Often, when people experience a past-life memory and go to the "other side" after their death in that lifetime, they describe their loved ones greeting them there. They see those loved ones as young, vibrant and beautiful. People who'd grown old or diseased appear without walkers, without breathing tubes, without dementia. Mediums also see spirits appearing this way. And this is what I experienced myself, yet instead of throwing off the fetters of a ravaged body, I saw the fetters of personality being cast away, not only for myself but also for my loved ones. I thought of a difficult relationship I had had with another person in my present lifetime. He was very close to me, and I loved him dearly, but most of the time we simply did not get along. The pain this caused the both of us was great, for sometimes there is nothing more painful than failing to connect with someone so close to you, someone it should be so easy to love and be loved by. As I sat there, reflecting on what I had just learned about myself in the regression, I saw my loved one's soul, unencumbered by any of the qualities and characteristics that caused me such grief and anger (and, let's be clear, I certainly had my own qualities and characteristics that caused the same feelings in him). In my mind, he no longer "wore" those parts of him. His soul was so much greater than I had imagined; he was so much more perfect than I had imagined. I had always thought our relationship to be saddening in its difficulty, but in reality it wasn't. It was limitless and pure, the way I always wished it were here on earth. And this was true not just for him but for everyone I had ever known, everyone who existed on this planet.

Your true self, your soul, does not have the personality flaws that make love so difficult and distant, nor do your loved ones have the faults that so aggravate you. The heavy coats that they have chosen to wear, whatever they are, may make them harder to love. After all, hearts can become buried, hard to find and hard to touch under such a heavy coat. But your loved ones are not their respective coats. At the soul level, both of you are resplendent beings; you are perfection. At that level, you can love with no obstacles and no hindrances. At that level, love is effortless. But you do not necessarily learn when things are effortless. And so you have said to one another: "We could choose to reincarnate as perfect beings, loving each other perfectly, but then we would not evolve; we would not learn. So let me become less perfect. Let me take on these characteristics that make me harder to love, that divide us. Let me be human, in other words. And you do the same." And so you both have taken on your own handicaps in order to find your way through them toward love. What a brave, loving act it is, then, for the other person to have agreed to become flawed, and for you to have done the same. When I think about this, I feel overcome with gratitude for people being less than perfect, rather than critical. What if we could view the entire world this way? How much compassion we would have for one another! If we could see past the coats we elected to wear, if we could see the light in other people's souls—the true essence of who we are—we would be blinded, for there would no longer be anything covering our brilliant light. We would literally be enlightened.

Love on earth can be so difficult, as opposed to spiritual love, love on the "other side." Here on earth, with bodies and with senses, it can be felt, touched, hampered, obliterated, celebrated. It can be messy. It can be painful. It can break your heart and fix your heart. It can be directed toward one person in particular or, at its highest octave, toward every living being. It is the greatest lesson we can possibly learn. And once we learn it, we will have passed the final exam and graduated from this earth school. Our soul's evolution will no longer be linear. It will no longer be circular. It will simply be complete.