Your Soul’s Plan
Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born
Robert Schwartz (Frog Ltd, 2009)
Why is life so hard?
Why do we have to suffer?
Why do very bad things sometimes happen to very good people?
So often when life goes horribly wrong, there is no explanation. It’s just rotten luck, a meaningless turn of events. …Unless of course we prefer to believe that all events actually have a higher reason.
Some say, for instance, that we should gratefully accept all our difficulties because God is testing us. Well if God wants to test me by robbing my house or giving my kid cancer, gratitude is going to be the last thing on my mind. In any case, why would a loving God ever do such a thing?
And then there is the argument that all of the bad things that happen to us are the result of our bad karma from past lives. Perhaps we deserve everything we get because we have inflicted so much on others in former lifetimes. The hardships and tragedies of our lives are merely payback for similar hardships and tragedies we have created in the past. 
And then there is the Buddhist view that life simply is a process of suffering. So long as we live, we desire; we crave for things to be different. And as we crave without satisfaction, we inevitably suffer. Life and suffering go together until we renounce the world, get off the treadmill and achieve nirvana.
None of these scenarios sounds particularly attractive or pleasant.
In this book, however, we learn of another explanation — one which actually has evidence to back it up — which is that all of the major challenges and dramatic experiences of our lives were deliberately planned by us before we were born.
In a personal session with a medium in 2003, I was astonished to speak with nonphysical beings who knew everything about me — not just what I had done in life, but also what I had thought and felt. They told me that I had planned many of my most difficult experiences before I was born. Realizing that a knowledge of pre-birth planning would bring great healing to people and allow them to understand the deeper purpose of their life challenges, I devoted the next three years to studying the pre-birth plans of dozens of individuals.
So in this book, Schwartz explores how we plan each life to come, including our hardest challenges, for the purpose of spiritual evolution. As he explains it:
Prior to birth, we have in-depth conversations with our spirit guides and the other souls with whom we will share our incarnation. We discuss the lessons we hope to learn and the way in which we will learn them.
… Life challenges are set up so we experience who we are not before we remember who we really are.
The book consists of ten case studies, each one focusing on an ordinary individual who has experienced a particular difficulty in life such as AIDS, cancer, disability, drug addiction, alcoholism or losing a loved one. (Remarkably, all of the participants give their contact details at the end of the book.)
Working with a number of spiritual mediums, Schwartz sets out to uncover each individual’s pre-birth soul plan — the events that were deliberately arranged to occur in life, including the greatest difficulties, and the reasons for choosing them.
Each case study begins with a profile of the individual concerned and their specific life problems. It then gives an account of one or two sessions with a medium in which Schwartz, with the individual present, asks the medium for insights into those difficulties. In some cases, the mediums replay the actual pre-birth conversations that took place between the soul and its guides and soulmates in planning the present life.
Jon and the challenge of AIDS
To take one example, Jon Elmore from Alabama was diagnosed with AIDS in 1997. His reaction at the time was, “Well, I got what I deserved.” A sense of shame had already been a big part of Jon’s life and personality, so the AIDS diagnosis merely compounded it.
Schwartz arranged for Jon to attend a session with the medium Glenna Dietrich, a deep trance channel. In her trance state, Glenna relayed communications from three beings, one of whom was Jon’s soulmate (which means a soul of near-identical vibration ). This particular soul had spent many of its own lifetimes with Jon, the two of them acting out various roles together — friends, enemies, siblings, parent-child, and so on.
After hearing some wonderful words of encouragement to Jon, Robert Schwartz then asks this being: “Did Jon plan before birth to have the experience of AIDS in this lifetime, and if so, why?”
Through Glenna, the soul replies: “Yes, certainly,” and goes on to explain how Jon had specifically planned AIDS not just for his own learning but for the growth of his entire soul group.
It appears that in a previous lifetime Jon had become so distracted by human fear and illusion that he had completely lost sight of his spiritual nature. In particular, he had lost sight of the possibility of deserving love from others around him (and those others had, in their own ways, colluded in forming this new attitude). In this lifetime, Jon had grown up with a feeling that love was conditional upon meeting others’ expectations.
The experience of AIDS served as a physical mirror of Jon’s self-defeating attitude. As Jon’s soulmate explains:
The disease of AIDS is about splitting a desire for unconditional love with the belief that one does not deserve it. Therefore, healing comes and is completed when the soul of Jon shines through and the personality of Jon sees that light and believes that to be himself.
In other words, the soul of Jon had volunteered to take on this life experience as a way to confront his self-limiting thoughts and feelings and so challenge both himself and others around him to discover, or more accurately to remember, his true inner nature — and the nature of love.
Jon later remarked:
I have been making noticeable strides in reaching for that entity I know is inside me. The experience of AIDS has brought me to believe that my body is threatened but my soul and my being and my awareness are not.
Your Soul’s Plan was originally published under the title Courageous Souls, and to be honest I think the original title was closer to the mark. The book does not (as the cover unfortunately implies) enable us to discover our own life plans — unless, I suppose, we decide to contact one of the mediums listed in the back of the book. But through its selection of case studies, it shows us how each life is, to a significant extent, pre-planned — and how truly courageous we all are to come into this life and take on the extraordinary challenges we do.
The case studies are at times very impressive and very moving, and Robert Schwartz writes wisely and eloquently. Quite often in books of this sort, the author’s comments are superfluous and just get in the way of the real-life accounts. In this case, however, Schwartz really adds to the material with his own insights and compassion. I also gladly note that he refers to the Michael teachings as a way to understand souls and their levels of reincarnation.
There is one aspect, however, which sceptics will pick up on instantly. In each of the cases, before the channelling session begins, Schwartz gives the medium a full briefing as to the nature of the individual’s challenging life experience (AIDS or whatever). The medium also knows that Schwartz is writing a book about the pre-planning of challenging life experiences. Then during the actual session, the medium reveals that the person in question planned the whole experience before birth. Schwartz uncritically accapts what the medium says (even if it doesn’t quite match up with what another medium has said) and takes it as further confirmation that challenging life experiences are pre-planned.
If the book is intended to persuade sceptics, then I doubt that it can do that. If the book is intended to inspire and reassure those of us who already have a belief in reincarnation that our most challenging life experiences are planned before birth, then it succeeds very well. Nevertheless, there are whole chapters in which questions about what is said by a medium may be raised, since it is impossible to know whether what is being said is valid or is random or is simply what the medium thinks we want to hear. Personally, I would have preferred the author to have taken a more scientific approach with the mediums not knowing the topic of the book, nor having prior knowledge about each individual’s problems.
That said, I would still class the book as a must-read for anyone interested in understanding our life purpose and keen (or even desperate) to view their own difficult life experiences in a meaningful context. There is much food for thought and I certainly came away from the book with my eyes opened — not only with a much greater acceptance of my personal difficulties, past and present, but also with a genuine appreciation for those whose lives are far more difficult than mine.
Perhaps the key insight for me was what Schwartz calls learning through opposites:
In such a plan, the individual chooses before birth to experience the lack of what he or she most wants to understand and appreciate.
So that explains why my early life seemed to be such a contradiction of my heart’s desires. (Or as I like to call it, crap.) Had I not had that negative experience, I would not have been motivated to reach so determinedly for the more positive experience.
If you go to Schwartz’s Facebook page you can find, among other things, a video of him speaking about the book to an audience.
To end with a few choice quotes from Your Soul’s Plan:
Those who most challenge us do so at our behest. The roles are agreed upon before birth, with the souls who play “tormentor” doing so out of love and often deferring their own learning until another lifetime so we may have the growth experiences we seek.
Ultimately, regardless of the specific challenges they contained, every life blueprint I examined was based on love. Each soul weas motivated by a desire to give and receive love freely and unconditionally, even in those instances when the soul had agreed to play a “negative” role to stimulate another’s soul growth.
 I remember when, in 1999, the England national football team manager Glen Hoddle was sacked and pilloried in the tabloids for making a politically incorrect remark about people with disabilities and their karma.
 What the Michael teachings refer to as an essence twin.