By: Brian Foster
Attempting to determine what is fate and what is freewill is difficult when exploring Spiritism. This article explains the areas of your life that must occur and the areas where you have a choice.
What is Our Plan?
Discovering Spiritism leads one to the feeling that you are on a roller coaster and are unable to get off. The more you read, the more questions you have, then you try and find where they could be answered, but at the end you have a larger set of questions than when you started. The numerous questions could be separated into major categories. One of the most significant set of inquiries concerns the matter of your personal destiny. The discussion of the plan for your life on earth is scattered throughout Kardec’s books and in psychographed books by mediums, such as Francisco C. Xavier. This article pulls together different sources to present to you an introduction of the basic principles and concepts that have dictated your life’s plan.
In Allan Kardec’s The Gospel According to Spiritism, the starting point for understanding your trials is in this paragraph, “Christ said, ‘Blessed are the afflicted, for they shall be comforted’. But how can we bless suffering if we don’t know why we suffer? Spiritism shows that the cause lies in previous existences and in the destiny of earth, where humans expiate their past. It shows them the purpose of their suffering as being salutary which lead to healing and which are the purification that ensures happiness in future existences. Humans understand that they deserve to suffer and they find suffering to be just. They know that this suffering aids their progress and they accept it without complaining, just as workers accept the work that will ensure their wages.”
Why is it important to understand our place in our destiny? According to the quote above, we should gladly accept whatever is thrown at us with a smile and work our butts off to get through it. Well, except for the few of us that possess that perfect attitude of accepting all of life’s vicissitudes, we need to first comprehend what is occurring so we can meditate on it and try to mold our attitude so we may survive the ordeal the best that we can.
First the good news. We do have freewill. Although, I believe it is less than what is advertised. Why, because the Spirit world wants all of us charging ahead in life as well as we are able. And after all, you want to keep the troops motivated, don’t you? The other news is that you will be learning the lessons you didn’t quite fulfill from your past lives; there is no escaping that fact. So here is the hard part, how do you combine the expiation of your sins with making free-will choices and doing what you desire in your life?
In the book, Missionaries of Light, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, where Andre Luiz (the spirit author of the book) is discussing the imminent birth of a spirit (Segismundo), who will undergo trials for his past sins. Andre asks about the plan for the spirit’s life, Alexandre, Andre’s teacher at the moment, replies, “Notice that I said benefit and not destiny. Many people confuse a constructive plan with fatalism. Both Segismundo and our brother Herculano have the information we are talking about, because nobody enters a school for a more or less long period without a specific purpose and without knowing the rules that he or she should obey”.
We are all assigned a curriculum, a course of study in the college campus that suits our needs for our present life. A learning institution that is intended to move us to a higher level. A higher level only if we are able to accumulate enough credits, or we may be required to repeat.
Learn how the spirit world affects our daily lives in my book, 7 Tenets of Spiritism – How They Impact Your Daily Life. The spirit realm helps us in our trials and wishes us to succeed in the quest to become pure spirits.
Andre probes deeper into the contours of the plan for Segismundo. Andre wishes to know how the trials are matched up with the past sins in Segismundo’s future life and receives further information from Alexandre, “For that reason the diagram of useful trials is drawn up beforehand, much like a student’s work book at a regular school. In view of this, the diagram corresponding to Segismundo has been duly drawn up, taking in consideration the physiological cooperation of his parents, the domestic backdrop and the fraternal assistance that will be given to him by countless friends from this side. So, imagine our friend returning to a school – earth – and in doing so fulfilling a purpose; to acquire new qualities. In order to do this, he will have to submit to the rules of the school, renouncing up to a point the great freedom he used to enjoy in our environment.”
Hearing this, Andre is confused, he believes Alexandre’s description implies a fixed destiny, since a detailed plan is formulated and all external events seemingly factored into the plan. Alexandre corrects him, “Don’t fall into the error assumed by many people. That would imply an obligatory form of spiritual conduct. Of course, individuals are reborn with a relative independence and are sometimes subjected to certain harsher conditions for educational purposes, but such imperative never suppresses the free impulse of the soul in its aim toward advancement, stagnation or fall into lower conditions. There is a plan of spiritually edifying tasks to be fulfilled by spirits who reincarnate, where their guides set the approximate quota of eternal qualities that they are prone to acquire during their transitory existence. The spirit who is returning to the physical realm can either improve this quota and surpass its superior’s predictions by means of its own intensive efforts or it can fall short and go further into debt to its neighbor, scorning the holy opportunities that had been granted it.”
Therefore, we should think of our life like we are at school, a school we can’t possibly escape until we graduate. In that school, we have classes we like and others that we either would rather skip altogether or find extremely boring. In most cases we sit and dread the possibility of being called to answer something. Like all things, the bell eventually rings and we move on to the next class. We don’t have the freedom to leave the school or the classroom for the time allocated to the subject. But we do have the freedom to either raise our hand and answer correctly, with enthusiasm or slink in the back and mutter something, hoping to escape that moment of terror. Guess which one gets you the better grade?
What Can You Do About It?
How should you handle difficult times? Periods of life where nothing seemingly works and there are no ladders to escape? Again, Alexandre gives the answer, “Every plan that is drawn up in the higher spheres has the good and ascension as its basic objectives, and every soul that reincarnates, even one that finds itself in apparent desperate conditions, has resources to continue to improve.” Therefore, first feel certain that you do have the means to successively climb out of whatever problem you are in.
There are two important actions you can accomplish, in any situation, one is to remember the golden rule, the basis of Spiritism, “Do unto others and you would have them do unto you”; in fact go further and actively help others if at all possible. The second is to maintain a positive attitude. In the book, Action and Reaction, again inspired by the spirit Andre Luiz, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, Andre wishes to know how an utterly bad spirit has any chance to improve themselves while they are in a difficult trial on earth. He receives this answer, “Let’s imagine a monstrous criminal who has been segregated in a prison. Accused of many crimes, he has been deprived of any of the freedom he would experience in an ordinary cell. Even in this condition, if he were to use his time in prison to willingly work for the well-being of the authorities and his fellow inmates, accepting with humility and respect the decisions of the law that is used to correct him – such attitude being the result of his free will to help or harm himself – in a short time this prisoner would begin to attract the sympathy of those about him, thus advancing surely toward self-regeneration”.
What we are being told is that the constraints of our fate is of our own making. Certain events and trials we must live through, our only freedom is our attitude and love for others during these times. The less we have to pay for past wrongs, the more freedom we gain to make choices to improve our souls.
For those in the midst of painful trials, pray for help and forgiveness, but above all else maintain a positive outlook and love and care for others. By this you will have paid your debt and exceeded the expectations of those that created your plan.
How to Prepare for Future Trials
How do you build up the required strength to survive future trials? As in school, where there are periods between classes, there are periods between trials. These are the times to learn about Spiritism, participate in charity work and ponder on why you have gone through the occurrences of your life so far. In the book, Action and Reaction, Andre learns about a man who at forty committed suicide. He learns that after years of suffering in the Spirit world, the man is reincarnated. Andre is told that as part of the man’s trials he will have an “overwhelming temptation to commit suicide again at the exact age in which he forsook his responsibilities the previous time”.
So, think carefully when you have great events in your life. Contemplate about how you must have made the wrong decision in a previous existence and what steps you can take to improve. Andre asks how can this unfortunate man resist the lure the second time? He learns that, “If this man has not saved up renewing and educational resources through learning and the practice of fraternity so as to overcome the inevitable crisis, it will be very hard for him to avoid committing suicide again because, despite being reinforced from the outside, temptations have their starting point within us and they feed on what is already there”.
This is not a new trial, but a chance for a retest. If you have studied hard and learned to live with others as you should, you will pass the test. After you live through it, rejoice in the knowledge that you won’t have to live through this type of event ever again.
Our destiny, our course of study in our school on earth, is not supposed to be tranquil, if it was you wouldn’t be able to advance. Take comfort that which you believe are tough lessons are nothing compared to what truly failed spirits must experience. Pray for those who are in the middle of justly difficult lessons and learn to travel through yours with a positive outlook. Graduation from the school of life is indeed shedding of your physical body, which if you fully passed all of your classes could mean you are finished with earthly universities, but at least the reward for good grades in most classes is an even more fascinating life the next time and an exciting and fulfilling job in the Spirit world before its back to the campus.
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.
Kardec, A. (2008). The Gospel According to Spiritism. Brasilia (DF): International Spiritist Council.
Xavier, F. C. (2009). Missionaries of the Light. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.
Xavier, F. C. (2010). Action and Reaction. Brasilia (DF), Brazil: International Spiritist Council.
 KARDEC, Allan. The Gospel According to Spiritism, EDICEI Cap. 5, item 4
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Missionaries of the Light, EDICEI, p. 225
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Missionaries of the Light, EDICEI p. 225
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Missionaries of the Light, EDICEI p. 226
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Missionaries of the Light, EDICEI p. 226
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Action and Reaction, EDICEI p. 88
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Action and Reaction, EDICEI p. 89
 XAVIER, Francisco C. Action and Reaction, EDICEI p. 90