One of the great story lines of the "new age" is that we create our own reality. I find this to be a powerful axiom in my life, which allows me to extract learning out of difficult situations. One of the difficulties comes in understanding why I "chose" to be born to the parents that I did, given the amount of heavy emotional trauma that that choice induced. What possible purpose could that all have served? I have found an image which helps.
Picture a tall apartment building with a narrow stair case winding up untold stories. Further, image that every square foot on the stairs is occupied by people, so jammed together that no one can move. All these people are here voluntarily to help move an enormous piano up the stairs. The stairs are so narrow and the piano so heavy, that the few people under the piano at any given time are almost crushed by the burden. So the people on the lower stairs, who have just passed through the crushing ordeal, are still pushing as best they can. The people on the higher stairs are bending down to help lift and lighten the load, even as they are beginning to be crushed.
It is this willingness to help take on the burden which is the nature of our desire to be born into this life. We take this on out of love and compassion for those who have gone before us. And what is the nature of this crushing burden? It seems to be self-consciousness, the task of balancing our awareness of self against the larger background of the infinity of God.