For the topic for Feb 2009, we were asked to explain from our spirituality’s perspective why we think “bad” things happen to “good” people. A question I think every human asks when the “bad thing” is happening to them.
PanGaea Revisted – Why Do “Bad” Things Happen on the Pagan Path – Thru the Eyes of RavenHarte
“Why is this happening to me?” This is a question I am actually amazed that I hear as often as I do amidst people of my own spirituality – one that believes in the idea of karma, the “Three-fold Law” and/or work on Self. Usually this comes from an individual who as been working diligently on Self, living fully their chosen spirituality, attending ceremonies, correcting relationship mistakes, doing “everything right” and then something happens; they lose their job, or someone gets a grave illness, or their relationship ends, or worse someone dies. “Why me?” they ask. My first inclination is always to want to say “because that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I never do of course. Its not helpful to say that when I person is drowning in their own fear and pain, but for me it’s the truest statement I could make to them. I believe we are the sum of our experiences. Look back on your life, look at every “horrible” moment in it and then see what changed for you right then. What decision did you make, or not? What people came into or left your life because of that issue? How did your steps from that incident create the life you are living now? This is often how I begin the process of getting myself through those moments in life. I tell myself “this too shall pass” and know with all my heart that on the other side of tragedy, I will be able to look back and see the whys. I think about the tragedies of the past and how better able I am to handle the NOW because of the THEN, and that gives me the resolve that I will prevail.
My own faith that I can prevail doesn’t come from thin air though, and you cannot teach people how to have faith OR how to trust in their own ability make it through. They must build those qualities for themselves. Most people build faith and trust by experience. A situation occurs, they live through the outcome, so next time they have a bit more trust in themselves and greater faith. However this doesn’t help us through uncharted territory. For that, we must turn to what we each formulate within ourselves about why we are here, what we are trying to do in this life, and why “bad” things happen in general, let alone specifically to ourselves. We have to have an understanding within ourselves about what responsibility we feel for our own life choices, what we believe others should be accountable for regarding their life choices, and what “life lessons” are all about anyway.
My personal ideology here is an amalgam of different philosophies and spiritual ideas. For starters, I believe in a Kabbalistic theory that suggests each of us, as individual sparks of the Divine, are the Divine’s way of better understanding and thus re-integrating Itself. We accomplish this through reincarnation and transmigration; our core soul returning to a “mundane” existence over and over as different forms to experience life as “matter”, with and without sentience or consciousness. Along side this I believe in the concept of Soul Groups; individual souls that work together taking on different physical vehicles at the same point in time to manifest the roles which will facilitate the growth of all the individual souls in the group. I also believe in the Law of Return, which simply suggests that whatever energy we put out into the universe, we receive back again, which is similar to the Hindu idea of Karma as found in the Vedas (different Eastern religions define karma in different ways), or a myriad of adages such as: “We reap what we sow”, “What goes around comes around”, etc. Since I don’t believe in linear time, this means that the energy that one of my incarnations might put out into the universe can as easily return to that incarnation as any OTHER of my incarnations – all the incarnations being MY core energy.
So when something bad happens, I look at all I profess to believe, and from that can draw many different theories as to why this thing has occurred. Such as: #1. Whatever is happening was already agreed upon by my soul within its group to provide us all avenues for exploring Self and evolving our core souls. #2. My experience of an event, and working through it, is an avenue for the Divine consciousness to experience more of Itself. #3. One of my incarnations has expended an energy which has created an imbalance, and that imbalance is righting itself. #4. My current incarnation is experiencing an imbalance, and this situation (usually illness or accident to myself) is a signal I need to work on Self to find the root imbalance. #5. I am collateral damage, experiencing the ramifications of another’s soul’s imbalance OR the work another soul group has manifested. Etc etc etc. Then of course there is just the achievement of Light itself. Christians might call it “grace”. In Kabbalah it is a time where the work you are doing on Self begins to moves you closer to the spiritual path or vibration you are supposed to be on. You’ll recognize it when it happens because all of a sudden there is boon and blessing, though you won’t think you’ve done enough differently to cause it. The flip side to this “grace” is that the bright Light you shine does tend to start to illuminate your deeper shadows, revealing the next layer of work to do, and the events that crop up to present you the mirror in which to see and face them, are not pretty.
Most likely more than one of these theories is true for me. However all of these postulations provide me with the same opportunity, to use the situation to facilitate my own growth, whether that growth is within my own human psyche or my soul as a spark of the Divine connected to all. So when a “bad thing happens” I am provided with a choice. Do I make a conscious decision to “walk my talk”, accept that any one or more of the postulations derived from my belief system could be in place, and hold onto that to see me through the hard work. Or do I “woe as me” and do nothing, by which I sink further into imbalance? Personally, I think you can’t say you believe in karma until something “bad” happens to YOU. You have to own your own beliefs and apply them even when the chips are down. So when the “worst thing” has happened to me, sometimes THAT is the only thing that sees me through; my stubborn resolve to continue to “walk my talk” and not just pay it lip service.