16 February, 2001


"Circumstances -- what are circumstances? I make circumstances."
- Napolean Bonaparte

Do you ever look at someone else and wish you were them? Maybe they're more beautiful. Maybe they have more money. Maybe they exercise more power. Do you ever look at someone else and breathe a sigh of relief that you aren't them? Maybe they seem a bit duller. Maybe they're fat or ugly. Maybe they're just mean spirited.

Why are they the way they are?

Why are you the way you are?

Why are each of us in our own current circumstances? Is it luck? Fate? Punishment?

If you accept the premise that the earth is a giant school-house, then our individual life circumstances are the best possible training ground for the particular lessons we stand in need of at this stage of our existence. The most important thing for us to do is to step back and look at our lives, discover what lessons we need to learn, and then go to work on them. I've found the best way to do this is to contemplate, or meditate. Read good books. Find a quiet spot to think about their meaning, and the purpose of your life. Do some research. You'll find a method that works for you, if you really desire it. The answers will come.

Some people are so caught up in their day-to-day existence, they never look at the big picture and take the time to grow. It's easy to get caught up in work, or soap-operas, or video games, or 1001 other distractions. Before you know it, your life is over, and you may have just slept through class. Chances are, if you're reading this message, you aren't one of these people. You are searching for meaning. Here's what I believe the meaning of life is:

At some point prior to coming to Earth, you freely chose to be born into your present circumstances, knowing what lessons you needed to learn. The challenge now is to get in touch with your spiritual self and take advantage of your situation to learn and grow as much as possible. The obstacles, the pain, the suffering you've endured (and may face in the future) were all meant to teach you about love, determination, and courage. This life is designed as a personal tutorial to increase your spiritual understanding and awareness.

We're all on a path toward becoming one with God. We're all at different points along the path. In fact, there isn't just one path, there are an infinite number. As we gain understanding, empathy, compassion and the capacity to love, we grow closer to God. We make progress along our path. It's an individual journey, yet we're meant to help others along the way. The interaction with other souls, other works in progress, is the main feature of our school-house.

We need to demonstrate our love and patience in the way we deal with others along the way. They're working toward oneness, just as you are. They may be conscious of it, or oblivious. They may be kinder than us, they may be hard-hearted. They may be making the most of their time here, or wasting it. Either way we need to treat them with kindness.

I think we're back to the simple things here, the golden rule. We should treat all others with respect. The way we want to be treated. No matter their faith, political party, nationality, or skin-color. Some may be further along the path than us…they shouldn't be envied. Others may be well behind us…they shouldn't be ridiculed. We're neither better nor worse than they are…we're just in different circumstances...different places along the journey.

At some point we'll be held accountable for our actions here. This isn't some final judgement, where souls are condemned to everlasting hell-fire. We'll actively participate in this life-review. We'll be our own harshest critics. The way we handled things here will determine our future circumstances. I'm quite certain during this life-review it won't matter how much money we had, how many employees we had, how many advanced degrees we had, how beautiful we were. The material things just won't matter.

What seems so real to us now is just a temporary illusion. How we develop our soul is what's important. It's what we take with us. It's what's real. I hope we can all stay in touch with this spiritual reality, and make the most of our opportunities here.

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