Susan wrote . . .
I don't know about the soul not continuing. I have a terrible time interpreting the universe without thinking that we are "full" time" residents. Nothing really makes sense to me without reincarnation. What would the point be of one individual life? And if that were so, why do people remember past lives? I admit that I do not know how the whole thing fits together... how is it that individual souls and the One Soul exist simultaneously, when there really is no separation?
And why is it that sometimes I meet someone for the first time, but it's as though we had always known each other? Of course, these are the mysteries of life, and perhaps solving them would leave us with nothing else to do! :o)
I guess what I'm saying is, why would one struggle so for this understanding, if you only exist for this split second in time? What would the point of gathering this knowledge be if you can't "take it with you"? And how is it that the Supreme Intelligence of this universe would be aware of me and love me, and have a name for me, if I am simply to cease to exist?
And I replied . . .
Susan, I've asked myself the same questions for years, and prior to discovering the moments I call "emergence," I accepted many of the same answers you have arrived at:
 that souls evolve through many incarnations here on Earth, in essence, that souls "grow" and become more conscious and more able to give and receive love;
 that we all retain our "soul identities" throughout these incarnations, which then explains those moments in which you know someone as you meet them or when you can access knowledge you have not previously learned in this lifetime; and
 that the point of our suffering is to grow, and that the more you commit to such suffering, the more you will grow and evolve, i.e. in a form you can take with you when you die.
I believed these ideas and was very invested in them for a long time, more than I ever realized. But even before discovering emergence, back during the time when I was learning to do past life regression therapy, I read Roger Woolger's book, "Many Others', Many Selves." In the opening pages, he discusses the possible answers as to whether there really are past lives or not.
I loved what he wrote about himself and his path and could easily see the depth of his knowledge and education. But when I read his opinions about there being no "soul" evolution, I got seriously shaken, angry even. Essentially, if he was right, this meant the reasons I used to justify and endure mine and other's suffering were not valid. So why the hell had I gone through so much pain in my life and why was I still going through even more? Reading his ideas made me angry.
At first, I dealt with his ideas by discounting him and his book, and because I was so shaken by his stern remarks advising that the idea of soul evolution was a sham, I angrily set the book aside for awhile.
"What was the point of my suffering if not to evolve my soul?," I asked. His ideas hurt me to my very core.
Eventually, though, I checked into the sources he referred to; the Eastern religions. Guess what? He was correct as far as what they believe. In the true sense, they do not espouse soul evolution, despite believing in reincarnation.
So, for instance, as I understand it, the Buddhists, while believing in reincarnation, also believe that the soul is complete even from the beginning. They believe everyone is a "Buddha baby"; meaning, everyone is already enlightened. We just do not know it.
In other words, they say we incarnate simply to become more aware that we are already enlightened. This awareness that we are already enlightened is what they call consciousness.
On all but the last point, I absolutely agree with the Buddhists, and their ideas are among my most basic assumptions regarding the philosophy underlying our lives and our struggles:
 that "we" do keep incarnating;
 that we were spiritually perfect before we were born here, and that we will be spiritually perfect after we die. [By the way Plato expressed this same three idea almost 2400 years ago in his story about the "River of UR."]
 that our Earth identities are but costumes, temporary roles played on temporary stages. [Here, Plato and Shakespeare agree.]
 that we are all both separate beings and at the same time, a "blended together" being, blended in something like a "spirit pool" [similar to the analogy made in "The Holographic Universe" wherein the authors express their belief that human consciousness is at the same time both like a wave in the ocean and like the ocean itself, a holographic consciousness which includes both locality and non-locality. This consciousness and the being which contains it can not be separated and still retain an identity, and yet waves are identifiable as individual elements even in their togetherness.]
 that as our souls are a perfect expression of the spiritual world, so our bodies are a perfect expression of the material world, and that before birth, our bodies exist in the material world as part of the whole we call Gaia, and at the same time, as a material world individual (for instance, as the identity of a mountain).
Then, at birth, we incarnate as an intersection of both matter and spirit, a concurrently conscious being constructed of both matter and spirit coexisting in the same space and time. Later, when we die, the two parts of which we had been constructed separate and go back to the wholeness of each of their respective worlds. The spirits go back to the spiritual world and the bodies, back to the material world. Further, the separate, individual consciousness' created in the intersection gets both retained and pooled into the whole. [Like Jung's race memory?]
All this aside, I see this metaphor as one of the most important parts of emergence; a new, more loving explanation for why we come here and why we suffer. In other words, when you understand what happens to people in the moments I call "emergence," you get to see a new, literally more loving reason for suffering and for life here on the planet.
This reason begins with something my articles have not yet focused on enough; that the primary reason to even have an emergence is not about healing. It is to become more consciously loving by nature.
No surprise, I have witnessed this exact outcome literally hundreds of times now, maybe thousands, and with each emergence, there is more love, without exception. In other words, each time people experience an emergence, they literally emerge with more natural ability to give and receive love, and by "natural" ability, I mean they can access this new ability to love without effort; they effortlessly become more able to love after an emergence.
With this nature in mind then (that through emergence, we gain more natural ability to love), this is what I now believe about why we come and why we suffer:
I believe, as Plato suggested, that in the moment in which we are born, we forget we are immortal. More over, I believe that we come here because the experience of becoming more loving, the experience of having an emergence, is the most exquisite in the universe.
But if we are already perfectly loving by nature, how could we have these moments?
In truth, we could not. Unless, of course, we had some way to temporarily and voluntarily surrender our conscious ability to love. I believe this is exactly what happens to us and why we are born here, into this "two that are one"; we come here so that we can have opportunities to experience emergence, so we can experience these moments in which we regain access to our ability to love. Why else would we agree to come knowing how much we will suffer? I believe we voluntarily agree to suffer here knowing our wounds are the price of admission for experiencing the most exquisite moments in the universe.
Thus, I believe we first agree to suffer by allowing ourselves to be wounded, so that later, we can have opportunities in which we can emerge from these wounds. Of course, we need these wounds because without wounds (as perfect beings), we would have no way to have these exquisitely wonderful experiences.
Wounds, then, are simply our wounded abilities to access our perfection and to see and experience love. We voluntarily incur them so we can have these opportunities to regain the ability to love.
In a sense, and I say this with the greatest respect, we come here because this is the greatest amusement part in the Universe. Our lives are the rides, and the thrills are the ups and downs of being wounded (surrendering access to our natural ability to consciously love) AND of being healed (regaining access to our natural ability to consciously love).
An important inference of these ideas is that, if these ideas are true than, in a sense, it does not matter what you do here. Like being in any amusement part, you do not get graded in any way as far as how many rides you go on or as to the quality of how you endured these rides.
More important, if true, then no one here is any better or any worse than anyone else; no one is more loved by the Universe or less loved. Whether Gandhi or Hitler, we are all perfectly loving and loved beings who temporarily check our abilities to love at the door and then get them all back when we exit.
One thing I love about this metaphor is that it solves a lot of very sticky problems, such as how can we all be spiritual equals and yet be born with such wide ranging abilities to love each other; such a wide variation in how we each treat each other with respect to being loving.
It also offers a far better reason for why we suffer. We suffer for the same reasons people suffer in amusement parks; for the thrill of it all; only in this "park," we get the ultimate thrills from the ultimate ride; we get the thrill of becoming more consciously loving. We get the thrill of "emerging."
All of these ideas would be meaningless, though, if there was no such thing as emergence. But in truth, these moments do exist and people can alter their natures and in doing so, become more naturally able to give and receive love.
Susan responded with . . .
I'm not saying you are wrong, but my experiences in life just don't support that point of view, and that's not to say that I am not misinterpreting my own experiences! At one time, I was completely convinced the Christian point of view was correct... but I no longer hold to that believe system, so, I know that my own grasp of things continually changes. What I do know, is that God spoke directly to me, and showed me how I fit into this universe. I was given a message of love so intense and fulfilling, that it transformed me. I guess I find it a difficult concept to accept, that my being is no more than a crest on a wave, or a ray of sunlight. But perhaps it is... and that is the nature of the creator, to love each molecule and atom as we would love our children. I have felt a personal communion with this life force, and it also seems there would be no reason for creating each and every unique individual, if these individuals simply dissolve at death. If the Hindus do not believe in the continuation of the individual soul, how do they explain reincarnation, which they do believe in? Why would a child say to his parent, "I was your mother before" and stuff like that? I see that I am working with a "belief system", but what I really want, is to know what the truth is.
So tell me, what you see as the effect and benefit from "emergence" as you call it. Obviously one thing is that the past would no longer have a hold on me, that I would be reacting to new situations from a new point of view... that my reaction to these things would not be based on the trauma I experienced as a child. I would not be reacting with a conditioned response. And I would not be blocked from receiving information.
Here, your words confuse me a little. I do believe we get wounded in childhood and that these wounds do prevent us from experiencing love; in other words, cause us to suffer, which is the same thing said with different words: an inability to love is suffering; an inability to access love which we somehow know exists is suffering on an even deeper level.
Well, it seems I have to close for now. I love stretching my mind and trying to grasp these concepts which are new to me. And I realize that we continually are changing and learning, and that all of our believe systems are merely theories to grasp the meaning of life, and that at this point, the truth is probably a whole lot more than I could ever wrap my brain around. But like I said, I'm in no big hurry. I trust the universe and it's love for me, and that's really all I need to know I think. And I perceive my responsibility in all this, to learn to love, purely and unconditionally. This must begin with self, as I see it. And you cannot love and accept yourself if you have these festering wounds inside, warping your view of who you really are. As I do emerge, I see that what I am is not what I was told... and this is freedom.
Talk to you soon,
Have a wonderful day.
And me again . . .