My dog Ringo died after being hit by a car when I was fifteen. As I ran to his side, he acknowledged my presence with one last wag of his tail. I was devastated. I blamed myself for his death. I also blamed my mom, who was at work. I believed that, if she'd been home, this never would have happened. I thought Ringo shouldn't have died when he did.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than humans with spirits. This is no small distinction. The opposite of death is not life. The opposite of death is birth. The human experience is finite. It begins with birth and ends with death. Life, however, has no opposite; it's infinite . . . and so are we. We are eternal and divine spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.

Truth be told, we don't know what anyone is here to learn or what circumstances will best support their learning. It’s precisely because we don't know that it’s impossible to judge.

I know many people (myself included), whose greatest spiritual growth was the result of a deeply challenging event. Would I wish the event on someone? Absolutely not. Would I wish them the spiritual growth that resulted from the event? Without a doubt. Spiritual growth often shows up as an expanded ability to love, greater joy, deeper compassion, more acceptance, increased understanding, profound gratitude, or expanded access to innate wisdom.

The judgments I carried about Ringo's death caused me to suffer unnecessarily for forty years. Are you suffering unnecessarily in your life? In my upcoming posts, I'll talk about how I was able to release the judgments that were causing me unnecessary suffering . . . and show you how you can do it in your life, too.

Irene Kendig, M.A., has a mission: to eliminate unnecessary suffering and inspire conscious, joyous living. She is an accomplished speaker, spiritual coach, and national award-winning author of Conversations with Jerry and Other People I Thought Were Dead: Seven compelling dialogues that will transform the way you think about dying . . . and living.Visit Irene at http://www.conversationswithjerry.com to read an excerpt or schedule a free 30-minute spiritual coaching session.

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