A question I commonly see or get from people who are exploring different facets of a spiritual journey, and trying to understand the nature of this reality is why bad things happen to children, especially when it comes to them being abused in any way or diagnosed with a serious disease. While many people can find or justify some explanation about why certain bad things may happen to adults, the same does not hold true for children. We may rationalize that adults have choices, which kids do not, or that adults should know better in order to take the right action for any required prevention or solution in their life. However, children are seen as innocent bystanders, not yet responsible for themselves or their life, and greatly limited by the environment they find themselves in. In fact, depending on the child’s age, they can be completely dependent on their environment and the people in it.
No matter what our reasons are for exploring this question in the first place, it is very common and perfectly understandable that we would want to try to make some sense of the various negative and unfathomable conditions children find themselves in, within this reality. The purpose of this article is to provide you with some answers to this question, and insights from a spiritual and metaphysical perspective, and help you expand your consciousness and reach new levels of awareness about this topic.
Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
It may already be obvious to you that this question is really an extension of the famous question that most people consider at some point in their life: Why do bad things happen to good people? In this case, children are automatically perceived as “good people”, given their innocent and loving nature. It is therefore very difficult for us to understand why some children go through, what we would term as, “horrific” experiences during their time here on Earth.
The answers one will get to this question are diverse and highly dependent on the perspective and spiritual evolution of the person providing the answer. A very religious person may provide an answer as vague as “God works in mysterious ways”. An atheist person may provide an answer as bleak as “life is a random and meaningless expression of events”. Those who strongly ascribe to the theory of evolution may dismiss it as some expression of survival of the fittest. Those who religiously ascribe to Eastern spirituality may explain it as a form of negative karma.
However, those who have gained a perspective of life from a deep place of universal spirituality and/or metaphysics and/or quantum mechanics, will provide an answer that revolves around the the needs of the soul, Self-creation and/or role of the observer . Even though these provide the most empowering explanations of them all, as they factor in relativity, duality and personal responsibility, it is often the answer that many people have the hardest time with. If one does not have a full enough understanding about the nature of this reality, it often brings out emotionally reactive and negatively charged remarks because people cannot fathom why they would choose or create for themselves anything less than what they deem to be ideal, or in the case of children, how or why a child would create a bad situation for themselves. Even those with a slightly more spiritual view of things, may be left distraught and confused as to why their soul would want to “hurt” or “punish” them.
A Matter of Duality and Polarity
In trying to answer either of the questions above, the very first problem we run into is that the questions themselves are worded in a very biased and limited way. And after all, to get quality answers, we have to ask quality questions. The specific problem, as you may already have guessed, is in the use of the word “bad”, which is extremely subjective. From a human perspective alone, never mind a soul perspective, we don’t all understand or experience the idea of “bad” in the same way. The notion of what we label or define as bad is influenced by many factors, including religion, culture, society and history. In fact, even the concept of suffering has been shown time and time again to be quite subjective. Modern psychology, has also demonstrated that we distort our reality all the time via our perceptions. This is why anyone interested in getting an effective handle on their stress is told today that it is not what happens to us, but how we perceive and handle what happens to us that has the greatest impact on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. Now add to this all the perspective of the soul, which is so much greater and more expanded than the perspective of a human mind, and you get a completely different understanding of the idea of “bad”.
With the above in mind…
For millennia we have been conditioned to believe that some other force, outside of ourselves, is responsible for our life. Even though this is so disempowering, we have come to accept it and today most people prefer this explanation than one which puts the onus of responsibility on us. We have also been conditioned to judge the world and everything in it by labeling it as “good” or “bad” and see the world through the lens of “victims” and “villains”. This, however, is largely a reflection of duality — a state we operate in, until we raise our awareness and transcend it to embrace the state of polarity.
Here is a quick explanation of these two states, if you are not yet familiar with them:
- Duality divides, whereas polarity unites.
- Duality is a state where “this-not-that” should exist, whereas polarity is a state where both exist to complement each other.
- In duality, opposite energies (positive/negative, right/wrong, good/bad, etc.) repel and are in conflict with each other, where as in polarity opposites attract each other.
This is also where relativity comes in, and I am not referring to Einstein’s work, but to a notion of relativity that is infused with spiritual wisdom. From the perspective of an untrained human mind, life in this Earthly reality often appears very black and white, whereas from the vantage point of a soul there is a high degree of relativity. In truth, how we see things at any time depends on the reference point we use at the time of our observation AND the range of our perception. The more limited our perception is about any given topic, the more confined we are to duality. We judge everything in our world based on our personal worldview in that given moment. What does not conform to or fit within that worldview is attacked, resisted against or seen as “bad” or “wrong”. There is no greater form of separation than this, and this is exactly what fuels ALL of the conflict in our personal lives and world as a whole. When that view, which is based on conditioned and ingrained beliefs changes however, we enable ourselves to see things differently. We have seen countless examples of this throughout the ages, specifically when it comes to how cultural values and judgments have changed over time, as humanity continues to evolve spiritually and expand its perceptions. In turn, we continually widen our narrow fields of view and become more inclusive in our understanding. The more awareness we gain, the less judgmental and close-minded we are, and the more understanding, equanimity and compassion we reflect in our thoughts, words and actions.
Your Soul’s Plan May Not Be Your Human Plan
In 2011, I hosted author and spiritual counsellor Robert Schwartz on EBTV, in an episode entitled Your Soul’s Plan: The Life You Planned Before Birth, which has been one of the most challenging videos for viewers, out of EBTV’s entire collection. Many people simply cannot wrap their mind around the fact that what they deem as “bad” may actually be “good” for the soul. Our human mind is only capable of grasping very rudimentary desires, plans and intentions, but the capacity of our mind is not all there is to who we are. Who we truly are and what happens to us in any given lifetime is but a speck in the ocean of our consciousness’ potential. As Jim Carrey has often shared in his recent insights, it is like putting on different costumes and taking on different roles in the acting world, where we understand that the characters we play are not who we really are. Said in another way, who we think we are in any given lifetime is likened to who an actor/actress is in relation to the role they are playing for a particular performance.
Which brings us back to our soul’s plan…
Your soul knows what it wants and needs at every point in its spiritual evolution. You, from your current human perspective do not. What you may think is good for you as a woman or man, as a parent or child, as an employer or employee, as a wealthy or poor person, as a healthy or sick person, or any other role you are playing may NOT be what is desired by your soul. Likewise, what you deem as bad and undesirable for yourself as a human in any of these roles, may be exactly what your soul requires for its growth and consciousness expansion. Of course one can question, whether or why souls or consciousness even need to do any growth or evolution. However when we observe any system, natural (nature/life) or artificial (technology) it is constantly going through growth, evolution and upgrades. It is the natural progression of things, where nothing is stagnant or static. The same goes for consciousness — soul and spirit, these are not static states or energies. All is always changing and evolving, growing and improving itself.
Therefore the best we can do in any given moment and lifetime is nurture and strengthen our connection to our soul. (If you don’t resonate with that word, substitute in spirit or consciousness.) Some of you who are reading this already know exactly what I mean. Some people have nurtured a relationship with their soul to the point that they live in alignment with their soul’s path. This is unmistakable in their lives, which progress with a certain flow, peace and harmony. Their life will usually reflect a high proportion of pleasant experiences, and any challenges that arise are utilized effectively to grow and learn from, rather than resisted against. Or, their life experience may be based on serious challenges, but these are handled with a high degree of equanimity, humility and inner peace, rather than cursed or resisted, and there is also an understanding that the challenges are an opportunity for greater growth and spiritual evolution. On the other hand, the more strongly you are attached to your Ego’s identity of who you think you are, what you should or should not experience and how your life should be, and the more you allow these to control you, the more out of alignment you are with your Self — soul/spirit/consciousness. This is reflected by constant turmoil, problems, dramas, depression, friction, anxiety and dissatisfaction in one’s life.
Life can be hard and life can be easy, and how it goes for you in any given lifetime greatly depends on how in or out of alignment you are with your soul. This is also why the ancient spiritual tradition of yoga focused on teaching people how to attain union, which is a translation of the word yoga itself. When we bring the mind, body, heart, soul and any other aspect of the Self into alignment, we can achieve union with the Divine, and are in union with life itself. It such a state we, and our lives, reflect an essence of peace and harmony.
Why do Bad Things Happen to Children?
Now that we have a common understanding of what we are working with, we come to the crux of this article. Recently, I received the following question from one of my audience members in response to a video I did featuring physicist and consciousness expert, Tom Campbell — Virtual Reality: How Life Works in a Simulation. Even though he is not doing it directly, throughout most of his work, Tom in fact does help us get answers to that age-old question: why bad things happen to good people, including children.
Unlike Robert Schwartz’s spiritual and soul-based perspective however, Tom explains it from a scientific and consciousness-based perspective. Instead of referring to any kind of soul plan, Tom uses terminology like intention, choices and beliefs to help us understand why we are experiencing the life circumstances we are, and how to bring about effective change by “growing up” (i.e. go beyond the desires and judgements of the Ego) to improve our human life experience, and essentially align with who we really are (soul/consciousness) and its journey of evolution. We each then have the choice to choose the perspective and background we most resonate with — spiritual or scientific. An eventual best case scenario would be to combine both together as you best see fit, for the most comprehensive understanding.
What about all those kids who get abused and badly treated? What wrong choices did they make? I do understand that they can make choices when they reach adulthood to improve things , but if this is a virtual reality then it created an uneven playing field to begin with. It just seems that not everyone starts on a level playing field. Why would that be ?
As I shared above, this topic is one of the most difficult things for us as humans to understand from within the “system” itself; whether one sees this as a virtual reality or some form of spiritual dimension. It is only when we gain perspective and transcend the limiting confines of duality, which is based on ideas like good and bad being at odds with each other, that we can better come to grasp the purpose for different experiences that children and adults alike have in this reality.
No one made any wrong choices, no one is being punished and no one is a victim. Everything has a bigger purpose for the evolution of each specific soul, and consciousness as a whole. The Universe/Matrix/System/Reality is highly efficient, where there are no coincidences and everything serves multiple roles. Everything exists for everyone to learn from. We have the free will then to choose what we focus on and how we respond to it. The challenging or “negative” experience that any child goes through isn’t only serving their soul, but the souls of all the people in this child’s life, as well as all others impacted directly and indirectly by the situation.
From our limited human perspective, we readily judge this experience as good and that experience as bad, but in truth, they all just are. This is what much of Eastern philosophy, such as Buddhism, has been trying to teach us for millennia. It is just our attachment to this versus that, which causes the inner turmoil, suffering and judgement. This is not meant to downplay any heinous acts or in any way support their continued existence, but simply to bring awareness to the fact that it is all part of one, and the same, Divine consciousness. God is in everything, no exceptions, and we are all composed of and present in one unified field of consciousness. As long as we reject something, we are rejecting a part of ourselves. What we see reflected outside of ourselves in this reality is simply a representation of our collective consciousness. Unless and until we evolve, and personally face all of our inner demons fully, we will continue to hurt others, and not realize that we are hurting ourselves. Each being is a part of us, and we a part of them. An emotionally mature and spiritually evolved society reflects a completely different reality for all who inhabit it.
Secondly, we have to understand that our “playing field”, including whatever circumstances we may be born into, is not a representation of who we are (i.e. good person or bad person) or who we become (i.e. happy person or sad person). The Earthly “playing field” that any being starts with as a child is also not any worse or better, than any other’s from a soul/spirit/consciousness perspective. It only seems better or worse from a human perspective. However, a child that dies of cancer at age 8 may have had a much more fulfilling soul journey than a person who dies of cancer at 88. Age, time and details are not the language or care of the soul. These are all human constructs. The more we can see beyond them, the more we can grasp the purpose of life and all that it entails from the perspective of soul/spirit/consciousness. All the experiences and Earthly circumstances we get are on some level a reflection of our soul’s needs and evolution. We all get exactly what we need, when we need it to reach the next step in our personal growth. And if we don’t learn what we need to learn or came to experience as a soul, the messages, opportunities, experiences and circumstances will continue to come in other ways, and unfortunately get more challenging. We have free will in this regard, in what we choose to do while within the human form, and our soul will not force anything to happen or not happen. Eventually, we will all succeed and get to where we need to get to. It is not a matter of if, only a matter of when.
From a practical sense, it is no guarantee that someone who grows up in what we would deem as a “good household” or has a “nice childhood”, will grow up to be a happy, healthy or well adjusted individual. There are countless examples of children who grow up in homes where seemingly everything is great, such as both parents being present, perhaps the family being wealthy, the kids go to good schools, etc., only to grow up and express various self-esteem issues, drug habits or other self-destructive tendencies and even criminal acts. In the same way there are many examples where kids grow up in challenged households and/or under less than ideal conditions, such as in poverty, in dysfunctional families, being orphaned or abused in some way, only to rise above their circumstances and be highly functioning adults. Such children often grow into adults who utilize the experience of the negative contrast (high entropy) to create and express lives based on love, peace, forgiveness and gratitude (low entropy).
Although there is no doubt that some life circumstances are “harder” and some “easier”, and the probability of human nature influences the potential outcomes, the circumstances alone are no guarantee of how any child will grow up. It is all about HOW any person uses their specific circumstances and WHAT they choose to do in response to those circumstances. We can blame and complain or we can take responsibility for our life and state of being, as soon as the awareness and ability arises. We can rise above and empower ourselves to “not be like that” or “not do that”; that being whatever we noticed was destructive to us or others. Or, we can be a victim to any set of circumstances, and perhaps even repeat destructive family patterns and habits. This is where that great notion of “free will” comes in as well. However, even in any of these cases, if we consider them as “worst case scenarios”, they really aren’t. The human mind may get hurt or the human body may get hurt, but these are all temporary states and not what defines our greater or true nature. Remember, this was just one role that was played by you or someone you know, which provided growth for the soul and expansion for all of consciousness.
Ultimately, we play this game many, many times, with each lifetime providing us with a different experience for growth and evolution. And as human observers, we cannot judge what any other soul has chosen for any of its given life experiences — as a child or an adult. What may seem “bad” to us from our current perspective, may be the greatest gift that soul could have given itself. In the end, we all play all roles in one way or another. If we use common terminology, the roles of the “victims” and the “villains”. This is all part of our “growing up” and the evolution of this virtual reality to keep lowering its entropy and eventually choosing higher and purer states of love — from start to finish.
What about babies who are miscarried, aborted or who die shortly after birth?
There are two elements one must keep in mind to grasp any of those examples: 1) Earthly time is not a factor for souls, and 2) every soul serves a bigger purpose than just its own evolution.
1) The length of time any given physical incarnation lasts should never be mistaken to be a representation of value. When it comes to souls and life on Earth, quantity does not equal quality. A moment is all that it takes for a gift to be received, a lesson to be learned, an awakening to occur, or a transformation to happen. From our human perspective, we think that a full or long physical life is the right way to go, necessary or defining of a successful life. But this is completely not the perspective of the soul. Beyond time and space as we know it, everything just is — present and now. Time itself, as we know it, has been shown to be very relative and an illusion. Hence, why a soul may only need a certain moment for the experience it desires.
2) Likewise, no soul is an isolated unit working on its own evolution. The experience of a “termination” is likely to be part of the plan. Souls plan, create and work together for collective evolution of anything from soul groups to the entire collective consciousness. Every life experience provides many, many lessons and opportunities for all other beings who are impacted by that life. A soul that chooses the experience of being miscarried or aborted is most directly intertwined with the soul of the mother, and offering the mother’s soul a powerful lesson in her own spiritual evolution.
The act of abortion itself is also a teacher for our entire human family and collective consciousness. These are extremely life-changing experiences, which evoke all sorts of strong emotions and moral dilemmas. The most important question is not why they happen, but what do we each do in response to them? Will we demonize the person having the abortion or will we show compassion and empathy toward them and the emotional pain they must be in? Anytime we are aware of any experience, we are given a gift to use it for some of our own healing, awakening and spiritual transformation.
Why would a child or adult choose to be repeatedly abused or raped, etc.?
The child wouldn’t and doesn’t, from the perspective and confines of this reality. With adults it is not that simple, because even though most adults wouldn’t choose that consciously, some adults do seek out abusive experiences, whether consciously or subconsciously. Either way, from the perspective and potential of the soul, such an experience may be chosen for any given Earthly lifetime to increase the likelihood of learning any number of lessons, like radical forgiveness, radical acceptance, self-empowerment, the lesson that we are not our bodies, the lesson that we are not our circumstances and they need not determine our human potential, or to heal any active wounds like rejection or humiliation, etc.
As many Eastern traditions point to, it is likely in such cases that there is also some sort of karmic interplay across lifetimes between the victim and the villain. However, this does NOT mean that the person who is the victim in this lifetime is at fault or did something wrong in another lifetime. There is both personal and collective karma that needs to be factored in. Ultimately it is impossible to say for certain from our current vantage point, what higher or bigger purpose is behind such experiences.
Before I fully conclude this article, I want to leave you with three important things for your consideration to always keep in mind regarding this topic.
First, as I mentioned several times above, this is not a comfortable or easy topic for many people to come to terms with, especially if you have gone through a difficult childhood or are experiencing a challenging adulthood. If you found yourself tense up, become sad, angry or disturbed in any way, I invite you to step back and examine those feelings. What is really behind them? What beliefs or identities have you attached to a different explanation that makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened reading this? The more you can examine this, the more you can liberate yourself from any inner turmoil and from being enslaved by one way of seeing things. You are not asked to believe or agree with anything that was shared above, but at the same time you do not need to resist it. Resistance only creates more trauma. This article was written with best intentions to raise awareness and help people like yourself expand their consciousness to find some hope, understanding, resolution and meaning in whatever you may be going through, have gone through, or are watching someone else go through. If it was not helpful to you, may you simply release it with peace in your heart.
Second, just because we do not know what is best for any other being’s life path or even our own, and even though some souls have chosen difficult circumstances for themselves by Earthly standards, does not mean that we should ever dismiss, negate, blame or ignore anyone’s pain and suffering. If you are sick or are observing someone who is, this does not mean that they or you are meant to stay sick. If you are being abused in any way or know someone else who is, this does not mean that they or you should continue to be abused. Everything exists for us to respond to. The ultimate choice we can make and gift we can give is to respond to the person or situation with the most compassion, love and acceptance that we are capable of. This does not include any pity, guilt or shame, which are destructive emotions to you and them. Consider how you can help and ease this individual’s perceived suffering, or your own. See what you are called to do from the heart, and do it.
Many people struggle with the balance of helping without interfering in the life lessons of another person, so it must be reiterated again that just because a person finds themselves in a difficult situation does not mean they are meant to stay in it. Not at all. Whenever we witness any injustice or harm we are called to respond and take action. Do what you can, do what you feel called to do, do what is in your ability to do, as long as you do not FORCE your will of how things should be onto any other person, or resent them for not doing what you want or think they should do. This excludes young children, whom we should do everything in our power to nurture and protect, and where forceful intervention to remove the child from harm may be required.
Third, it is highly unlikely that any soul’s path or plan is rigid, or as the saying goes “written in stone”. Everything about life and this reality has proven itself to be very dynamic and we should not expect otherwise from other dimensions or realities. This is why probability is one of the key players in all of this. As each player makes a move, it shifts the probabilities of other events, planned or unplanned, for everyone else. This adds an immense layer of complexity on its own to this topic. In addition, anything we can grasp as human minds about soul paths and plans are ultimately variable “theories”. Our limited human experience may never be able to fully know, grasp or explain what is taking place in other dimensions of our existence and this reality. The more we expand our consciousness however, and release limiting ideas, beliefs and dogmas, the more we can bring ourselves to some sort of reasonable and inclusive explanation.
May a high state of awareness, acceptance, wisdom, empowerment and love guide any thoughts, words and actions you choose toward yourself and all others in regards to this topic. Wishing you peace of mind.