Caroline MyssIf you attend a workshop led by medical intuitive and best-selling author Caroline Myss (pronounced Mace), you'll meet the Queen, the Nun, and the Teacher. Myss isn't sharing the stage with other lecturers, nor is she suffering from multiple personality disorder. These are the archetypes--universal energetic patterns--in her life, she says, that come forward in her teaching.

The Teacher and Nun were shaped by the Roman Catholic sisters, who taught Myss from high school through graduate school. The Queen appears when she wants "to blast people out" of wanting a realized life without accepting the opportunities for growth presented to them.

"The classroom becomes transformed into my royal court," she writes, "and I symbolically 'decapitate' people who are yearning for liberation yet are prevented by those very fears from moving forward."

Myss is talking a lot about archetypes these days as she tours for her newest book, "Sacred Contracts: Awakening Your Divine Potential." The core of the book is the belief that, before we are born, our souls agree to learn specific lessons in our upcoming lifetime. In order to fulfill that agreement, we get involved with certain people, find ourselves in certain places, and have to deal with certain life circumstances. How we handle all of that is the measure of our growth and progress.

Myss believes that we can better identify our contracts (because there are many) if we understand what energies are operating in our lives. Her book presents a very detailed program for identifying which energies are at play in our lives, and how to work with them.

"Sacred Contracts" is Myss's fifth book; the first two, "AIDS: Passageway to Transformation" and "The Creation of Health" were co-authored with Norman Shealy, M.D. The other two--"Anatomy of the Spirit" and "Why People Don't Heal And How They Can"--both made it to the New York Times best-sellers list. In addition to her books, she has created a number of tapes and CDs (through Sounds True), has appeared on Oprah, and was one of public television's fund-raising stars.

She talks to Beliefnet producer Anne Simpkinson about sacred contracts, the eighth chakra, criticism of her teaching style, and her new program on the Oxygen channel.

You have a new book out called "Sacred Contracts." What exactly is a sacred contract, and why is it important?

From my point of view, the leading cause of stress today is the absence of meaning in people's lives. You can say that stress is caused by the workplace and relationships, but all of those are extensions of the struggle with direction, self, and spiritual empowerment.

So I started to wonder: Are we meant to do something? Are we meant to be with certain people? Are agreements made before we incarnate? If we believe in life after death, why not believe in life before life? Why would that be any more outrageous?

I came to believe that we very much make contracts before we incarnate. We make contracts that are directed toward our personal empowerment, toward the expansion of our hearts, and toward the expansion of our contribution to the group soul of humanity.

In your book, you talk about your Catholic upbringing. So let me ask you, do you see this life as a one-shot deal--you live and then you die and go to heaven or hell...


You believe in reincarnation?

Oh sure--and so does the Church, by the way. Reincarnation was very much a part of Christian tradition until the belief was edited out somewhere around the 400's, I believe. They edited it out when they started to take the formation of the doctrine seriously, when they started to pull together the oral and written traditions.

Why did they eliminate this particular one?

They thought that people would not try as hard in this life if they thought that they had another chance.

I noticed that when you talk about sacred contracts, you always talk about them on two levels: contributing to personal growth and to the evolution of the planet.

Yes. Absolutely. Everything you do affects the whole; as above, so below.

When I talk to a Western audience about a sacred contract, they think I'm talking about a job. It's so ridiculous [to ask] where's the job I was born to do, without thinking about the people who are unemployed. Are you telling me that they're suddenly of no value?

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