Why Are We Here?

THE LONGER WE spend wondering, the more easily answers come.  The reason why we’re here, I’ve just discovered, is written not in some book of magic, it’s written in our daily lives.

Pretend, for a minute, that we’ve all come to Earth to learn something.  Since we may not care for little boxy classrooms, instead we have a whole planet for our current lessons.  Now pretend that there’s not one of us navigated into this belief of life on the planet, including thee and me, who isn’t in the test of some major challenge.

For our lessons to matter for us, to make a forever comment in our infinite experience of life, we must pretend that this world spins in a river of amnesia, no past for us to remember, from the day we’re born.  We must have a physical body with lots of limitations: no unaided flying, no shape-shifting spirits, no telepathy, no connection with friends of different lifetimes.  We must believe that this act in our play is real, that it’s not a scene we’ve chosen to play.

Some of our lessons are easy (How shall I be kind to someone who loves me?).  Some of them may take a while (Why did my little airplane lack four inches of altitude above the high-tension wires and therefore she crashed inverted into the ground?).  Others are difficult (Why did my daughter die in a snowy head-on car collision one minute after she decided to unfasten her seat belt?).

It’s an early belief for most of us, at the start, that we’re helpless pawns in a vast uncaring universe.  We think that we have to eat to live, find some shelter, protect ourselves from hungry animals and raiding humans, dodge volcanoes, duck under asteroids on a collision with our planet, and by the way, if we’re curious in our spare time, find a meaning for it all.   We believe that consciousness has nothing to do with the world around us.  Physical things, we’re told, are real.

When we begin to understand, from near-death experience, from teachers we admire, from our intuition, that we’re eternal souls, and that no disaster can happen in any of our pretend play-lives to touch our highest self… that’s our lesson!  Done!  A-plus!

That’s why we’re here.

The number of categories in our lessons is infinite.  What if we’re poor, or what if we’re rich?  What do we do with the appearances?  What if we’re plain like me, or beautiful?  When if we don’t care to have lessons, or if we do care?  What about our belief of illnesses, of dangers of living, dangers of working, what if we don’t love what we’re doing, what if we do?  What if we love someone who doesn’t love us back, or what if she / he does love us back?  What if we love alcohol and drugs?  What if we believe we need medicines?  What if there are no doctors in our lives, and what if there are?  What if we’re bored with life?  What if we want to die, how do we do that?  What if we decide not to kill ourselves?

Relationships, other people, ourselves, sports, love and hatred, blocks in our wishes. different paths appearing suddenly or slowly, what if friends die, schools and teachers end, what do we do about ideas which we love and the ones we disagree with; is television necessary, movies, governments?  There are tests for us in everything.  Sometimes death appears to be the mark of a failure, sometimes death is a beautiful success.

Take your pencil and name two tests you’re working with now,  Don’t list a hundred, just two you’re having.  Your answers to them determine the quality of your spirit, at this moment.

What are my tests, you ask?  Loneliness, for one.  For two, my belief that I’ve already lived too long in this act.  I sense that if I give up on either, I’ll probably decide to take the tests again.

The lesson for us all: What’s more powerful than our belief of death?   Answer: Love is.  And: We are!

And finally, a truth for why we’re here that takes years for us to discover, right in the midst of all the stories that space and time may offer for us to believe:

We are perfect expressions of perfect Love, right here, right now.

87 thoughts on “Why Are We Here?

  1. Yes, thank you for that last reminder and affirmation of our being perfect expressions of perfect love right here and now. I would like to explore what you stated as tests for yourself in this lifetime-first one lonliness. Have you always felt like that or is it only recently since your NDE? Has it become clearer to you-sort of like a gift to being able to identify it as such? Is it because you feel that no one could possibly understand what you experience?
    As for your mention of your second test….knowing that you are too long here and wanting to move to greener pastures in a way-is this second test clear to you now that you feel you have all the answers necessary? Is it only since your NDE that you feel this tug? These two questions are what came to me while reading this entry-i am looking to understand clearer what you have experienced so that i may draw upon it one day if needed.

    • I never thought of it as you did, I never thought of a change since the NDE. For the I’ve-lived-too-long question, the answer is only since the crash. Never before. Thank you for making that clear for me. Loneliness, that’s been gradually intensifying for the last five years or so. I’ve always been distant from most people (unless I’m writing to them), but without a mate (as it is for many lived-too-long souls) it’s sharpened. Maybe if I write more, it will soften.

      • The fact that Richard really feels lonely is recognizing the existence of a vacuum in his life which should be powerful enough to suck the right people he needs into his life if he allows himself to accept some of the opportunities the universe is trying to present instead of keeping them at bay.
        There may not be anymore new ´´mates´´ to discover once we have run through the small but amazing selection of folks that the universe has already brought into our lives so perhaps a hard look back at past lost loves and a new focus on the traditional priority of the 60+ adult which is the mentoring/moral compass role to kids as head of an extended family (grandfather / grandmother). Anyone who has aged without being needed by blood grandchildren would be well advised to look out into the community to create their own extended family with new formed bonds of trust + friendship to regain daily purpose and pride in being needed by folks we are happy to be needed by everyday. Isolation is voluntary & unnecessary in our overcrowded world for kindhearted people of goodwill with the intuition & desire to shepherd the sheep away from the wolves.

        • I’m keeping careful notes of my angels. They may feel that I need to live the rest of this life alone, for reasons they see but I don’t. I trust them. Is this a patience lesson too? Since we live forever, I can spare the time.

  2. Sometimes I find myself wondering why I came here again, why I came here this time. I’m sure I’ve been here several times. I also wonder why I chose this school to learn the lessons I am seeking to learn and to meet the challenges that I come up against. Do we choose the lessons we want to learn or are we given challenges by our higher self or maybe a mentor on the Other Side? Do we sometimes come here just to have a “vacation” and not to intentionally learn anything (though we are always learning)? What is it about this place that draws us to come here? Do we make agreements with others – maybe a special someone or certain friends — to come here together? How do we decide when this life here is the last time and that we are ready to move on to something or someplace else?

    Having been a preschool teacher for many years, I’ve met parents who know what kind of school they want for their child and other parents who are exploring options. Is this school we are all in best suited for certain kinds of lessons or challenges? Do we have mentors (“guidance counselors”) who help us choose which school is best for us for what we want to learn or need to learn?

    As a preschool teacher I see my young students like they are new arrivals to this place and my job is to show them the beginning basics of how this place works. I know that is one of the reasons I came here this time – among other reasons I am still discovering.

    I have noticed that loneliness and sadness can come into your life when you start having more friends on the Other Side than you do here now. These emotions can also come when you start to feel that you are done here and you ask yourself what you are still doing here. If you can still find reasons for staying and feel that there are still friends to spend time with or to meet yet, then life can still be challenging. If you are still asking yourself questions, then you still have things to learn.

  3. I am grateful, Richard, to you and everyone that frequents this “place”, for the wonder and LOVE we share here.

  4. That is a poignant question in my life: what if I chose to love someone who doesn’t love me back, or does but has great difficulty accepting love and showing it. Can I really help him get past the years of damage and fear that holds back the loving man I knew 24 years ago?

    • Tamra,

      A dear wise woman I once knew, who had now passed on, said, “Fear is lack of faith in the plan.” Maybe that plan is our own one as to what to do with this life.

  5. Richard, might I suggest that the best way to avoid loneliness is to not live at the top of an island. Few new friends will find their way up there. On a separate note, how is the Prince doing? Still stealing shoes?

    • The puppy is a lot larger now. He still loves the sneakers. I have to keep then higher and higher from his reach. Soon I must rig a hammock suspended, a safe place to keep all shoes and clothes at night. So diligent. Should anything fall from on high, it belongs to Lockie.

  6. Richard,
    Your last two sentences are “spot on” ! We might change the position of them.
    We are here to learn the first big lesson, and in the process we live out all kinds of stories, wonderful, good, bad and ugly…but they are all stories.

    “We are perfect expressions of perfect Love, right here, right now.”

    “And finally, a truth for why we’re here that takes years for us to discover, right in the midst of all the stories that space and time may offer for us to believe:”

    You are never really alone. You are known and loved by Source and by thousands who read your stories!

    Peace, Michael

  7. Thank you for such a beautiful and inspiring posting. I believe I found your books early on in my life because so much of what you write mirrors what I was raised to understand spiritually and what I have learned on my own. The hard part for me sometimes is practicing what I’ve learned. When I go through very difficult periods in my life, those are the times when I find it hard to be my higher self. Always though, afterwards, I see and realize how much I’ve grown during those times…..growth that I believe I was put in this lifetime to learn. Unfortunately, for several years now, I’ve been going through an especially rough period and am having trouble getting out of it. Deep down, I know what I need to do, but have yet to act. I know that there are those who are trying to help me from the other side and I can see the blessings that have come my way. It’s hard right now to see that this period won’t last forever. I can only hope that I learn some really big lessons!! Are you familiar with an anonymous piece titled: Autobiography in Five Chapters? I found this many years ago, love the message and have tried to follow it.

    Chapter 1

    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
    I fall in.
    I am lost…..I am hopeless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    Chapter 2

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
    But it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    Chapter 3

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there.
    I still fall in…it’s a habit
    My eyes are open
    I know where I am
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    Chapter 4

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it

    Chapter 5

    I walk down another street.

    • Thank you so much Ruth. I have not seen this piece before but it was exactly what I needed at this moment in time. The universe always finds a way to make me smile. Even when I am dead set against it 🙂

    • “Autobiography in Five Chapters”….it’s wonderful! I’ve never come across this before. Going through my own tests at the moment it clicks into place very well.

      I am reminded of a very simple piece of advice given by a highly experienced pilot while discussing techniques of flying cross country in paragliders; “If what you’re doing isn’t working, do something else”.

      Unfortunately I sometimes forget it.

  8. Is anything harder than loneliness! And I’ve always considered myself a loner. Lol. I get so much solace from Nature. I know you do, too. And service. I think our loneliness makes us creative in our service.

    • Any loneliness I have is for like-souls, soul to soul. Mostly I find fulfillment through animals – dogs, cats, birds whatever the being it is who shows me it’s soul.

      • Exactly right. I’m around people all the time. The loneliness is for like-minded souls with which we can have the best conversations.

        • I used to take college courses, the rare ones, to find people like that. Now, I live in the boonies. Around me are old hippies who are way too stoned to have clarity and red-necked rightwingers. It’s a good place to write and paint, not so good for soul-to-soul interaction.

  9. …I’m so happy to be able to access your thoughts, feelings, and concerns as you move through this lifetime…. I can’t even estimate how many awkward flesh-and-bone lifetimes you’ve probably saved me from having to experience (though I’m sure I’ve still many more to go) because you’ve been there…been there to present (intentionally or not) so many of the beautiful truths of the Universe when I was ready to receive them…. and I’ve presented your thoughts to others in subtle ways (with attribution, of course) when I felt they needed them… I just please ask you to constantly remind yourself of this as you continue your journey through this life…. It’s been said that the later years of an incarnation are for reflection….and it’s hard to imagine many others have more to reflect upon than you.
    It turns out that when dealing with other people I’m a LOT like you, so it seems we’re learning some of these lesson at the same time…which makes it more enjoyable and special to turn my face into the wind and confront them….

  10. Is it loneliness though? Or is it more a need? A need to share a space or time?

    The colours of a sunset, the tones of a piece of music, the silent moments of realisation. These things that move us.

    Sure, it’d be nice to share that with someone, but do we need to? Is it a want?

    Standing alone in a field on a calm evening, my little rubber model circling above, sun going down through the clouds, birds singing in the trees, the feeling I get inside right then, that’s all I need.

    That’s why I’m here: To be alone with myself. To learn to love myself.

    Or not.

  11. I am re-reading “Bridge Across Forever” after 28 years since the last time I read it. It is a very important book in my life. I spent the last money I had at the time, to buy it and it was at a very crucial time in my life – I was just beginning my 28 year journey of sobriety from alcohol/drugs. I was about mid-book in February of 1986 when I went to an AA weekend and met the man I have been married to since Oct. 1988. In our first conversation, he told me he had just finished a book about soul mates – guess which book it was!! We began together to embark on a spiritual search for answers that has included Ouiji boards, past life regressions and a study of the Seth books which continues to this day. (I know that you sat in on a Seth session – isn’t synchronicity wonderful!!) We have a Seth study group that meets in our home weekly. I’m telling you this because it was your book that my husband and I shared (separately!) that marks the beginning of a forever love affair. I remember saying a prayer one night at 3 am as I read “Bridge Across Forever” saying “Please can I meet my soulmate – that weekend we met. Thank you for your books and for telling your stories. I didn’t realize there was a sequel to “Reluctant Messiah” so I’m on the way to the bookstore! I believe what you said – Earth is a love lesson classroom in an eternity of lessons to teach us about the Power we all have access to if we are willing to let go of our ideas of limitation/lack etc.

      • I read a quote a few days ago: “We don’t make friends; we recognize them.”

        In a world of virtual connections, I wonder if this is truer than ever.

        Could it be that having more opportunities to recognize members of “our family” makes us more acutely aware of our physical isolation and limitations?

        • Hmmm, I am thinking that I found (not many weeks ago) this site one day “by chance”, I can not even remember how I did it, but it happened just in the right moment and the words published that day were the words, sentences, thoughts that I needed, like they had been written exactly for me. I have been visiting this site since then and found things that make me feel better, specially, I feel less alone. And now I am posting for first time (at this or any site), I do not use to share easily my thoughts and never by internet, but I just need you to know that I think Someone send me help through persons who write here. Am I recognizing friends thanks to virtual (and non virtual) connections? Thanks Richard, thanks you all.

          • Hi Cecilla,
            Welcome to this place, where loving thoughts and dear people quietly touch our spirit and wish us true to our highest being!

  12. I think that conference you were planning was not meant to be. That conference was supposed to happen on this site. Puff knew that.

    • Maybe we, as a community, were not ready for the meeting that Richard was planning. Oh, how I was looking forward to it. But maybe we all needed some fine tuning so that we may recognize each other as friends.

      Are we ready now? What can we learn from such a meeting? That we are not alone? That we need not be lonely when there are others who are moved by the same things?

      And what of Richard’s feeling that is time for him to move on? Clearly, it is not, as he survived a NDE that really should have killed him. But why? What can we all learn from our connections to Richard, his books, each other?

  13. That’s funny. I was thinking that it’s time to think about doing the conference. If you know your emotional challenges, why not take steps to address them? You can choose loneliness if you want, or you can open yourself to new people and new experiences. Not just electronically but in person as well.

    Just a thought.

    Thanks for your beautiful words. Always.

  14. Thank you for this beautiful post, describing so well what I – you – we believe in. Regarding loneliness, there´s a quote from C. Jung which i feel to be very true… “Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.”
    I know it´s no substitute for having a soulmate in your life to share thoughts, ideas and observations with (and how lucky you are to have experienced that!), but you know there´s a family out there sharing your beliefs, hearing your voice, being grateful for your words and the impact they have had and still have on our lives.

    Thank you for being you.

  15. I agree that something special is happening here. Like souls are coming together, thanks to you, Richard. We are all part of a select fraternity whose members rarely meet. This time when I went searching for you online, I just typed in richardbach.com and, by golly, I found this site. And so for me, this site is the beginning of “meeting” like souls. It’s really special. I’m sure it will grow as others decide to look for you, yet again, like I did. I’m sure there is a special lady out there who would love to love you intimately. So many women I grew up around were looking for a sensitive loving man like you. Instead they found otherwise…lesson in packaging…just because it looks nice or puts on a good face, doesn’t mean the contents worth keeping around.

    After the day I pulled myself away from the edge of the fast water, where I was considering jumping in, I found others who needed what I had to offer, even though I was broken. Recently when my husband nearly died, I considered if I would kill myself if he died. My potential life looked so bleak. I’d lived in that space before. Once my husband didn’t die, I realized I needed to do further work on my emotional survival skills. I know I’m not done here yet. And I don’t want to have to come back to learn what I’m working on. So I’d best get it now. Right now I realize I need to lighten up. I’m working on that. Like Lao Tzu said, “I take my bottle of wine and I drink it among the flowers…”

    • When I read what you said — “,I found others who needed what I had to offer, even though I was broken” — it made me think of one of my favorite quotes: “We teach best what we most need to learn,” I hope you are feeling better — and if helping others helps you, that’s great for them and for you!


      • Bobbi,

        Thank you for caring. Yes, I’m better now. It’s been a long road. I’ve learned so much. I always thought of Richard’s words about reaching up and learning the meaning of kindness. I’m so glad I went through all the awful stuff. I’m glad I had relationships with people who weren’t perfect. No one is. I would have missed out on so much had I waited for the perfect one. Now I first help myself to be better. I no longer give from the deficit if I don’t have to. But sometimes it is still needed, like a loved one is in hurting and I can help. That’s what it’s all about. Personal growth and giving and sharing our talents.

  16. Regarding your two tests Richard, loneliness and your current act, I’ve recently gone through similar tests myself. I reached a point where I was tired of this act and seriously considered closing the curtain on it. And the thought felt like such a relief! To just let go. But did I really want to start all over again? The truth is I liked who I’d become, liked my physical body and my body of knowledge. And that’s when a strange question appeared. “Is it possible to reincarnate without dying?”
    As I pondered this question I began to see that it wasn’t my current incarnation that was the problem, it was my current identity. I’ve spent a lifetime exploring what it is to be this “me,” perfecting it and bringing it to the pinnacle until I finally arrived! I made it! The ideal me! And then things got boring. I had fully played out all the possibilities and permutations of this me and there was nothing left to do. All the things I wanted were now outside of this identity, unreachable as “me.” I mean, they just weren’t “ME!” Yet being me was no longer fun. What to do? How does one reincarnate without dying?
    Over the next few weeks I received a cascade of realizations answering this question, each one building upon the last. All of this culminated one night when I was in severe pain and requesting Divine intervention to either end the pain or end me. In a final blast of understanding I saw how there was no such thing as pain. That what we call pain is simply pleasure that’s more intense than we can handle. Not only is there no pain, there is nothing wrong or bad in the world. Only love. Everything is love and anything we label as other-than-love is just us creating an illusion. If we drop the illusion, drop the labels and recognize everything as love, then we can stop judging and resisting life and we are open to accept everything and receive everything. And since we are God, and we are everything, we then receive ALL of ourselves. We become whole. And that is one whopper of an identity shift!
    Since receiving the question that started all of this and the realizations that came from it my life has completely transformed. I now wake up each morning pain free, boredom free, angst free and I can hardly wait to leap out of bed and get started with my day. I’ve become a new me in the same body. And though I don’t have a mate and haven’t had one in many years, I feel her presence and her soon-to-be arrival in my life as a certainty now that my old identity is no longer keeping her from me.
    I’m sure your journey will be your own. But perhaps the question which was given to me can help steer you towards resolving your tests if this is what you wish. “Is it possible to reincarnate without dying and start a fresh new act in the same body? Could that be fun?”

  17. What a lovely, insightful essay. My two are: 1) self-discipline. 2) accepting change.

    Carl Jung said that “the cure for loneliness is solitude.” Thanks again, Richard, for an inspiring essay.

    p.s. After reading this I sat down and wrote 1,200 words on a project that requires (elusive) self-discipline.

  18. Loneliness. For all the years, we have sought a way to remove ourselves from other people, so we can do our creative work, so we can spend more time in the interior. Whether flying, or writing, or translating a visual image, the retreat into the self was where the meaning was found. Then, years later we suddenly realize that we’ve designed a life that includes a dark indigo of loneliness. Maybe we’ve lost the skills people talk about to be good social beings, or we’ve brushed them aside because of what the work needed first. Some people just walked away. Here we are, sometimes achingly clear that we perusing life alone. It doesn’t surprise me that I am now in that separated existence, in my reclusive 40 acres of nature, with my work and my solitary self.

    • Ken

      As a kid I was shy. I got myself over it because it was boring. I had to overcome the shyness to do that. Then, instead of going into social services to help others, I chose a creative life which required solitude, writing. Still, I reached out to others to help them. But again, solitude called me – the creativity that would not be silenced. I also paint. Now I find that I want to be with people of like mind and like heart, if I’m with anyone at all. I’m working on learning the difference between being alone and being lonely. Like you, I like myself. I’m glad I’m me. I’m glad I’m not someone else. I look at famous people and wonder if they are happy and at peace. A lot of them sure don’t seem like they are. Oops, I’m rambling.

  19. Sometimes you can be more lonely when you share space with the wrong person/people. Long story here, but I’m the odd woman out in my housing arrangement and it is a lonely place. I am sure being out on my own would be less lonely but I made a commitment and I believe in sticking to them. Must be because I have Aspergers, maybe something you want to explore yourself? I know for me the diagnosis has made so much of my life history clearer.
    Hope for a mate still exists but fades. I tell people my mate took a wrong turn and won’t ask for directions. They of course assume I am gay because of my singlehood. No, I am picky, the person has to meet a very high standard set by observing my grandfather.
    I am eligible to retire from work, but why do it? I would like to travel, love to travel, love to camp, but alone? Hmmm, most sights are things to be shared as are most adventures. So, I treated myself to a very expensive, very nice truck with a 5 year loan, another 5 years of my blunt, open self at work.
    Good luck Richard, I hope you and Puff and Prince find your person.

    • Jody,

      I kissed a lot of toads, and I didn’t get warts. I gained experience, and it was a good thing. Have you thought of joining The Red Hat Society? They have all kinds of activities which sometimes includes travel. If I was alone and liked to travel I would contact them. There are a lot of independent women there.

  20. I could write a book on the difference between being lonely, being alone, and Missing Someone. I’ve rarely been truly alone; there’s always been parents, husband, children and now grandchildren. And even though I currently live “alone” (unless you count the two dogs, and who doesn’t?) I’m not lonely.
    But I do Miss Someone. I’ve missed this Someone my entire life, and I’ve been searching for him/her for that long, too. I don’t know who he/she is, or where, but I know when I’m sitting in the living room on a rainy winter night, I miss sharing the firelight with Someone. On a warm summer evening, watering the garden and inhaling the scent of tomatoes and roses, I miss Someone. Someone would walk the beach beside me, and dry my tears, and understand my fears.
    A very wise woman once asked “Did you ever feel that you were missing someone you had never met?”
    Sometimes, we get to meet that person, and we live happily ever after. Sometimes, we get to meet, but for whatever reason they can’t stay in our lives. Sometimes we never get to meet them at all.
    I think perhaps as we reach the later portion of our human life, if we haven’t yet found that Someone, we look longingly at the next life, thinking perhaps THAT is where we will find them.

  21. Thank you Ruth for posting the Autobiography in Five Chapters and thanks to the author who wrote it. There have been situations in the past where I sometimes walked on the same street again and again and sometimes I walked on another street. These five chapters have given a simple yet stunning clarity to how I view those situations today. Thanks to Richard for maintaining this website.

  22. This is a wonderful exchange Richard, thank you. Please do not give in to the illusion of loneliness. I am out here and Ruth, Ken and your friends who helped you establish this site. As long as we are here in love Richard, you are not alone. Even though we cannot see one another and have never met face to face. This crazy “technology” allows us to share our thoughts and feelings. In each conscious moment we are present we have purpose. One day you may experience a deeper understanding of your purpose Richard, as I suspect all of us may. For now, you are here with us. You are never alone though you may feel lonely, and most importantly – you are wrapped in love. Own it. xo

    • Thank you, Tracy. Your words and caring mean much for me. My test, like the test for many of us, is to overcome the belief that we are alone when there’s no one physically here to talk with. So we explore the idea of moving now into the other side. Difficult. But of course, if it were easy…

      • If it were easy, we would all be bored. I used to have jobs that I liked until I learned everything I needed to do. Then I was bored. That boredom led me to try other things.

  23. Do you believe in GOD? In HIS Son JESUS? If you don’t … Could you tell me why? I have always wondered how someone with a near death experience can not? Your thoughts? Glad your physical recovery is going well.

    • Hi Anna. The one reality, to me, is Love. All else is illusions, beliefs. Love doesn’t care about what we think is true. Love Is. It does not judge, does not condemn, does not recognize the belief of evil, or recognize anything but its pure self and our own true souls as perfect mirrors of itself. Isn’t there a bible verse: “God is of purer eyes than to behold evil?” (If not, there should be one, without verses of the opposite beliefs of mortals.) Even the heaven of our afterlife is a belief, with images of Jesus for some, and of others for those who don’t know the story of Jesus and a vengeful God. Behind all the labels and human characteristics, is Love. In some NDEs and for sure after death, we sense Love so bright that our sun is the dimmest candle, and we sometimes do our best to come near. I think it may take a while, from where we stand now. We begin, I think, by refusing to behold evil ourselves. Even that first step, for mortals, is close to impossible.

  24. Why are we here? I was just a teenager, filling my J-3 Cub at the Ottumwa Airport pumps when I saw a guy inspecting the wings of a red and yellow Parks biplane in that big wooden hangar. You were getting set to go out on another barnstorming adventure, taking small town folks on their first flights, and showing us all that that sort of adventure was still available.

    I had been reading your words in Flying magazine and beyond since I was in junior high school. Your words started my love of flying. And that day by the wings of the biplane began our long friendship. Though life now rarely gives us a chance to meet, what you taught me when I was a kid and needed it most, has cemented our friendship.

    I was heading into life, and you were my mentor. You told me that ‘meaning is changing of thought’, and when everyone is doing something, go do something different. Though it might be difficult, find my own way. Do not succumb. All the precepts written in Jonathon Livingston Seagull. You gave me a reading list: St. Exupery, Ernest Gann, Nevile Shute, and more. You urged me to write. Your guidance started me on my path in life.

    Why are we here? I ask myself that regularly. After my own plane crash, you told me to write about the experience. I never did – for decades being too embarrassed for, in Gann’s words, ‘leaving a stain on the sky’. But I have looked through my notes again, and I may finally have the perspective to write it all down.

    I think we are here to live our lives, and interpret it so that others who are waundering, may find a way onward. Writers, artists…choose a difficult life, in order to seek the otherness, and pass it on. It is why we keep struggling. We oftentimes have to live separated from normal life, to remain true to our path. It is not an ordinary or easy life. But our purpose to find passion in this life, and express it to others through a curious mind, keeps us putting one foot in front of the other.

    I got to this place, because you were already there, and gave me a scrawled map. I chose that route. It is a tough journey, and I don’t mince words when others want to copy the map. You will hurt yourself, and others, and wish sometimes you were dead, but someway, it is a rewarding life. There continue to be unspoken mysteries evading us, that we want to find. We want to let others know, like Jonathon returning to the flock from the far cliffs. There is another way, and maybe we are the only ones that can find it, for ourselves and the others.

    A teenager somewhere is waiting for way forward, and hasn’t a clue. Up to now, there are just the canned messages telling him to choose the normal route. But it seems without meaning or hope, and he looks for just a hint of another choice. That is why we are here, both for our own need of discovery, and also for the flock. It is what keeps me going. Keeps us going. Thank you Richard.

    • Hi Ken! Amazing, your message! I thought you had long forgotten that time, decades ago. A good reminder: we may forget, others may not.

  25. I had a go at writing down two things that are testing me right now, this is what I got.

    1. Not having enough money.
    My solution is: Nothing of true value that I’ve acquired in my life has been paid for with money. Everything I buy with money I will eventually lose. In spite of my immense fear of it I have never entirely run out of money, never been turned onto the streets in winter, never had to eat food out of a bin. I believe a Ferrari would make me happy. I also believe chocolate pudding would make me happy. I have enough money for one of these so what’s the problem.

    2. Not having enough time
    My solution is: No one has ever taken, used, wasted or stolen a single microsecond of my life. I chose to go to school, I could have joined the circus but that choice would have meant a whole lot of work, risks and sweeping up of horse dung. I could have climbed a mountain today, all I needed to do was trade the consequences of that choice for what’s around me right now. Sometimes I make choices I later regret. But so what, the deal is this: in every choice there’s risk, with risk there’s always the possibility of creating something new. I like how that works and I’m getting better at it.

    And why am I here?
    I don’t think there’s a wrong way. I think my part in the play is 100% as it should be, it is impossible for me to be anything other than a perfect me. Even if my role is to be a complete “failure” within the context of the play, that I fail so well is testimony to my commitment to the job. What I’m doing is right even if it sometimes feels completely wrong and broken. If I feel sick, alone or depressed, the truth is whatever direction I’m travelling in is ok. Really getting that is very liberating. Now I can stop stumbling, stop doubting and worrying and I can choose to run in that direction, or I can choose a new direction altogether. I feel that I’m here because I’m a part of it, in some way. I’m important and it can’t be perfect and complete without me. What “It” is is another question entirely.

    • A lesson in patience? Wow, that is insightful. I felt that Mike’s response was such a well painted picture of his vision of how the older population could feel validated and less lonely. I was wondering how you would respond to that. I liked your response. Yes, it very much could be concerning patience -that could be the lesson. Perhaps for many of us.

  26. I always wished that Don Shimoda (a fictional character, I understand) had published, for all to read, his Messiah’s Handbook. Lacking that, I open Illusions to a random page and take the wisdom I find there, and it’s never been less than I need. Today its message is: “… lift yourself high enough….”

  27. I discovered the other day that the complete version of JLS will be available in paperback in Oct. I plan to get it. As I writer I’ve had editors cut out important stuff, so I want to know what was cut out of JLS. Plus, during the years I couldn’t find new copies of JLS, I purchased used copies and gave them to friends, people who needed the message. I felt bad that Richard didn’t get any of the money. So I want to make up for that.

  28. Hi Richard. First, I wanted to thank you for the positive impact you have had on me and so many others through your books. I’ll share a quick story before getting to the blog post on why we are here. In 1997, my house was one of 6 destroyed in a gas line explosion that damaged over 80 homes in Indiana. When I was interviewed afterwards, a reporter asked me to name the things I was saddest to have lost in the fire. I said it was all my books and specifically named two favorites, one of which was Illusions. A friend saw the article and sent me a new copy of Illusions with the inscription: “You will always remember what is truly important.” I still have that book, and I still re-read it periodically to remind me not to live a limited life. So while I’ve never met you, you seem like an old friend.

    Now back to the post, “Why are we here?” I share your view that we are eternal souls. My personal belief is that we are here for a reason, and that reason is to consciously evolve with each new life to be the very best we are capable of being. It means we never stop loving, we never stop growing, and we never stop creating as long as we live.

    You challenged us to name two tests we’re working with now. My two tests are (1) having the courage to be true to myself instead of trying to conform to the expectations of others, and (2) having the confidence to continue working on my writing, rather than giving in to the fear that I have nothing important to say.

    Thank you for sharing your tests with us. I don’t know if the loneliness you mentioned is as a result of being physically alone or is more a feeling of emptiness even around others. I do hope the feeling of loneliness passes and that you find the connections you seek. With regard to your second test, your belief that you’ve already lived too long in this act, I could not help but think of one of your quotes from Illusions. “Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” I can’t help but wonder if your two tests are related and whether the answer to both tests can be found in your next mission.

    • Thank you, Kara. About your (2), I think most of us readers care about the inner ideas by which we navigate our lives. Write those as clearly and as honestly as we can, with incidents and examples, with some dialog on our road, we don’t have to find readers, for readers will find us. About your last paragraph, I hope I’m getting used to living quietly by myself. If ever I meet her in person on earth, will I say, “Nice to meet you, but now I’m so used to living alone that I can’t spend time with you?” My spirit guides, after all their work, will I hear them faint?

  29. richard, i have great empathy for the loneliness that seems to creep in ones life. i have experienced the same. i don’t think our angels want us to be alone….maybe just brief periods of aloneness so one can reflect and then fully appreciate the one who will enter our lives. your words are truly uplifting to this soul who reads them….

    • I wonder how much to leave to our angels. Will they direct an Other to our address, will we meet by coincidence, or must we ask every person, “Hi”? For the time being, I use my own little statement, and leave it to them to let me know:

      I am a perfect expression of perfect Love, here and now.
      Every day I am learning more of my true nature and of the power I have been given over the worlds of appearance.
      I am deeply grateful, on my journey, for the parenting and guidance of my highest self.

      • As to whether the Angels will direct an Other to our address, in my experience that’s been exactly what they do, through even a circuitous series of events that can boggle the mind. To meet the last Other I met, I happened to step outside at the exact moment he was going by on his bicycle, and we said hello. I did have to follow the nudge to, for no particular reason, step outside my door.

  30. Although I eagerly look forward to your next post since discovering your site, I always seem to miss your posts by several days. However, that provides me the opportunity to read the wisdom of others who have posted at the same time I finally encounter your most recent post. This post was a particularly important one and resonated with many.

    I’m considering that the feeling of a need to know the reason why we are here might be just part of our human confusion. Do you suppose? I’ve reached the age where, after years of seeking and successfully acquiring answers to satisfy that need, I now find I have even more questions! But now, I find those questions no longer have such a burning urgency. Life, to me, is no longer a mystery to be solved, but a wondrous adventure to be experienced. As long as I remember that “I am Love”, I can choose to change or adapt to any circumstance.

    Sometimes I forget and I buy into the illusion … as we all do from time to time! When that happens, I too experience loneliness, frustration, weariness and impatience. Those four feelings have become my warning signs or wake-up calls that I’ve forgotten who I am. That ongoing erratic forgetfulness does seem to be an integral part of our present condition.

    I believe that is why we are all here, together, to help to remind each other … when we fall under the spell of this material life experience. Sometimes, even re-reading material that I have written at a time when I was feeling in harmony helps me to do just that. Reading your words, Richard, or the words of others who are attempting the process of living with authenticity (like many of the special folks who frequent your site) can function as a reminder. We need each other. Thank you, again, for sharing your knowing as well as your questions.

  31. Like Tamra, I also love the sharing here without the body/job/academic achievements (or not) getting in the way and being able to “communicate what is important to me” as Camilla put, it without fearing judgement (or at least not seeing it.) My objective/test as a young girl was to not live a mundane life and to change what I felt was a faulty genetic/cultural/religious inheritance. Made a few inroads and made none – came full circle but not to the same place. For me the test is getting the ego mind off its pedestal so that I can, as Ruth says, “practice what I’ve learned”. I know intellectually we are the “perfect expression of perfect Love” but feeling it is something else and bringing it to bear on my life so as to share with the flock doesn’t come easy. Another test is feeling like I’m in the end game and didn’t do what I hoped to, am not living up to the highest expression while I ‘fruitel’ about with irrelevancies. As Art says it is the current identity which prevents us living in a whole different experience of this lifetime –I feel as if it is just beyond my reach behind a veil almost, but could be very simple to achieve if I would just ‘lighten up’ (Vi) says, and accept that the “direction” is right (Simon) instead of dithering about taking the next step or not. I choose sometimes to just feel the state of gratitude and put a big smile on my face just to break my own habitual thinking of who I am. I certainly have to remind myself to watch over my connection to the wild, undomesticated self, to meaning, magic, passion, nature from its simplest to its most grand forms. Too often I feel like my life has been confiscated to the demands of the culture I live in, how women should act, what my mate expects, what clean cut civilized high faluting society expects and it strangles the soul. I was fascinated by Ken’s description of ‘leaving a stain on the sky” which I gather is pilot code. Just sense tremendous power in his writing and that is such a potent image. I read somewhere that we are like amphibians – we can live on land, but not forever, not without trips to the water and to home. On a lighter note (please forgive my impertinence Richard as a newbie to this site and not having read all your books), the thought came to me that living with the brilliance of your mind/intuition, experiencing the rarefied atmosphere up there with Puff and living at the top of the island, perhaps some warm water, some putting the hands in clay, some chopping wood might be called for? I smiled at your comment about suspending the hammock – I detect a theme of keeping things up in the air and Lockie surely is saying ‘lets play down here on the ground – let’s get down and dirty” (so to speak) I think Lockie is onto something. Let no one call a dog ‘just a dog’!!

    • “…we can live on land, but not forever, not without trips to the water and to home.” So bright! And what can we amphibians do in our spare time on the land? Why, sometimes we can _think_ about the water, and we can dream of home. That makes our land times a little easier, for me, anyway. It’s hard to swim on the land, but we remember the way it was, we have the old skills within us, right now. Even little Lockie, he’s a land puppy now, but he knows how to swim.

      • Some move about their life through thought then action, others move through life through action, then thought, some move through life through reflexion little action, and some move thorugh life through total action, very little thought. Does this mean we need to change ourselves? There is no right or wrong way to move through the world….we are perfect expressions of energy.
        For some, those thinkers, digging in clay, or chopping wood may take a lifetime to do as the thought has to be mastered first….for others, going and digging in that clay is all that they would want to do all day andhavingno time to think…

        • I think I understand although not a definite – takes me a while. I just want to get past thinking all the time – it feels like a tyrant in charge of everything and cutting me off from freely flowing.

          • There is the moment when a person, who moves and experiences life through thought first, needs to have the confidence to say this affirmation- ‘i have thought about this enough and i am ready to flow on now’. Those who experience life through thought and heartfelt emotion can get a bit of their flow hindered when thought and, details in thought, takeover. Simple affirmations of knowing they have done enough thinking on that particular issue is a great way to manage this nature. It is a gift to have these sensitive, heartfelt people in the world and i hope they see themselves as gifts too.

      • Thank you for that Richard. The old skills – that’s the key I have willingly buried in the ground. Do I understand you – it is about trusting that in the deeper well there is another presence to draw knowledge, wisdom and insight from. But I need to distract the mind – it is very dominant in its judgements and reactive and I think as a woman who has often had her head in the clouds and the body forgotten and thus alienated to some degree getting ‘down and dirty’ could be a good antidote

        • JenniferfromBelguim

          ‘i have thought about this enough and i am ready to flow on now’. Boy, do I know about that. I have to shut myself up and listen to the stillness.
          (There wasn’t a reply button available to reply directly below your post.)

    • Pilot code. Yes, the quote was from an Ernest Gann book, I believe Blaze of Noon, where a pilot screws up, and demeans flying and the other aviators by his mistake. He affected the sanctity of flight. A profound thing, that pilots in love with the sky know about.

      I tried to redeem myself from my split second mistake, by rebuilding the airplane with every penny I had, with my own hands and occasional help, to better than new. It was a start, a gesture. Tho, during the entire time, friends described me as one with a death wish, for rebuilding the twisted wreckage. They weren’t flyers so were not aware. Many sidesteps around obstacles are necessary to stay on one’s true path. Like a dance.

      • Do you think the rebuilding of the twisted wreckage is a metaphor for the pathway through life? Sometimes we screw up a little and have to ‘change the oil’ and other times we screw up big time and have to ‘rework the whole structure.’ I am only now coming to really appreciate the sanctity of life and have no doubt been less than reverent in many situations and have carried guilt for them. Do you feel that you have redeemed yourself now when you look at the ‘phoenix’ plane or what else has to happen to make amends ?

        • A metaphor for life? At the time, I did not sense the term ‘redeem myself’. Only now do I look back and use that term. At the time, I simply had the thought that the red Aeronca needed to be fixed. Like a duty undeniable. It had an important history, that I was just a part of, and I felt I needed to begin repairing what had been damaged. Both physically, and in the spirit. The airplane, and my physical limitations. Maybe it turned towards catharsis as the year and a half passed while the pieces came back together.

          The airplane has moved on, but not before it gave me back my pilot licenses, taught a young woman to fly, made trips from Texas to Ohio and to Washington state. Its spirit was renewed, as was mine. It could have been abandoned as a wreck, but there are implications to that sort of betrayal.

          The tests or lessons that came from that time changed my course in life, without a doubt. I would not describe my accident’s lesson as an epiphany, for there were not heralding insights that came from my near death. Instead, at the time, there was just pain, guilt, fear, loss of self-worth, that then took years, or this lifetime still to navigate. But as time has been allowed to pass, there has been a change from the negative pall, to a sort of kinship with the kinetics of life. An acceptance of the cycles and events of life as not rare, but happening all the time to everyone.

          • Love that expression ‘change from the negative pall to a sort of kinship with the kinetics of life”. I can relate, if not in such dramatic fashion. Have spent years feeding that negative pall or for me, maw! A voracious, devouring black hole that keeps me on a tight leash making me believe I’m being realistic about who I am, analyzing my weaknesses and failures and self flagellating cos I don’t measure up. What I’ve actually been doing is poisoning my own well and serving an unforgiving and irredeemable master. I realized the other day that I can choose to look at the crud or I can choose to look at the light, the beauty, the divine, the new creation, the dance, the music, whatever you call it and exult in it. I’m probably slow to catch on and this is old hat to the readers here. Now I wake up “singing”(bit of poetic licence here) that old Garland classic “Good morning Good morning …” Sounds trifling I know, but just a shift in what I’m looking at, telling myself and giving attention to and everything changes and the dance takes me over. Your expression ‘ implications to that kind of betrayal” also giving me pause. Interesting. Will mull.

  32. This week I met a life changing angel. I’ve seen her around my yard, but she was always too frightened to come close. Her human family moved and left her to fend for herself. She was starving. She had kittens in my shed – that day. She came to me then and when I fed her, she looked into my eyes as though I was her savior. She’d been so hungry for so long, that at first she could eat very little. I spent a lot of time with her. I cuddled her. She cuddled me back. My husband and I decided that we would take her and her kittens in. She gave me more than I gave her. Then after a week of abandoning her, the neighbors returned and took her away. I was angry, I grieved. She’s still a kitten herself. She will have a life of near starvation and endless childbearing. Then I had to let it go…I think maybe their little kids need her. These people are maturationally stunted in all kinds of ways.

    I met an angel in that young cat we called Muffin. But really I think of her now as Angel Eyes. She gave me back an inner softness that time and tragedy took away.

      • I have to remember I can’t save them. That’s what bothers me most. There are so many little ones that need help, and I’m powerless to do much about it, if I am do follow my own course. I’m not here to be a savior. But sometimes in the process of trying to do it anyway, I find a special little one who helps me instead.

  33. Hi, Richard. I am one of those who want to thank you for all you have done. I’m sure you know the answer to your tests, and like me and many others, you will face them and let them give you Understanding and Love. I was about to tell you I had truble with that writing thing you suggested, but as I was doing it, the answer came to me: “Maybe I am blocking the answers with my fear, and it’s a vicious circle…” And usually that’s the problem. This made me wonder a lot: I think it’s the first time I get into this page, and it’s the first time I speak to you. I don’t want to sound dramatic, but thanks to your books I no longer believe in chance, and I really think you should get to work with that second test of yours. I will help you with it from where I am with all the love I can give to you. You are one of my dearest friends, thank you again for all the help you’ve given me, and still give me, with this whole eternity-related learning we all live.

    • Is that why we write? Ideas that touch us, maybe they can touch others, too! Just once in a while, that’s why we love putting these little symbols on electric paper. Thank you!

      • Yes, Richard, that’s exactly why I write, thanks to you, to touch others who might find my sights and quandries helpful as they sort themselves out. Each one teach one, or in your case one teaches millions.

  34. I’ve said this before, that I feel terribly out-gunned by the thoughts and wordsmithing of all of you on this forum. This particular topic resonates with me so I thought I’d give it a go……..
    The “Why are we here?” question, more specifically, “Why am I here?” is a question I’ve been asking daily, for a long time. I still don’t have the answer. When I get close, think I understand, the question changes and back to the drawing board I go….
    My two tests are: 1. Am I gone from home too much? and 2. Did I buy the wrong airplane?
    Might sound silly to some, but this is what I’m puzzling over.

    The first test: Am I gone too much?
    I happen to fly for my living. It’s what I have wanted to do since I was young. I just like to fly, the sky is where I feel most at home. I never really cared about who I fly for or what type of flying I do, just so I can fly. The airline world is a very fickle place, I’ve been bounced off the rocks several times but always seem to land on my feet. The thing with my chosen path is I am gone from home a lot. I am a wanderer by nature and I have an unquenchable curiosity so the gypsy flyer lifestyle seems to fit me pretty well. But, what about my wife and daughters? As if scripted, whenever I leave on a trip, something at home breaks. One of the cars, the washing machine, the dishwasher, the furnace…..pick something mechanical and it has broken while I was gone. My poor wife…..
    I miss many important life events like holidays, weddings, games, school plays, choir concerts….. pick one, I’ve missed it! What must my daughters think?
    I have tried not flying twice. Both times, between flying jobs, I was home a lot more, but honestly, I was miserable. And my misery made me unhappy. After a while, I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t happy til everyone else wasn’t happy too. So, I failed at “normal” and went back to flying.
    Being away has it’s challenges, but for me, being in one place for too long has bigger challenges. I guess I’ve surrendered to who I am.

    My second Test: Did I buy the wrong airplane? (Actually, I was thinking about bills and money but after I read Simon’s answer to his #1 test I realized that he wrote what I was trying to wrap my mind around… “Nothing of true value that I’ve acquired in my life has been paid for with money.”…So true…Thank you Simon!!)
    I had been without an airplane for a few years. When my last airline shut down I sold everything, well at least all of my toys, including my two forever airplanes. One was a Stearman, the other a Champ. Two of the best planes ever built, in my mind at least. The Stearman I intended to fly around the country, chasing nice weather when I retire. The Champ, I just loved.
    A few months ago I bought a Piper Cherokee. My wife started flying before our kids were born and both of my daughters want to learn to fly. The Cherokee is about perfect because it’s a decent trainer and is a nice flyer, I can get the whole family in and go. The problem is, I think another Champ would have been a better choice to teach my girls in. Why? Because it’s basic, simple old school flying. No gee-whiz on the instrument panel to distract a person from flying the plane. The plane I fly for my work is fully automated with all kinds of fancy computers to fiddle with and glass panels to look at. I do believe that technology has its place and there are times when I am truly thankful for the capabilities of the plane and its equipment, but other times I think it takes away from the experience of flight. I’ll do that for my job, but I’d rather not have my kids get wrapped up in the automation of flight at the expense of missing out on the joy of flying. Granted, the Cherokee is a step away from automated, but the Champ is two steps away and I like that!
    I still don’t have an answer. I’m thankful for the Cherokee and my wife and daughters who share my joy of flying. I still don’t have the answer but, I do miss my old Champ!!

    • First decision is done. Second: Do you want to share professional flying with your daughters, or flying by the heart? One with the Cherokee, the other with the Champ. If they prefer not to fly with the heart, if they wish not to land in fields or to fly without radios, you’ve saved on the Champ! It isn’t your decision, Matt, it’s your daughters’.

      • Good points you make. I know that I want them to fly with their hearts, to love flying first. Honestly, I’d rather they fly for fun and not for their profession. But, it isn’t about me.

        • Matt,

          We first need to be true to ourselves and our inner vision. Then if we have people around us, they need to be true to theirs and allow us to be ourselves. I had to leave two marriages to be true to myself. I’m glad your choices worked out for you. That’s a biggy. Finding who our inner selves are is key and then having the courage to follow that is primary. Maybe that’s why you are here.

        • You can guide your daughters Matt, but in the end how they relate to the sky will be up to them. I learnt on a Cherokee, so I have a very soft spot in my heart for that aircraft. Yet 30 years on I find myself with very different wings. It is a journey that has taken me down numerous paths, each one closer to my ideal than the next. And still the journey continues. If your daughters learn to love the sky, it probably doesn’t matter so much what they start in. What matters is the approach you teach. They cannot then help but gravitate to that which is right for them.

  35. Mr.Bach,

    I was wondering the same thing, “Why are we here?” I guess with the year coming to an end, I simply needed to find meaning. Reading everyone’s comments, I realize that I am not alone in my journey to discover our presence on this earth. For years, I saw myself living the same life,thus I fear that my current state will not change as we enter a new year. Well I do not know what or whom has prone me into digging deeper into my existence. I have some many questions. In short, your page and the people who have commented here, have surely calmed my mind and heart. For that reason, I thank you.

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