A friend of mine recently asked me a question – why do bad things happen to good people?
This is an age-old question that humanity has been wrestling with for a long time. Without any satisfactory answers. Some would argue that the difficult and painful moments in our lives are part of a grander plan that we can’t comprehend. Others would argue that it’s all random chance. And others that it’s karma (though my understanding is that’s an oversimplification of the concept).
Going into this journey I didn’t have any answers. Just a few rough ideas, based on things my guides have told me previously. And what I got… well, this one gets into some deep ‘nature of reality’ stuff. Have a read and see what you think.
As I opened my eyes onto non-ordinary reality, I found myself standing on a castle wall, looking out over snow-covered mountains. Grey clouds were hanging overhead with small pockets of blue sky peeking through.
This might sound dreary to some of you, but it’s my favourite place in non-ordinary reality. I call it the Frost Realm. The realm of clarity and focus. And from what I can tell, where my soul was created a long, long time ago.
I’m quite familiar with this castle too. It’s the home of my spirit guide the Frost King. I know, I know, not the most original title. But it conveys a lot of meaning to me. And I saw him standing a little further down the wall, waving for me to join him. He’s hard to miss, being my height (6’4”), his blueish skin offset by a fiery-orange beard and hair.
So I walked over and joined him leaning against the stone railing as we looked out over his domain.
“What can I do for you?” he asked me kindly.
“A friend of mine is hoping I can find out why bad things happen to good people.”
“Oh, that one,” he replied with a slight nod that said he understood the depth of the question. “Here, come with me,” he said, motioning for me to follow him along the wall to a nearby stone tower.
As we approached the tower another familiar figure walked out the door to greet us. The Mother Goddess – the first individuated consciousness that emerged at the dawn of time. And a mother-figure to every spirit being and mortal that’s come along since. But she’s quite down-to-earth, appearing to me as a woman in her early 40s with shoulder-length brown hair, wearing a comfortable cotton medieval dress. And she’s a fan of lattes. 😉
As we approached, the Frost King greeted her and gave a brief bow. Not of deference, but friendly respect. She smiled and clasped him on the shoulder before ushering us both into the small tower.
I walked into the dimly lit room, which was empty except for a stone dais about 5 feet across in the centre. As the Frost King and Mother Goddess both walked up to either side of me, a complex hologram flickered into place above the dais. And I mean complex!
A sphere was suspended in the centre, with what must’ve been trillions of dots in various orbits around it. I couldn’t possible ‘see’ that many dots, but I knew that was the scale of what was being represented. And lines connected the dots, forming all sorts of interconnected patterns too vast to really comprehend.
My guides told me that the sphere represents source consciousness (or whatever name you would like to apply to it), and the dots are every individuated consciousness in the universe. And remember, from a shamanic perspective, everything has some level of consciousness. Even a rock. So I’m definitely underestimating when I say trillions of dots.
The lines between all the dots reflect the complex web of relationships between everything and everyone. And I was filled with the understanding that the actions of one conscious being inherently have an impact on many, many others. Intentional or not.
This is at least part of the answer to the question. We’re incredibly interconnected. It’s not only our actions or behaviours (our goodness or lack thereof) that determines what happens to us in our lives. We are impacted by those around us, sometimes in indirect ways that we can’t perceive.
“But don’t confuse the patterns you’re seeing for a plan,” the Mother Goddess cautioned me.
I looked away from the hologram to find her focused gaze on me. And then she reminded me of something she’d told me several years ago.
“The source is conscious, but not in a way you understand. It’s almost like it’s dreaming us. And even we,” she said, referring to the various gods, goddesses, angels, and ancient spirit guides I’d met, “have never been able to discern a plan or purpose for existence.”
Building on that, the Frost King added, “All manner of experiences are playing out over time. Which means some beings will experience more hardship than others in any one lifetime. And not always a consequence of their actions and choices. Nobody is being judged.”
“But some people experience some truly horrible things,” I replied with a questioning tone, trying not to think too hard on some of the awful things that have happened, or continue to happen in the world.
“Yes,” the Frost King replied with a determined intensity in his voice, “and this is why it’s so important that each of you take responsibility for your actions in your world. For your thoughts and feelings. Each of you have the ability to make choices to support each other through tough times and painful experiences. You can’t prevent every bad thing from happening, but your choices can reduce suffering.”
“And even create joy for each other,” the Mother Goddess added. “Each of us is accountable for our behaviour. No one else.”
It’s hard to underscore how important this is. If there’s no cosmic accountability, its incumbent on each of us to take on that responsibility ourselves. Not accountability for the state of the whole world, but certainly for our personal contributions to it. And looking at the state of things right now, I think it’s fair to say that as a species we’re not doing that nearly enough. I know I’m not. Yet.
The Mother Goddess continued, “This is why we,” and I knew she was referring to all our compassionate spirit guides, “decided that pursuing the advancement of consciousness is the only meaningful purpose to our existence. Building the capacity of all beings to make self-aware, compassionate choices that will collectively reduce suffering.”
Given the web of interconnections in the hologram projected before us, this made sense. The more that each of us make compassionate choices, the fewer ‘bad things’ we’ll deliberately or accidentally impose on others.
Even then, I don’t expect that will eliminate painful experiences. Not at all. None of us will ever be perfect or be able to anticipate all the consequences of our choices. Not all painful experiences are the result of another person’s actions. And painful experiences are also sometimes powerful growth opportunities. Critical to create space for the self-awareness that builds empathy and compassion.
But wouldn’t be a wonderful thing if we could reduce the amount of suffering? Or at least be there fully for people when they need us?
I don’t know about you, but this was a lot for me to take in all at once!
I think my guides knew that too, each of them giving me a hug. The ultimate gesture of connectedness with each other in this vast, challenging cosmos. 💗
Then the Mother Goddess gave me a gentle push, my body turning into a wispy cloud, and I floated back to my body in ordinary reality.
Yeah, lots to ponder there. I don’t claim that this is the definitive answer to the question about why bad things happen to good people. You may have a different perspective based on your own experiences or beliefs.
But my guide’s message about the importance of being accountable for our own choices, about considering the impact of our actions on others, is something deeply important.
Until next time,
Eric, your shamanic guide… into the unknown.