The other day, I had the great pleasure of hearing Dr. Eben Alexander speak to a sold out crowd. Dr. Alexander is the author of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, a NY Times bestseller. He’s also appeared on Super Soul Sunday, a must-see show for those of you who are focused on personal growth or your spiritual path (they are one in the same).
Dr. Alexander had an extraordinary near death experience that has created quite the buzz in both the spiritual and medical communities. His extraordinary knowledge of medicine and also the human brain allowed him to clearly delineate where his brain function ended and the true nature of our consciousness begins.
He shares many wonderful insights in both his book and the talk he gave. But the moment that was most profound to me is when he said, “This human life is soul school. It’s where we come to learn little lessons for our spiritual growth.”
Well, needless to say, I was over the moon because I have believed this for a long time. It’s why I have named my site Soul School and all the material and posts you find here are to help you make the most of this incredible and precious spiritual journey we are on.
In fact, that evening and the next day, I received several phone calls and emails from others in the audience, saying “Last night, I was at this talk by Dr. Alexander and he said….!” It made me feel good that people know what Soul School is about!
Dr. Alexander is not the only author who sees this connection — that our human lives are the dream while heaven is the reality. In fact, most of the great minds in spiritual growth know this. Just look at the works of Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love), Gary Zukav (The Seat of the Soul), and Don Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements), just to name a few.
We are incredible spiritual beings wearing human suits. Each life here helps us learn valuable spiritual lessons that are designed to help us involve to higher and higher levels of divinity.
While our human lives can be challenging, even tragic, they are designed to help us have the spiritual breakthrough that takes us to the next level. This has certainly been true in my live. I have lived through some pretty intense and painful experiences — and each one, pushed my spiritual growth forward in profound ways.
The difficult part was that I didn’t understand this for a long time. I would be in the thick of my human experience, experiencing pain and anguish and wondering why this was happening to me. But later, every single time, I could see the profound blessing that the experience had brought me. Of course, this was always after the fact — as you have heard me say before, I went kicking and screaming into every blessing.
But after this has happened a number of times, I have been able to keep this awareness — knowing that something profound is happening, even if I couldn’t yet see what it was. I think this is what faith is really about. Believing that things are always unfolding for our highest and best good, even if it’s not evident in the moment. Faith is a form of trust and I now completely trust that my time here is always pushing me upward to my next level of awareness.
That doesn’t mean that it’s always easy or fun, in fact, it’s often the opposite. But by having faith, I don’t spend my time kvetching about my circumstance but instead focus on seeing what the spiritual lesson is that I am supposed to learn and getting on with learning it. This knowledge has been confirmed again and again by my work with my coaching clients. Every single one of us is on a spiritual journey, whether we know it or not.
Oprah always talks about “listening to the whispers.” By this she means that our spiritual lessons first come in whispers. But if we don’t tune in, then they get louder and louder until we are forced to listen. For some of us, it means that we need a pretty loud thump on the head before we “wake up.” Mine happened when I turned 30 and started having intense panic attacks. Dr. Alexander also had to get thumped — he talks about how he needed the tragedy of his coma and nearly dying to wake up from his limited, non-believer view of the world.
I, for one, am very grateful that he listened. And that he also has had the courage to share his journey so publicly, even though it has meant that he has had to face immense criticism from the medical and scientific communities. He is doing what Brené Brown calls Daring Greatly, exhibiting great courage through vulnerability. And being willing to stand in his truth, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Talk a moment to consider the idea that you are a spiritual being having a human experience.
- When you look back over your life so far, what are the spiritual lessons you see?
- Do you keep having the same challenges at work or in your relationships or your health? If you look at them as spiritual lessons that you have not yet “gotten”, what would you see? (Hint: lessons are repeated until learned — one of the 10 Rules for Being Human by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott).
- Do you know what the whispers are in your life? Perhaps they are a feeling in your gut, or an intuitive sense of something.
- How can you tune in to your lessons, and hear them when they are “whispers”? Do you have a process for getting quiet so you can hear your voice of guidance?