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on March 10, 2007
In "Courageous Souls" Robert Schwartz not only discusses the concept of pre-birth planning, but he also provides an in-depth look at both the pre-birth planning process (which occurs while in spirit before each incarnation), as well as the various reasons a soul may have chosen the particular challenges they're dealing with in this lifetime.

What I found particularly interesting were the personal interviews the author did with several participants & the subsequent sessions with various mediums/psychics to assess each person's pre-birth planning sessions. Together these sessions provided background information regarding each person's challenge & the reasons their soul chose that challenge for this lifetime. The types of challenges discussed include: physical illness, parenting handicapped children, drug addiction & alcoholism, death of a loved one, & accidents.

Reading this book allows one to consider a whole new way to look at life's challenges - a way where each challenge does in fact serve a purpose, and a high purpose at that! A way where there is no reason to blame or judge or hate - because we're able to recognize that each person on this earth is also serving a purpose.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in spirituality & the concept of pre-birth planning - it's truly inspiring.

P.S. This book also offers the names & contact information for the psychics/mediums who worked with the author on this book - a great addition for those of us who would like some assistance in accessing our own pre-birth planning sessions!
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"There is a need to create limitation, as the soul uses limitation in your realm for growth. As you experience limitedness, there is a need to overcome frustration, work within one's own parameters, and focus energy--an energy that cuts through the density in your realm and creates spaces of light and a higher vibration." - From Courageous Souls

At some point, everyone on Earth has asked "Why?" in the face of difficult circumstances. Why did my fiancé die in a car accident? Why is my mother an alcoholic? Why is my son Autistic? Why do I have cancer? Why is my brother a quadriplegic because of a diving accident? Why do some people die at the hands of serial killers or suicide bombers?

Like existential detectives, many of us try to wrap our heads around life challenges and, ultimately, find out "whodunit?" Was it because of a nasty devil wanting to afflict? Is a capricious god punishing me--or is the wheel of karma catching up? Is negative thinking the root of my illness?

What if NONE of these scenarios was the case--but, in fact, we CONTRACTED our life challenges before incarnating?

In his book Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth?, author Robert Schwartz takes readers behind the veil of forgetfulness into the conversations and decisions that have taken place "between lives". Interviewing about a dozen people who have experienced loss, illness, accidents, and addictions, Schwartz explores the idea of agreements made before birth to learn and experience certain life lesson--and coming to know our true selves.

In addition, the author facilitates sessions between these individuals and several mediums. These mediums access the Akashic Records (an etheric "book of life" that records every thought, word, and action) for information on pre-birth planning sessions or "channel" messages from their spirit guides about specific agreements.

Echoing the case studies of hypnotherapist Dr. Michael Newton, author of the books Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls--as well as the children's book The Little Soul and the Sun by Neale Donald Walsch-- Schwartz maintains that Earth is place of duality where powerful creators incarnate in order to learn through opposites. A candle surrounded by brilliant light can only experience darkness by entering it.

"Who but the most power of souls could conjure an illusion that appears real to its very creator?" he asks. While we're on the other side, we consult with members of our soul group and guides and agree to perform certain roles--all for the purpose of soul growth and experience. By incarnating on the Earth plane--being born--we enter a "river of forgetfulness", as Caroline Myss describes in her book Sacred Contracts. We forget so we can have a powerful "remembering".

If we accept that each human has contracted particular life lessons such as parenting a disabled child, losing a loved one, participating in an addiction, or experiencing an illness, then the concept of being a "victim"--either of a negligent person, system, or god--is neutralized. Even more than that, there is a sense of meaning and empowerment that enables the personality to move forward, heal, and even contribute to the well-being of others and the raising of group consciousness.

Courageous Souls parts the curtain on the great stage of life, revealing the elaborate play and agreed upon roles that humanity acts out here on Earth--all motivated by deep love and respect for one another. Schwartz writes:

"We love the souls whom we plan our lives. During our earthly existence, they may be people who complicate matters, cause us stress or worry, or even become our `enemies'. When not incarnate the estranged husband and wife, the abusive parent and neglected child, and the warring ex-business partners are loving friends. They care deeply for one another and will often reincarnate together in an effort to master lessons unfinished in previous lives."

Of course, empirical verification of the stories and channeled information relayed in Courageous Souls is impossible, but so are, ultimately, any assertions made by a sacred text, religious leader, or jaded philosopher. One thing I know for sure: ALL of us tell stories to ourselves (and others) that attempt to explain why things happen as they do. Many of those interpretations of "the facts" come from outside us, such as the doctrines of religion or the mores of a culture.

So if we're all telling stories about what we're experiencing on Earth in the attempt to explain situations or create meaning, why not tell ones that embolden, enlighten, and inspire? What is accomplished by playing the victim, wallowing in blame, or becoming entangled in mind games of "woulda, coulda, shoulda"?

What IS has already happened--and how empowering is the idea that we all are playing our roles brilliantly--and that we will embrace all the actors on the other side, congratulating them on their performance and their act of service!

If these ideas sound like the kind of reality you would like to learn more about, then I highly recommend Courageous Souls by Robert Schwartz. By allowing us, the readers, to eavesdrop into pre-birth planning sessions and post-"trauma" interviews, we are given a precious gift of comfort, peace, and meaning--urging us forward in our unique destinies with the knowledge that none is a victim...and EVERYTHING can be used for our highest good.

Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)
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Robert Schwartz is an eloquent spokesman for his explorations in the realm few of us have even considered, much less explored fully: the concept of pre-birth planning as a convention of souls who make decisions about incarnation - place, time, circumstances, and challenges - that will heighten the overall improvement of not only their repeated growth in the process of rebirth but also the gift to the betterment of mankind.

Schwartz' manner of writing is so tender and so lacking in preaching that he gradually draws the reader into his realm of thinking in a way that allows us to suspend any doubt or prejudice we may have about spirituality or after life or universal karma. He uses conversations with people who share their experiences of living with such 'handicaps' as physical illness, parenting handicapped children, deafness and blindness, drug addiction and alcoholism, accidents, death of a loved one and alters the word 'handicapped' to 'challenges'; 'Challenges are mirrors that reflect to us our feelings about ourselves. In that sense, they are gifts. Wisdom allows us to recognize them as such.'

In addition to discussing the above challenges with particular people who have them, Schwartz introduces us to mediums and channelers who channel the souls of the people we meet, allowing Schwartz to relay to us the conversations between the spiritual world and the physical world. In this very quiet manner Schwartz offers an explanation as to why 'untoward events' happen: his conversations with the various people he shares (for instance the autistic child or the parent of that child) allow us to consider that these choices are made in the spirit world prior to our birth and that these challenges offer the opportunity to separate the physical self-centered being from the choice to make the situations examples of growth, and of revealing love to those around us.

Schwartz takes no credit for the information he presents in this book. His drive is to open doors to us the readers to consider his findings and philosophy as a means to learning more about how life and the spiritual world are enmeshed. 'I have learned from the wise nonphysical beings with whom I have spoken...Through them I now understand the immense power of this most elemental truth: that we are not our bodies...If you also know that you planned your disability, that it indeed has a deep significance, then your life may become a quest to uncover that meaning. Suffering is lightened, emptiness replaced with purpose.'

Writers such as Robert Schwartz challenge our inside the box thinking, encouraging us to suspend prejudice and the state of being uninformed to enter the arena of growing spiritually. The beauty of this enormously moving book lies in the simplicity of the style Schwartz has chosen to communicate. This is not a sensationalized series of speaking with the 'great dramatic séance', this is instead a welcome to another way of viewing our lives - this one and the ones that have been and will be. Grady Harp, February 07
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on May 19, 2007
After reading this book, I have no more questions about how I planned my life. I also gave up blaming anyone for anything. it is completely clear that I requested my best soul friends to participate in my life. Out of their great love for me they agreed to play certains roles for me to support my soul's learning and my soul's evolution.

This book shows there is nothing to forgive as you asked for every situation in your life.

Maybe you only need to forgive yourself for being so hard on yourself.

Robert Schwartz has a clear style. it is easy to read.

This book will change your life....it is a must.
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on March 15, 2007
If you truly want a shift in your perceptions, read this book. If you truly want to move away from judging others, read this book. If you want a soothing balm for your weary soul, this will sooth and rejuvenate. It is beautifully written, thought provoking, profound and moving. It spoke to me at just the right time in just the right way and I will never forget what Mr. Schwartz has laid out so amazingly on these pages. I have honestly never read anything like it, the only other comparison I have run across are Dr. Newton's books on this subject. This one is put together in an altogether more approacable way. WHAT IF this is all true, WHAT IF these are the explanations that have so defied our LOGICAL reasoning of human behavior since the beginning of time - why else all the suffering and pain? WHAT IF this beautiful, perfectly orchestrated scenario where EVERYTHING has a purpose, no matter how it looks on the "outside" were in fact, the true reality. Just for the mere fact of expanding your awareness, shifting your perspective if only a tiny bit - this book would be well worth the money spent. The ideas contained within it's pages are enough to actually change the world, and I don't say that lightly. If we all REALLY understood that we all came from the same loving source, are made up of the exact same powerful energy, will return to the same source and we are only here to learn love in all of it's wonderful manifestations, where would all the hate, fear, anger, jealousy fit it. It wouldn't. I submit to you, one day this book will be on every table in every home, it might be a 100 years or so, but one day !!!
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on September 17, 2007
Have you ever wondered why life can sometimes seem so terribly unfair? Why it can be that whereas some people are born healthy and strong to loving, supportive families, others suffer terrible misfortunes, sometimes right from the start? Your Soul's Plan author Robert Scwhartz takes this age-old question to an entirely new level when he challenges people to look deeper, past the so-called "bad" experiences, to a rich tapestry of hidden purpose and meaning.

The idea of pre-birth planning is central to Your Soul's Purpose, as four spirit channels and mediums assist Robert Schwartz and ten clients in the process of sorting through a variety of setbacks, hardships and traumatic incidents to find an underlying sense of meaning, love and insight. Just as many traditional therapists often suggest people transition from feelings of anger and betrayal to forgiveness, peace and gratitude, Schwartz provides a very special sense of seeing divine order everywhere. Robert Schwartz views how those "less fortunate victims" of circumstance are not to be pitied, but instead to be respected. These people have achieved desired experiences that allow them to show great fortitude in living difficult life plans, which are all designed in wisdom, and based on love.

Your Soul's Purpose points out that little is as it seems, and reminds us to view our lives through the awareness that we are much more than our bodies, that we are truly eternal souls who know a level of responsibility at the soul level where no one is a victim and all is deeply interconnected As One. Robert Schwartz writes, "I have come to see our world, despite its anguish and heartbreaks as inherently beautiful. I sense a sweetness in life. I feel it -- everywhere."

In a world where little is as it seems on the surface, Your Soul's Plan provides a fabulous and much-needed compass for those of us seeking to regain the deeper awareness of our core spiritual strength. Highly recommended!
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on February 27, 2007
Robert Schwartz has written an exceptional book. It provides insight on why bad things happen to good people. It is a book filled with fascinating information. I read it slowly because I had to stop, think, and digest impressions while I had an Ah Ha experience. I underlined about half of the book since I thought the ideas were so exceptional and important and I wanted to understand/remember them.

On divorce Schwartz writes: "We often plan to be friends or even spouses with other people for finite periods of time. Since we have no memory of these agreements, we may view the end of a friendship or marriage as a negative event. It is not. We part ways with others when we have completed our plans with them." Schwartz is referring to what he calls pre-birth planning where everyone plans their lives here on earth.

Schwartz relates stories about people with a physical illness, parenting a handicapped child, deafness and blindness, drug addiction and alcoholism, death of a loved one and accidents to make his points. He makes his philosphy and ideas come alive with truth and sensibility.

If you have ever had a physical illness, lost a loved one, or had an accident this is a must read. If you want to understand the meaning of any of your life challenges this is the book for you. I would consider this a must read for everyone - no matter your faith.
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on January 3, 2007
It is said that Albert Einstein once commented that the question of whether or not the universe is a friendly place was the most important question facing humanity. Robert Schwartz has written a book that not only comes down, strongly, on the side of friendliness, but also provides accounts of just how friendly it is.

Robert has interviewed ordinary people who have experienced great life challenges. He has paired these people with mediums who have the specific abiltiy to tap into pre-life planning sessions and what some refer to as the Akashic Records. The results are a glimpse into the possible meaning of what often seems senseless pain and meaningless challenge.

In the shamanic and spiritual work I have done with people for many years, I have often been confronted by clients with questions about how their lives, in total, and lives, in specific detail, can be explained in a way that is meaningful and suggestive of that friendly universe to which Einstein referred. Often I have been sought to assist them in sorting through what they have perceived as obstacles or challenges and what they have experienced as physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual pain.

I have discovered that many people find it perplexing to wrap their brains around the concept that we humans are typcially seeing but a minute part of a grand scheme, as if able to access but one dimension in a multi-dimensional, infinitely interconnected web of meaning. I believe that Courageous Souls can be of great help, as it opens the door to accessing more of those dimensions in a very concrete, understandable, and useful way.

This is Robert's first book of what I hope (and expect) to be a series that gently and beautifully--sometimes also startlingly--adds to our understanding of the agreements we make before we step into human form.
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on March 14, 2007
There are no "accidents"! If you have been led to finding out about this book as I was, do yourself the favor of buying it. It has helped me understand so much. I had already had exposure to many of the ideas and concepts in the book, but the way that they are presented is truly unique and enabled me to see my own lessons when reading through the interviews. Thank you, Robert!
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on February 24, 2007
With the grace and elegance that occurs only in deep communion with spirit, Courageous Souls: Do We Plan Our Life Challenges Before Birth? by Robert Schwartz, describes the pre planning and post incarnation journeys of individuals who seemingly suffered at the hands of life and yet emerged victorious.

This book arrived in my life at an auspicious time. I was supporting a second family member suffering from a deadly disease. Questions arose - "Why is this happening? Has there not been enough suffering already? Why now and why again?" What a relief to confirm, through this book, that I had "chosen" this journey.

I know now the harder the journey, the greater the commitment to spiritual growth. Schwartz' interviews, woven with love in words and time, helped me believe in the wisdom of my own soul and its confidence in my strength to reach for and achieve new learning. I emerge on the other side of Courageous Souls with love and compassion for myself and those with whom I have shared and will share this journey.

If there have been simply too many "coincidences" in your life for this to be random, read this book. It will help you believe in yourself and in the greater goodness and everlasting nature of all life. And the answer to the author's question is, "yes!"
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