Did You Choose This Life?
Question from a reader:
I think that’s a very human way of looking at things… like, it’s filtered through the human ego’s earthly understanding of itself and existence.
“I have to read conversations with God again. What about the theory where our divine self (soul/whatever) chose this existence/the experiences that we are living now?”
It’s kind of like the way we project human qualities onto “god” and it becomes an old man in the sky who gets angry and holds grudges.
We have to remember that the concept of a “divine self” doesn’t actually exist. The “self” is the human ego. Our divine self is one and the same as nature, and nature itself has no care or choice about anything. It just is. So sure, you could project the concept of “choice” onto that, but you could also just as equally view it as chaos. That’s what Conversations with God would define as a divine dichotomy, where two seemingly opposing things are both simultaneously true.
Nature has no self, no ego, no sense of “I.” It has no desires or motivations. It just is. And we are a part of all that is. New Agers always try to take this mundane experience and claim that there’s something higher than ourselves out there.
There is certainly something bigger than ourselves –– the communities we live in, the planet we live on, the universe we exist within –– but it isn’t higher. It’s right here, right now. The magic is the mundane. But we keep trying to make it something outside of or beyond ourselves and our collective existence.
When New Agers say “You are god experiencing itself,” that in and of itself sort of separates “us” from “it.” But there isn’t any separation. It’s all the same thing. It’s all just recognizing the miracle of existence.
We are the creator, not even figuratively. We and earth and everything on it and the universe. We are creating our lives with every thought we have about our existence. We are manifesting with every action we take, but not in this sort of magical way where we poof things into physical existence around us, just in the sense that we are determining our own experience of the physical world via how we choose to perceive it.
All of the Law of Attraction and Ascension junkies are going to be super disappointed when they figure out that the whole, “I am an all powerful creator of my existence!” literally just means you exist and have the ability to live a life, experience a life, make decisions, and walk across the room and pick up a remote control.
But that is the miracle of life. The fact that we even exist at all is miraculous in and of itself. Why does there need to be anything more?
Then what’s the purpose of existence, if not to grow, evolve, and learn lessons?
I’ve never been a proponent of the whole “life is a school” mentality. People will give you all kinds of reasons and meanings behind why we exist, but ultimately I think it boils down to this: existence is the point of existence. There is no purpose or meaning behind our existence other than for us to find and assign our own purpose and meaning to our existence. Life is what we make of it.
You sitting here, living, breathing, being is fulfilling that purpose. You deciding to find a purpose for yourself in this earthly life is what gives your existence meaning.
That used to be the primary spiritual narrative –– that there was no work to be done, no karma to be fixed, no lessons to be learned. You were just here to “be.” And then Western values came into the mix and turned it into a goal to achieve, rather than a stillness to be perceived.
Sure, there’s some personal work that has to be done there to undo a lot of trauma and unhelpful cultural narratives to help us find that sense of stillness and peace. There’s a lot of work that has to be done to dismantle externalized systems that perpetuate harm and suffering. That’s where we can find an earthly purpose for our existence. That’s where these ideas about karma come into play. But just because they exist here doesn’t mean they are the whole reason for it all.
Why do people believe we choose our lives, and by extension, our suffering?
I think some people that people who have experienced deep trauma are very vulnerable and susceptible to the concept that their trauma has a divine purpose and it was meant to be, because it helps them make sense out of senseless suffering. If their abuse was meant to be, then surely it must have been worthwhile.
In projecting a reason onto the suffering, we justify it, and when we justify it, we enable it.
The byproduct of this is the underlying feelings of “I chose my abusers” and having to reconcile that with a predisposition for shouldering the blame in the first place. Toxic positivity aids in bypassing those feelings, which then continue to leak out int he form of big reactions to small triggers – as is so frequent in spiritual circles. This also contributes to an environment of victim-shaming that is very harmful to abuse survivors.
The human mind is programmed to search for meaning, and some people are more predisposed to it than others. Certain personality types, typically more right-brained people, or those with cognitive issues due to trauma, are more likely to engage in magical thinking.
It’s hard for us to accept that something terrible has no greater meaning or purpose, that it’s just a random accident or cause and effect.
We can still make our own meaning out of senseless suffering. You can learn from your experiences just as readily without having to believe they were divinely orchestrated to teach you a lesson.
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