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Do Our Souls Plan Life’s Challenges, Struggles & Sufferings Before Birth?

ROBERT SCHWARTZ: “This is one video conversation that you don’t want to miss. In this interview, I talk with Robert Schwartz, author of Your Soul’s Plan, about how our souls plan our challenges in life on purpose. If you’ve ever wondered why bad things happen to good people, Robert Schwartz shares with us his conclusions about that topic based on years of research. This video conversation offers hope and understanding about the challenges we meet in life, and it might even leave you with a sense of inner peace and acceptance in the face of your challenges — or at least help you believe there is meaning to your suffering and that you’re not merely a victim of unlucky circumstances. I’m excited to present this conversation to you, so I hope you won’t miss it.” ~ Bob Olson, Afterlife TV

Robert Schwartz Biography: In a personal session with a medium in 2003, author Robert Schwartz was astonished to speak with nonphysical beings who knew everything about him – not just what he had done in life, but also what he had thought and felt. They told him that he had planned many of his most difficult experiences before he was born. Realizing that a knowledge of pre-birth planning would bring great healing to people and allow them to understand the deeper purpose of their life challenges, he decided to devote his life to the study of pre-birth planning. The extraordinary insights that have emerged from his work speak to our heartfelt, universal yearning to know . . . why.

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Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

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Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Hi everybody. Bob Olson here with Afterlife TV. This is where we search for evidence of life after death. You can find us at I’m so excited about today’s guest. His name is Robert Schwartz. He wrote a book called Your Soul’s Plan, and I’ve got to read the subtitle to it actually because it explains exactly everything that that book is about, discovering the real meaning of the life you planned before you were born.

This subject, which covers what we’re going to be talking about today to answer this question of do our souls plan our challenges, struggles and sufferings before our birth; a lot of people have asked over the years, why does God allow people to suffer? What’s the other question? There’s a book out there, Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People? All that sort of thing, this is what this book is all about. Let me just start by welcoming you, Robert, to Afterlife TV. It’s an honor to have you here.

Robert Schwartz: Thank you, Bob. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I’m really excited because it does answer those questions that a lot of people have when we go through difficult things in our lives. We’re often wondering, are we being punished? Did we do something wrong, or is the universe not recognizing that we’re going through these difficult things, and why is it happening? We have so many questions. Your book and your research answer that for us in such an articulate way.

I’ve been researching this field since 1999. This is not the first time I’ve thought about this. I’ve even written about this subject. But when I read your book I was absolutely amazed to the point where I thought, this guy, not only does he get it, like he gets it better than I get it. You can answer this question better than I have ever even tried to. But the way you write, you have this ability to take this very complicated subject and make it simple to understand. So I appreciate that from you really.

Robert Schwartz: Thank you. That’s a great compliment. Thank you.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Well, why don’t we jump right into it, because that’s what I like to do here on Afterlife TV. We’ll jump right into the question, and then we’ll talk a little bit more about the book and some other things that you’re going to be doing towards the end. How would you answer that question: Do our souls plan our challenges, struggles, and sufferings before birth? If your answer is yes, maybe you could explain why.

Robert Schwartz: Sure. Bob, let me just begin by telling your viewers that I have a website at, and they can download a large portion of the book for free at

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s nice. That’s great.

Robert Schwartz: But to answer your question, I certainly believe that our souls plan our biggest challenges for us prior to birth. What I’ve seen in my research, and I’ll just rattle these off quickly and then we can talk about them as you like, the main reasons our souls plan big challenges for us are, one, to balance karma; two, healing; three, in service to others; four, in order to experience contrast; and now a fifth one that’s just come up in research for my new book, which comes out in a few months, and that is to heal false beliefs. Those are the big five reasons.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Wow. I’m writing those down because they’re so important, and so let’s get back to those a little later. In the interview, because I know we’re going to talk a lot about these two concepts, maybe you can define them a little bit for us and explain their roles. I’m talking about the concepts of spirit guides and soul groups. What do you have to say about those two things?

Robert Schwartz: A soul group, Bob, as I understand it is a collection of souls who are at more or less the same evolutionary stage. So you and the other members of your soul group will reincarnate repeatedly together playing every conceivable role in service to each other so that you can learn and grow.

So you and the members of your soul group will be, for example, father and daughter, mother and son, husband and wife, brother and sister, best of friends, mortal enemies, and even murderer and the one who is murdered. At the soul level there’s no judgment about any of these roles. They’re all played out in service to each other for learning and for growth.

A spirit guide is a highly evolved nonphysical being who helps the soul and who helps us plan the life prior to birth. So what will happen at the soul level, basically, the soul will create the life plan. Then the soul will take a portion of its energy. That energy becomes you, the personality that’s going to incarnate.

You are informed of what the life plan will be. You are shown scenes from your upcoming life. Then you have an opportunity to agree to the plan, or you also have an opportunity to say, no, I don’t agree to the plan. Or you can express fears, worries, doubts, or concerns. Most personalities will agree to the plan as it’s conceived of by the soul.

Occasionally, a personality says no, and then the plan is actually revised. Sometimes the personality expresses fear or worry or doubt. If that happens, then your spirit guides step in. You sense the greater wisdom of your guides and your soul. You sense the great love of your guides and your soul. So when they reassure you that the plan is in your best interest, almost always if you have doubts, they’re assuaged at that point. You still can say no, but almost always you would then agree to the life plan.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Okay, interesting. So, this is really intricate in a way. You make it sound nice and simple. I mean really, again, you make it understandable, and I appreciate that. The intricacy of it is, though, the way you’re describing, it would seem to me that there’s so much involved.

So because of our soul groups, because there are other people involved, our spirit guides are creating these things, these plans for us, during our lifetime. But because we’re interacting with other people and we have all these other agreements with everyone, are spirit guides communicating with other people’s spirit guides in order to make all of this work for all of us?

Robert Schwartz: I think that’s happening. I think also our souls are communicating with the other souls. I think as the personality comes into formation the personalities have a means to communicate with each other. But when you talk about the intricacies, the complexities of the life plan, the way that’s addressed is, as I understand it, and I’ll use an analogy; this comes from one of the mediums with whom I collaborate. Her name is Staci Wells. Staci has the ability to both see and hear the pre-birth planning sessions that occur prior to incarnation.

When we do the research for my books, we go into people’s pre-birth planning sessions, and we listen to the conversations in which these great challenges are planned. When Staci does that, she sees something in her mind’s eye that she refers to as an incredibly elaborate flowchart. It looks like a flowchart.

Now, what is a flowchart? It’s a series of decision points, and at each point if you choose A then X happens, if you choose B then Y happens. She describes the flowchart as being so vast, so intricate, that it’s almost beyond human comprehension. The flowchart represents the soul taking into account all the freewill choices that we the personalities might make once we’re on the earth plane.

So it’s not the case that your soul creates a plan and then everything is set in stone and is predestined. That’s actually not at all what happens. The plan is this flowchart in which your freewill decisions are anticipated by your soul. So it occurs within certain parameters that are set up by your soul prior to birth, but then once you get here you have a lot of freewill. That’s what makes the experience of incarnation truly meaningful.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Interesting. So, a lot of people when they talk about life and they talk about spirituality and they talk about the challenges that are happening in our life, you’ll hear that word “test” a lot. We’re being tested, or we’re here to learn lessons or whatever. You give this much more depth when you explain it.

But what you just said in terms of freewill, the way our freewill fits in, so we have these plans with the understanding that our free wills are going to allow us to make choices that could take us in maybe an infinite number of directions.

Robert Schwartz: Yes.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s not really being tested. How would you describe that if we were to use another phrase other than being tested?

Robert Schwartz: The term that I’ve come to use is divine virtues. We are here to develop on behalf of our souls certain divine virtues and then express them on the physical plane in ways that they can’t really be expressed in the nonphysical realm.

So what are the divine virtues? What I see in my research on pre-birth planning is a collection of 30 to 35 qualities that come up more often than others in the pre-birth planning sessions. These are the divine virtues or the qualities the soul wants to cultivate and express in the physical realm. They are things like compassion, unconditional love, self-love, patience, forgiveness, empathy.

One that’s not so obvious that comes up quite a bit is self-referencing. What does that mean? It means that you learn to look to yourself as the highest and best source and authority for all wisdom and knowledge rather than anyone external to you. There’s a collection of about 35 of these that come up again and again. This, I think, is really why we plan life challenges because those challenges stimulate the development of these divine virtues.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: What I got from Your Soul’s Plan, your book, I just got this sense that through each lifetime we might take on more than one divine virtue but not necessarily all of them at one time. We take on different ones during different lifetimes. Is that correct?

Robert Schwartz: That’s correct. What tends to happen is that there will be a series of lives that are intended by the soul to cultivate a small number of the divine virtues. Most people, from what I see, are working on between two and five for the most part.

I have a spiritual counseling practice in which the most commonly asked question is: What did I plan before I was born? So I take people through exercises which we put the list of divine virtues in a column on the left-hand side of the page. Across the top of the page we make a column heading for each of their major life challenges. Then I ask them to go down each column and assign a numerical value indicating the degree to which the particular life challenge helped them to cultivate each of the divine virtues.

If you go through an exercise like that in a thoughtful manner, and it can actually take weeks sometimes to do so, but what you end up with is a very clear visual display in which two to five will be assigned higher numbers. Those are the themes, the purposes of the incarnation.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Okay. When do you the numeric thing, is it one to 10, one to five; what do you usually use?

Robert Schwartz: Usually, we do one to 10, with 10 being highest and one being lowest. A caveat here is that if a person is in the middle of a particular challenge, oftentimes it can’t be included in the exercise because they don’t yet have enough perspective, enough distance from the challenge to know which divine virtues it helped them to cultivate.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Wow, that’s great, interesting. Now, staying on this divine virtues subject, I would imagine that our souls want to experience sort of both sides of that, so they want to experience joy, they want to experience sadness, whatever that may be or whatever the opposite of joy is.

I know that a lot of people experience fame, and that sounds like a great thing to everybody. But there are negative things that come with fame, loss of privacy, that sort of a thing. Is that true? I don’t imagine we do it all in one lifetime, so in one lifetime we might experience one side of one of these virtues and another lifetime we’ll experience the opposite.

Robert Schwartz: That’s true. I do see that in my research. I believe the reason for that is that there are certain qualities that are inherent in the soul and that really constitute the soul’s identity. These would be love, peace, and joy. The soul wants to come into what you could call a more profound self-knowing. It wants to understand what it is, who it is. So how do you come into a more profound self-knowing? Well, one very powerful way to do that is to experience the opposite of who you really are, and once you experience the opposite, then you have a deeper understanding of who you really are.

This is an idea that comes up in a very eloquent way in one of the Conversation with God books. God asks the author, Neale Donald Walsh, to explain it using the analogy of the white room, which goes like this: Imagine that you are a white being in a white room. So the ceiling is white. The floor is white. All the walls around you are white. Everything in this room is white, including you.

Now, if you are such a being in such a room, how do you know that you’re white? The answer is you don’t. In fact, you actually can’t until you experience something that is other than white. Then once you’ve had that experience, then you understand much more deeply what it means to be a white being.

This, I think, is the crux of what the soul is doing on the physical plane. In the nonphysical realm, we as souls are love, peace, and joy. But because there’s no contrast to that we come here to the physical realm to experience the contrast, things like sadness, as you mentioned, things that would fall into the category of not love or non-love; because then when we return to the nonphysical, the white room, so to speak, then we know who we really are.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Wow, that’s great. So in essence, we come here to learn about ourselves, our soul self.

Robert Schwartz: That’s exactly right.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s awesome. I love it. If you can—I know in your book you have 10 examples that talk about all sorts of different things, physical illness, death of a loved one—name some of the other subjects that you cover.

Robert Schwartz: Deafness, blindness, drug addiction, alcoholism, severe accidents, a number of major life challenges.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Exactly. I think you do such a great job with it. I wondered if you could give us an example—it doesn’t necessarily have to be from the book—that because this is Afterlife TV we have a lot of people who are grieving the loss of a loved one; could you kind of give us, even if you make something up, a hypothetical example of why someone might subject themselves to deep grief in this lifetime by losing someone not necessarily to old age, that sort of thing, but what we might consider an early death or an accidental death, some tragic death maybe? Could you give us some kind of an example so people can kind of really grasp what we’re talking about here?

Robert Schwartz: Well, as a matter of fact, in Your Soul’s Plan there’s an entire chapter called “Death of a Loved One.” In that chapter I share the true story of a woman named Valerie, who in this lifetime lost both her fiancé and her only son in ways that we would consider to be early or premature. What happened in this particular case is her fiancé died literally two days after they became engaged. He was a deep-sea diver, and he was injured in an accident while out at sea under the water. He died two days after they had announced their engagement.

Her son, Dustin, died at the age of 16 of a seemingly accidental drug overdose. We worked with medium Corbie Mitleid, who has the ability to channel the soul, or the higher self. So in researching the “Death of a Loved One” chapter I talked with Dustin’s soul. Corbie channeled the soul, and we asked Dustin’s soul, was this seemingly tragic death planned prior to death, and if so, why?

What Dustin’s soul told us was that it was all agreed upon before birth, not just his death but also DC, who was the fiancé. His death was also agreed upon. Dustin and DC had their own particular reasons for wanting to have relatively short lifetimes. They made that decision prior to incarnating and also prior to creating a life plan with Valerie.

Valerie then came to them after they had made those decisions, and said, “I’m planning another lifetime. I’ve been with both of you before. I love you both very, very much. I would like it if you would share this new lifetime with me.” So DC and Dustin explained to Valerie, well, we might; we might do that, but we’re not planning to be there for very long. They gave her the choice.

Valerie responded by saying, “Well, I understand that I’m going to lose you at a young age, but I will work with that. I will use that to foster my own evolution, my own growth.” So in the pre-birth planning session we actually hear the conversation between Valerie and DC and Valerie and Dustin in which they tell her they won’t be here very long and then she agrees to that upfront in order to have them as part of this lifetime.

Now, when Corbie channeled Dustin’s soul, we asked specifically about the drug overdose. What the soul told us was that it wasn’t the quantity of drugs that took Dustin’s life but rather the decision prior to birth to end the incarnation at that time. The drugs themselves were simply an exit point.

Prior to birth, Bob, we each plan several different exit points when we can leave the physical realm and go back to the nonphysical. You would take an exit point under one of two circumstances. Either you did everything you came here to do, or the soul concluded that you couldn’t do what you came here to do. In either case, it’s appropriate then to go back to the nonphysical realm.

The soul went on to explain to us that had the pre-birth plan not called for Dustin to die at that time, the exact same quantity of drugs would not have taken his life. So here on the physical realm we think, well, he took too much of the drugs and that’s what killed him. But it wasn’t the quantity of drugs, it was the soul-level decision to utilize that as the means to end the incarnation. It was exactly what was planned before birth.

Then we asked the question, why would Valerie agree to such a painful plan? Basically, the explanation was very, very simple. It was all about lessons and balance. We were told that Valerie had a number of previous lives in which certain tragic things had occurred that knocked her out of balance, and she stayed that way for the entire lifetime.

What I’ve seen in my work is that if we don’t master a particular lesson in a past life, we often choose it again in order to master it. This is exactly what Valerie did. She had been knocked off balance many times in previous lives. She wanted that experience again for the very simple reason that she wanted to master the lesson of balance. She wanted these two deaths to knock her way off center, but then find her way back to center over the course of this lifetime. It was really as simple as that.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It’s interesting. There’s so much too that. Where do I start? When you were talking about the drug overdose, it really made me think about I know a lot of people who lose loved ones for all sorts of reasons. One of the questions that they play with in their minds was, well, it was their time to go. Some people wonder if this particular event was planned to take them out of here. This is how they were going to leave.

From what you’re saying, and so tell me if I’m correct or not, it sounds more like we have a sense of when we want to go, perhaps after we’ve accomplished something or realized we’re not going to be able to accomplish it. We have a sense of when we want to go, but then, you can tell me, is it our spirit guides or our souls or maybe the combination of the two who are then looking for these opportunities? Ah, he’s getting on a plane, or he might get on a plane that’s going to crash; so there’s an opportunity for him to go.

Because, I mean, even with the plane example, we’ve seen airplanes crash and some people actually live from that when everybody else dies. How does that happen, or why does one go and not the other? Is it true that you could kind of look at these as these are opportunities to exit and go back home? Would that be a great word for it or not?

Robert Schwartz: I think that is a great word for it, Bob. I can probably answer your question best by sharing with you another story that’s in my book, Your Soul’s Plan. In the chapter on planning accidents I share the story of a young man in New York. His name is Jason Thurston. Jason planned prior to birth to have a severe accident.

What happened in his case is that in the summer of 2004 he and his wife and their children were having a party, a summer barbecue, in their backyard. They had a swimming pool. At one point during the party he dove headfirst into the pool just as he had many times before. But on this particular day Jason hit his head on the bottom of the pool. He was knocked unconscious, and when he came to in the hospital the next day he was a quadriplegic.

We did a session with a medium in Chicago. Her name is Deb DeBari. We talked with Jason’s spirit guides. What they explained to us is that normally if the pre-birth plan did not call for an accident like that, at the point at which he was about to dive into the pool a guide would’ve intervened in some way.

The guide could have put the thought into his mind, don’t dive in, or the guide could actually have physically intervened in some way, although that would be more unusual. But what happened in this case is that because the accident was part of his pre-birth plan, the guides basically stepped back. They let him dive into the pool, and they allowed the accident to occur.

This is basically the same thing that happens in regard to death and the example you gave for getting on an airplane that crashes. If that is part of the pre-birth plan, if it’s one of the pre-chosen exit points, the guides will step back and not cause the person to miss the flight. If it’s not part of the pre-birth plan, the guides may very well intervene, again, either physically intervening or whispering to the person such that they have a thought, don’t get on the plane. That’s how those kinds of things happen.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: It’s so important in so many ways, but one of the ways that comes to my mind is that I know that there are people, survivors of loved ones who have passed, who really get in their head about maybe they could have prevented this. They start suffering because of the fact that they feel like, oh my goodness, I could’ve prevented that; or if I had answered his phone call, maybe he wouldn’t have gone there; or if I had actually given him a ride when he asked for one. I was too busy, all these sort of things that happen.

But what I’m getting from you is really, okay yeah, maybe you could’ve prevented it that time, but there would’ve been another opportunity. He would’ve gone anyways probably soon after that. Is that sort of the case here?

Robert Schwartz: That is basically the case. The fact of the matter is that the incarnation, the lifetime, will end when the soul desires for it to end. So we can attempt to control and manage things at the level of the personality here on the earth plane, but basically we’re not in charge. That’s by our own agreement prior to birth. We know that coming into the physical plane. So if the soul has concluded that it’s accomplished everything it wants to in the lifetime or it can’t, in one way or another the lifetime will come to an end.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Right. If I use that example of, oh, he called for a ride and I wasn’t able to give him a ride because I was too busy, it may have been that your spirit guides were setting things up so that you were unable to give him a ride or even influenced to say no, I can’t give you a ride, that sort of a thing. They’re influencing not just that one person but everybody else who’s involved, correct?

Robert Schwartz: That kind of thing does happen, and also the converse happens. There’s one story I read about in which I believe it was a husband and wife were at home. The wife was upstairs in the bedroom reading a book in bed, and the husband was in the garage attempting to commit suicide.

Fortunately in this case the wife was clairaudient, so her guide said to her, “He’s in the garage. He’s attempting to commit suicide.” She immediately ran downstairs, intervened, and prevented the suicide. So those kinds of interventions occur as well.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, very interesting. The one with the pool—when I was a private investigator I did a lot of personal injury cases, and I had a lot of pool cases where people dove in and became paralyzed. After doing dozens of those, one time we were out with some friends. We were at a wedding party. At night in the hotel we all went down to the pool and we were swimming. There’s a lot of chaos, a lot of things going on. My wife dove into the pool, and there was this one place where all of the sudden the pool was shallow and then it went really deep. She happened to hit that corner with her head and broke one of her teeth, but she was okay. That was the extent of it.

I always thought, wow; I mean after having had all these cases and then seeing that, what prevented her from having that same tragic result that I had seen with so many other people. It could very well be that she was influenced to just maybe not jump quite as hard or turn her head just a certain way. Who knows? But I always think, thank goodness that that didn’t happen to her as well. But it’s just amazing to see how it could really be that close. You never know.

Robert Schwartz: Yeah, you never know. I’m familiar with another true story in which it’s the mother of someone in my life. This woman was driving down a multiple-lane highway. The lane ahead of her was completely clear, and she suddenly heard a voice in her head that said, change lanes.

She’d never had a psychic experience before. She didn’t know what was happening, but she listened. She got into another lane. A couple of seconds later a car from another lane flipped into the lane that she had been in. She probably would have been killed if she hadn’t changed lanes when she did.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s amazing. I’m not psychic either, and that same thing happened to me once. I hear a voice in my head, slow down, as I was turning around this ramp. It was very icy and typical winter in New England. I don’t know why I listened to it at this time. I was young. I was in my 20s. I slowed down and sure enough, the car in front of me just spun out and went all over the place and caused all kinds of havoc. I was lucky enough to have heard that and listened and escaped that destiny as well.

I want to ask if our soul plans every challenge that’s in our life, or is it just the major ones?

Robert Schwartz: I think almost all of the major ones are planned and many of the minor ones as well. But it’s not the case that everything that happens that’s challenging was planned before birth. That’s true also for events that we would consider non-challenging or even joyful. It’s not the case that everything is planned prior to birth. You always have freewill in each and every moment, and you can use your freewill to deviate from your pre-birth plan whenever you like and as much or as little as you like.

Now normally, if you choose to deviate from the pre-birth plan, it will actually create more suffering in one way or another. That’s the universe’s way of trying to get you back on track, to let you know you’re off the plan. But even if you’re on the path, most of the big challenges will have been planned prior to birth.

It comes down basically though to a law of attraction. The frequency that you vibrate at attracts things to you that are of the same frequency. So if you make low vibrational, unloving choices, whether you’re on your path or not that was planned before birth, when you lower your vibration it permits challenging sorts of things to come into your experience.

So for people who would like to minimize the amount of challenge in your life, and you can’t do that completely because some of it is planned, but if you would like to do that the thing to do is vibrate at a high frequency. Go through your days as much as possible in a vibration of love, joy, appreciation, and gratitude. That will draw to you things of the same frequency.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: You just answered a couple questions of mine right there. I’m glad you brought in the law of attraction idea because a lot of people talk about that. I know some people who talk about the law of attraction get themselves into a little bit of hot water when they start telling people that they attracted an illness or something into their lives. The reality is yes, maybe that is true, but it’s also quite probably, if it’s a major illness, that they had preplanned before birth, correct?

Robert Schwartz: That’s correct. I mean we can all probably think of people we know who are very loving, joyful, happy people, so if it were purely the law of attraction like that, those people would never have any kind of major illness or major challenge. So if they develop a major illness, most likely it’s part of a pre-birth plan.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: You talked about the more joyous experiences, so do we plan anything like that, or is that just sort of a natural state around all these challenges or a choice of ours to be joyful in the face of challenge? How does that work?

Robert Schwartz: I think everything you just said is true, but I can answer your question best by giving you a story from my next book. I have a new book about pre-birth planning coming out in a couple of months. It’s called Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born.

In Your Soul’s Gift I look at the pre-birth planning of a number of different life experiences that are not covered in Your Soul’s Plan. Most of these fall into the challenge category, and most of them are big challenges. So it’s things like poverty, caregiving, adoption, abusive relationships, incest, rape, are covered as well. There’s a chapter on suicide.

But this book also has a couple of chapters on things that don’t fall into the challenge category, one of which is the pre-birth planning we do with our pets. Yes, pets are part of the pre-birth planning session. In that chapter I share the story of a woman, Marsha, who planned prior to birth to be a dwarf. She’s four feet, eight inches tall. That was the challenge she planned for herself, and it was basically set up as a challenge to learn unconditional self-love.

But once she put that challenge into place, and we all do this, she planned to put support around her that would make it possible for her to handle the challenge in a positive way. Marsha chose to do this by planning with certain animals to be her pets and love her unconditionally in order to teach her how to love herself unconditionally.

It’s fascinating. We go into her pre-birth planning session and she’s there talking to her future dogs, her future pets, a future horse. There’s actually a rooster named Crooked Beak who’s in the pre-birth planning session. We hear her talking to Crooked Beak. They’re talking about how the animals will love her unconditionally because she knows, especially as a child and as a dwarf, the other kids at school are going to be cruel to her. She wants to come home to the loving embrace of her pets.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: There’s again so much there. Thank you for sharing that with us. Knowing this book hasn’t come out, I really appreciate that. A lot of people live with a sense of being a victim, and we know that. We know those people, and we have compassion for those people that they feel that way. Even in talking about this subject and recognizing that their souls might have planned some of these challenges for them that they’re going through, they still might see it as though they are a victim of their own soul’s planning. You know what I mean?

But what you just said, is it true then, did I catch this right in that story that even though we set up these challenges for ourselves, we also set up all around us the people, in this case the pets, maybe even the circumstances in our life that not only help us to maybe overcome these challenges, and when I say overcome I mean overcome them in our minds so that we can find peace with them; is that the case that we set these things up so that we’re not actually victims; we’ve set ourselves up with challenges, but we’ve also set ourselves up with a way to overcome these challenges both personally and spiritually, if not physically?

Robert Schwartz: I believe that’s true, and I see that again and again in the pre-birth planning sessions that we go into. We see souls planning not just the big challenges but also how they’re going to cope with them and how they’re going to heal from them. All of this is taken into account in the pre-birth planning process.

You talked about how someone could feel victimized by their own soul. The only way you could feel that way is if you didn’t know that you had agreed to your soul’s plan. But in fact we all do agree to it. We have choice, and we’re shown scenes from the upcoming lifetime. These are holographic, three-dimensional images that we go into. We actually feel what we’re going to feel, so we know what’s coming in the upcoming lifetime. That’s why really we’re not victims at all.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: All right. I love that. A lot of people have heard this phrase that life, some people say God, never gives us more than we can handle. How would you respond to that well-known saying, or almost a cliché now? How would you respond to that?

Robert Schwartz: I think for the most part that is true. The one thing I would say is that I do see from time to time an example of someone who, you might say, bit off more than they could chew. There are some souls who for whatever reason are in a hurry to get back to the earth plane in terms of linear time. Sometimes they are not as contemplative in the pre-birth planning process as might be advised.

There are actually instances in which a guide will say to a soul or the incarnating personality: You’re taking on a little bit too much. We don’t advise that you do this. The person says, no, I can handle it. I want to do it anyway. They ignore the spirit guide’s advice. That generally is not a good idea, but it does happen on occasion.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Okay. Why would someone do that? Why would someone take on more, aside from obviously thinking they can handle it and it being more difficult for them than they expected? But what would be the benefits to taking on so much?

Robert Schwartz: Well, it’s not so much that there’s a logical benefit to taking on so much, but more the case that there’s an emotional reason for making such a decision. For example, let’s say hypothetically that in a past life you were the father of another soul who was your daughter. The lifetime ended in such a way that you didn’t provide adequate protection or support or financial resources or love or whatever it might be to your daughter. You might in your life review feel a sense of remorse or a sense of guilt around that. No one would judge you, but you might judge yourself.

So if you felt that way toward the soul who was your daughter, if you felt that you had let that soul down basically, you might take on more than you could reasonably handle in the next lifetime in an effort to make it up to that soul, to assure that soul that you really do love them unconditionally.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: All right. So sort of along these lines, because you answered this so well in the book, I’ll ask the question: Can we fail in how we deal with our challenges?

Robert Schwartz: It depends on what you mean by the word fail. We at the level of the personality, as human beings, we use the word “fail” as a pejorative. It’s a word that connotes something bad, something that had gone wrong. By that definition, there is no failure because your soul never judges you in that way.

If by fail you mean you don’t accomplish everything you set out to accomplish but there’s no judgment around that, then by that definition some lives are failures. It does often happen that we don’t do everything that we came to do, but that is not viewed at the soul level as a bad thing. There’s no judgment from spirit guides or from your soul. Basically, the soul’s attitude in that case is let’s try it again. That’s about all that it amounts to.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: A lot of people use the word “spirit.” I’ve heard you say spirit guide. I hear you talk about soul. You haven’t really used the word spirit. Sometimes people will use the word “spirit” meaning the spirit as that part of our soul that’s within this lifetime, within this body that we’re living in. Then once we pass, that part of our soul we’ll call the spirit then goes back and merges with the soul. Is that the way you think of it? Is that what your research has shown you, or do you have different words for it?

Robert Schwartz: That is the way I used to think about it and did think about it at the time I finished my first book. Now, in the research for the new book more information has come forward to indicate that the idea of the personality merging or reuniting with the soul is not technically accurate. It’s accurate, as I understand it, if you look down time as a singular, linear track. From that perspective, clairvoyantly it will appear to a clairvoyant that the personality is remerging or reuniting with the soul.

But if you look across timelines, what a clairvoyant will see in that case is that the personality actually continues on forever. The personality is literally eternal. This is sort of a technical point. I’m not sure that it would make that much difference from the perspective of someone who’s in body and just wants to cope in a better way with their challenges. But there is this new information that has come forth to indicate that the personality is eternal from that perspective.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: So my personality wouldn’t be that much different than the personality of my soul, is that what you’re saying?

Robert Schwartz: No, what I’m saying is that if the personality is, strictly speaking, eternal, and I believe that it is, then the personality that you are in this lifetime is not the same entity that you will be in the next lifetime. In other words, your soul has taken a portion of its energy and put it in the body that you know as Bob Olson, Afterlife TV. But it would not be technically correct to say that Bob Olson, Afterlife TV will leave the current body, go back to the nonphysical realm, and then enter a new body. The personality that’s created for the new body is completely new.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, I get that. For reasons that you discussed even at the beginning that we might experience, first of all, a different personality that is quite different than, we’ll say, our soul’s personality in order for our soul to understand itself better, right? It’s sort of the black, the white, living in the white room sort of a thing.

Robert Schwartz: Exactly.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: If white were the personality, because that’s all it knew was white, it might have a lifetime as black and then therefore now it knows the difference between black and white or any color, right?

Robert Schwartz: I think that’s true, and I think that there are great souls, highly evolved souls, who from time to time agree as part of a person’s pre-birth plan to play a black or negative role, so to speak, in service to that person.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah. That’s so cool. That’s great. I love that. I love that insight. That’s so amazing to me. I wish we had more time. Unfortunately, we’re running short, and I have other things I want to ask you. Let’s just ask this one thing: How does understanding this information help us, A, in our suffering, and B, in our spiritual growth? That’s a big question, I know.

Robert Schwartz: Let me share a story with you that will answer that question.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Okay.

Robert Schwartz: In my first book, Your Soul’s Plan, in a story on the pre-birth planning of accidents I share the story of a woman named Christina, who is now in her 60s. Many years ago, when Christina was in her early 20s she was employed as an administrative assistant at Pomona College in Southern California.

One of her daily duties in that job was to pick up her boss’s mail, and the mailboxes were in the basement of the building. So on one particular day Christina descended those stairs to the basement mailboxes. When she inserted her hand into the mailbox to retrieve the mail, there was a pipe bomb that someone had planted that day, and the bomb detonated.

The force from this explosion was so great that it actually picked Christina up off the ground and hurled her 10 feet backwards against a concrete wall. There were six-foot splinters of wood that were shot like arrows out of a bow into the wall around her. Both eardrums were ruptured. Two fingers were severed, and the flames from the explosion scorched Christina’s body from head to toe. When she got to the hospital, doctors actually had to hold magnets over her eyeballs to extract the shrapnel from the pipe.

So we are talking here about a level of suffering that’s almost unimaginable to you and me. Now, her recovery took two years and 10 reconstructive surgeries. At one point during the two-year recovery period she was lying in her hospital bed in a great deal of pain when she suddenly heard a voice inside her head, a voice that was not her own.

It turns out that the force from this explosion, in addition to doing a lot of damage to her body, had opened up her psychic gifts. Christina had become clairaudient. The voice she heard inside her head that day was a spirit guide. The guide said to her, “You planned this.” So of course, Christina said, “Well, why in the world did I do that?”

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Right.

Robert Schwartz: The guide told her, and here’s what he said. The guide said, “You wanted before you were born to have a lifetime as a gifted healer, and you knew pre-birth that if you could heal yourself from the devastating effects of this accident you could go on to bring that wisdom and knowledge about healing to others.”

This is in fact exactly what happened. Christina went on to get a PhD in speech language pathology. She set up a private clinical healing practice, and at this point in her life she’s healed literally thousands of people. Now Bob, when I interviewed Christina for Your Soul’s Plan, she said two extraordinary things to me. One was she said, “I have completely forgiven the person who planted the bomb.” That alone, given her level of suffering, I think is remarkable.

But then she said something even more amazing. She said, “Rob, I’m deeply grateful to the person who planted the bomb.” That, I think, shows you what can happen through an awareness of pre-birth planning. Because she came into this knowledge that was given to her by her spirit guide and then worked with it over a period of years, she was able to forgive the person who inflicted all that suffering on her. Then she actually got to a place of gratitude for the experience.

You can imagine that if she had never come into an understanding of her pre-birth plan she probably would have been angry, bitter, resentful for the rest of her life. She might even have devoted her life to tracking down the bomber and taking revenge. But because Christina came into an understanding that this was her plan, this was something she chose and agreed to prior to birth and really worked with that concept over a period of years, she was able to forgive and then get to a place of total gratitude. She basically changed her entire life by understanding that it was all part of her soul’s plan.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s an amazing story, absolutely fascinating. I remember reading about that in the book, and it just takes you back. Talk about the opposite of feeling victimized and recognizing the healing that can take place in doing this work and understanding all this stuff that you’ve been talking about, everything that you wrote about in your first book. Your next book, when is that coming out?

Robert Schwartz: It should be out late March or early April. Again, the title is Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. We look at the pre-birth planning of subjects like suicide, incest, rape, adoption, poverty, abusive relationships, spiritual awakening, pets, a number of topics that were not discussed in the first book.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah. Can people find out about that at as well?

Robert Schwartz: Yes. The best thing to do is to sign up for the email newsletter on the first page of the website. The newsletter will keep people informed about the new book.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Perfect. I hope people will just finish watching this video and immediately order Your Soul’s Plan right now. They can get it on your website, I know. They can get it on Can you show us what the cover of that looks like? I have an old version here.

Robert Schwartz: Yeah.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: That’s beautiful. So they can recognize it when they get it. Also, you’re going to be speaking live. Tell us about that.

Robert Schwartz: There are a number of talks coming up, and those are on the speaking engagements page at But one I wanted to particularly call people’s attention to, I’ll be in Phoenix, Arizona from April 13-15 speaking at the International Conference on After Death Communication.

This would be a great conference for anyone who is mourning the death of a loved one to attend because you’ll be in a community of likeminded people who are going through the same experience. The speakers will be sharing stories of near-death experiences and after-death communication. In other words, true stories of people who lost a loved one and then communicated with the loved one after they had died. I think it will be deeply healing for people who are in those stages of grief.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: I think so too. I mean it’s invaluable. You can’t even put a price on that. It’s invaluable to be able to have that kind of a gift. In the show notes below this video people can find the links to all these things that we’re talking about.

Also, I know that you work one on one with people. I will tell you, having talked with you, the first thing that comes to my mind, and I’m sure it does to most people, is I want to do this. I want to find out. I want to understand this from my own perspective, from my own life. People can do that by working with you one on one, correct?

Robert Schwartz: Yes, I do what I call spiritual counseling sessions. We can talk about anything anyone would like to talk about, but primarily the focus is what is the life plan, the pre-birth plan, what are the divine virtues the person is trying to cultivate in this lifetime. We focus on life challenges, what the deeper meaning is, and how to heal from those challenges.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, that’s wonderful. So if anybody is feeling like a victim or feeling like their life is unlucky or they’re broken or anything to those words, the reality is they could work with you, understand this better, and really maybe, like Christina, recognize and be grateful for some of the things that they’ve gone through because of how it’s changed them in so many ways. Is that sort of the result that you’re kind of hoping for with those clients?

Robert Schwartz: That’s what we’re always aiming for, and I would say to your viewers, Bob, that if Christina can do that given the level of suffering she went through, everyone who’s watching this interview can do it. Whatever your challenges may have been, you can heal from them. You can get to that place of forgiveness and even that place of gratitude. If Christina can do it, everyone can do it.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: Yeah, that’s nice. That’s great. I love that absolutely. I’m letting this go a little long because I wanted to ask you if you could just finish off with one last message about oneness. You talk in your book about oneness, how healing ourselves heals the world. If you could just touch upon that even, I’d be grateful.

Robert Schwartz: Well, you know, Bob, we are at the soul level ultimately one. There’s really only one being in the universe. It’s you. It’s me. It’s each one of us. We’re all individualized expressions of the one. Because we are one, because we are energetically connected in ways that the physical eye can’t perceive, one person’s healing is everyone’s healing.

When any one individual heals even one issue within their consciousness, that healing ripples out. It’s like the proverbial stone that’s tossed into a pond and then the waves ripple out in concentric circles to all the shores. That really is how healing works. When you heal any issue in your consciousness, you bring healing to every other person on the face of the earth.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: This is going to be one of those videos that people are going to want to watch over and over again just like your book. I know so many people who have come to me and told me about it, even though I already knew it. They were so excited about it. But one of the comments that I hear is that they keep reading it over and over and over again. There’s something about the way you describe this.

Thank you so much, Robert. It’s been a real pleasure to me, and I know it’s going to be a great pleasure to our audience as well. Thank you so much.

Robert Schwartz: You’re very welcome, Bob. Thank you.

Bob Olson, Afterlife TV: All right, bye now.

Afterlife TV is presented by Afterlife Investigator & Psychic Medium Researcher Bob Olson, who is the author of Answers about the Afterlife: A Private Investigator’s 15-Year Research Unlocks the Mysteries of Life after Death.

Check out Bob Olson’s other sites: (a directory of hundreds of psychics & mediums by location with reviews & Instant Readings) & (his personal recommended list of tested psychics and mediums) or visit Bob’s Facebook Page. Bob also has a popular workshop for psychics and mediums at

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  1. Greenbrier Rrick says:

    One of your best guest. Absolutely wonderful. The guest not only spoke very well but it was apparent that he knew his material. I have sent this to a number of my friends and all have provided good reviews. Keep up your exceptional work.

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