Physical reality 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 — no matter what is going on around you — and living accordingly is a primary reason souls come to a place like earth. An earth-experience is often fraught with suffering that has exquisite 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 the “afterlife” really exist. During thirty years of intense searching, I assembled sensible, evidence-based answers to these questions. Here are the answers in a nutshell.
- We each really are timeless beings of energy, consciousness, light, spirit. We are integral and forever parts of number 3.
- We are briefly here on earth for the rich opportunities for service, adventure, growth and enjoyment.
- There is a Divine Presence/Light/Power/Intelligence that is infinitely loving, wise and fair. It’s not a big man in the sky, though.
- We suffer when we forget to view life from a spiritual, more cosmic 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 just by my outreaches. So was his death a tragedy or a victory?
- When you die, everything about you—except for your body—continues on in another dimension of your creation.
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 to thoroughly “grok” or really get it.
Change, challenge, and death can be very difficult, I know. Knowing the afterlife evidence – that life continues on after physical death – doesn’t take away all the pain from 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 documented clinical and scientific evidence that clearly shows no one really dies. When you really internalize this great news, your level of fear about any part of life—including 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. ‘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?” they asked. When you really understand that life is never-ending but often-changing, any perceived suffering lessens. Yes, you may feel sad and grief for a while, but not nearly to the extent you would if you didn’t have a spiritual foundation.
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 prefer to be healthy and 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 we interviewed in the Soul Proof documentary 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 patients—adults and children. Her suffering allowed her to serve others in ways that would not have been possible if she were healthy.
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 Heal newsletter is, “Evolved Souls Don’t Need Long Earthly Lives.”
It’s also important to remember that, whether a person is five or ninety-five years-old when he passes on, that’s just a blink of an eye in the span of eternity.
Purported teachings of the Buddha are instructive in this matter. He said, ‘You want to know what a human incarnation is like? Observe ocean waves breaking. Do you see the few 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 suffering really is.
It’s also important to consider that you, as a soul, may have volunteered to go through tough times. It makes a big difference when you realize that suffering is not arbitrarily forced on us by some dictatorial God. To learn more about this, visit www.SoulProof.com and read article #25: Did My Soul REALLY Plan All This?
You can also look more deeply into this possibility by using my Pre-Birth Planning technique that is done under deep relaxation.
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Many questions about suffering fade away when you realize that all creation is part of God. It’s all good, it’s all God. There is no separation. As J.D. Salinger’s awakening character realized as he watched his little sister drinking milk, it is like God watching God drinking God.
People sometimes wrestle with the question of why there is so much suffering because:
2. They are personally suffering. If so, see Heal & Transform Your Suffering
3. They are very sensitive. If this is the case, see article #23 Are You or a Loved One a Sensitive or Empath?
Here are some action steps you can take to deal with this:
1. Devour the www.soulproof.com website. Listen to the free radio shows (Radio Shows tab at the top) where we discuss “Why is there so much suffering?” and other pertinent topics. Read the Foundational Articles for Healing and Transforming especially #10, 12, and, as mentioned, 25.
2. Get the Holistic Breathing CD or digital audio product and use it three times a week for several weeks, then twice per week, and gradually less as you release all of the old wounds, negative emotions, etc. Let your self cry, yell, pound the bed, and massage areas of the body that call to you.
I also address the question of suffering in my book Soul Proof.
To handle significant suffering, you will need to make changes and you will need allies. Follow up on the steps recommended in article #12. I strongly recommend NRT care (www.unsinc.info), help from supportive family and friends, and attending an enlightened church such as Unity, Religious Science, or a Buddhist temple.
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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 had only 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 and those stories were passed down through the ages.
From these limited perspectives, what could be seen was “real” while everything else was “imaginary” (from a materialism viewpoint) or “spiritual” (from a religious standpoint.) Scary events such as catastrophes, illness and death were thought to be controlled by a powerful being in the sky and every effort was made to placate this “God” 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 of death. Interestingly, many of their archaic and erroneous beliefs are still held today by those with non-inquiring minds.
Similarly, your life-view may have been based upon only what you could see through a small pinhole in a wall. But that’s all you could see so you thought that’s all there was. With that limited vision, you may have mistakenly thought that:
1. this earthly life is a chaotic, senseless, and scary time
2. you could make mistakes that would result in—you guessed it—more suffering, but this time for eternity
3. when your physical body dies, that’s it, end of story
4. if there is an afterlife, your departed loved ones “know nothing” until a resurrection, or they are a trillion zillion miles away in the sky somewhere
5. any Higher Power—if one even existed—was distant and separate from you and was to be feared and appeased
6. there’s earth “here” and spirit world “over there somewhere” with a dividing line in between
This list of misunderstandings, that greatly affects the quality and quantity of earthly life, 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 fuller “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 ever-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, purposeful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever.
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There are many potential blessings amidst suffering.
Ted, a long-time patient of mine, passed on after suffering with lung cancer. His wife Elizabeth is a salt-of-the-earth Christian woman whom I have known for many years and trust completely. She told me about a unique shared ADC 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, aging, 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.
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 ago 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 them. 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, we need to remember that change does not equal loss.
Over the past four decades of serving many thousands of people in hospitals, mental health centers, and 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 “why” question. I’ve mentioned several of these points already but they bear repeating.
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 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 souls to this physical dimension. We grow the most quickly and profoundly when our lives aren’t working, when we’re at rock bottom, when the crap hits the fan. That’s when we ask important questions and search for sensible answers.
Also, realize that time isn’t absolutely real and is largely a human construct. Our lives on earth, long as they might seem, are only a blink of an eye in the span of eternity. So remember that your suffering is time limited and only for a very short time.
Next, recall that we each really are indestructible beings of energy. Our real selves don’t and can’t die. Yes, I know that it doesn’t appear that way from a human perspective, but consider that the sun also appears to disappear when it sets. Our spiritual selves continue on after physical 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, serve and enjoy life 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 souls volunteer to experience probable difficult events. Adventurous souls welcome these opportunities for growth and service to others. Tough times build tough spiritual muscles. Reports from the other side say there is a waiting list for souls who want to incarnate on earth because of the powerful potential for spiritual growth here.
Some evidence even suggests that we—as souls—sign up for advanced curricula knowing that great challenges may be involved. Souls may gladly choose tumultuous life events—even difficulty and tragedy—for the accompanying spiritual growth.
However, there are more peaceful and flowing ways to learn than through suffering. You do not necessarily have to suffer to learn important lessons. When your energy is higher and more refined—loving, peaceful and balanced—you attract that same level of energy into each aspect of your life.
For those who suffer with physical challenges—disabilities, deformities, and serious illness—diverse evidence indicates that even those are chosen for a reason. The trials associated with bodily impediments accelerate soul advancement. They also provide excellent opportunities for serving others and glorifying Creator. The same is true for any kind of abuse, mental disorder, or trauma.
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 we need for optimal spiritual growth, not what our egos want. This wisdom is reflected in the statement, “Thy will, not mine, oh Lord.” A spiritually awakening person acknowledges that there is a greater wisdom and order 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 find that the answers you seek are within and within reach when you quiet your mind.
To paraphrase a line from “A Course in Miracles,” you will never fear again when you remember who you are and Who it is that walks beside/within you.
May this evidence enlighten and lighten today and every day as you sojourn through eternity: a spiritual entity having a variety of experiences—some fun, some not so fun—but all important.
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A wealth of evidence indicates that we 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 are based, in part, upon a revelatory experience:
♦ 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 spiritual growth and angels wouldn’t interfere with this plan.
♦ This planet is designed to be a place of intense learning. If the Heavenly Host intervened and stopped all suffering, some of the earthly curriculum would be omitted.
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Change is the one thing we can always count on in life. Having a strong foundation of spiritual faith and knowledge helps us skate through challenges that inevitably occur. Well established roots help us 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? Did you learn lessons that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Living a long life brings a predictable cascade of changes: outward physical changes, a certain amount of bodily degeneration, your children growing up, and other minor transitions.
Coping with even the 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.
Even though my essence is timeless, my physical body is sixty-four years old, just like the Beatles song. Wrinkles, skin spots, white hairs and baldness have become all too familiar. These are little things when we’re primarily identified with our spiritual essence, but they’re still a little tough to encounter. Years ago while driving, I glanced in the rearview mirror and thought, “That looks like my grandpa.” Then I cringed when I realized it was me. Now it’s no big deal.
Parenthetically, the fact that most people feel young inside despite outward aging is, I believe, due to the fact that our real selves do not age. Our souls are spiritually immortal even though they are housed in a physically mortal package.
Changes that accompany aging cause us to look at life differently than when we were youthful. Once we’ve discovered our true roots—as magnificent and imperishable spiritual beings—we can better withstand the winds of life’s challenges. The wise person prepares him or herself in advance and uses enlightenment to grow amidst changes.
We, as souls, came to this unique planet to serve others, enjoy and learn lessons. Handling life’s changes results in greater patience, love, wisdom and other priceless attributes. These qualities are well worth the price and bring us closer to God.
Most people have wondered why there’s so much suffering and why God would allow even relatively minor adversity. Simply put, we cause much of our own suffering by inappropriate thoughts, words, and deeds toward ourselves and others. You can review these and create a better template by using Your Life Review technique.
Another cause is excessive attachment to the illusion of physicality, by forgetting that our real selves cannot be hurt and do not die. That’s why we suffer while going through perfectly safe and natural life cycles such as aging and change.
Why does God allows us to make mistakes and see things in limited ways? That’s easy: we have free will. We’re not puppets on strings or automatons. If Creator set everything up perfectly, there would be no room for choice, experimentation, or exploration. We would essentially be robots since there would be no alternatives from which to choose.
Life is a lot like watching a series of plays or movies. You would get bored watching the same movie every day. In much the same way, we spend eternity going through a series of experiences that expose us to the richness and diversity of life. When one episode is over, there are countless others to co-create and experience. Much evidence suggests that this analogy is much more apt than many people suspect.
Finally, life’s challenges build spiritual muscles—much like weight-lifting. As I review my life, I clearly see that some of the most important lessons occurred after suffering took me out of my comfort zone. When life is easy, we don’t have to stretch and search like we do when confronted with intense struggles. How much strength would I develop if I went to the gym and the other athletes said, “You take it easy today, Mark. Have a seat and 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 and 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 little 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 such precious little ones die before they get a chance to fly? Asleep at the wheel again, O’ Omnipresent, Omnipotent, and Omniscient One?
And then I remembered.
I remembered the newer and more sensible images of the Divine that have emerged from the cumulative evidence. God 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 God is, rather, 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, light, peace and joy. 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 the physical vehicles that their life-energy 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 physical experience is for service, adventure, growth and enjoyment.
Although we are spiritually imperishable, our physical bodies are not.
This distinction is so very important. Some people reject any notion of a Supreme 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 Divine Being.
It’s important to realize that the Light doesn’t make anyone, especially children, die at a certain time. The evidence suggests that we live in a free will universe and each soul gets to choose its 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 over the ages have variously answered: “God works in mysterious ways.” Or, “The child was used by God to save lost souls.” Finally, my personal least favorite, “God wanted to be with the little one.”
Needless to say, none of these answers is very satisfying to those who think for themselves, especially those in the midst of grief. In all of them, God becomes a puppeteer or a 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. That is important, but is much more so when paired with evidence-based knowledge.
We each create our lives and, it appears, we—as souls—choose major events in our lives. As such, it’s rather silly 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, this “energetic predesign” model does not imply determinism since we can change our minds, make mistakes, or veer from the blueprint. Ideally, we choose wisely and live in alignment with Spirit, but we don’t have to. We need only read the daily news to know that.
Expanding our concept of God is critical for understanding the recurring theme in the collective evidence that everyone is a “saved” soul who automatically inherits eternity. That’s just the way life is set up. When we view God as a judgmental and wrathful fellow, we fall prey to erroneous and limiting images. With this model, an eternal hell is a possibility and we wonder whether we’ll fritter or be annihilated after death.
A more comprehensive and accurate understanding of the Divine makes such fears ludicrous. When we really grasp how loving, forgiving, and understanding Spirit is, any questions about salvation and eternal life seem silly. We each are part and parcel of the Source. How can we ever 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 Presence and the multitude of sufferings on earth. Source Energy allows freedom of choice even when our choices result in suffering for self and others. But earthly sufferings that seem so great to us last only a blink of an eye when compared to eternity. Spiritual immortality allows us to learn—even from suffering and death—while eventually making better distinctions about right living.
The statement “we all are created equal” is a cruel joke from a purely earthly angle since a great and seemingly unjust array of inequities exists. From a more cosmic viewpoint, however, each person is created equal. Much evidence shows that we each are indestructible beings of energy, inseparable from and made in the image of the 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 die at a young age, the mentally retarded, addicts, and those who suffer greatly? If we have only this one chance, justice 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, 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. Reincarnation is the great equalizer that explains apparent human injustices and other existential quandaries.
Of life’s seeming inequities, Rev. James D. Freeman says, “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.”
I conducted a survey on the most pressing questions about religion and spirituality. 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 suffering and struggle 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: “Everyone who rides on this will die. In addition, most of you will also burn afterward in a fiery pit 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 us. No wonder so many people are confused about or want nothing to do with religion and spirituality. 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. You might even feel confused during the loops and temporarily lose your orientation about what is up and down. 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 this roller coaster ride we call life on planet earth. In fact, it’s a beautiful analogy for the enlightened perspective that emerges when we realize the underlying spiritual reality—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.
- “Why would God let anyone burn in hell forever?”
First, as discussed in the Religion and Spirituality Input chapter of my book Soul Proof, much evidence indicates there is no fiery eternal hell.Regarding why God would allow this or that, the more we personify Source Energy, the less accurately we perceive that phenomenon. 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 described in the cumulative evidence is everywhere, all the time. But He/She/It isn’t a puppet master that constantly pulls strings affecting our lives: “This one dies, this one has to come back, I’ll allow this suffering but not that one” and so on.
- “Why did God take my little child?”
Same answer about the nature of the One. As for children passing on, we’ve already discussed the many indications that everyone— including little children—really are immortal beings of energy. Maybe they didn’t have to stay on earth for long before their missions were accomplished. Earth is only our temporary home.The physical passing of a child is horribly painful and seems unbearably tragic. I’m not minimizing that. From a spiritual perspective, though, it’s a happy day when a soul graduates and gets to return Home—even when that soul inhabited the body of a young one.
- “Why does God allow so much injustice on earth?”
Ditto about the nature of All That Is. The injustices only seem that way when we look at a very small sliver of life instead of the entire pie. Eternity is a very long time; justice is always served even though it doesn’t seem that way in this short lifetime. The principles of karma reflect the way the universe works; we reap what we sow, inexorably. The model of reincarnation sheds much light on this subject.
- “Why can’t I know what my mission in life is?” and “Why do I feel so confused and 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.So a first key is to pray and meditate to get in touch with that still small voice within. Then examine your heart and decide for yourself what makes sense. There are many different religious doctrines about the nature of God, salvation and afterlife. They can’t all be right. Given the available evidence, what feels most true to you?Enjoying a personal relationship with 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 number 4 for further discussion of how to identify your soul’s purpose and how you can best serve others and the Ground of All Being.
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 and clarity.
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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 asks, “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 spiritual regression, one woman recalled a past life and the subsequent time in spirit world. 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 departed 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 Murray, a dear friend who recently passed on in her late seventies, is another example of how a spiritual foundation 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 Unity minister, speaker and healer. While speaking to a group shortly before her death, she said she wouldn’t change her history 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, angelic-like beings as a result of suffering. This strengthens my belief that life makes perfect sense when we remember that it’s exquisitely designed for optimal spiritual growth.
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 staff disliked working with him. Over a two-year period, however, I noticed him slowly but surely changing—at first, saying “thank you” and making small signs of civility. Then opening up and sharing how difficult it was to miss out on activities he loved, like fishing and hunting and breathing.
Later, as his condition worsened, he cried and apologized for what a mean person 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, and enjoying loving relationships and 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. So keep taking your best swings and know that you’ll never be cut from life’s team, and it’s just a matter of time before you hit some homeruns.
You are an immortal soul having a very temporary earthly experience. Being on this planet isn’t easy at times, but it offers immense opportunities for service, adventure, growth and enjoyment. When you remember this, no matter what your current circumstances, you can fully live each day with purpose, power and enthusiasm.
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I love watching 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 a euthanasia—which means good death—option available for those who are hopelessly ill and ready to move on? Here are a few reasons:
- A pervasive and deep fear of death that makes some people do just about anything to hold on, even when life’s quality is gone
- An over-emphasis among health care providers on 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 trillion per 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 technology advances. Just because we can save people in advanced stages of decline doesn’t mean we should. People should have the clear choice to say when enough is enough.
- Religious doctrines because the time of dying is considered God’s domain. However, what about the unwise use of medical technology that prolongs the time of dying by resuscitating decrepit bodies.
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, 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 in the final week before passing on and the 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. 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. 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 choice and 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.
This shift 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 will with 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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Think upon these things for awhile. Read the free articles listed and listen to the free radio shows. Use the recommended products that seem right for you. Especially 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.
Exciting new scientific technology is emerging to allow communicating with our loved ones who have changed worlds. The expectation is that we also will be able to communicate with “deceased” luminaries – scientists, educators, great religious/ spiritual teachers, healers, and others who want to help us heal ourselves and our world. Do you think they might have something more to say about suffering?
Various SoulPhone® devices are now being researched and developed in the Laboratory for Advances in Consciousness and Health (LACH) at the University of Arizona.
Gary Schwartz, PhD, the lead researcher, estimates there is a 90 – 95% chance that the SoulSwitch, a binary indicator allowing “yes” or “no” answers to questions, will be ready in about one year. The SoulText has the same estimate of being available in approximately two years. After that, the next anticipated device is SoulVoice (like a phone), then SoulVideo (video and audio capabilities like Skype and Zoom)
Please share this great potential news with others and have hope. To learn more, visit www.SoulPhone.org. Dr. Schwartz and I are writing a book entitled Greater Reality Living that will serve as a workbook and guide for groups online and around the world. To learn more, visit Greater Reality Living.
Disclaimer: This information is not designed to replace medical or psychological care. Dr. Pitstick’s recommendations are based on forty-five years of training and experience in hospitals, pastoral counseling settings, mental health centers, and holistic chiropractic practice. Some of his statements are supported by clinical and scientific data while others are based on empirical evidence and his best current understandings.
Mark Pitstick, MA, DC is an author, clinical psychologist, chiropractic physician, frequent media guest, and workshop facilitator. He is the director of The SoulPhone Foundation, vice-president of Eternea, and board member of Helping Parents Heal.
Mark can help you to better know and show — no matter what is going on around you — that your earth-experience is a totally safe, meaningful, and magnificent adventure amidst forever. Visit Soul Proof for free articles, newsletters, and radio shows with top consciousness experts. Email your toughest questions to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.