Pre-Life Plans, Tasks, and Agreements

“Why is this happening to me?”— This is a question we tend to ask ourselves when things seem to be going badly wrong, and we are suffering. It’s also one of the most commonly asked questions given to psychics, mediums and spiritual channels.

And the answer given is quite often the same: that before we were born as human beings, we — as souls — planned the life we are now living, including the challenges we are now facing.

We did not do so in order to suffer, however, but as an opportunity to choose not to suffer.

And yet, no matter how much or how little we suffer, the end result will be the same — a degree of growth for our soul. This may come in the form of greater self-understanding, for instance, or greater compassion for others.

The growth we hope to gain is like a “learning objective”, while the challenges we face in order to meet the objective are the “lessons” which we have set for ourselves.

Life Plans

A life plan is a rough outline of what we intend to happen at different stages in the life to come.

Like a military plan of action, it will have a general route-map of the entire mission, with an entry point (birth), an end point (death), a main objective (the life lesson), a bunch of key landmarks and waypoints along the way to help keep us on track (education, relationships, employment, etc), and a few contingency plans in case the main plan doesn’t work out. There can even be a few strategically-placed early exit points (such as potentially fatal illnesses and accidents) so that we can return home to safety if we feel it’s all become a bit too much.

Life Plan example

This is quite a good analogy because, rather like military operations, our soul plans are not set in stone, programmed to unfold automatically. If that were the case, we would be nothing but puppets, mindlessly acting out the scripts that have already been written. There wouldn’t be much point or value in that.

In fact, our life plans are quite loosely defined, leaving plenty of room for exploration and improvisation. And the outcomes are always unpredictable.

Why is this? It’s because free will is built into the game plan.

Even though we have these plans that cover our entire lives, the whole point is to experience life situations “in the raw” and respond to them in whatever way we choose. Yes, certain events will happen at certain times, just as planned. That traumatic childhood experience, that “chance encounter” with an old friend on a trip to New Zealand, that humiliating experience of failure … Certain things we have arranged will simply happen anyway. The Universe will see to it. But what we choose to do about such things is wide open. We are free to react with pleasure or displeasure. We are free to dive in or opt out. We are free to do what feels right — or not.

As they say in the military, no plan survives contact with the enemy. In other words, our soul plans for this life are not scripts to be acted out; they are just plans. The key events and milestones are mapped out in advance but our actions down here on the ground are completely a matter of free choice. No outcome is predetermined. You and I and everyone else we meet are choosing our own way.  That’s the whole point of the game of life.


While we individually plan each of our own lives to serve our own needs and interests, no single life plan or life experience exists in a vacuum, isolated from the rest. We are all in this together. Everything you planned to do in this lifetime meshes seamlessly with the life plans of all others involved.

Your own life plan, no doubt, features a number of key experiences involving others, but their life plans will likewise feature those same experiences with you. We’ve all agreed to participate in each other’s life experiences.

Some refer to these mutual agreements as “soul contracts”, but the term contract is a bit too formal. A contract is a legally binding commitment. If we fail to fulfil a legal contract, we can be in serious trouble. But soul plan agreements are not like formal contracts. They are literally just agreements — an agreed course of action to be undertaken jointly at a certain point in life, if we still feel like it at the time.

For example, my wife and I presumably agreed to be married partners in this life. I am also sure that we planned to meet for the first time on a particular spiritual retreat in 1992. And that her physical disability — strikingly similar to my own brother’s — was a “cue” to me that this is her, this is the one. Indeed, I soon felt a sense of inevitability that we were “meant to be together.”

But that’s not to imply there was some sort of cosmic kismet in action, that our love was forever “written in the stars”, or that she is the only true love for me in the whole of existence. It simply means that, in our pre-life planning, we had agreed to get together as loving partners for our mutual support and benefit. At any point, either of us could have freely chosen to back out of the agreement.

Some agreements are not so pretty. In fact, many agreements are designed to bring us into conflict with others. We might agree to complete a karmic sequence, for example. Or, just for the sake of our own growth, we might plan to have an angry parent or an abusive husband — and we will enter into an agreement with another soul to enact that relationship with us.

We may experience a great deal of conflict in our lives on Earth, but ultimately there is no conflict. At a much level higher than we can normally perceive, everything is completely integrated and harmonious.

Your Soul's Plan In his 2009 book Your Soul’s Plan, Robert Schwartz examined some real-life examples of how these pre-life plans and agreements are made, and how they make sense of present circumstances. Having received the explanation for his own life’s challenges, Schwartz interviewed about a dozen people who had experienced loss, illness, accidents, and addictions, and then inquired into their pre-life planning decisions with the help of some talented mediums. His book serves a deeply insightful guide as to why our lives unfold as they do.

Life Tasks

According to the Michael teachings among others, almost every lifetime we live is designed for a purpose — to fulfil a certain learning objective or life task. (I say almost because we do occasionally live lives that are intended for nothing but a bit of R&R leisure time; see the goal of relaxation.)

A life task is something we set out to experience or achieve within a given lifetime — our primary intention for a single incarnation. It’s a means to an end, a way to fulfil our learning objective.

“The life task is the focus which your essence has chosen in a particular incarnation as one with the most pertinent impact in terms of soul evolution.” — Michael

This task won’t be a specific one-off achievement such as “climbing Mount Everest”. Rather, it will be a positive theme that is both personally challenging and inspiring, and also of value to others in some way. Examples would include:

“Demonstrating integrity through leadership”

“Inspiring others to believe in themselves”

“Exploring the meaning of love through the medium of art”

So your current life task is that which You (as essence, soul, or spirit) intend to experience or achieve as a learning objective while living this lifetime as you, the human personality you see in the mirror.

Generally speaking, your life task will be naturally consistent with your soul type and level. (My own example, explained below, illustrates this very well.)

Typically, it takes about three lifetimes to fulfil a life task successfully and thereby take the step up in growth. So your specific task in this life might be the same as the one in your last life, and possibly in your next life too.

While experiencing a human life, we are not normally conscious of our life’s plan or purpose. Nor are we able to change them. We do, however, have complete free choice over what we do or don’t do as we live our own life.

The Mid-Life Turning Point

The life task is usually designed to unfold as our “true work” in the second half of life. Before that, the first half of life is mostly preparation: acquiring the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences that will come in useful for fulfilling the life task. Our choice of body, overleaves, life events and childhood circumstances will mostly be geared towards fulfilling the intended life task.

This is one reason why bad things often happen to children and young adults — they are undergoing a preplanned experience, one that has been designed to shape their emerging personality and steer them in a particular direction. For example, someone whose life task is to be “to serve children in need” might plan to undergo an early experience of losing their own parents and then having a difficult childhood when adopted. These unpleasant experiences would imbue them with the personal understanding and compassion needed to best fulfil their later life task.

The same is also true of positive experiences, such as having a happy childhood, a wonderful grandparent, or an inspiring school teacher. Such experiences will also help shape the emerging personality for the life task to come later.

Typically, our life task will not begin to come into focus until we are past 35 or so. Once we reach our mid-30s or 40s, we tend to feel the “prod” to get on with fulfilling our life task. Younger souls are not so conscious of this, but Mature souls are often acutely aware of it — a sense of longing to find a purpose. For some, the mid-life turning point can be excruciating as it throws into question everything that has been set up in life so far. “Perhaps I’m in the wrong career. Perhaps I’m in the wrong relationship. Perhaps I should move to a different country…” The future feels like a void of uncertainty.

Finding Fulfilment

When many people first learn of all this (myself included), they begin to fret that they will never fulfil their life task because they don’t know what it is. Yet there is a very simple solution, even if we do not explicitly know our life tasks…

  • Life will engineer things to give us the opportunity, no matter what.
  • If we stall, life will give us a gentle prod.
  • If we resist, life will give us a not-so-gentle push. 

And we can tell if we are on track by checking our own feelings.

  • As we make choices that are aligned with our life plan, we experience excitement, harmony, happiness and fulfilment.
  • If we make choices that go against our life plan, we experience frustration, boredom, discontent and a lack of fulfilment.  
  • If we follow our best feelings, our life plan unfolds effortlessly in a way the brings us joy.

“The life task is what can be most easily accomplished by the focused and
realized action of Essence. In other words, when you are acting in Essence, any work accomplished under its influence, even if it is only transplanting petunias, leads to the development of work on the Life Task. In a very real sense, attaining that state IS the Life Task.” — Michael

The way to be on track, then, is to simply relax and go with what feels good to us.

My Life Task

I knew very little of any of this back in 1998, when I was just starting to become immersed in the Michael teachings. Back then I was getting pretty anxious about my work, my sense of frustration, and lack of fulfilment. Incidentally, I was 37 at the time.

In a previous post I reproduced the transcript of my first channeled Q&A session with a Michael channel. In that reading via Sarah Chambers (February 1998), I was told that my life task is —

to accumulate knowledge in a joyful manner, and to teach this knowledge in the guise of play, or fun. 

I have to confess, that didn’t make much sense to me at the time. Especially given the fact that I was still working as an applied psychologist in the aerospace and defence sector.

So, I had a second reading a month later, in March 1998, which I reproduce below. This time, the channel was Troy Tolley. I asked several questions and I remember being impressed with the length and detail of the responses. I was also struck by the similarity in “voice” to what I had received in my first reading a month earlier. But the answer to this one question took me by surprise.

Q&A Session With Michael
Date: 23 March 1998
Channel: Troy Tolley


I’ve been given a description of my life task, but I’m not sure how to apply it. Can you elaborate or clarify?

AThe given life task phrase captures the primary ingredients of one’s true work, but it is impossible for us to relay the unfolding details and paths of a life task due to the inherent wide band of application. Your language allows quite a bit of information to be conveyed within a short phrase, but you can only rely on phrases defining life tasks to the same extent that you utilize a road sign: the road sign is not the terrain, simply a guide for the next stretch of experience.

We will remind you that a life task is something you do, not something you seek to do. What becomes confusing is the responsibility implied by the term ‘life task’ itself. We will mention, of course, that a life task is not an occupation and may or may not have anything to do with that area of life. To contain it in a career choice label would be misleading and not good work.

In your case, it is evident that your life task permeates your reality, so our elaboration would be moot, and our clarification would be an insult. Therefore our basic response to your query is to look closely at your own life: you will see the evidence/ answers as blatant.

That said, we do wish to share some validation in our contact with you independent of an external channel. We have an agreement with you, to dispense your perspective of our teaching in whatever manner you feel is appropriate. We make no judgements on your methods of expression.

In light of your achievements and efforts, we feel it is necessary to refer to this endeavor as good work. This is not to say that we ‘approve’ of you, but rather, the nature and grasp of your life task is in harmony with our intentions. You would not have chosen contact with us, yourself, if your sense of truth were distorted. In addition, this is not to say that we have a grasp of the truth any more than you, but rather that our truths are compatible. This is not a compliment or an approval, simply an acknowledgement of energy being expended in ways that promote direct experience of self-awareness, which is a primary motivation for the Tao itself.

So, the first important point made here is that a life task isn’t necessarily something we have to establish as an occupation, even though many of us in mid-life might struggle to seek to bring a sense of true purpose into our work and livelihood. Rather, our life task will manifest as what we do anyway, regardless of our occupation.

Since the early 1990s, my wife and I had been (and still are) actively involved in both experiencing and leading a process known as an Enlightenment Intensive. The purpose of an Enlightenment Intensive is to facilitate the direct experience of the Truth of who and what we are. (To those of you haven’t heard of them, take it from me: Enlightenment Intensives are an incredibly effective and well-designed method for seeking a spiritual awakening or self-realization experience. See my articles here: Enlightenment Intensives.)

The first time that I personally ever experienced a state of pure joy was with the realization of who/what I am through this process. Indeed, the direct experience of one’s being, which is the sole aim of an Enlightenment Intensive, is usually incredibly joyful. So at the time of this reading, I was already committed to helping others have the joyful knowing of who they are by directly experience of the truth of their being. Only after re-reading this did I realise that my involvement with Enlightenment Intensives was already in alignment with my life task.

And then of course, there was my fascination with the Michael teachings.

Mind you, as for the pre-life agreement between myself and the Michael entity — frankly that just seemed odd at the time. Back then (1998), I’d had no conscious sense or expectation of any such thing. I was too busy absorbing and trying to make sense of the teachings to think about presenting them to others. It would be another ten years before it occurred to me to start this website.

Now, of course, it all seems pretty damn obvious. (D’oh!)

But why this life task? What is the lesson to be learned?

Remember that a life task will usually reflect and resonate with the role and age of the soul. In my case, as a Scholar soul, my natural talent is to accumulate knowledge. And as a 5th-cast or Sage-cast Scholar, I am also drawn to broadcast what I know with a bit of wit and fun. As a Mature Scholar, my awareness is focused on grasping the true meaning of things in life, especially the relationships between all things. And as a 5th-level Mature Scholar, my evolutionary challenge is to share my understanding with many others. Putting all that together, my current life task couldn’t really be anything else.

What is Donald Trump?

Like many people at the moment, I am curious to understand what makes Donald Trump tick. And as a student of the Michael teachings, I want to do so from a spiritual perspective.

The Young King

To begin with, I have little doubt that Donald Trump is what we would call a Young King in essence. In other words, his soul energy is that of the commanding and decisive ‘King’ archetype, while his level of awareness (as it appears from his perceptions and attitudes) is very typical of those in the third stage of soul evolution, the ‘Young Soul’ stage.

Young souls are naturally ambitious, competitive, opportunistic and enterprising, perceiving life as an opportunity to assert themselves and to prove themselves right as individuals. Their motto is: Do it my way.

King souls (regardless of the level of awareness) have an imposing aura of authority and are naturally suited to positions of power, pulling other people’s strings.

Young King souls, therefore, are usually formidable characters — extremely self-assured, uncompromising, assertive, and intimidating. Typically, they do not suffer from soft, internal issues such as self-doubt or existential angst. Others around them, however, can certainly feel the effect of their endless empire-building and occasional lapses into tyranny.

We often see Young Kings in high-powered roles as corporate CEOs, media tycoons, and army generals. Some well-known Young King souls in history include the ancient world’s Alexander the Great and Mark Antony, the medieval sultan Saladin, the Russian Empress Catherine the Great, US President John F Kennedy, the Christian evangelist Billy Graham, Saudi Arabian terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, and the Italian tycoon/politician Silvio Berlusconi.

Young Kings have the makings of very great leaders. They also have the potential to become horrendous bullies and egomaniacs.

Alexander the Great
Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Billy Graham
Billy Graham
John F Kennedy
John F Kennedy

Profiles of Trump

Donald TrumpI have so far found four versions of Donald Trump’s personality/spirituality profile via Michael channels, all of which agree that he is a Young King in essence. There are, however, uncertainties as to his more human personality traits (overleaves) — a reminder that channeled or intuitive readings are not necessarily 100% accurate.

According to Emily Baumbach in her 1989 book Michael’s Cast of Characters, Donald Trump is a Young King soul with:

  • goal — Dominance
  • attitude — Pragmatist sliding to Stoic
  • mode — Observation
  • chief feature — Arrogance

Emily adds that Trump is at the 4th level of the Young-soul stage.

According to Stephen Cocconi, Trump is a Young King soul with the following overleaves:

  • goal — Dominance
  • attitude — Cynic
  • mode — Power
  • chief features — Arrogance and Impatience

According to José Stevens, Donald Trump is a Young King soul with:

  • goal — Dominance
  • attitude — Realist
  • mode — Aggression
  • center — Moving
  • chief features — Greed and Arrogance.

The most detailed profile comes from Troy Tolley. In this reading, Trump is a Yong King soul with:

  • goal — Dominance
  • attitude — Pragmatist sliding to Stoic/Cynic
  • mode — Observation sliding to Aggression/Power
  • center — Moving, Intellectual part
  • chief features — Arrogance and Stubbornness (that also slides to Greed and Martyrdom)

Troy’s reading adds that the soul age is 7th-level Young, but manifesting as 5th-level Young.

From my own limited observations of Trump, I would probably go for goal of Dominance, attitude of Pragmatist, mode of Power, Moving center (Intellectual part), and certainly a chief feature of Arrogance very much in the negative pole.

There is also some casting information in Troy’s reading: i.e. the soul of Trump is a Sage-cast or 5th-cast King (which makes sense given the showmanship), and is from a Server-cast or 1st-cast Entity, which would indicate an ability to support the common good (as the personality perceives it).

Overall, these profiles suggest that there is a huge drive for preeminence going on here. An ambitious Young King still seeking to demonstrate his dominance over all competition at the age of 70, evidently with a great deal of success (at least in his own eyes). But add to this a strong undercurrent of Arrogance (needing to appear invulnerable to avoid displaying any actual vulnerability), and a narcissistic character style seems almost inevitable. In fact, psychologists have started using video clips of Trump to demonstrate a textbook case of narcissism.

Focusing on Trump’s personality from an everyday perspective, it is easy to be judgemental and lose both objectivity and compassion. There is nothing wrong with that per se (we are all free to judge one another as we like). But I personally cannot feel satisfied in my understanding of someone until I have appreciated their individuality from a spiritual perspective. After all, Trump is a divine being like all the rest of us, finding its way into ever-expanding consciousness by participating in the often harsh lessons of human life.

At the spiritual level, I suspect that the soul of the man called Trump has a pre-life plan to participate in a massive drama that will highlight certain choices now facing the American psyche. Collectively, the USA has had a victorious ‘Young King’ self-image for more than a century. But if (say) John F Kennedy personified the positive aspect of that archetype as a bright, bold, heroic leader, Trump appears to personify its negative potential as a bullying megalomaniac.

As the world in general gradually moves from a Young-soul-centric phase into a more Mature-soul-centric phase, the USA appears to be struggling with how to begin reconciling those two worldviews, and doing so very loudly and visibly on the world stage. My guess is that the prospect of a President Trump is part of our collective grand plan to understand where we have come from over many centuries, recognise that we are at a potential turning point, and decide where we want to go next.

I am also curious to see if there are any Mature souls in Trump’s entourage undertaking the key developmental challenge of the Mature soul stage: honourably serving a corrupt master.

“Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred.” — Donald Trump (describing himself)



PSYCHOLOGICAL PROFILES — updated 21 Nov 2016

I have just stumbled upon this psychological personality profile of both Trump and his rival candidate Hillary Clinton. To clarify, I drew the graph below myself based on trait scores for each candidate as esti mated by ten personality experts using the 6-factor HEXACO model of personality.

The HEXACO model is an extension of the standard 5-factor model used by many psychologists to asession personality. The six components of HEXACO are:

H – Honesty/Humility (v Selfishness)

E – Emotional stability (v Neuroticism)

X – eXtraversion (v Introversion)

A – Agreeableness (v Hostility)

C – Conscientiousness (v Impulsiveness)

O – Openness (v Closedness/Resistance)

We have no way of knowing if the experts’ judgements are accurate. They are, after all, based upon the candidates’ public behaviour rather than their private thoughts and feelings. But to me at least, they seem to intuitively make sense.

Trump/Clinton HEXACO scores

In summary, Clinton scores as fairly ‘normal’ (average for the population) on Extraversion and Openness; a bit higher on Conscientiousness; a bit low on Agreeablenes; distinctly low on Emotional stabilty and especially low on Honesty/Humility.

All of Trump’s scores are far from ‘normal’. He scores very high on Extraversion, very low on Conscientiousness and Openness, and extremely low (next to zero) on Honesty/Humility and Agreeableness.

My first Michael reading, rediscovered

Box of papers

BACK IN THE LATE 1990s, just as I had started getting into the Michael teachings, I had a number of Q&A sessions with various Michael channels. I kept records of the sessions, printed them out, and filed the papers away for safe keeping … as any Scholar would.

After several house moves, however, their whereabouts became unknown and I forgot all about them. Recently, though, it occurred to me that it would be fascinating to look back at them. But where on Earth were they?

One day I asked my wife, who always knows where everything is, “Do you happen to have any idea where I might find all my old Michael stuff?”  Before she even answered, I noticed on the desk right next to her a big white box marked “Barry’s Michael Stuff.” She herself had just been doing a lot of tidying and filing, came across my old readings, and put them all together in this box.

Where would I be without her?

Opening the box was quite a moment. There were my original notes, diagrams, downloads, and transcripts from 1998 and 1999.

Read moreMy first Michael reading, rediscovered

The Relating Manual – how to make your relationship work

All That We Fought For

How do successful relationships actually work? How can we sustain a positive and intimate relationship over years, even decades? A new website lays out the answers.

I’m fortunate enough to be in a positive long-term relationship. Both my wife Emma and I share an explicit intention and commitment to make it work, to make it last, and to keep going deeper.

Read moreThe Relating Manual – how to make your relationship work

What Shamanism Can Teach Us About Ourselves And Our Future

regeneration by asage at deviantart

Reprinted with kind permission of The Mind Unleashed website.

Image: Regeneration by asage @

I don’t often reprint other people’s articles, but this one by Gilbert Ross so inspired me to rethink my understanding of shamanism in today’s world that I immediately requested permission to share it here. The article was originally published on The Mind Unleashed website (11 March 2015):

Read moreWhat Shamanism Can Teach Us About Ourselves And Our Future

A dream, awakening, and healing: (3) All shall be well

On September 8th, 2014, I found myself having a lucid dream.

The dream was evidently orchestrated by some intelligence higher than my own, as they then proceeded to give me a spiritual initiation — an energetic jump-start known in Hinduism as shaktipat.

At that moment I experienced full-on self-realisation and Kundalini awakening, and my life was transformed.

Read moreA dream, awakening, and healing: (3) All shall be well

A dream, awakening, and healing: (2) Living with Kundalini

In the early hours of 8th September, 2014, I had a lucid dream in which I was aware that I wasn’t merely dreaming. In fact, I was in contact with spirit guides who proceeded to give me a Shaktipat initiation. This not only gave me a full-on experience of Self-Realisation, it also triggered a Kundalini awakening. Now read on.

Read moreA dream, awakening, and healing: (2) Living with Kundalini

A dream, awakening, and healing


Me + M.E.

(July 2014)

Ok, this is pretty phenomenal. And I don’t often say that when it’s just about me.

Some of you will know my recent history. I have been badly troubled with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / M.E. since 2008. It’s a massive depletion of energy, which I’ve described as feeling like a frail 90-year-old with a bad dose of ‘flu.*

* If you want to know more, see my About page.

I had really feared that this was a permanent condition from which I would never recover. It has had a dramatic effect on my life, my work, my family, my income. Also my ability to run this website. It has severely dented my sense of worth as a person, an employee, a man, a father, and a husband.

Read moreA dream, awakening, and healing