If you ask ten people what it’s like to live in a given city, you’ll likely get a mix of responses, some of which will agree, others not. All ten may agree that traffic is an issue, for example. But not all ten will react to the traffic in the same way. Some will find it very annoying while others, considering the many advantages of living in the city, will see it as a minor inconvenience. If all ten comment on traffic, however, we can assume that if we move to that city, traffic will likely be a factor.
In near-death case studies, a feature that almost universally appears is the way in which people are sent back to their body and their life. As their out-of-body experience unfolds, they reach a point where they either know or they are told that they must go back because, “It’s not your time.” Most resist this command to return because they do not wish to leave the beauty of the realm they are experiencing.
The interpretation of this message varies. Some assume they’re sent back because there are lessons their soul has yet to learn. I find it odd that they’re never told what those lessons are. Many say they wander for years trying to figure it out. Others interpret this rebuke as simply meaning their earthly clock hasn’t yet run out, as if we’re each allotted a specific amount of time in the body. Still others sense that they have not yet accomplished their reason for incarnating in the first place.
Of these three possibilities, I find the third most appealing. I don’t like to think I showed up on this planet out of spiritual stupidity, or that I’ll likely be forced to return because God thinks I’m some kind of an undeserving loser. I’ve experienced a definite evolution of thought and values on why I’m here. Like many, I started with the belief that God sent me here as a test. If I pass the test, Heaven it is. If I fail, it’s eternal barbecue. I eventually graduated into the belief that the soul is evolving and earth is a school. We come here through a series of incarnations, each of which provides our soul with the specific lessons it needs to move up the evolutionary ladder. This worked for years, but I didn’t stop here. I moved to my current understanding that the soul is complete, that earth life has little to teach the soul. Our involvement with the body and our material environment, in fact, cause us to forget what we are at the spiritual level. When we step from the body, we instantly remember who and what we are, that our true home is not the slag of body and earth but the pure spiritual environment of light and love in which we suddenly find ourselves.
The question then becomes one of why we would step into an environment that would basically dumb-down our understanding of who we are at the spiritual level. The most reasonable answer to me is that we had some reason that we wanted to have this experience. The chances are good that we’ve become so engrossed in the care and keeping of the body-based self-image that we’ve simply forgotten our reason for coming. This forgetting, and the blunders we make as the result, have no lasting, negative impact on the soul itself. In other words, if we totally mess it up this time, we don’t have to keep coming back until we get it right. Within a few moments of leaving our body, we remember what we have forgotten. We then probably decide whether we want to go back and try it again, or we just forget it and go on. It’s probably no big deal in the larger sphere of the soul.
When I hear people say they were sent back with the message, “It’s not your time,” I think of a story shared by Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich. A man who was caught up in the gold rush came to Colorado to make his fortune. After some success, the gold vein he followed ran out. Being unfamiliar with the nature of fault lines, he sold his drilling equipment to a junk dealer and went home. The junk dealer hired an engineer who advised resuming drilling just three feet from where the previous owner stopped. There he rediscovered the vein, and made his fortune.
What if the first man were told not to stop drilling because “It’s not your time” to quit? The message would be that he shouldn’t quit because he had not fulfilled his purpose, his reason for being there. Perhaps he would have taken a deeper look at his apparent failure, re-evaluated the direction he was drilling, and rediscovered the lost vein.
I’m convinced that the prime reason that most of us feel something essential to our happiness is missing is simply because we’ve forgotten who we are and we’ve lost sight of our reason for coming in the first place. All of our efforts to address this void by piling on more things and accomplishments are basically us drilling in the wrong direction.
If we feel we’re among those who have lost our way, how do we get back on track? How do we recall our reason for taking on this body and engaging this earthly experience? To some, this question will seem a totally bizarre one. But if it doesn’t seem so bizarre, you may find it beneficial to start a little self-analysis. Instead of asking, “Why am I here?” try starting with the assumption that you made the choice to be here. This attitude opens your mind to that which you’ve forgotten. Like the woman who had ten coins and lost one, you will take the strong position of knowing you are the rightful owner of this bit of information you have misplaced. Your attitude will be one of conviction rather than the uncertainty of a blind faith. This is how many approach their life. Why I’m here is considered too big a question for a spiritually inept person like myself. I’ll rely on the religious professionals to tell me why. Big mistake if you’re hoping to reconnect with that vein of purpose you’re drilling for.
Don’t struggle for an answer to this question. Rather hold the attitude that you know the answer and it’s being made clear to you now. And even if you don’t get a clear answer, the realization that you’re here by choice inspires the sense of ownership, not of the earth, but of your experience on this earth. Why did you come here? Because you could.
If you could leave this earth today, would you? Or would you say, “It’s not my time.” The truth is, we can leave any time we want. Do we stay because we’re afraid of the unknown? Possibly. But maybe our reasons run deeper than this. Maybe we know something we’ve forgotten, that there’s a vein we came to tap and things won’t feel quite square until we tap it. When it’s our time, I have a feeling we’ll know it. Till then, let’s live our life as if we came to do just that.