- DO YOU HAVE PATIENTS WHO CAN’T RECALL ANY PAST LIVES?
Yes, although few are unable to get beyond this point. Usually, when a patient says he sees or hears “nothing,” he has been re-stimulated to an incident in which he is blind, blindfolded, deaf, or otherwise unable to perceive in the normal ways. In such situations I will ask, “What’s happening to your eyes, or ears?” Frequently this will break the barrier. The patient will remember being blindfolded or blinded, and then proceed to remember the other details of the incident.
I do have some patients who cannot ever succeed in recalling any past life. I am convinced, however, that this is a function of shut-off commands recorded in the unconscious, rather than the result of a natural inability. Most frequently, when a patient who has had great difficulty finally does reach an incident, the phrases he picks up concern the secretive nature of the incident –
“We shouldn’t be doing this,” “Whatever you do, never tell a soul about this,” or, occasionally, “Don’t tell a doctor anything, they really don’t know what they’re talking about.” In the case of one patient whose therapy was never really begun because she could not reach past incidents, I discovered that during her prenatal period her mother had converted to a religious philosophy that denied all pain and any feelings that might tempt one away from God. This prenatal experience was, I’m sure, responsible for the total shutdown of access to the unconscious.
- WHAT DOES THE “SHIFT” INTO THE UNCONSCIOUS ACTUALLY FEEL LIKE TO THE PATIENT GOING THROUGH IT?
Each patient feels it differently. For some it is not very different from a totally conscious state. There is very little slowing of speech or change in syntax patterns. For others it is more clearly differentiated; the voice drops to a lower register, and the words come out in a measured, slightly dream-like fashion. Some patients start by feeling that they are “making up” parts of what they tell me, but they soon discover that they cannot change the content of their past-life incidents, and must reveal the most personal and painful aspects of the stories they had thought were imaginary. This is what most quickly convinces the skeptic. He begins by saying the first thing that comes into his head simply to placate me. But the moment he comes face to face with his pain, he can no longer deny the validity of the therapy.
Reaching the unconscious mind without hypnotism is quite simple. I do not to any relaxing exercises with my patients, nor do I use sensory awareness techniques to make the body, or eyelids, feel heavy. There is nothing trance-like, in fact, about a Past Lives Therapy session. At the beginning the patient may have some trouble getting the unconscious memories to flow, but this difficulty is usually eliminated as the patient sees the therapy beginning to work. Once a sense of trust is established between the patient and his own unconscious mind, reaching back to the past becomes a very simple matter.
- DO YOU WORK WITH TRAUMATIC INCIDENTS IN THIS LIFE?
All the time. Invariably the trauma that a patient describes in this life will have a past-life and prenatal component. Even if the trauma is a totally new one for the patient, it will “remind” his unconscious mind of the most similar incidents in the past. Trauma must be erased in the past, in the prenatal period, and in the present life, where it frequently recurs in infancy, childhood, and adulthood.
- IN COVERING THE PRENATAL PERIOD, ISN’T IT POSSIBLE THAT THE FACTS A PATIENT UNCOVERS ABOUT HIS PARENTS MAY RUIN A PEACEFUL RELATIONSHIP?
Unconsciously, the patient already knows everything about his parents prior to therapy. This knowledge often causes deep problems because it is buried, and only expresses itself in the patient’s behavior toward his parents.
Misunderstood resentments, hostility that seems to have no source – these are the external signs of an unconscious anger at the parents’ past behavior. When the facts are made clear, the patient almost always sees the reason and logic of his parents’ actions in perspective for the first time. If a patient comes to me describing a genuinely friendly and secure relationship with his parents, I know that there will be nothing “dredged up” in the course of the therapy to damage that bond. If anything were lurking in the prenatal, the patient would already sense it, and already have an adversary relationship, although he might not understand why.
Normally, people who enter Past Lives Therapy have many problems with their parent. Although we may come across prenatal scenes of aggressive, hostile behavior, often directed at the unborn child, patients emerge from such scenes with great understanding of their parents. They perceive the mother’s or father’s point of view for the first time. Rarely does a patient respond with anger to recollection of the prenatal period. Many patients find the relationship with parents improving even though that was not the purpose of their therapy.
Recall of experience in the prenatal period opens up their perspective. It frequently allows people to feel compassion for their parents for the first time in their lives.
- HOW MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE PAST LIVES AS MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX?
I have kept no statistics on this question, but most of my patients recall at least one life as a member of the opposite sex. Helen Wambach reports that 80 percent of her subjects of both sexes reported at least one past life as a member of the opposite sex.
- WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF MY ACTUALLY KNOWING SOMEONE FROM A PAST LIFE?
Coincidence simply cannot explain the number of people who seem to know people from previous incarnations. Wambach notes that 85 percent of her subjects report knowing someone from a past life in this life. She does not attempt to corroborate this figure. Some people suggest that the space between lives provides a mechanism for bringing people back together. My own experience supports this in two cases described in this book: the Carl and Abigail Gordon therapy reported in the chapter “Relationships,” and the case of the child born twice to the same mother in Part IV, “Inferences, By-products, Implications.” Despite cases like these, it is essential to stress that, in therapy, it is the pattern, and not the actual identity of a person that is important. We want to know what the position of “father” and “husband” has meant to you, not if the current male holding that position is identical to one from the past.
- HAVE PEOPLE DESCRIBED ANIMAL LIVES?
Yes, When I ask someone for the earliest source of input for a particular problem, he almost always describes an animal wound or death. We detach a patient from an animal incident using the same method of repetition employed for human traumatic input.
The fact that animals lives are described to me as the earliest level of existence my patients go through brings up an interesting point about the progression of lives. The implication of my patients’ experiences is that we all move from the animal level to the tribal level and thence to life in progressively more sophisticated societies.
- ISN’T THIS “PROGRESSION” YOU DESCRIBE IN DIRECT CONTRADICTION TO THE CONCEPT OF KARMA?
It is. Karma, as understood by the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jainist religions, involves a system of divine judgment. Each man is judged on the basis of all of the acts of his life, and his next reincarnated as a vicious animal, and a devoted priest may be rewarded with a “perfect” next life. These are the religious beliefs of almost a billion people, and I am not prepared to comment on them one way or another. I can only report my own experience in listening to many hundreds of reports of past lives over the years. From these, I have evolved my own belief of what “karma” means.
Karma is a debt owed to the self, to be paid off by the self at a time when the self decides, and in a manner that the self chooses. It can never be used as an excuse, because everyone has the ability to pay the debt, to come to peace with himself whenever he decides to do so. As long as the debt remains unpaid, it is only he who is not paying it. To pay the debt one must resolve the patterns of one’s lives, and take responsibility for being the person one is.
- WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY “TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN LIFE”?
Responsibility is not guilt, blame, shame, or punishment. It is simply knowing that you are the cause of your life. It is you who chose it, not your parents or your maker. You have, in some sense, been the same person for centuries. You must know who that person is, and you must agree with yourself that you will act in a responsible manner, understanding exactly what your strengths and weaknesses are, to reach the personal potential within you.
- DO YOUR PATIENTS EVER NOTE IMPROVEMENT IN AREAS OF THEIR LIVES THEY ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY WORKING ON?
Patients often receive residual benefits from Past Lives Therapy. Because a traumatic incident that causes death frequently destroys several parts of the body, detachment from that incident may well result in many types of bodily improvement. A patient with acute migraine headaches discovered many deaths by torture; including, but not exclusively involving, damage to the head.
As he became detached from these incidents he began to notice improvement in an arthritic condition which he believed was purely a physiological disease.
Needless to say, the torture scenes he relived included pain to the joints, stretching of the fingers, and other input that would lead to arthritis in a later life. The patient had had no hope of easing his arthritic pain, and was amazed that this disease could be eased by therapy. This is not an uncommon occurrence. I have witnessed new growth of thinning hair, improved eyesight, and even increased breast size in a woman working out a sexual identity problem. These physical manifestations of mental-health improvement were unasked for in every case.
- HOW ARE RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHERS AFFECTED BY PAST LIVES THERAPY?
Patients frequently feel that the world is changing all around them. Many claim that their therapy has changed their companions, their friends, and their co-workers all for the better. This is, of course, a subjective reaction to their own improvement. What has usually happened is that the patient no longer triggers negative behavior in others. By changing unattractive patterns of hostility or submissiveness, the patient triggers a fresh reaction from people who were used to avoiding or undermining him. Impressed with the improvement of a patient’s attitude, his mate may suddenly become more cooperative, his superiors may find him more worthy of promotion. The improvements brought about by any kind of successful therapy can be measured in the same way. But because the improvement in Past Lives Therapy is so rapid, reactions by others can seem quite dramatic.
- THERE HAS BEEN A GREAT RESURGENCE OF INTEREST IN CULTURAL HERITAGE. MANY PEOPLE HAVE BEGUN EXPLORING THEIR ANCESTRY IN TERMS OF BLOODLINES. DOES THE CONCEPT OF “CHOOSING” A NEW LIFE FROM THE SPACE BETWEEN LIVES ELIMINATE THE VALIDITY OF SUCH CONCEPTS AS FAMILY HERITAGE?
Not entirely. The physical characteristics of a newborn child are determined by the genes of his or her parents; this inheritance is the basis of the “bloodline.” I would argue that the unconscious mind is not bound by the rules of genetics, however. Many experimental researchers of reincarnation attribute the phenomenon of past-life recall to “genetic memory,” claiming that the events people recall from the past are passed on to them by their parents along with the color of their hair and the strength of their teeth. If this were the case, patients would be recalling the lives of their ancestors. My patients’ experiences do not support this theory in any way. Their recall tends to cover the spectrum of human existence; white patients remember being black, Chicano patients recall being British soldiers in World War II, and so forth. In addition, many patients recall past lives that took place during their parents’ lifetimes, material that could not possibly be stored in the parents’ genetic code.
On the basis of my work I am forced to conclude that our family, cultural, or blood heritage stored in the unconscious mind, one that may or may not be similar to our physical family line. Recall that each of us tries to come back in an environment that will allow us to continue the patterns of the life we have just left. In some cases the most efficient way to accomplish this end might be to return to a similar cultural background. Thus, a Russian Jew, playing out patterns of religious persecution at the time of the Czar, may find it desirable to return as a Russian Jew. In such a case his cultural heritage and his “past-life” heritage would be virtually identical. However, it would be as likely that he might be born a black man in South Africa, fated to play out the same patterns of oppression, but with a different cast of characters and a different cultural backdrop.
13. Do the regression exercises always evoke memories of past lives? Is this the only way to have such memories?
It’s certainly possible to have actual past-life recall through these regression exercises, although many other types of relaxation or meditation techniques can lead to the same thing as well. People may also experience past-life recall during dreams or déjàvu, spontaneously (this is often seen with children), or in many other ways. For example, my first recollection of a past life actually didn’t take place during regression therapy or hypnosis, but as a result of the state of relaxation caused by shiatsu massage (or acupressure). Suddenly, I vividly observed myself as a priest in ancient Babylon. Now, for those of you who feel discouraged because you can’t seem to bring back memories of past lives when you first play the audio, I’d like to point out that it took me three months of daily meditation before I had this first regression. So, the more you practice, the better prepared you’ll be to open up to these experiences.Keep in mind that the audio might not lead to a memory of a past life at all; or you may retrieve a memory from your childhood, where the causes of your current problem may lie. The wisdom of the sub- conscious will take us wherever we need to go for the cure to take place.
Because Past Lives Therapy is a complex process, many of the questions I receive relate specifically to the technique itself. I have covered most of these in the pages of this book. Many other questions are asked, however, concerning the validity of the therapy, the “feelings” associated with the therapy, and the results of therapy. I have here assembled the most common of these questions and tried to answer each individually.