It’s an uncommon notion for most of humanity, the idea that we, as souls about to descend into flesh, spend a significant amount of what passes for “time” in the worlds of spirit, weighing our options and balancing karmic demands before moving in the direction of wombs and families.  In the post-industrial West, where the age of information holds us spellbound with its webs of details, we have mostly swallowed the tunnel vision of materialist science and operate as if genetics were the determining factor in the events of the “examined life”.  While the axiom that “as you sow so shall you reap” is generally acknowledged it is usually considered within the confines of the one life, and only those almost uncounted millions of Hindus, Buddhists and wingy new-agers ponder the endless possibilities of karmic entanglements propelling the often uncomfortable complications of our daily lives.

Esoteric teachings from various sources (Mystery Schools, Rosicrucianism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, etc.) indicate our incarnate paths are no accidents but the working out of considered plans dating from the pre-birth state.  More recent explorations in past-life regressions and out of body states, both of which I am personally familiar, more or less confirm these teachings.  While much is left to the conundrums of last minute vacillation and doubt, the structure of one’s overall journey is carefully mapped by yourself and those intimately concerned with the optimal outcome of your karmic resolutions.

That business partner you screwed in 1843, that child you abandoned in 1524, the husband you lost in the Napoleonic wars, the mother who put you out “on the game”  in 1785 for her own material benefit, your brothers in arms, your friends in Christ, the local butcher you died owing money to, any and all of them may chip in with suggestions as you and your spirit guides put together your next incarnational agenda.

Whether you have the courage, whilst down here in the thick of it, to follow the daring choices you optioned back in the paradise garden, or take to pleasurable escapes of one kind or another, is another question.  The free will to screw up is always accessible, and no-one, no guide, angel or prophet can take it away from you.  Of course there are many constricting belief systems, familial, religious and political, that will determinedly attempt to box you in and blinker you with their demanding agendas, often for several lives, as the soulful you struggles to emerge from the chrysalis of timid conformity.  Eventually you come to see that no-one can take you power (free will) from you unless you give it up willingly.  Admittedly, sometimes that surrendering is done at birth, when entering a society that will clamp you down as naturally and automatically as the umbilical cord is cut, and thus may seem to leave one helpless from the get- go.  But birth as such is not the get-go, it is merely another stage on the endless cycle of incarnations, and it is wise to recall that entering that society is a choice, one of many taken as the soul observes foetal gestation.

The cutting edge of past life regression research is now exploring the between-life arena when such choices are weighed, debated and decided upon.  Books such as “Bringing Your Soul To Light” by Linda Backman and “Exploring Your Eternal Soul” by Andy Tomlinson, to name but two, detail the many shades and subtleties in this seemingly complex process.  A large database is in the process of being collected, and much can already be spoken of with confidence.

Like, …most of your life mates are souls you have interacted with several, if not many times before, including family members, school mates, lovers, rivals and enemies, business colleagues and sports team mates, the list goes on; …most interpersonal behaviours are chosen and plotted to gain maximum growth, particularly the sort of things that drive you crazy or push you inexorably to depression, frustration or anger.

I say most, but certainly not all.  That butcher you died owing money to, you’d really like to repay him somehow, but it’s easy to get caught up in major karmic bonds and let the littler things slip.  You see, he might actually be the meat manager at your local supermarket and there is no way to actually repay him other than being pleasant and polite in his company. And if you’re one of these too-busy-to-burp career types you might just overlook that as you fanatically spoil the wife and children you deserted more than once before.

And what are the implications of all this supposed metaphysical game planning?  Well, no more blaming your family, religion or society for ruining your life.  No saying, “Well I didn’t choose to be born”.  No whining of the “Life sucks and then you die” type.  Of course you can whinge and moan all you want, no-one can stop you, but know that it will come back to haunt you in paradise.  For a few embarrassing minutes anyway.  And I, for one, am not looking forward to that.

Given this information, such as it is in its formative stages, and likely to be expanded in the years to come as more and more of the mystery is unveiled, should we surrender to the seeming quirks of fate, assuming that each and every one has been planned to further challenge and educate the evolving soul?  Many spiritual philosophies would suggest that such a releasing of resistance is exactly the medicine required by the proud and inflexible ego, who’ll be damned if he’s gonna roll over and have his tummy thus tickled.  While I can see and respect the wisdom of such positions, I can also see why fighting the oppressor, exposing the cheat, spearing the rival, shouting at injustice and generally waving the fist at god has its value.  We may well have picked out parts in this new production of Hamlet before we were born, but that does not preclude playing our parts to the hilt, that the complexity and inner poetry of the drama may be fully realized, both by the actors and the audience.