Problem of Suffering, Cooperative Pre-incarnation

I often ponder the Problem of Evil (known in theology and philosophy as Theodicy) and have many times considered the “cooperative pre-incarnation movement” someone mentioned in Kathleen McGowan’s Magdalene forum recently.  Cooperating with each other and with the Universal Consciousness (God?) and choosing, AGREEING to incarnate on earth does seem logical and more sensible than the rather loose karma-reincarnation theory.

Maybe it went something like this.  We were a group of volunteer souls about to be sent onto this egg, this earth-planet, and were gathered together for a sort of briefing, a great gathering of souls about to fill the Hall of Souls on Earth.  We could have been told something like:  You will have minds capable of full consciousness, but your bodies and physical surroundings will constantly distract you, keeping you in a kind of mundane every-day unconsciousness. Your spirit will be asleep in this unconscious state that you will be in. If you can wake up, if you can figure out you are not your body, not the thinker inside your head but the higher soul watching all this thinking going on, you will become fully conscious, “awakened.”  By waking up from the mundane unconsciousness you are one more mind in the critical mass to help the Universe become conscious of Itself — the purpose of humanity in the first place. 

But back to the mundane unconsciousness. It can lead to horrors.  Unconscious people do despicable horrible things to others.  Some of you will fall into those traps and do awful things, others of you will be victims of these horrors and not understand why or what the heck is going on.  You will get angry, desperate, suicidal.  It ain’t gonna be a picnic.  But all that pain and suffering forces your mind to go deeper, deeper until it finally says hey wait a minute, I am not really this little me, I am the field of awareness in which “me” happens!  (Read Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth for the best explanation of this awakening from little me unconsciousness). 

Okay, so anyway, I like to think we were given the choice, asked if we could handle going down into the flesh and going thru incarnation after incarnation where we would sometimes be bad guys, sometimes be victims, sometimes be both, but always trying to make our way thru suffering and bewilderment, thru fear, greed, power-lust, pain until we finally looked long and deep enough to find what is really going on.  We then figure out the REAL reason we are here for — which is to wake up as individuals and thus help Universe wake up, achieve full awareness of Itself.  That is the closest I can come to “solving” the Problem of Evil.  <snort> And I have been grappling with it for many years.  The standard solutions offered by philosophers and religionists such as, ‘God gave us Free Will so we end up with some people perpetrating evils,’ do help me somewhat, but they fail to answer why God allows suffering.  (The problem of suffering is a part of the Problem of Evil in philosophical/theological discourse).  We can say that because of Free Will some men choose to do evil and that is why your little girl got molested and murdered.  Okay, painful as hell but we can see the logic of that.  HOWEVER, what about this, God?:  What causes the same little girl to be born beautiful and healthy but then get cancer when she is in first grade, drop out of school, end up bald and lying in a cancer ward frail as a waif, body racked with pain, wasting away wondering what happened to her life?  What about THAT suffering?  It wasn’t caused by Free Will.

So yeah, evil.  Ugh.  Suffering of the innocent, double Ugh.  That is the one I am grappling with now, solitary philosphical arguments going on in my head.  <laugh>   The closest I have gotten recently, and I have not yet gotten it into words (thank you list-friends for triggering yet another session) is some very wispy realizations while reading Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth and Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity.  Suffering of the innocent from flooks of nature like cancer and horrible lingering fatal diseases, is another thing that forces us to go DEEP.  The parents of that child and the child herself (or in the case of adults dying of fatal diseases, the person and their loved ones) are given suffering as this huge doorway, not just a window, into the Awakened Realm.  Back at the beginning when we had our cooperative pre-incarnation briefing we were also told that the system was set up so that some of us would suffer from flooks of nature, from physical waste and excruciating pain.  This suffering would then force us and those around us to think, think, THINK and to go deep and WITHIN to find cosmic answers.  Some of us might even awaken while observing such hells, others would get into despair and curse at Universe/the Powers that Be, etc.  But some would use the suffering as that window — actually nice big door — of opportunity for awakening. 

Still working out the kinks of this one.  I’ll check back in a few years (!) which is usually how long I chew on each of these elements.  <laugh>  Thanks to all the spiritual writers and bloggers who pose such dilemmas and write about them, thus giving fuel to my fodder of pondering.



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Katia is a consecrated independent sacramental bishop. She directs the online Esoteric Mystery School and Interfaith Theological Seminary. Check it out at

8 thoughts on “Problem of Suffering, Cooperative Pre-incarnation”

  1. Hi Katia,
    I’m so glad to see these kinds of philosophical musings come out of “the Christian closet”. Thank you! Some people have always said that early Christianity was compatible with the reincarnation philosophies. The Aquarian Gospel and other books have Jesus in the places of such religious belief systems. Surely he was curious and open to them. I love it that we are “growing” our understanding of the cooperative nature of all things, including our cooperative preincarnation plans with our families and friends. I heard once that our soul family is about 50 people who we continually reincarnate with to grow and learn.
    For myself, this kind of expanded awareness is the ONLY way to understand my life and the things that have happened to me. It causes us to have to look at bad situations and try to find some worthwhile lesson it them, but without a blaming concept of “bad karma”.
    The only piece of the story, as I see it, that’s missing from Eckhart’s philosophy is the value of the body’s wisdom. Where does information from our soul’s “overview” come to? It comes to our bodies . We receive it as intuitional urges towards or away from something…or physical aversions to things…..or irrational attractions to things like books, certain people, or even plants and foods . Our soul’s promptings towards our own greater good are often felt as physical reactions and aversions. To me, our physical bodies carry the WHOLE holographic knowledge of our multi-dimensional soullife, and certainly our bodies carry innate wisdom for a balanced life. I think the wonderful Louise Hay got it very, very right when she began noticing that there’s consciousness in every little morsel of the body and the body’s “pleas for help”. A suffering bodypart can also be a gateway to the multi-dimensional knowledge of the preincarnation “arrangements” we’ve made.
    To me, this kind of awareness of the further extensions of our minds is only useful if we couple it (Sacred Union it) with our heart’s compassion for suffering. There we have the marriage of flesh and divinity with love at the center.
    Thanks again for musing out loud!
    With love, Joan

  2. Katia wrote to Jennifer privately and asked for her thoughts about the problem of suffering when the suffering is caused by “nature” (child suffering excruciating pain from cancer or other horrible disease) also called “flooks of nature.” This is different from the problem of suffering caused by mankind’s free will. We can “solve” the problem of evil/suffering as caused by a villain’s free will — he chooses to molest and murder that child, but how do we solve it when Nature, a flook of nature, is the cause of that suffering and death? Jennifer wrote about Good and Evil in her book The Holy Book of Mary Magdalene (see link above attached to Jennifer’s name) 25 and Katia found it very enlightening, but still wanted to know Jennifer’s thoughts on evil / suffering when NOT caused by other humans, such as the 5 or 6 year old still in the sweet child phase, smiling and singing, learning how to read, not able to lie well yet, not even able to be mean and nasty quite yet, who is suddenly struck with a painful waste-away debilitating disease that causes them pain, fear and even abject terror from time to time (such as when an IV is inserted but blows the vein and blood is everywhere and the child is crying piteously trying to pull their arm away for ten minutes of hell while the thing is re-inserted — as happened to my daughter once when she was 2 and a half years old). Anyway (!) Jennifer kindly answered me (Katia) back as follows:

    Hi Katia,

    Yes, I understand completely what you are saying. My job is as a pediatric nurse for the severely disabled, and severely ill children who are at home in lieu of being institutionalized. This is what I face every day at work. I have seen many genetic disorders and so on.

    Part of understanding I think has to do with acceptance. As human beings it is our nature to try to control things so that things can get better. We are designed to solve problems. So when a problem is placed before us that is beyond our capability to solve, we become frustrated, angry and sad. First we have to accept that the Eternal is Good and that railing against a mighty power will never bring us what we desire. We will never be stronger than the Eternal power that created us.

    When we face the things that you describe, such as the suffering of innocents, there has to come an acceptance and a knowing that we cannot possibly comprehend everything in the Creation. We must do our very best and then leave the rest up to the Everlasting. There is a ‘letting go’ in that part of the process. When we must at some point give it over to the Divine. The whole purpose of our lives here is to learn give over to, become one with the Divine. Other wise, as Joseph Campbell says, we are just “so much protoplasm, with an urge.” I have seen many family situations where there are children who suffer and in every case I see the children as the teachers of their parents. That is part of the mystery.

    Of course we do our best to alleviate suffering for ourselves and others. If we face suffering personally, such as in children, yes, it will hurt. But it is our job to be of service to the best of our ability, to love and let our love be felt, and to live from a place of gratitude for the lives we have been given. It seems to me that there is no other way. The alternative results in patterns of destruction, anger, and withdrawing from others and so on.

    So, we open our hearts, we try to practice non-judgment, and we perform the very best service that we are capable of. It will only be after we pass on, that we will see Divine Order, and come to know how the pieces of the world fit together.

    Much love, Katia,

    – KatiaRoma wrote earlier:
    Hi Jennifer:
    I was wondering what your thoughts are on the problem of suffering when that suffering is say of a child with a terrible painful long drawn out illness that results in death. My daughter was born with kidney disease but she is okay, it is the kids I see at the childrens hospital whenever I take her in that make me think about this.

    Also my father told me how he “lost his faith” years ago when his whole church prayed to save a darling goldilocks little girl who got some kind of lung disease at age 5 (she used to sing at church, everyone loved her) and then took 2 years to die. She suffered horribly and they would have to hold her upside down to let the fluids drain out of her throat when she’d start to choke. Dad said it was sooo awful. They prayed, lit candles, etc. and then she still died. Dad didn’t understand why God allowed such suffering. What was the message, how was that free will, why is a sweet child allowed to die so miserably? Karma and Buddhism say, well that’s not really a sweet child, that’s an old soul in there who did some selfish things in a so-called previous life time and so now she has to suffer, and suffer terribly. I think that’s a load of crap, personally.

  3. Hi all,
    I was just reading Joan Norton’s entry and she makes such a great point. It feels like our culture trains us to “be strong” and ignore the messages of our body as perhaps, “weakness”. I am just newly learning to tune into my body and listen to what it is telling me. It seems to be connected to intuition as well as to actual messages from the body, to the mind directing us as to what is best for us. Learning to listen!
    Love, Jennifer

  4. Great blog Katia! I’ve also pondered those questions. At times life seems to be so unfair especially when children are involved. Sometimes it might be in the way that we’re viewing life in general, which includes our own life experiences since they do color our view of the world. I tend to agree with you in that we were, or are in agreement with ‘All That Is’ before we incarnate into each life time. It seems like it’s not always black and white, for example a child might agree to be born into the physical world to ‘set an example’. Some very sick children seem to be more ‘awake and conscious’ during their short life span than some people are during an entire lifetime. These children actually ‘beam’ from within like they hold a very deep secret. They’re brave in facing their challenges and they teach the rest of us that there really is nothing to fear. Pa felt that one of his so-called ‘assignments’ was to set an example that death was nothing to fear. I know that he did a good job.

    In Light, Love, Wisdom & Peace,

  5. Why is living is a half-asleep reality where suffering is so common necessary? What gain could free will bring that would more than make up for such suffering?

    I imagine it this way, Katia: The Lord of Heaven (Enlil or Jehovah or Zeus) was the god who must be obeyed. The Lord of Earth (Enlil’s brother Enki or Lucifer or the Greek lightbringer) took over and gave humans free will. I imagine both brothers want the same thing from humans, that humans shall serve the Great Spirit Agape. Enlil opposes Enki on the issue of free will.

    In order to have knowledge of good and evil, humans would need to do both (by free will choice while lacking divine knowledge). Enlil accuses Enki of evil because Enki has caused humans to do evil. But Enki would argue that humans choosing to serve Agape of their own free will shall become more productive servants than humans who serve without any choice in the matter. I explain it thus:

    The prodigal (wasteful) son squanders his inheritance and eventually suffers poverty among strangers and life without love. He returns home (to the garden of heaven on earth) and his father kills an ox and invites all the neighbors for a big party to celebrate the return of his long-lost son. The other son, who has never left home, becomes jealous and complains that his father never killed an ox and had a big party for him. Why is that?

    The answer: In the days that follow, as the two brothers work side by side in the garden, the brother who has not sinned is preoccupied with angry thoughts, like “I could demand my inheritance, like my brother did, and spend years partying in strange lands then come back and apologize and be accepted back and be treated as a hero. Why do I labor in the hot sun?” meanwhile, the formerly prodigal son is thinking how happy he is to be home, and part of a prospering garden world doing work for which the Great Spirit created him.

    The formerly prodigal son is a more efficient worker in the garden. Like a team of people joined together of their own free will to undertake work they believe in will produce more than an equal number of slaves.

    Rev. Don Eli
    Metaphysical Interfaith Church

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