Why do bad things happen to the good? I’ve spent the last twenty years supporting people who are dealing with unfrathomable loss, excrutiating traumas, scathing injustice and unrelenting pain. When bad things happen, we feel our heart’s ache with a powerlessness to fix what has gone so wrong. Our mind searches for answers to a puzzle we do not know how to solve. We yearn for order and a sense of justice within the world. How can we survive this life if we do not believe that God or the universe ultimately has our back?
Daily, I sit with the wrenching heartache of those who have lost children, whole families, spouses and other loved ones far too soon. I have witnessed good people lose their businesses, finances and marriages. I’ve tried to console what seems imexplicable, while holding the hearts of individuals facing terminal illness, alzheimers and other concerns of caring for aging parents, drug addicted children; personal and professional betrayals. And I’ve nurtured individuals facing the daily struggles of life replete with anxiety, depression and concerns about the relationships, careers, finances; the earth, economy, politics and finding peace and balance in a world spinning out of control. And I’ve done it, while also contending with personal losses, illness and pain.
When people are grieving or in deep anguish, they are are often offered platitudes meant to bring them comfort. Phrases like: “God only gives what people need or deserve; everything is in divine order and karmic..” Do these answers provide authentic insight or meaningful comfort to those in unyielding pain or grief? Telling a person in deep sorrow that “everything happens for a reason” or to “focus on the good…the lesson…the gift in it”, even when offered with loving intentions can feel like salt in an open wound. Our attempt to bring peace is motivated by our need to understand why inherently good people experience extraordinary tragedy and pain. Its less comfortable to face the truth of emptiness, loss and suffering, but its the only thing that will bring lasting peace.
Recently, I have been dealing with a liteny of challenges including, numerous loved ones facing down cancer; the heartbreak of betrayal and subsequent loss of my marriage; inexplicable deaths of loved ones and more. I too have wondered, “Why? Why is this happening to those I love? To my clients and family? To me?” We cannot help but ask this question, knowing it may pull us down an unending rabbit hole with little resolution or comfort.
Its easy to assume that humans get what they deserve; that misfortune manifests as an equalizing force for those who have erred – in this or other lifetimes. We can bring sense to the world, when we assume that a good person’s struggle is due to their own missteps, even when this transgression may not be understood. When we provide this karmic context, at least, we can then believe in justice. And most major religious texts offer us this type of explanation to ease our distress with seeming injustice. And if karma isn’t the answer, we may hear: “you must need the challenge to grow your soul”. These answers allow us to believe that God or the Universe is both righteous and this plan is in control of life on earth. But is this truth?
The idea that the universe always gives people what they deserve or need, allows God or the Universe to be completely absolved, while perpating the concept of individual blame. Is this notion bringing us closer to our divine nature? Instead, it often results in further alienation from the Divine and self. It tells you that whatever you experience, you manifested through your own choices (in this or another life) or our unprocessed energy. It can turn people bitter and keep them feeling perplexed and even loathing God, self and life. And, this mindset has led to the creation of scapegoats excusing inequities and sustaining economic favor to the few for centuries.
When we are fearlessly honest and willing to challenge our ego’s concepts of how the universe works: we know that injustice exists without sugar-coating it. We feel this truth within our soul, deep in our bones beyond the intrusion of the mind’s bias. And we know that karma isn’t just. We know that it is an all-too-often twisted concept used to defend the inexplicable imbalances tolerated by humanity. We know that its perpetuation has caused immeasurable harm within the cultures in which its most dominant. We know that children walking to gas-chambers in Auschwitz were not all deserving of their fate due to current or past-life deeds; nor did they agree prior to incarnation,to come into the earth to stand as martyrs in the face of a bigger plan. We know that we could not possible stand in the comfort of a spiritually attuned consciousness and ask the survivors of the holocaust: “How was the holocaust happening FOR you?” The genocides of Jewish people; Native Americans, Armenians, Rwanda Tutsis; Rohingyans; Chinese; Russians; Bosnians and more; human-trafficking and other autrocities are not part of God’s plan to wake us up, hand out justice, balance past-life-deeds or bring people through tests they can never understand or pass.
If this is true: when will the tests end? When does the balance manifest? What is the ulimtate goal?
This week, Facebook disabled my account. My personal page, my professional page and my linked instagram account — all gone. After searching for answers, I was given a two sentence response from some Facebook email, declaring that I had used my to “threaten and cause harm to the community”. Not only is this allegation completely false, Facebook provided no evidence to support their claim and no recourse for resolving the issue. Twelve or so years of content, Facebook support groups and client contacts were obliterated. And without justification or ability to reclaim what I erroneously believed was mine. This gave me pause. This is the manner in which autocractic societies operate. They offer no evidence. They determine someone an enemy and jail or excute them without reason. Can you imagine telling survivors of the unjustly accused within North Korea that their loved one was tortured and killed as “part of a Divine plan”? While my example is extreme, its not without merit. When I attempted to create a new Facebook page, simply to notify the thousands of people I serve daily that I was still around — FB again blocked my account within 2 hours. Upon researching further, I came across a New York Times article written last year, describing how this is happening to thousands of Facebook users randomly. Is this too, part of the divine plan?
The reactions to my closed social media account were varied. Droves of vulnerable clients whom I support consistently, wondered if I had chosen to block them and reached out in despair, asking me why. I didn’t just feel badly about the disabled account; its obliteration struck deep into my personal story. I’m still grieving the loss of my marriage. And now, I lost contact with family, friends and clients all over the world. I lost the supportive communities and content that I carefully created. I lost touch with my sober sisters and programs I’ve paid for. I was ousted from workshops I was leading. I’ve lost photos and posts that were being compiled into a book. Some friends texted: “Spirit has reasons for making this happen”. As if God or Spirit or the universe took down my Facebook Account. Is it more comfortable to assume that God did this, rather than a wholly ineffectual social media complex that randomly shuts down accounts?
Spiritual platitudes keep us from being awake. We toss around the ideas: “Your positive thought will manifest positive outcomes….. And if it doesn’t, its because you’re not vibrating high enough. Or are blocking it. Or it wasn’t meant to be. Or your focus was on something else. Or you needed this instead of that. Or its your karma….” Which one is it? We like to perceive that there is a divine tapestry to all that is. DO NOT GET ME WRONG: I know there is a divine tapestry. But we do not really want to understand, that the divine tapestry includes freedom to create without divine intervention whatsoever. When viewed through a higher consciosuness, we believe we will understand every sordid happening within the masterpiece of creation. Without this idea, where does it leave us? Who or what is behind it all? If this isn’t karma or a divine order, then what is happening?
I know there is God. But not because of a learned faith or religious view. I have experienced the exquisite embrace of the Divine and this has opened my heart and consciousness in ways that are indescribable. I have seen angels and commune with Spirit in extraordinary ways to live and serve life. And while I am far from perfect and yes, I’ve missed the mark at times, I have done a lot of good in my life….. and still very bad things have happened to me, as a child, a teen, a young adult and even recently. Very bad things. Trauma. When I have asked the Divine, “is this due to my karma”? The answer is invariably “NO!”
Experience has shown me that life is not as planned or neat as we want it to be. I realize that it is not comforting to assume that life isn’t in some perfect divine order. Even in its painful awareness, believing that God has a plan for this suffering, allows us to bear its often relentlessly tortuous weight. It provides us with some hope that we will one day understand why we were put through such hardship. We also know, however, that this notion doesn’t provide lasting peace, because the answer is ultimately hollow. Its like saying “Adolf Hitler or John Wayne Casey’s behaviors were for a good reason”. People say this to the suffering all the time: God had a reason and that is why your whole family was wiped out in that unthinkable accident.
If the universe loves us, does it put us through suffering simply to get us to another place within our consciousness? We are often told that God loves us like his children and therefore he does what we need, for our benefit. If that religious context goes too far for your spiritual-soul, than perhaps this speaks to you” a loving universe is helping you know yourself through pain and challenge”. We tell ourselves or one another, that “God’s been trying to get your attention though whispers. You didn’t listen, so now its coming through an unbearable loss and subsequent pain”
Add into the mix, that when people are in anguish and asking “why me?” the contemporary spiritual culture calls this “victim mentality”. So a person cannot move through their authentic existential crisis without being shamed out of their deep need to understand how life is working and impacting them directly. Whether well-intended or not, the impact of this idea is the same: you should not suffer for long or ask why its happening or challenge the beliefs that many use to give order and meaning to life. If you do, you’d better come up with the answer that your spiritual community supports — or realize they won’t support you much longer.
Its far more uncomfortable to sit in the reality of an unfair world, to allow ourselves and those we love to question their beliefs about order, the Divine and the universe. Sitting with the pain of injustice can feel too hard to carry in our hearts. It challenges us to search for meaning, where it may not exist. I have met thousands of souls on the other-side and it is rare for a Spirit to claim that a tragic death was for a “good reason”. Even upon the reunion with that all-encompassing light, Spirits rarely offer such platitudes to their loved ones. More often than not, they too are grappling with the randomness of a world that is out of harmony and they are in no way attempting to explain it away to the living.
So, what is the answer? Is tragedy and pain part of a divine plan? If you have lasted through this blog so far, you may have hoped my writing would tie this neatly in a bow, but I am still exploring this question. This is what I do know, so far:
- There is an exquisite divinity within all life. There is a spark of light that holds an unlimited potential to form into realities beyond our imagination and constructs within every atom. We are given the power to discover this potential, harness this power and use it manifest whatever we are willing to create on earth.
- The divine seeks reunion and expansion with itself through human self-realization and ascended embodiment. While the Creator has planted its seeds of light within us all, we are also emboldened with choosing whether to know this or leave it behind the veil.
- All experiences have the power to illuminate us, but that does not mean, those tragedies are in divine order. In every darkness, we can discover light. Through all suffering, we can discover meaning. That doesn’t mean it happened for that reason; or that grief and pain can be bypassed because there will be meaning in the journey.
- Humanity is awakening, though much of humanity has not yet risen to that awareness or full level of responsibility. Thus far, the bulk of humanity is dancing in the playing field of duality without much understanding of their individual and collective power to shift the reality they are expeirencing…even when that reality is excrutiating.
- Human suffering is not just an illusion; its a real, stinging pain that cannot be absolved through spiritual platitudes or a pretense of “being awake”. Grief is part of the human condition. Not something to transcend. We evolve through grief, not beyond it. While it may dissipate over time, if you’ve lost a child or a loved one, you know that grief becomes woven into your worldview. It may transform you. You may discover profound insights about yourself, God, Spirit and life. But pain, trauma and grief must be honored with dignity, compassion and space to simply be whatever it is without placating or denying its presence.
- There is no Divine source or unresolved karma pulling the strings of your life or an awakening that removes you from the authentic pain of loss. No matter how exquisite our divine nature may be, you and I must face life as it is. To thrive well, means we deal with the injustice of the out of balance world in which we live. We can choose to create meaning and find power in the darkness of our pain; but that doesn’t mean it has to fit a belief system that tells us this is how justice is manifested.
I also know, there is the power to create reality with utter freedom. We don’t influence every aspect of our creative path (yet), but we do hold significant power to alter our experiences profoundly. As this awareness rises into our individual and collective consciousness, becomes empbodied and mastered, we will discover our power to intentionally manifesting heaven-like creations on earth. When we do this enmasse, we will collapse the 3D matrix and uplevel it into 4th, 5th and higher dimensions of loving manifestations.
We are not comfortable with complexities of life. Its hard to know that life is messy and out of order. It can be extremely painful to sit with that truth. Not everything is perfect. Not everything is meant to be. But within our mindful awareness, we can sit with our pain, as it is — without losing faith, hope, and touch with our light. We can be in the darkness of suffering with compassionate care, as we question, writhe and grapple with existence on its own terms. We can ask hard questions and explore our beliefswithout shame or judgment. We don’t have to make our answer fit into the norm. We can be with our full power, our infininte light, illuminate our shadow as we tenderly care for our human challenges.
We can be willing to live boldly in this world, touching all dimensions of creation and remain in the open-ended question of the great mystery of it all. That, to me, is a far more courageous, noble orientation from which I can bear life’s pain and beauty.