similar from around the world and in different cultures, therefore it must be planned. Each person who has had the experience was targeted as a potential recruit that could use one more push to attain the necessary credentials to ascend. Each person who discovers the universe of love awaiting them becomes one more spirit who could assist others to make the same journey. By this simple process of rebirth, growth, rebirth, the numbers grow, so that one day we shall live on a world of love, beauty, truth and justice.
Your life has more meaning and complexities than you realize. There are levels of the spirit world that helps us and hinders us. To understand how your individual fate is determined, tracked, and evaluated please read my book, Explore Your Destiny – Since Your Life’s Path is (mostly) Predetermined.
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