This has been one of the biggest questions in my mind since I started learning about the reality beyond 3D. One the one hand, you have those who say that our circumstances in life are all part of a divine plan that we ourselves created prior to our incarnation. That the suffering (or joy) in our lives is intended to teach us lessons and pay off or receive payment for karmic debts from past lives. This is where soul contracts come into play and where everything in your life is scripted and planned ahead of time to assist your soul's development, depending on your current level of spiritual evolution.
I've always had a difficult time with this idea because I find it really hard to believe that someone would choose prior to their incarnation to, for instance, be the victim of child abuse. Actually, the hardest part of that idea for me is that it means that someone would have to choose to be the abuser as well and be seemingly powerless to stop it, otherwise violating their soul contract. This just doesn't sit right with me, although the explanation is always that these things work on level that we are simply incapable of understanding with our 3D consciousness. The whole concept actually makes me very depressed because it basically says that we're all just playing a ridiculous, often times downright sick, game here unbeknownst to our 3D minds. I feel like if this was true, it would be like being the character in Grand Theft Auto and suddenly realizing you're just this stupid little game character being controlled by a big, scary superior being outside the game who is actually your higher self (what a mind trip!) and subjecting you to all sorts of fucked up shit like being chased, shooting people and running over hookers with cars, etc. Sure, once you realize you're actually the higher self game player and that the GTA character never really existed at all, it's quite a relief, but that transitional moment of realization must be the most traumatic thing imaginable!
Then you have the other position where people say that our reality has been lorded over by negative dark beings who are responsible for all the suffering in the world. That at some point our own choice in the creation of our reality was taken from us and we've become lost in a game controlled by outside malevolent forces. Like some big bully burst into your gaming room, punched you in the stomach and took your game controllers from you. They seem to be saying that these dark forces were actually willingly employed by us in the original creation of this reality to play the roles of the "bad guys" but they broke their contracts and continued to control the game beyond the point from which they were originally given permission.
So if that's the case, then who's really in power at this point? How about people who have died and reincarnated since the dark's contract was broken? Were they forced back into this 3D reality or did they voluntarily go back in knowing the game was now rigged for their suffering? I still don't get how this (theoretically) works. People seem to be saying completely opposite things. They say you're responsible for creating your own reality but then they say dark forces have taken control and must be stopped. Can someone please explain this to me in a way that includes both of these opposing ideas? How much are we "doing this to ourselves" and how much is it being done to us by "the dark." But then, according to non-duality which is apparently the true state of being outside of this artificial 3D construct, we are all one, so we ARE the dark and we ARE ultimately still doing it to ourselves.
My stupid, limited little 3D head hurts now so I have to bring this to a close. I'll go run over a few hookers to refresh myself and await your responses.