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Michael says that we are always connected to the "Tao;" always residing within that source, even if we tend to forget. It's actually natural for us to "forget," since each lifetime generates a new body with a new brain in which our soul must work to rebuild, or return to, conscious awareness. As we gain experience over many lifetimes, we tend to regain that awareness more quickly within a lifetime. IN THE BEGINNING... According to Michael, the Tao brilliantly exploded out "fragments" of itself as a means to explore Itself and the universes It created. These "sparks" (or "Essences" or "Souls") are imbued with the same freedom as the Tao, to do what they wish, explore what they wish, experience what they wish, interact as they wish, and generally experience everything possible! This freedom allows the Tao unlimited creativity and exploration as these souls run around being creative and experimental out on their own! With all of this creativity and curiosity, a soul can easily get into trouble, go through painful growth, sadness, loneliness, fears, etc., but those experiences are part of the same spectrum of experiences that includes joy, happiness, abundance, passion, love,... Nothing is ever actually wasted or lost or bad from the soul's point of view. Because our souls know an absolute sense of safety in the universe, being in a lifetime is much like going to the Movies! While sitting in the theater, we can have a whole spectrum of emotions and experiences as we are pulled into the action and drama of a really good movie, but we ultimately know we are safe and can leave when it's over. Our souls experience the excitement of our lifetimes in a very similar way, except that as the soul gains experience, so does each Personality, and it becomes easier to create far more manageable and enjoyable lifetimes! If you think of the very basic part of your Essence as being a "spark" of the Tao, then think of those sparks as eventually choosing a kind of "Essence Role" to play in the universe. This "Essence" (or "soul/spark") chooses one of 7 "Roles;" kind of like choosing what kind of car or vehicle to use to travel through the universe on its own. These Roles are not limiting in any way; in fact, over many lifetimes, the ability to BE that Role becomes more important, fun, and easy! It's kind of like learning how to drive faster, easier, and you begin to choose even more exciting terrains! As you read more about the Michael Teachings, you may find that the terms "Soul," "Essence," and "Role," are used interchangeably for convenience. You will rarely hear the word "spark," but it's included here so you can understand how the Role is chosen. Your Role stays constant throughout all of your lives and beyond, but continues to improve its means of expression and its way of Being with the additional lifetime and experience. Now we will briefly cover the 7 Roles that make up the Souls of this Universe. This is a very simple introduction, so do not get too preoccupied with trying to determine your Role just yet, as it is a bit more complicated than the descriptions here. This is just a BASIC Introduction. It's very important to remember that the names used to identify the Roles are only used for convenience and they are not to be taken literally. For instance, a Priest Essence can be a farmer or a plumber or a murderer; a Server Essence might be a preacher, housewife, or serial killer. The Role describes the PRIMARY WAY OF BEING for a soul, but that can show up in many ways. Each Role will behave in ways that are terrible and frightening, as well as in ways that are beautiful and enlightening. Each Role has a Positive and Negative Pole, which helps describe the potential spectrum of behavior that a soul can exhibit, with the Negative Pole being more fearful and the Positive Pole being more loving. We will cover the Polarities, later. Sometimes the Role is hard to detect because of several factors that may inhibit expression and behavior, such as parental influences, cultural expectations, gender roles, and environmental conditions, so be patient as you study. There are 7 Basic "Ways of Being" (Roles) in the universe. In thinking about a "spark" leaving the Tao and choosing a "Role," it might be helpful to think of it this way: As a "spark" you are still swimming in the "white light" that is "home" (or Tao) and your soul is still very aware and connected to Tao. When your Spark chose a Role, it was a way of differentiating itself from the Source. Our souls never truly leave the Tao, but they "separate" themselves in a very creative way. Think of white light passing through a prism, separating that original light into 7 visible rays of color that made up that original white light. In the same way that ALL color is still a part of White Light, so are our souls forever a part of the spectrum of the Tao, or God, no matter how separated we may seem to be. Here are the 7 Roles in Essence: Servers & Priests: These are the Inspiration Roles. The Server inspires us one on one, while the Priests inspire us on a mass scale. Servers see the world as their honored guests, while Priests see the world as a congregation or "flock".Artisans & Sages: These are the Expression Roles. The Artisan creates and brings new things to the planet, while the Sage entertains and makes us remember how to laugh. The Artisan is more one on one while the Sage likes to affect groups. The Artisan sees the world as a project, like a sculpture or canvas, while the Sage sees the world as an audience or playmates.Warriors & Kings: These are the Action Roles. The Warriors stand as our protectors and builders, getting us motivated and instilling loyalty, while the King leads us into action as a group. The Warrior sees the world as territory or challenges, while the King sees a kingdom or realm.The Scholar: This is the only "Neutral" Role, meaning it is the centerpiece and mediator of all other Roles. The Scholar studies life and observes, sometimes in strange ways, but always submerged in something their soul finds important to study, ranging from addictions and fear to science and wisdom. This Essence studies so often that it is actually the life itself that becomes the study. This is the most versatile Role and can sometimes seem quite the chameleon. The Scholar sees the world as an object of interest or study. Although there are only 7 Roles from which to choose in the universe, this is in no way a limitation to the soul. There are many, many factors in addition to the Role that makes each soul so unique!