I believe that we each agree to the terms of our Contract before entering the physical realm of this world. This applies whether you accept the concept of reincarnation, or believe in a single lifetime followed by heaven or hell — or neither. I go into the background for my beliefs in much greater detail in “Sacred Contracts”, but one fascinating parallel occurs in the writings of Plato. In the tenth and final book of his great work The Republic, Plato relates the Myth of Er.
In brief, the story concerns a Greek soldier named Er who is left for dead on the battlefield. Twelve days later he awakens on his own funeral pyre, and later tells a remarkable tale of what he observed while he was suspended between life and death. Er found himself in a kind of way station between heaven and earth where souls were passing from one plane to the other. Dead souls were waiting to be judged and assigned to their reward or punishment, while other souls prepared for their journey to earth. Some were old souls returning for another go-round; others were freshly minted and awaiting their first life on Earth.
At one point the waiting souls are presented with many possible life scenarios, and are advised to choose from these “samples of lives.” Plato informs us that “there were many more lives than the souls present, and they were of all sorts. There were lives of every animal and of man in every condition,” including tyrants.
Before entering life on the Earth plane, however, the souls were led to the plain of Forgetfulness, a barren waste with no vegetation, where they were required to drink from the river of Unmindfulness. They then promptly forgot everything that had just happened to them. The reason should be obvious: if you know in advance exactly what’s going to happen in your life, you would have great difficulty making decisions or taking actions that are intended to teach you something, often through painful experiences. You might naturally be reluctant to begin a relationship with someone who you knew would hurt you, even though you needed to learn a valuable lesson from that person.
Whether we take this myth literally or simply as a teaching device of Plato’s, we can use it to gain a higher perspective on our life. If you think of your life’s direction as something to which you have agreed, then what formerly seemed like arbitrary or even absurd conditions can be seen in another light. They are part of the roadmap that you’ve agreed to follow. Each event, each person of any significance whom you encounter, has an agreed-on role in your learning experience. Sometimes the learning is difficult because you don’t always surrender to the situation. It may take time for you to see the reasons for it. But the sooner you do, the less painful it becomes. In time, you can learn to accept each event as it happens without struggling against it and prolonging your psychic — and physical — suffering. To have a serious illness or injury is difficult enough; seeing it as a punishment or the cruel caprice of fate only makes it harder to bear. The resulting stress will probably also make it worse, and you will take longer to heal or recover.
Naturally, you can’t be expected to see everything immediately, or in advance. But if you have a way of looking at the symbolic meaning of your experiences, you will be better prepared to accept the inevitable changes to your life. Fighting change builds up emotional scar tissue. Surrendering to divine will allows you to accept the changes, and get on with your life.
To help you understand and fulfill the terms of your Sacred Contract, you have been encoded with a set of 12 primary archetypes. Four of these are universal archetypes of survival: the Child, Victim, Prostitute, and Saboteur. The other eight are drawn from the vast storehouse of archetypes dating back to the dawn of human history. “Sacred Contracts” shows you how to determine the identity of your eight personal archetypes from a comprehensive Gallery of Archetypes in the Appendix.
If you do not yet have the book, you can gather more information on the role of archetypes in your Sacred Contract by clicking on that link above.