During six years of working part-time in hospitals as a respiratory therapist, I worked with many heartbreaking cases. Little children who were abused to death. Young athletes who one moment were playing football, then later woke up completely paralyzed. A woman who was raped and had her neck slit and left for dead.
People who were shot and others who shot themselves. Stabbings, molestations, falls, horrible burns, and amputations. Sometimes, these patients ended up in vegetative comas with shriveled shells of bodies. I have been present with many people as they died.
In my personal life, dear relatives and friends have suffered and died. Relationships ended and my heart sometimes felt like it would break. Financial losses, broken dreams, physical injuries, emotional pain – I’ve experienced them all.
Welcome to life on planet earth. So much beauty, joy and opportunity. And so much suffering. And yet, even as you encounter difficulties, you don’t have to suffer excessively or for a long time.
A physical experience like this one on earth can be so misleading and cause so much suffering.
That’s why it’s so important to remember there is much more to life than meets the eye. Perceiving more of the greater reality is a primary reason why souls come to a place like this planet. An earth-experience is often fraught with suffering that has the potential to awaken you and create many blessings.
When I was twenty years old, I worked part-time as a respiratory therapist. On one of my first calls to the emergency room, we worked on a five-year-old boy who had been hit by a truck. As we treated him, the story unfolded: he had been walking near his home and was the only child of young parents.
Despite hours of resuscitative care, he died from multiple injuries. In shock, I stumbled out into the hall just in time to see his parents’ faces contort in grief as a doctor told them the news.
I went outside, shook my fist at the sky, and cursed God. How could an all loving, powerful, and knowing God allow a little one to die so tragically? What kind of world was this where innocent children suffer and die and people experience such losses? Afterwards, I entered a period of agnosticism and experienced the emotional pain and confusion that accompany a bleak spiritual perspective.
Over time, this and other difficult events in my life motivated me to search for answers to life’s existential questions, such as: “Who am I? Why am I here? Is there a loving and just God? Why is there so much suffering? What happens after I die?”
You know the questions.
I began a quest to prove to myself whether or not God and life after physical death really exist. After forty years of intense searching, I’ve assembled evidence-based answers to these questions. Here are the answers in a nutshell.
- You are a timeless being of energy, consciousness, light, spirit. You are an integral and forever part of # 3.
- You are briefly here on earth for the rich opportunities for love, service, adventure, growth and enjoyment.
- Life Source is infinitely loving, wise and fair. It’s not a big man in the sky, though.
- You suffer when you forget to view life from a greater reality perspective.For example, that little boy’s tragedy compelled me and, I presume, others to find sensible answers to life’s most difficult questions. Since then, many thousands of people have been helped by my outreaches. Was his death a tragedy or a victory?
- When you die, everything about you – except for your body – continues on in a way you create by the summation of your thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions.
With that foundation, let’s look more deeply into the issue of suffering. There are so many facets to this topic and I will address many of them. You likely will have to read and re-read this article to thoroughly comprehend it. It’s taken me over forty years to synthesize my understandings about suffering.
Change, challenges, and deathcan seem very difficult and scary. Knowing that life continues after physical death doesn’t take away all the pain surrounding death and suffering, but it can lighten it. There’s a huge difference between believing death is a good-bye versus a see you later.
That’s why I do everything I can to share the Scientific Evidence that Life Is Never Ending. This, and much clinical and empirical data, strongly indicates that no one really dies. When you really internalize this great news, your level of fear about suffering and death diminishes.
Native Americans did not have a word for the concept of fear. They knew that life is a day-to-day walk through eternity with Creator. They asked, ‘What of any lasting importance—paralysis, loss of limb, death of a loved one, your own death—is there to fear since we are always walking hand-in-hand with Great Spirit?” When you really understand that life is never-ending, but periodically changing, any perceived suffering lessens. Yes, you may feel sad and shocked for a while, but not nearly to the extent you would if you didn’t have an informed knowing that life and love are forever.
One cause of suffering is an over-identification with aspects of your life that change. For example, if you excessively focus on your body, beauty, and youth, you are setting yourself up to suffer. You will eventually lose everything about yourself that you can see. It’s OK to preferto be healthy and look youthful, but it’s important to let that go when they slip away.
It’s important to primarily identify with your timeless nature, your spirit, consciousness, love. Those things don’t go away or die.
The Buddha was reportedly asked, “Why is there suffering?” He said for two reasons: growth and service. Let’s break that down a bit . . .
1. growth opportunities– suffering provides fertile ground for learning and expanding. When you’re suffering, you are more motivated to seek sensible answers to life’s toughest questions. You are more likely to reach down deep, realize just how strong and wise you are, and grow.
2. service opportunities–one of the people interviewed in the Soul Proofdocumentary had a child die from brain cancer. When he and his wife visited her in the cancer ward, they would often find her comforting and counseling other adults and children. Her suffering allowed her to serve others in ways that would not have been possible if she were healthy. Her story continues to reach and inspire others.
It’s very difficult when a child dies. But it’s important to consider that, even though a child might be young in earth years, that soul could be an advanced soul. As such, she didn’t need to take a long earthly curriculum. That’s why the title to my Q & A in the Helping Parents Healnewsletter is: “Evolved Souls Don’t Need Long Earthly Lives.”
It’s also important to remember that five or even ninety-five years on earth is just a blink of an eye in the span of eternity.
Purported teachings of the Buddha are also instructive in this matter. To paraphrase: ‘You want to know what a human incarnation is like? Observe ocean waves breaking. Notice the drops of water that shoot up into the air for a moment and then fall back into the water. That’s how transient a human life is.’ This perspective helps us realize how time-limited a human incarnation – and any associated suffering – really is.
It’s also important to consider that you, as a soul, may have volunteered to possibly go through tough times. It makes a big difference when you realize that suffering is not arbitrarily forced on you by an arbitrary or dictatorial God. To learn more, visit SoulProof.comand read article #25: Did My Soul REALLY Plan All This?
You can also look more deeply into this possibility by using my Pre-Birth Planningtechnique that uses deep relaxation / hypnosis and visualization.
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Many questions about suffering fade away when you consider reports that all creation is One. From this perhaps most absolute way of viewing reality, it’s all good, it’s all God. There is no separation. As J.D. Salinger’s awakening character in the short story Teddy realized as he watched his little sister drinking milk, it was like God watching God drinking God.
People sometimes wrestle with questions about suffering because:
- They are experiencing an existential malaise. Their soul designed a life to serve others but they don’t know where to start. My product Ask Your Soulmay help you look within for wise answers about how you can serve. You also might consider co-facilitating a Greater Reality Living Groupin your area or attending online meetings.
- They are personally suffering. If so, see Heal & Transform Your Suffering
- They are very sensitive. If this is the case, see article #23 Are You or a Loved One a Sensitive or Empath?
- They can only comprehend a tiny fraction of the greater reality. Scientific measurements provide the following metaphor. If all the light and energy – the most fundamental description of reality – in our world were the size of Mt. Everest, the average human can only perceive the size of a golfball.
Here are some action steps you can take to deal with this:
- Devour the SoulProof.com website. Listen to the free Radio Shows (top tab) where I discuss “Why is there so much suffering?” and other pertinent topics with eleven top consciousness experts. Read the Foundational Articles for Healing and Transforming especially #10, 12, and 25.2. Use the Holistic Breathing CD or digital audio product three times a week for several weeks, then twice per week, and gradually less as you release all of the old wounds, negative emotions, and pain. Let your self cry, yell, pound the bed, and massage areas of the body that call to you.
- Read the booksGreater Reality Livingand Soul Proof.
To handle significant suffering, you will need to make changes and need allies. Follow up on the steps recommended in article #12. I strongly recommend personalized nutritional healing (unsinc.info for Nutrition Response Testing; icakusa.com for Applied Kinesiology), help from supportive family and friends, and attending an enlightened church with an open-minded, and loving service focus.
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Millennia ago, most humans understandably had a difficult time comprehending the vastness of life. They did the best they could, but only had their five senses with which to collect data. As such, they had a very narrow view of reality. They devised stories in an attempt to make sense of what was going on. Those stories were passed down through the ages.
From these limited perspectives, what could be seen was really realwhile everything else was imaginary(from a materialism viewpoint) or spiritual(from a religious standpoint.) Events such as catastrophes, illness and death were thought to be controlled by a huge powerful being in the sky. Every effort was made to placate this deity in hopes of avoiding bad things.
Elaborate rituals and belief systems were devised in an attempt to figure out how to have good weather, victory over enemies, enough to eat, and survival after death. Unbelievably, many of their archaic and erroneous beliefs are still held today by those with very conservative beliefs and non-inquiring minds.
Similarly, your worldview may have been based upon only what you could detect with your five senses. It’s as though you have been peering through a small pinhole in an otherwise impenetrable wall. The limited view was all you could see, so you believed that was all there is. From that perspective, you may have mistakenly thought that:
- This earthly life is a chaotic, senseless, and fearful time full of suffering.
- You could make mistakes that would result in – you guessed it – more suffering, but this time for eternity and where it was really hot.
- When your physical body died, that’s it, end of story.
- If there is an afterlife, your departed loved ones know nothing until a distant resurrection. Or, alternately, they are a zillion miles away in the sky somewhere.
- Any Higher Power, if one really existed, was distant and separate from you. He – always a guy in patriarchal societies – was to be feared and appeased
- Earth is here while the spirit world is up there somewhere.A veil or dividing line separates these two realms.
The list of misunderstandings, that has greatly affected the quality and quantity of so many humans, goes on and on.
Fortunately, there is much more to life than meets the eye. The beliefs listed above are the result of a limited golf ball perspective versus a more complete Mt. Everest view. Today, you can benefit from contemporary evidence and strategies for enlarging your understanding of reality. These show that the same energy and intelligence that created and sustains all life exists within you.
Put another way, you are a special and fundamental part of All That Is. Life is, most fundamentally, comprised of energy and light that is periodically changing, but never ending. And that’s what you really are—an indestructible being of energy, light, consciousness, spirit.
It may take awhile to wrap your head around all this but, after you do, you will become much more clear that life is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. And that worldview, my friends, results in much less suffering, no matter what is going on around you.
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There are many potential blessings amidst suffering.
Ted, a long-time patient of mine, passed on after suffering horribly with lung cancer due to many years of smoking cigarettes. His wife Elizabeth was a salt-of-the-earth Christian woman whom I had known for many years and trusted completely. She told me about a unique experience that happened after she prayed for a sign that Ted was at peace.
In the first spring after Ted’s burial, the family planted flowers by his grave and videotaped the scenery. As soon as they arrived at the grave site, a sparrow flew to Ted’s monument and perched there, cocking its head and looking intently at the family.
Elizabeth remarked that it seemed as though the sparrow were trying to tell them something or that perhaps Ted’s soul was communicating through the bird. Throughout their visit, the same sparrow continued to chirp and hop on the grave stone. The family excitedly videotaped the bird with the idea of showing it to other family members.
When they played the tape at home, however, there was the grave site, grass, trees, family members, and flowers – but no sparrow! They considered this anomaly to be a sign from Ted. This story also corroborates reports that spirit beings are difficult to capture on film.
Illness, disability, broken relationships, financial loss, unhappy or nonexistent jobs, unfulfilled dreams, cruelty, and injustice. At times, they are part and parcel of life. And that doesn’t include your own death or that of your family and friends already
When my younger daughter graduated from high school, one after another of the smiling students received their diplomas, exuberant about finishing their lessons.
I knew the inside story of some of these students. There was Melinda, whose mother crossed over a few years before after a rare infection. Chad, whose father recently passed on after a heart attack. Megan, just out of the hospital after exploratory surgery and a possible battle with cancer ahead.
There was Brandi, whose parents divorced when she was little, and Ruth, whose parents were waiting until the graduation parties were over to separate. Tom was adopted and never knew his biological parents.
Amy, who was wheelchair bound because of spina bifida, had to be pushed across the rough ground at this outdoor graduation. During the ceremony, she glanced down at her pale shriveled legs several times and covered them with her gown—maybe to shield them from the sun, maybe out of self-consciousness.
Welcome to life on planet earth. So difficult, bittersweet and scary at times. So rich and wonderful at others. So full of opportunities for growth and service, especially when confronted with challenges and suffering.
I discuss life’s challenges in an attempt to help those who are suffering to see past the pain. Difficulties can definitely become blessings for those who look for the silver linings. As the saying goes, “When one door closes, another opens—but it can be hell in the hallway for a while!” Growth through adversity is not easy, but it’s possible. To enjoy optimal lives, remember that change does not equal loss.
Over the past forty-five years of serving many thousands of people in hospitals, mental health centers, and holistic private practice, I’ve seen an immense amount of hardship. I and many others understandably ask: “Why is there so much suffering?”
Here are a few general comments on this big question.
In answer to the question about why there is so much suffering in life, the Buddha is reported to have answered, “It’s none of your business.” Chew on that one for a while and don’t forget to bring your sense of humor.
His comment addresses the fact that life is full of mystery and a spiritually awakening person wouldn’t have it any other way.
Struggling with the unknown is part of what draws spirits to this physical dimension. You can grow the most quickly and profoundly when your life isn’t working, when you’re at rock bottom, and when the crap hits the fan. That’s when you ask important questions and search for sensible answers.
Also, realize that time isn’t absolutely real and is largely a human construct. Your life on earth, long as it might seem, is only a blink of an eye in the span of eternity. So remember that your suffering is only for a very short while.
Next, recall that you are an indestructible being of energy. Your real self can’t die. Yes, I know it doesn’t appear that way from a human perspective, but consider that the sun seems to disappear when it sets. Your energy body, personality, memories – everything about you except for your physical shell – continues on after bodily death just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.
Finally, consider the possibility that you—as a soul—chose life’s biggest challenges as a way to increasingly grow and serve others more fully. Much evidence suggests this is so. As such, why not embrace all of life’s experiences—not just the easy or fun ones— with faith, courage and style?
Difficult as it may seem from a purely earthly perspective, it appears that our infinite selves sometimes volunteer to possibly experience difficult events. Adventurous souls welcome challenging opportunities since they clearly know from their greater reality perspective that tough times can build spiritual muscles. To learn more about this important topic, read article #25: Did My Soul REALLY Choose All This? Audio product Pre-Birth Planningis for use at home; available under Shop at SoulProof.com.
Here’s one way to look at it. Would you hang by your thumbs for a minute if that saved the life of a child? How about ten minutes to save ten children? An hour to save sixty? Nearly everyone answers ‘yes’ to each of these questions. It’s easy to see how your temporary suffering would be well worth the benefits.
Well, my friends, the growth and blessings – even if you can’t fathom them now – created by your suffering can be beyond your greatest imagination. And that is precisely my highest recommendation to you whether you are suffering greatly or not: focus on serving others and become the very best version of you that you can. Those two goals will create a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment no matter how difficult your life is.
However, there are more peaceful and pleasant ways to learn than through suffering. You do not necessarily have to suffer to learn important lessons. When your predominate energies are love, peace, joy, gratitude, and enthusiasm, you can attract more of the same into each aspect of your life.
Being more accepting and peaceful about the difficult events in life allows us to better learn the accompanying lessons. Yes, by all means, set goals and have dreams. But when unexpected outcomes occur, be flexible and trusting enough to roll with the punches and keep your eyes open for the hidden blessings.
Life is exquisitely designed to deliver just what you need for optimal loving, growth and service, not what our egos want. This wisdom is reflected in the prayer, Thy will, not mine, oh Lord. A person awakening to life’s bigger picture acknowledges that there is always a greater wisdom and meaning operative in the universe – even in the midst of tragedy.
I know it’s easier said than done, but it can be done. You’re not alone. A magnificent Love, Power, and Intelligence literally guides and assists you throughout eternity. One suggestion is to daily pray for clarity, peace and courage. Then sit quietly for fifteen minutes, breathe slowly and deeply, and listen with your heart. Over time, you’ll likely find the answers you seek.
May this evidence enlighten and lighten today and every day as you sojourn through eternity knowing who you are: a forever being having a variety of experiences – some fun, some not so fun – but all important.
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A wealth of evidence indicates that you are always ministered to by angels, especially during tragedies. Some people don’t believe in angelic assistance because the obvious question inevitably arises, “If angels assist some people, why don’t they help everyone in distress?” My understanding regarding this excellent question includes:
- Angels do not impose their will on others. If people insist on making poor decisions, that’s their choice.
- We first need to ask for assistance, and then realize it may not always arrive how, when, and where we expect it.
- We will never know how often we are helped. Assistance may be undetectable and preventive.
- Souls may have chosen significant challenges to assist growth and angels wouldn’t interfere with this plan.
- This planet is designed to be a place of intense learning. If angels intervened and stopped all suffering, the lessons would be negated.
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Change is one of the few things you can always count on in life. Having a strong foundation of faith and knowledge about the nature of reality helps you skate through challenges that inevitably occur. Well established roots help you bend, not break, when winds of change become fierce.
Yesterday, one of my neighbor’s trees blew over. His huge pine tree was in a low area that collected water. As such, it didn’t have to put down deep roots. When strong winds came along, it fell over.
Have you ever felt like you’ve fallen over? If so, did you learn lessons that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Living into middle-age and senior years brings a predictable sequence of changes: outward physical changes such as grey hair and baldness, bodily degeneration, children and grandchildren growing up, and much more. And that doesn’t count major changes that we’ve already discussed such as relationship breakups, major financial losses, serious illness, disability, and – oh, yes – physical death.
Coping with even relatively minor changes that accompany life is not easy. When my younger daughter went away to college, my heart ached as I saw her empty room and didn’t see her in front of the bathroom mirror for hours. For years, I had eagerly anticipated sleeping in instead of fixing her breakfast and helping her off to school, but now I missed it.
Wrinkles, skin spots, white hair and baldness are all too familiar as my physical body odometer approaches sixty-five. Hair growth around my ears, nose, and eyebrows is particularly robust. I can usually laugh about it since I so strongly identify with my timeless essence. But these changes are occasionally still tough to encounter. Recently while driving, I glanced in the rearview mirror and thought: “That looks like my grandpa.” Then I cringed when I realized it was me.
Parenthetically, feeling young inside despite outward aging is, I believe, due to the fact that your real self does not age. Your consciousness is immortal even though it is housed in a mortal package.
Changes that accompany aging cause you to look at life differently than when you were youthful. Once you’ve discovered your true nature—as a magnificent and imperishable energetic being—you can better withstand the winds of life’s challenges. You can use knowledge about the greater reality to remain peaceful and happy despite outward changes.
Handling life’s changes in style results in greater patience, love, wisdom and other priceless attributes that become who you are. These qualities are well worth the price and bring you closer to realizing your oneness with All That Is.
You may have wondered why there’s so much suffering and why Creator would allow it.
Simply put, people – you and me– have caused much of that suffering by lower energy thoughts, words, and deeds toward themselves and others. Some is created by buying into the illusion of physicality and death. You predictably suffer when you forget who you are and that your real self cannot be hurt and does not die. Finally, suffering is caused when you have strong attachments to outcomes versus preferences. The river flows.
That’s why you suffer while going through perfectly safe and natural life cycle-induced changes. Sure, it’s natural to feel a little nostalgic and bittersweet at times. However, the more you awaken to life’s big picture, the less easy it is to get knocked off center.
The second part of the question—why a Higher Power would allow it—is easy: you have free will. You’re not a puppet on a string or an automaton. If everything were set up perfectly – whether you like it or not – there would be no room for choice, experimentation or exploration. You would essentially be a robot since there would be no alternatives from which to choose.
Life is a lot like watching a series of plays or movies, remember? You would get bored watching the same movie every day. In much the same way, you spend eternity going through a series of experiences that expose you to the richness and diversity of life. When one episode is over, you can co-create and experience countless others if you want to. Or you can chill and hang out for awhile.
Finally, life’s challenges build spiritual muscles—much like weight-lifting. If your earthly experience has been like mine, some of your most important lessons occurred after suffering took you out of your comfort zone. When life is easy, you don’t have to stretch and search like you do when confronted with intense struggles. How much strength would you develop if you went to the gym and the other athletes said, “Take it easy today and have a seat. We’ll do the lifting.” It’s the same way in life.
Remembering this will help you enjoy the show and keep it all in perspective—no matter what minor or major transitions you may face.
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My home is nestled among the trees on five acres with a pond, hills and many critters. Bluebirds, flitting about with their bright colors, are one of my favorite; I put five bird boxes up to encourage their stay. One spring, I noticed them building a nest in one box and kept an eye on it: first a well-made nest, then two small eggs, and later, the mother sitting on the eggs. After a bad storm, I discovered the roof had blown off the box. My heart sank as I saw two lifeless baby birds in the nest.
At first, I was angry at myself for not devising a more secure lid. Then I felt momentary anger toward Creator: what kind of world is this where precious little ones pass on before they get a chance to fly? Asleep at the wheel again, O’ Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient One?
And then I remembered.
I remembered newer and more sensible images of Source that have emerged from the collective evidence. One Mind is not a big man in the sky who controls all events: “I’ll smite this one, save this one, a miracle for her, a disappointment for him.”
I recalled the wealth of reports that the Light is a life-force, a power, a supreme intelligence and energy that creates, sustains, and pervades all life. This phenomenon is an unfathomable depth of love, peace, joy, and creativity. The Ground of All Being is all and is in all. That includes you and me and those baby birds.
Having remembered, I gently scooped their shriveled bodies out and recycled those physical vehicles that their life force had abandoned. I cleaned out the box to prepare it for the next family. I breathed deeply, recalling once again how exquisitely and perfectly designed this earthly experience is for loving, service, adventure, growth and enjoyment.
Although we are energetically immortal, our physical bodies are not.
This distinction is so very important. Some people reject any notion of Infinite Intelligence because of all the suffering they see about them. I remember counseling one man who said he used to attend church every week, taught Sunday School, prayed daily, studied the Bible, and had a great personal relationship with Creator.
Then his young son died. Years later, he was a bitter atheist and scoffed at any idea of a Higher Power.
It’s important to realize that the Ground of All Being doesn’t make anyone, especially children, graduate from earth school at a certain time. Good evidence suggests that we live in a free will universe in which everyone gets to choose their time of coming and going. This makes sense and answers the mournful question, “Why did God take my little baby?” To this question, well-meaning ministers have variously answered: “He works in mysterious ways.” Or, “The child was used by the Lord to save lost souls.” Or, my personal least favorite, “God wanted to be with your little one.”
Needless to say, these answers are not satisfying to those in the midst of grief, especially those who think for themselves. In each of those answers, Life Source becomes a puppeteer or capricious dictator who mandates every detail of human existence despite the immense pain and suffering caused.
To be fair, pastors in the past did not have the wealth of evidence assembled in Soul Proof. As such, they could only offer their faith and what they had been taught. Faith and religious instruction are important, but much more so when paired with sensible and evidence-based knowledge.
If you create your reality – whether consciously or unconsciously – and thus choose the possibility of major events, it doesn’t make sense to complain about anything. That would be like ordering a meal at a restaurant and then complaining about which foods were served.
By the way, the prebirth planningmodel does not imply determinism since you can change your mind, make mistakes, or veer from the blueprint. Ideally, you choose wisely and live in alignment with Life Source, but you don’t have to. You need only read the daily news to know that.
Expanding our concept of the Source is critical for understanding the recurring theme that everyone is a “saved” soul who automatically inherits eternity. That’s just the way life is set up. When you view E.L.G.O.D. as a judgmental and wrathful fellow, you fall prey to erroneous and limiting images. With this model, an eternal hell is a possibility and you wonder whether you’ll fry forever or be annihilated after death.
A more comprehensive and accurate understanding of All That Is makes such fears ludicrous. When you really grasp how loving, forgiving, and understanding One Mind is, any questions about salvation and eternal life seem silly. You are part and parcel of the Source. How can you ever really be apart from It?
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A cyclical system of lifetimes is one way I can understand the paradox of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Creator and the multitude of sufferings on earth. Life Source allows freedom of choice even when your choices, or those of others, result in suffering. Earthly suffering that seems to last so long exists for only a blink of an eye when compared to the span of eternity. A greater knowledge of your immortality helps you make better decisions about right living.
The statement “we all are created equal” is a cruel joke from a purely earthly perspective since a great and seemingly unjust array of inequities exists. From a greater reality viewpoint, however, each person is created equal as an indestructible being of energy that is inseparable from Creator. Only from this perspective can earthly events make sense.
For example, if this life is all there is, what about criminals and societal offenders who get off scot-free? What about those who don’t seem to get a fair shake: children who cross over at a young age, the mentally retarded, addicts, and those who suffer greatly? If there is only this one chance on earth, justice clearly does not always prevail and many people have a valid grievance.
While we’re examining apparent injustices, are we really to believe that our short lives on earth determine our fate forever? That those relatively few years—with all the confusion, pain, imbalance, temptation, fear, and ignorance on earth—determine whether we frolic in heaven or roast in hell for eternity? An all loving and wise Creator can surely do better than that. CLEs are the great equalizer that explain apparent human injustices and other existential quandaries.
Of life’s seeming inequities, Rev. James D. Freeman said, “The only reasonable way I can explain this, unless I believe the whole thing has no meaning and is an accident, is to believe in reincarnation… because I believe in God and believe that He’s love and intelligence, I also believe I’m growing to be the spiritual being He made me to be. I have lived before and I will live again. My life is what it is now because of what I was in former lives, and my future life will be what it will be because of what I am now… To me it’s the only way you can make this life make sense.”
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I conducted a survey on the most pressing questions about life, death and afterlife. Among the hundreds of responses were many why questions: “Why would God let anyone burn in hell forever? Why did He take my little child? Why does God allow so much injustice on earth? Why can’t I discover what my mission in life is? Why do I feel so confused and hopeless about helping others?”
Most responses contained heart-rending details that reflected the immense struggle and suffering behind their questions.
I’ll come back to these excellent questions, but first I have a question for you.
What if there were a sign by a roller coaster ride: ‘All who ride on this will die. In addition, most of you will also burn afterward forever.’
Would you want to go on such a ride? Of course not. Yet, ridiculous as it sounds, this represents a common teaching about what a Creator of unfathomable wisdom and love plans for Its creation. No wonder so many people are confused about or want nothing to do with religion. It’s not a mystery why so many are grappling with fear, guilt and disempowerment.
On the other hand, what if the sign said: ‘Everyone who goes on this rollercoaster will complete the ride safely and securely. There will, however, be some thrills and chills along the way. It may be a little scary at times as you go through ups and downs along the tracks. But don’t worry. All of you will arrive safely and be more courageous and wise for the experience.’
The latter description is a fairly accurate one for the roller coaster ride called life on planet earth. In fact, it’s a beautiful analogy for the enlightened perspective that emerges when you realize the unseen energetic matrix that is the foundation of all life.
Now back to the questions. Based on the nine categories of evidence, much light is shed on these justifiable concerns.
1.Why would God let anyone burn in hell forever
First, much evidence indicates there is no such thing as a fiery eternal hell
Regarding why One Mind would allow this or that, the more we personify Source Energy, the less we clearly understand It. The questions above imply a controlling Ruler who needs anger management training, a big guy in the sky who decides minute details about every aspect of life
The Power and Presence that created and sustains all life isn’t a puppet master that constantly pulls strings affecting our lives: ‘This one dies, this one lives, I’ll allow this one to suffer but not that one’ and so on.
2. Why did He take my child?
Same answer about the nature of Life Source. As for children passing on, that can be horribly painful and seem unbearably tragic. I’m not minimizing that. However, everyone— including little children—are immortal beings of energy.
Maybe they were old souls and didn’t have to stay on earth for long before their missions were accomplished. Perhaps they volunteered – out of love – to suffer in hopes of awakening people about what we are doing to our bodies and our planet. There are many possible reasons why the souls of little children would change worlds.
The words in this question are inaccurate. That’s why, historically, few have been able to satisfactorily answer it.
3. Why does God allow so much injustice on earth?
Ditto about the nature of Creator. The injustices only seem that way when you look at a small slice of life instead of the entire pie. Eternity is a very long time; justice is always served even though it may not seem that way in this short earthly experience. The principles of karma reflect the way the universe works; you reap what you sow, inexorably.
4. Why can’t I know what my mission in life is? and… (5.) Why do I feel so confused hopeless about helping others?
These are essentially the same question. Remember the first roller-coaster sign? Feeling confused and disempowered is a predictable consequence of believing life is set up that way.
As such, one key is to pray and meditate to get in touch with that still small voice within. Then examine your heart and inner wisdom to decide for yourself what makes sense. There are many different religious doctrines about the nature of Creator, salvation, and the greater reality. They can’t all be right. What feels most true to you.
Enjoying a personal relationship with Great Spirit in an atmosphere of safety and trust is a prerequisite for clearly knowing your life purpose. When you know that life’s roller coasters are totally safe, you can better discern your roles and enjoy the ride. Review Benefit # 4 about how to identify your soul’s purpose and best serve others.
Knowing that living and dying are completely safe, fair and purposeful allows you to face each day—no matter what your outer circumstances—with faith, courage, clarity, and style.
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Viktor E. Frankl, M.D., Ph.D., survivor of Nazi death camps and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, termed this enhanced perspective as supra-meaning. He asked whether an ape used in research to develop polio serum would grasp the meaning of its suffering. Only from a human perspective could the ape understand why its veins were punctured for blood samples.
Then Frankl stated, “And what about man? Are you sure that the human world is a terminal point in the evolution of the cosmos? Is it not conceivable that there is still another dimension possible, a world beyond man’s world; a world in which the question of an ultimate meaning of human suffering would find an answer?”
During a Life Between Lives (LBL) regression, one woman recalled a past life on earth and the time after that in the really real place. During the earthly life, she was plagued by one disappointment after another. Her life seemed to be a series of failures, broken dreams, sadness, and loneliness.
However, when she passed on, she found that these hardships had prepared her for a particularly demanding role on the other side: helping recently arrived souls who had been abused to death as babies. Her earthly struggles had strengthened her spirit and deepened her compassion sufficiently to serve in that demanding way. So, you tell me, was her earthly suffering worth it?
Rev. Geraldine, a dear friend who recently passed on in her late seventies, is another example of how a rocky start can transform your life for the better. Raped by a family member at age fifteen, she became pregnant and her family threw her out on the streets. Thus began a long and difficult path that led to her becoming a superb minister, speaker and healer. While speaking to a group shortly before her death, she said she wouldn’t change events during her teens if she could because that adversity allowed her to help so many people over her lifetime.
In my work with thousands and thousands of people in hospitals, mental health centers, private practice and workshops, I’ve witnessed many amazing personal transformations. I’ve seen hardened people whose hearts I thought would never open in this lifetime change into loving, angel-like beings as a result of suffering. This strengthens my belief that life makes perfect sense when you look at the big picture.
One example was Harold, a bear of a man who suffered with severe emphysema after many years of smoking. He was very demanding and belligerent during his increasingly frequent hospitalizations and most hospital staff disliked working with him. Over a two-year period, however, I noticed him slowly but surely changing. At first, he started saying thank you and making small signs of civility. Then he opened up and shared how difficult it was to miss out on activities he loved such as fishing, hunting and breathing.
Later, as his condition worsened, he cried and apologized for what a mean SOB he used to be. Gradually, a peace and acceptance overcame him. Toward the end, he was like an angel and he mercifully passed on. Although he suffered greatly, his transformation was impressive.
You don’t have to suffer to grow spiritually. By all means, do everything you can to be totally successful: healthy, happy, prosperous, enlightened, peaceful, enjoying loving relationships, and contributing meaningful life work. But when life serves up a challenging curve ball, remember that it’s all good. The blessings may not be obvious now, but they will be some day. Keep taking your best swings and know that you’ll never get cut from Life’s team. It’s just a matter of time before you knock some pitches out of the park.
Remember, you are an immortal soul who is having a very temporary earthly experience. Being on this planet isn’t easy at times, but it offers invaluable opportunities for loving, service, adventure, growth and enjoyment. When you remember this, you can fully live each day with purpose, power, and enthusiasm.
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I love squirrels. They are beautiful, quick and playful. I admire their ability to walk on high wires and jump from limb to limb. Recently, our two cats were chasing each other in circles and a squirrel saw them and joined in. Around and around they went until one of them realized that they weren’t all cats and the game was over.
A few weeks later while mowing, I found a squirrel lying in the grass. It was alive and its eyes were open but it seemed paralyzed. I covered the squirrel with a box and gave it a few hours to snap back but it continued to be immobile. It was just a matter of time before a cat or dog found it, so I quickly put the little guy / gal out of its misery.
Last week, a patient told me about her eighty-year-old dad who has been in a nursing home for ten years because of severe dementia and a long list of serious health problems. His blood pressure dropped severely and, surprise, they coded him and rushed him to the local hospital ICU. Now he’s back in the nursing home, same as before.
We wouldn’t let an animal—a dog, cat or squirrel—suffer like that. Why are humans subjected to life-sustaining interventions when the quality of life is clearly over? And why isn’t euthanasia—which means good death—option available for those who are hopelessly ill and ready to move on? Here are a few reasons:
- A deep fear of deaththat makes some people do just about anything to hold on, even when life’s quality is gone
- An over-emphasis among health care providerson saving lives irrespective of quality of life issues. Well-meaning doctors and nurses sometimes see death as an enemy, a failure, and something to be fought off at any cost
- Money. Lots and lots of money is made by keeping people alive and needing expensive diagnostic tests and treatment. U.S. health care industry costs are over $3 trillionper year. About 30 percent of Medicare expenditures are spent on medical treatment during the last year of life. This is literally breaking the U.S. financially. Would we handle this situation differently if more people really knew about the certainty of afterlife and demanded sane health care?
- A disconnect between bioethics and medical technologyadvances. Just because we cansave people in advanced stages of decline doesn’t mean we should. People should have the choice to say when enough is enough.
- Religious doctrinesbecause the time of dying is considered God’s domain. However, what about the injudicious use of medical technology that prolongs the time of dyingby resuscitating decrepit bodies. Is that God’s will? What about using antibiotics to keep a hopelessly ill and very old person in a nursing home from dying of pneumonia. God’s will again?
When my eighty-year-old dad was dying from leukemia, he had a “no code” and DNR (do not resuscitate) order in his chart. Yet, when his blood pressure dropped severely in the middle of the night at the hospital, the nurses called his doctor who ordered medications to raise it. Might this practice have more to do with profit than caring about a patient’s wishes and suffering? Dad suffered greatly in the final week before passing on and his “health care” bills were exorbitant.
When I worked in hospitals, I saw resuscitative efforts performed on numerous people who should have been allowed to die with dignity. One example was a ninety-three year-old man who had heart, kidney, and lung failure. He also had metastatic cancer and had lost two limbs to diabetes.
Over the years, I’ve heard about many more stories like this. Ask someone who works at a hospital how traumatizing these resuscitative efforts are to the patient. What a way to spend the last hours of ones’ earth-experience. For those who survive but are worse off for it, visit a nursing home to see “the rest of the story,” the poor souls who were resuscitated without good judgment.
What is most natural, right and soulful regarding this issue?
Clearly, the time to die should be a person’s choiceand not a policy mandated by churches, government, or big business. Fiercely independent baby boomers are aging and dying. Maybe our “do your thing” generation will make it happen.
Effective ways for those who are ready to transition should be legal and available from compassionate physicians. People shouldn’t have to kill themselves by crude methods that sometimes don’t work. Years ago, an elderly minister and his wife—both facing imminent and irreversible declines in physical health and memory—chose to die and had to use carbon monoxide poisoning to do so. When ones’ health has deteriorated severely and there is no reasonable chance of improvement, there should be the choice of a quick and painless death without shame or social stigma.
Knowing that you are a forever being can shape how you live for the better. For example, current religious teachings, social mores, and laws make it difficult for aged and severely ill people to transition when they feel it’stime.
The shift toward having the right to die will happen when enough people demand it. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the disease care industry to spearhead it; there’s too much money at stake. And don’t wait for churches to bless it; many are too saddled with ancient dogmas to know what is soulful in these situations. Forget about the politicians; someone cries “they’re trying to kill granny!” and concern about votes outweighs public needs.
Who does that leave? The individual.
Again, the guiding question is: how would we handle end-of-life issues if we really knew—without a doubt—that our real selves are deathless, timeless, eternal?
Talk with your attorney and family members about this now. Create a living willwith clear instructions to not be resuscitated if a sustained quality of life is not likely. Talk with others about this topic at church and groups. Now that we know that death is nothing to fear, surely we can approach this stage of life with a little more common sense and dignity.
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Consider this way of looking at suffering. Would you volunteer to hang by your thumbs for 10 seconds if it greatly increased your patience and compassion? How about for a minute if it would save a child’s life? Would you hang by your thumbs for an hour if it created lasting world peace? When I survey groups, most people answer: yes, yes, and yes.
The collective evidence indicates that we, as souls, freely choose temporary difficulties for the long-term benefits. From an enlightened perspective, some pain and sadness are well worth increased spiritual growth and service to others. A paralyzed person learns many lessons that a fully mobile person wouldn’t. Blind people “see” life differently because of their impaired vision. Intense challenges can motivate us to reach deep within and learn important lessons that we couldn’t otherwise.
Rabbi Weiner, authority on the Jewish Kabbalah, states: “It is said that before a person is born, he carries a light on his head which enables him to see from one end of creation to the other. Perhaps that means he is given a full picture, a preview of all the things that are going to happen to him in life ahead… Then he is told that he must choose, for choice is always one of man’s sacred gifts from the Creator, and the final choice is his. If, then, the answer is ‘yes’—the Angel of Forgetfulness touches him on the center of the upper lip, he forgets everything he saw, and he is born.”
When patients tell me that a loved one is dying, I remind them that earth is not our only home. We’re only visiting here for a short while, a nanosecond amidst eternity. Life on earth allows various experiences—some fun, some not so fun—but all perfect opportunities for service, adventure, growth and enjoyment. Sage training, remember?
I know this is a tough one to wrap your head and heart around. The most difficult test of this higher perspective is when a child suffers and dies.
In How Can I Help?Ram Dass and Paul Gorman share a powerfully instructive story about the great Tibetan teacher Marpa: “One day, Marpa’s eldest son was killed. Off by himself, alone with his grief, Marpa wept. One of his students approached him and said, ‘I don’t understand. You teach that all this is illusion, created by the clinging and desire and resistance. Yet here you are weeping. If all this is illusion, why do you grieve so deeply?’ Marpa replied, ‘Yes, everything here is illusion. And the death of a child is the greatest of these illusions.’”
There is nothing that can be said or done to take away all of the grief when a little one passes. The sadness lessens over time, but I’ve interviewed adults who still mourn for their departed children 50 years later. That’s intense pain.
And yet, even this appears to have a greater purpose and reason for being. Parents whose little ones have died often say there was something different about their children, a look in their eyes, a wisdom beyond their years that made them seem like advanced souls.
Before they become ill and die, some children express an urgency to experience life fully, as if they somehow know their years on earth are limited. They sometimes draw pictures of flying up into the sky and being greeted by angels. They talk about going home and don’t mean their physical houses.
These youngsters often say or do things that are unusually mature for children of that age. The parents of Lauren, an eight year-old girl who died of cancer, said that she went from room to room in the hospital and cheered up other older patients.
Now, how many eight year olds do that? Sometimes, if you remain alert, you can see the meaning and beauty behind suffering.
Parents also receive visits from their departed children during dreams or while awake. These after death contacts (ADCs) are experienced by 75 percent of parents whose children pass on.
Recently, a mother of a young soldier who died in Iraq wrote me. After his death, she vividly dreamt she was talking to him. During the day, she momentarily glimpsed him in her peripheral vision. She had no knowledge about ADCs and thought she was losing her mind. Then she read Soul Proofand was greatly comforted and reassured that she would reunite with him someday.
Perhaps those who die young have completed their earthly lessons and get to graduate sooner than the rest of us. Maybe they only needed to take a few classes, not the entire K – 12 curricula.
Tony Robbins teaches that the quality of our lives is directly affected by the quality of the questions we ask. So, instead of asking why there’s so much suffering, perhaps a better question is: “How can I remain spiritually awakened during difficult times?”
The answer to that question may sound deceptively simple at first: cultivate an unshakable inner knowledge that you are an infinite being living in a totally supportive universe and live accordingly.
Confucius said, “Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.”
Pictures of the Buddha show a look of equanimity, an understanding of how life is. His grin has been called “the smile of unbearable compassion.”
Similarly, you can feel the pain and cry the tears as you experience changes that are part of a human existence. At the same time, however, you can remain awakened through it all and know it’s OK. This is the cosmic perspective that helps you live with peace, purpose and enthusiasm—no matter what is going on around you.
Forty-five years ago, I worked with many suffering and dying people but seeing children go through that was the toughest. From a more cosmic viewpoint, their death had many important meanings. They motivated me, and others I presume, to seek sensible answers to questions about death and suffering. Through my writing and teaching, many people have been touched by their stories. I’m sure there was even more meaning to their life and death. All of that is a pretty impressive impact for soul that spent just a few years on earth.
Thank God that we can grow and learn even during difficulties and tragedies. Remember your transcendent nature, live accordingly, and notice how the universe seems infinitely more hopeful, fair and safe—even amidst suffering.
One way to minimize suffering is to increasingly identify with your timeless nature. Time doesn’t really exist in an absolute way. It’s useful for functioning on this physical plan but, in reality, infinity has no beginning and no end. One hundred years on this planet is a mere fraction of a second in the span of eternity.
Hinduism speaks of the illusion that physicality is all there is. If you believe you’re only a physical being, you suffer and worry needlessly—especially when sickness and tragedy occur. As you awaken spiritually, you increasingly recall that your true nature is metaphysical, that is, beyond the physical. Remembering that you are an enduring being of energy will help you weather life’s tempests without suffering grievously. Then you can enjoy each day with a foundation of granite, not shifting sand.
Another key to living without excess suffering is to recognize that all learning experiences on earth present possibilities for transformation. Avoid preconceived expectations of how things will be since that sets you up for disappointment. Be open to life’s inevitable changes since, paradoxically, change is one of the few constants in life.
Think upon these things. Read the free articles listed and listen to the free radio shows. Use the recommended products that seem right for you. Take time to meditate and enjoy nature. Talk with close friends, family, and trusted advisors. See what insights emerge. I hope that you will discover more peace, understanding, clarity, wisdom, joy, and acceptance.
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Thank you for sharing this article with others who can use it. I hope this article and associated action steps will help you feel more happy, healthy, peaceful, clear, and energetic. You deserve to feel that way and the world needs your greatest gifts.
Life and love are forever. Shall we live accordingly?
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, master’s clinical psychologist, holistic chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and webinar / workshop facilitator. He directs The Soul Phone Foundation and founded Greater Reality Living Groups. Dr. Pitstick can help you know and show– no matter what is happening to or around you – that your earthly experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit SoulProof.com for free articles, newsletters, and radio interviews with top consciousness experts.
Note: Because of his many outreaches, Dr. Pitstick can not fully answer complex questions from individuals. However, he has created resources to answer your biggest questions and provide holistic solutions for your toughest challenges.
- Free articles, radio shows, and newsletters:
* Radio Shows (top tab of SoulProof.com) share his answers and those of top experts to life’s biggest questions: “Who am I? Why am I here? What happens after I die? Is there a God? Why is there so much suffering? Why must children die?” and others.
2. Audio Products – CDs and digital downloads – allow you to benefit from quality sessions at home for a fraction of the cost of an office visit.
Twelve Transformational Audio Products use deep relaxation / hypnosis, visualization, breath work, and other techniques to access your inner wisdom, visit with “departed” loved ones, release old wounds and lower energy emotions, evaluate your pre-birth planning, have past life regressions, and more.
- Books and documentary film: these products (visit Shop) provide specific information to help you know and showthat you are a forever being of consciousness / energy / spirit and how you can live accordingly.
- Webinars and workshops: to learn about these and other updates, subscribe to the free email newsletters at SoulProof.comand SoulPhone.org.
5. Greater Reality Living Groups: Dr. Pitstick and Dr. Gary Schwartz co-founded the organization for local and online groups. For more information, visit Greater Reality Living Groups.
6. Greater Reality Living/ SoulPhone Newslettersto receive updates about university-based experiments that definitively demonstrate life continues after bodily death. Enjoy discussions about how you might live — and treat yourself and others — differently now that afterlife survival has been scientifically shown.
7. Coaching / Counseling Session: these can occur in person, by phone, or on Zoom. To learn more, visit Coaching / Counseling Session
Disclaimer: This information is not designed to replace medical or psychological care. My remarks are based on over forty-seven years of study, training, personal experience, and professional service. Extensive clinical, scientific, and empirical evidence supports much, but not all, of what I say. My current best understandings may change over time. I do not claim to have all the answers or the only answers. My hope is that this information assists you to consider what makes the most sense to you.