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The Way to Happiness: What We Learn from Earthly Experiences

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Author and Healing Medium Annemiek Douw shares her view on the meaning of life and discusses the benefits of not being happy all the time.

I don’t know about you, but I am not happy all the time. Not even close. I can be calm, healthy, well nourished, safe, loved and very satisfied while doing my work – even content – but that doesn’t necessarily result in happiness.

Anyhow, happiness seems to be somewhat elusive. You recognize it the minute you feel it and then it can suddenly be gone. However intangible it is and no matter how swiftly it might disappear again, a lot of people strive for happiness as if it is a life goal or something they’re entitled to. And some people haven’t felt it for a while and call its absence “depression”, but that’s sometimes not the case. Depression is a serious illness during which positive triggers can’t reach you anymore. You live surrounded by a dark, grey, misty cloud, there’s a shortage of the hormones serotonin and noradrenalin and of course you are far from happy.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone who is temporarily not happy is automatically depressed.

Ideal situation

Most of us would like to be happy though, and to stay that way for the rest of our lives. It’s like having the ideal of never having to work again and being able to lie in the shade, in a hammock slung between two coconut trees on a sunny beach on a tropical island all day every day. It sounds great – at least for a week or two – but wouldn’t we get bored after that? What is it that brings satisfaction to our lives and why?

Life Plan

Before we incarnate on Earth, we Souls sit down with a team of advisors and make a plan. For we aren’t going just for the heck of it, although we are supposed to have fun too, our visit to Earth also has a purpose.

This purpose is secured in our Life Plan. In this plan we lay down the basic route for our coming life. It’s like a road map on which we mark the way that we want to drive and the sights we want to visit. We decide where we want to go, who we need to meet and most importantly: what we would like to experience.

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Learning versus experiencing

Experiencing is key on the path of life. Sometimes we just have an experience to see what we conclude ourselves, so without any intention as to what the result should be. Then it’s only about the experience itself and feeling the emotions that come along with it.

In other cases, there’s a premeditated goal: then it’s about what you need to learn. This last part may sound somewhat patronizing, like someone else is telling you what skills you need to develop, but in fact it isn’t since you yourself made the plan and asked your advisors for help. So it’s your own decision as a Soul to upgrade your Self on a Soul level.

Need for Duality

Souls grow through experiencing, and they can do that fastest by living life in a human body. The physical body is the only way to feel pain, hunger, tickles, sickness and emotions such as grief, sadness, remorse, anger and loss. Working through these emotions and experiences results in an increased ability to cope with them (unless of course you block them, as described in my previous article, The Benefit of Blocking Emotions) and because of that growth our consciousness grows too. This means that the quality of our Soul improves and that’s what we came here for in the first place.

So we need ‘bad’ experiences as fuel to grow. Therefore, we need good experiences to keep the balance, because we’d all give up if life only brought us tears.

We need good times to feel the contrast with the bad so we need the combination of these to experience the broadness of the experiences offered. The more we can swallow and digest, the faster we grow and the happier we tend to feel.


During this life on Earth there’s no real need to suffer. At least, it’s not that the more you suffer, the faster you’ll grow. Suffering is often the result of getting stuck in grief. When we can only feel physical, emotional or mental pain and have no clue what to do with it, or how to surpass it, then experiencing becomes suffering and this type of suffering isn’t exactly the highway to developing consciousness.

But of course other types of suffering, for example the experience of losing a child, partner, job, house or your health, can be a perfect way for us to grow as a Soul. Perfect from a Soul perspective, that is. From a human perspective, the situation is still very painful and I wouldn’t advise telling someone who experiences a lot of grief that ‘he is growing really fast as a Soul now’. Naturally that would be harsh and indifferent.

Share the picture

But when the horrific period is at an end, and you have a chance to sit and talk it over, perhaps he can share what he has learnt, how he has developed, what he has let go of and how this experience has changed him: how he has grown. And then it may be suitable to tell him your view of his recent experiences and talk about the bigger picture, because then it is more likely to make sense to him.

Purpose or meaning?

And even when he has a different view about what life is all about, or he doesn’t believe in a bigger picture or a master plan, or he feels as though life sometimes seems to have no purpose at all, he still can give meaning to it.

Sometimes that meaning can be found in developing solid, positive coping skills and inner growth, and paying forward what you have learnt to other human beings. Because, whether it was planned or not, that does feel great and it does make you feel happy.

Read more?

And are you interested in the content of Life Plans? My new book 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies describes them in layer 721 Layers of the Soul is out now. You can order it or book a session with me here.

ANNEMIEK DOUW, MSc is a management coach, energetic therapist, lightworker, medium, trainer and author. Coming from an unlikely background in engineering, Annemiek has always been interested in how people think and grow at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. In her work within the government and business sectors, she began to see how illness comes into people’s lives, often making it unpredictable and seemingly out of control. This influenced her to start exploring bioenergetics and other alternative therapies, eventually leading her to complete a 3-year course at the Natural Medicine Academy South-Netherlands to become a paranormal therapist. In 1998 she dedicated herself to this work full-time. She later fell ill herself for an extended period of time, which allowed her to gain first-hand insight into the human experience of illness, and to learn how the soul is an internal compass that continuously guides. Probing more deeply into how this compass works, Annemiek discovered 21 layers of the soul that influence our ability to grow and to heal in our bodies, minds and relationships. This discovery became the foundation of her unique healing style, and today Annemiek helps clients heal at many levels, and teaches them how to read this compass for themselves. Wanting to share this unprecedented work with a wider audience, she published the Dutch language book De ziel in het licht van haar hogere auralagen in 2011. The English translation of this book is coming in autumn 2013, under the title 21 Layers of the Soul: Healing the Karmic Ties with Friends, Lovers, Family and Enemies.

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