We hear it all the time, that catch-all spiritual cliché that’s supposed to provide consolation when things go terribly wrong in our lives: “I know it sucks that your home just went up in flames, but everything happens for a reason, and things will work out in the end.” “Sorry you got fired, but you know that everything happens for a reason and for your highest good .” “I know you don’t see this illness as a positive right now, but…” When we hear this, we just nod in agreement because we think we’re supposed to (Even if we’re really thinking, “Hmmm yeah, so what’s your point?”). After all, we’re spiritually conscious people and it seems to be part of the job description to accept these words as unquestionable fact. But are they, and if so, why?
If you have read my blog before, I’m sure you have figured out that I like to get to the bottom of things. Spiritual concepts need to make complete sense to us or else they lose their healing, transformative power. So let’s figure this out together. Does everything really happen for a reason?
When our well-meaning friends and relatives blurt out the phrase in question, their intention is to help us find closure and acceptance. They’re definitely on the right track, because acceptance of any situation brings inner peace, relief, healing, and the ability to move on, and that is exactly the outcome we want. But the main problem I have with this statement is how ambiguous and empty it is on its own. Most people take the words to mean that even though things may suck right now, you will be better off in the end, even if right now you can’t imagine how. Of course we would like to believe this, but in the face of crippling tragedy or terminal illness, how much do these tired words really help? To be of any real use, the statement in question needs to be redefined and explained.
Let me offer a more helpful, more meaningful statement:
Everything that happens is part of your spiritual path to self-discovery
When unwelcome things happen to us, it really helps to remind ourselves of the big picture. We are eternal spiritual beings, and our physical lives are temporary chapters, the details of which will soon be forgotten. Only the lessons learned will remain in our essence. Only the loving connections we made with others will endure. We are here to learn who we really are, and everything that happens is but an opportunity to awaken more to our true identity.
So does everything really happen for a reason? Well, yes, but not really in the way we usually think. Things do not necessarily conspire so that if we get fired today it is because our dream job awaits just around the corner. When something unwelcome happens, we may never see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that we envision. Instead, what is really happening is our gradual, often painful awakening to who we really are.
The fact is that bad things are going to happen in our lives and there is just no way around that. At one point or another, our plans will fail, our concepts of how things should be will be disappointed, and tragedies will happen. Eventually, we will lose our youth and our good looks. We will lose our health, we will lose our loved ones, and in the end, we will lose it all in death. We cannot prevent these things from happening, but what we can do is change the way we interpret what happens.
What happens to you doesn’t really matter. Only how you interpret it matters.
When things are taken away from you – your possessions, your health, your wealth, your current identity – the clue is always the same: You are not these temporary, arbitrary things. In those agonizing experiences lie incredibly rewarding opportunities to know that what you really are is undiminished and untarnished no matter what may happen in this temporary setting.
But our lessons do not always have to be painful. When we witness an act of true love and it stirs something within us, we are remembering who we really are. When we establish a deep bond with someone that transcends our physical deaths, we are awakening to our true self. When we feel deep reverence for life in all its forms, we are discovering our true essence.
The true, lasting happiness and inner peace we all long for requires that we be OK no matter what happens in our lives. The only way is to awaken from the dream and see all this as what it really is: a temporary drama that cannot possibly harm your true eternal spiritual identity.
We are here to discover who we really are, and it is only in this discovery that we can find the absolute safety and well-being our souls long for. This discovery is enlightenment, the deep awareness that we are all eternally safe, unconditionally worthy, infinitely lovable, completely connected, and that everything is exactly as it needs to be. So yes, everything does indeed happen for a reason. Everything is trying to show us how magnificent we really are, and all we need to do is open our eyes and embrace the awesome truth.
The Truth will set you free, and every single event in our lives is a piece of the puzzle that leads us ever closer to that Truth. In my internationally bestselling book, The Magnificent Truths of Our Existence, I lead you, step by step, to the discovery of your own true, magnificent self. Click here to receive great bonus gifts to go along with your purchase.
November 11, 2014
Daniel Parmeggiani is a modern-day spiritual teacher whose approach is unaligned with any particular religion or tradition. Driven by intense psychological turmoil, Daniel discovered within himself a deeper reality that not only saved his life, it also showed him the way to permanent happiness and inner peace. Daniel believes it is his mission to share these magnificent, healing truths with the world. He lives in Pompano Beach, Florida, with his wife, Susan, and their dog, Chewy. Read More