Past-Life Regressions: A Basic Guide For Those Who Want To Have One
Where Does Past-Life Memory Come From?
How Do Past-Life Regressions Access The Subconscious?
How Does A Past-Life Regression By Means Of Hypnosis Work? Details Of Regression Procedures And The Techniques Of Eliciting Past-Life Memory
I'm Afraid Of Hypnosis: Can't I Be Taken Over And Controlled?
Is It Possible That I Can't Be Hypnotized?
Is It Possible To Get Stuck In The Hypnotic State?
Are There Any Health Risks To Hypnosis?
What Will The Past-Life Regression Experience Be Like For Me?
How Do I Know If What I've Seen Is Real?
How Do I Go About Finding A Regression Therapist?
Can I Do My Own Past-Life Regression?
Coping With Past-Life Knowledge And Information
Have you been thinking about having a past-life regression, but you arenít sure how to get started - where to get one, or with who? Or maybe you are wondering what to expect, or if itís right for you?
If so, then this article is for you. It may not contain "everything you need to know" or want to know, but it should, at least, provide you with a starting point, and set you in the right direction.
What this article is, is a general orientation to the past-life regression process for those who are interested in, or thinking about, undergoing the experience, and want some tips to help them on the way. What it is NOT is an argument on behalf of reincarnation, a challenge aimed at skeptics, an inventory of other peopleís past-life memories, a philosophical or metaphysical piece, etc. It is, to repeat, just a simple, nuts-and-bolts guide about how to set up a past-life regression, and how to get the most possible benefit out of the experience. (See Sites of Interest for links to some sites that deal with other aspects of the past-life experience; some information may also appear in the sections More on the Rainsnow Books and Weapons of Depth, on this website.)
For those who believe in reincarnation, the search to learn something about the lives one has already lived - oneís past lives - is really a search to know oneself better: oneís strengths, oneís weaknesses, oneís capabilities, oneís links to other human beings, and oneís "karmic baggage", or the burdens (and opportunities) which the past has passed on to the present. Although it may be inspired by curiosity, the search is one that potentially offers insight, understanding, healing, vitality, and hope in the here and now; and the past-life-regression traveler is, thus, infinitely more than a voyeur of his own past: he is a "shaman" returning to the past to recover the treasures he lost or left behind, in order to enrich, maybe even to save, his present. (Books which address the benefits of past-life regressions include Through Time Into Healing: Discovering the Power of Regression Therapy To Erase Trauma and Transform Mind, Body, and Relationships by Dr. Brian Weiss, and Other Lives, Other Selves: A Jungian Psychotherapist Discovers Past Lives by Dr. Roger Woolger.)
Whether we remember them or not, past lives are said to affect our present lives in both positive and negative ways. They will have generated karma whose influence will be felt in the here and now. That is to say, our behavior in the past will have created consequences, some of which we may be able to reap, or have to pay for, in our present lives, as the effects of what we do carries over from one life to the next. Traumas and hardships from the past may also have "scarred" us, lodging fears, anxieties, and complexes from other lives into the fabric of our souls: wounds which poison, cripple, or diminish us in the present; wounds which need to be detected in order to be effectively treated.
When we are able to remember something of our past lives, the task of healing - the task of liberating ourselves - and, thus, the possibility of living fully in the present, no longer sabotaged by hidden "enemies" - is made much easier. It is no surprise, therefore, that so many people today are seeking ways to remember.
Past-life memory is said to be accessible through various means. It may occur as memory traces while one is fully awake, a spontaneous form of recall that occurs in many children of young ages, although, in our skeptical civilization, these memories are usually passed off as fantasies and dismissed or repressed by parents. (See Childrenís Past Lives: How Past Life Memories Affect Your Child by Carol Bowman.) Past-life memories also frequently occur in dreams (see "Past-Life Memory in Dreams" under my "Esoteric Dreams" section in "Dream Interpretation"), or in moments of intense emotional resonance known as deja vu (the powerful sense that one has been in a certain place or situation before, even though it is the very first time one has ever been there; or the overwhelming feeling that one has met or somehow already knows a complete stranger). During meditation, in Asian cultures where reincarnation is widely believed in, past-life memory will often surface. But here, in the West, for adults, it is the past-life regression which is far and away the most common means of accessing past-life memory. Back To Top
Where Does Past-Life Memory Come From?
That is a mystery. Many people believe that past-life memories are stored in the "subconscious mind", and that the soul holds these memories and may perhaps imprint them in the brain, during each lifetime, or else resurrect them in a mystical way from other sources of information in the Universe, or from within itself. Whatever the mechanism, the subconscious mind does seem to play a major role, either in storing and releasing the information during a given lifetime, or else in generating a connection between the individualís personal mind and the esoteric sources of knowledge which contain this information. The subconscious mind - more a concept than a location in the brain - is that part of the mind which exists "beneath" the conscious surface. It is a vast storehouse of memories, many of them all but forgotten. It produces dreams while we sleep at night. It carries on thought processes, and generates emotional reactions, "behind the scenes", which may affect conscious behavior, without the conscious mind even being aware that they exist. (For example, a person may unreasonably hate an individual just because that individual reminds him, on a subconscious level, of somebody who once hurt him as a child - a memory which is now deeply buried in the personís mind, yet which can still be touched and triggered by outside events, and control the person from deep within, without him even knowing.)
The key first step of the past-life regression is, therefore, to penetrate the outer, conscious layers of the mind in order to make contact with the subconscious mind, from which the memories of former lives are believed to be accessible. Back To Top
How Do Past-Life Regressions Access The Subconscious?
In order to access the subconscious mind to search for past-life memories, the conscious mind has to be induced to withdraw, as much as possible, into the background. That will allow the subconscious mind to "come out", or to be heard. The conscious mind is like a loud source of noise drowning out the subtler sounds of the subconscious; it needs to be quieted, so that the deeper state of mind may finally become "audible."
Hypnosis is one way that this can be accomplished. The past-life regression therapist will, in fact, generally hypnotize the subject who is searching for memories of his past lives, in order to put him in contact with his subconscious mind.
Other techniques to put the subject into contact with his subconscious mind may be employed, however. Dr. Morris Netherton and the so-called "Dutch School" of past-life regression therapy, forego the standard hypnotic induction to use techniques including the "affective bridge" and "symbolic resonance." In these approaches, the subject may be guided to find a link between a thought or feeling, and a part of the body. For example, the therapist may ask the subject to close his eyes, mentally and emotionally "scan" his body, and tell the therapist what he is feeling. If the subject comes onto something like a pain in his neck, or else feels a lot of sorrow as he becomes aware of his stomach, the therapist may ask him to concentrate on that part of his body, and to keep describing the sensation. He may ask the subject to focus more and more on that part of the body, and the sensation, and to keep saying anything that comes into his head as he does so. If the subject comes up with something that seems powerful to the therapist, such as, "I feel so neglected", a phrase that seems to have great emotional "resonance" with some experience in his soul, the therapist may then ask the subject to keep saying that phrase over and over again, intensifying the emotion; and to tell the therapist what, if any images or other forms of knowing, this emotion generates. The therapist may even explicitly ask the subject to "remember" or "go" to another time in which he felt this same pain or emotion before. Very often, this "non-hypnotic" process may succeed in generating imagery of a past-life. For example, the subject might begin to see images of himself starving in another time and place, neglected by society, and his sorrow could conjure up pictures of his dead children, his feelings of powerlessness or rage, a ruined life, etc. The therapist, at this stage, would insert himself into the process, as needed, seeking to keep the imagery and self-knowledge flowing by means of carefully constructed questions, guiding the subject to develop the memory as fully as possible.
The theory behind this technique is that emotional traumas and pain from this life, and from past lives, imbed themselves or encode themselves into, or become associated with, parts of our body, and that memories may often be triggered and released by relating to the body.
Of course, this approach is useful for those who distrust conventional hypnosis. On the other hand, to be honest: all past-life memory is extracted from some form of "trance state." The form of therapy just described induces a trance state with less formality, less "procedure", and perhaps for some people less anxiety, than the standard past-life regression, with its lengthier hypnotic induction. But it is aimed at inducing a "trance", just the same. If it did not induce such a state in the subject, it could not be effective. Back To Top
How Does A Past-Life Regression By Means Of Hypnosis Work?
Most past-life regressions conducted today utilize hypnosis, deployed by means of a formal "hypnotic induction."
"Hypnosis" is a word that excites many with hints of paranormal possibilities, and terrifies others with visions of mind-control and loss of personal power. In reality, hypnosis is only a deliberate effort to produce, deepen and sustain a mental state that is not only very common, but is, in fact, a state which each and every one of us is constantly experiencing, constantly moving in and out of during the normal course of our waking day. Listening to great music, and becoming lost in its beauty - staring at a mesmerizing piece of art, and forgetting who we are - driving "mindlessly" down the highway for 20 miles (until we suddenly snap out of the spell, becoming "aware" of what we are doing once again) - in all of these cases, we are in a state of "natural hypnosis." We are "tranced out", in an "altered state." Hypnosis, as used by the past-life therapist, is only a formal means for reproducing, maintaining, structuring and utilizing this natural state for a specific purpose.
In order to "hypnotize" the subject - which means to guide the subject into the receptive mental state which will allow him to access his subconscious mind - the past-life therapist most often uses a formal "hypnotic induction" - a procedure designed to accomplish this objective.
Some therapists, in their capacity as hypnotist, will employ what is known as "authoritarian hypnosis", meaning, essentially, that they will be a little more "bossy" than their counterparts (the therapists that use "permissive hypnosis"). They will tend to speak in a more commanding tone, and to exert a "stronger hand" in directing the process, which is not necessarily bad, but might rub some people the wrong way (for some others, though, it might be just what they needed, like a strong wind is great for pushing a sailing ship across the water). The so-called "permissive" style tends to be softer, and to leave the subject feeling more in control of the experience, which is great for those who have reservations about hypnosis, and for those who have problems with the idea of anyone exerting "authority" over them.
The scheme I have just given, it should be noted, is very basic and simple. Many induction styles and therapist personalities do not easily fit into any one of these categories.
All this having been said, far and away the most common method of hypnotic induction is known as "progressive relaxation." Progressive relaxation is simply a means of relaxing the mind and "letting go" of the "conscious mind" as much as possible, with all of its mental clutter and busyness. It is a technique for switching the mindís focus inwards. The therapist, beginning from either the feet or the top of the head, and working his way either up or down, will gradually make the subject aware of every part of his body, and usually speaking in a gentle and soothing way, help the subject to relax completely. Following is an example of how the therapist might talk to the subject as he uses progressive relaxation to induce a state of hypnosis:
"We are about to go on a journey to discover more about yourself. We will be working together on this journey, and you will have the ability at any time you wish to cease the journey, or to communicate your wishes to me, so that we can make this experience as valuable for you as possible. Please be aware that there is a wise and knowing part of yourself that will be able to direct this experience from within, and to guide it to meet your needs at this time. Trust in that part of yourself to make this experience useful and beneficial for you. And now letís get started." (All of this, while not yet "progressive relaxation", might be the therapistís final efforts to put the subjectís mind at ease about hypnosis, and the work they are about to do.)
"First, I would like you to begin by closing your eyes. Feel them closed. Feel how good it feels for them to be closed. Itís the beginning of our trip within. Become aware of the feelings in your eyelids. How good it feels now that your eyes are closed and we are beginning our journey.
"Now let yourself become aware of the top of your head. Let yourself feel the top of your head." (This is with the mind, of course; the subject will usually either be lying down on a sofa/couch, or else sitting in a comfortable chair, with his hands at his sides or else resting on top of his legs, or on the arms of the chair.) "Imagine a beautiful energy entering your body from the top of your head, a beautiful energy of relaxation and peace. Feel the top of your head becoming more relaxed.
"Now imagine this energy spreading down, from the top of your head, to your forehead. Feel your forehead becoming relaxed. Loosening up. Lighter and more relaxed. Peaceful.
"And now the energy is spreading. Down to the area around your nose. And your cheeks. Feel them becoming more relaxed. So peaceful and relaxed. So peaceful and relaxed.
"And now, down to your mouth. Feel that energy of peace and relaxation spreading to your mouth, to your jaws. You may feel your jaw becoming looser, even opening slightly. So peaceful. So relaxed.
"And now you can feel that feeling filling up your entire head. Spreading and filling up your entire head. Itís all becoming so peaceful. So relaxed. So peaceful. And so relaxed." (By now, as you can see, the induction tends to be quite repetitive, but that is just as it should be. This is not an intellectual endeavor. The conscious mind is beginning to withdraw, to let go, as another level of awareness is taking over. The tone of the therapistís voice - its soothing, supportive, trustworthy nature - and the therapistís timing, his ability to move things along at the right pace, not rushing things or losing contact with what is actually going on within the subject - are far more important than the exact words which he uses.)
"Now, let that energy of peace and beauty spread down into your throat, feel your throat relaxing, becoming looser, freer, more peaceful, so peaceful.
"And also feel it flowing down into your neck, beginning to work on your neck. Feel it relaxing your neck, washing away all tensions, relaxing you, unburdening you, washing away all tensions. It feels so good. So relaxing. More and more relaxed, more and more at peace.
"And now feel that peace going down into your shoulders. Feel your shoulders becoming looser, more relaxed, letting go of whatever weight they may have been carrying, everything will be all right. Let go. Relax. Feel the peace, the beauty, the support of the Universe. Relax. Feel the peace. The peace. Becoming more and more relaxed."
And on the therapist goes, working his way down, as he wishes, possibly to the arms and hands (which some may save for later), to the chest, the abdomen, and the back (depending on the client, he may then mention the buttocks and the genitals - and before that, the breasts - or if he feels the client may have an anxious response to that, feeling it is inappropriate, he may avoid being explicit, saying "chest" to cover the chest and/or breasts, and "feel the energy spreading below the abdomen, down the front and the back, and inside, relaxing and bringing peace and healing everywhere it goes." And then he will move on to the legs.) Moving down the legs, he will often mention the knees, the ankles, the feet, and the toes and bottoms of the feet, where sensations of numbness or tingling often contribute to the subjectís sense of peace, and to his sense of fading away into himself. (The same special attention will usually be paid to the hands, to the palms, and to the fingers, when the therapist is "working on" the arms.)
At the end of the process of progressive relaxation, the therapist may employ what are known as "deepening techniques" - methods meant to expand on the effectiveness of the hypnotic induction, by complementing the progressive relaxation. (Remember - all the methods being described here, from "progressive relaxation" to the techniques about to be described, are not the only methods possible to induce hypnosis, and to generate past-life regressions. They are widely used, but alternatives do exist, and are sometimes used.)
One deepening technique (which some use before the progressive relaxation procedure is begun) involves visualization: imagining that one is in some peaceful setting, such as a beach, or garden.
Another involves the use of the so-called "descending staircase", which is sometimes replaced by "descending elevator" imagery. In this case, the therapist uses the metaphor of going down a staircase to represent the "descent" of the subject into the deeper, subconscious parts of his mind, to the level of knowledge and awareness where the work they are planning to do together is to be done. Again, repetition, voice tone, and timing dominate this phase of the therapistís work, while the subjectís "task" is just to let go, to be guided inwards. The therapist, who usually will work this part slowly, may say something like:
"I would like you to imagine, now, that you are standing at the top of a staircase, which is leading down from where you are now, to even greater depths of your being, where greater levels of knowledge await you, where the truths you seek are waiting for you, the answers to every question. You may imagine the staircase in any way you wish, just know that it is leading down into the depths of your being, where truth, support, healing all wait for you. I will start counting slowly from the number 10 down to 1. When we reach 1, you will have arrived to the place where all the answers you are seeking may be found. As you go down the staircase, know that you are going deeper with every step you take, coming closer, with every step, to the answers that you seek.
"10. Beginning the journey down. Beginning the journey down to the deepest, most knowing part of yourself. Where all the answers wait.
"9. Going deeper. Deeper and deeper. More and more relaxed.
"8. Going down. Down, down, down. Deeper and deeper. Closer and closer to what you are seeking.
"7. Deeper still. Deeper and deeper. More and more relaxed. So peaceful. So deep. So peaceful. So deep. So beautiful. So deep."
And on the therapist goes, down to 1.
Once you are there, and he again reiterates how special the place you have arrived at is, he may seek to go directly into the past-life regression, or he may first take you into a final preparatory visualization: taking you, for example, into a Garden ("imagine you are in a most beautiful gardenÖ") which will represent the beautiful, inner state where you have arrived. There, he may seek to make you feel a final dose of support, protection, and motivation, before he seeks to guide you from the "subconscious staging area" which you have arrived, into the actual realm of past-life memory.
In order to take you from the "general subconscious state" you have reached, into the past-life awareness which you are seeking, the therapist will generally use one of several possible metaphorical "doorways" from where you are, to where you want (or need) to go. Just like he used the imagery of "the staircase" before, he may now use the imagery of a tunnel (the subject is guided to enter the tunnel and told that when he reaches the end - sometimes after another 10 count - he will find himself in another time and place, the one which will be most useful and helpful for him to see at this moment in his life, the one that his own inner wisdom will guide him to). The image of a bridge is another common means of leading the subject from a state of general receptivity into actual awareness of a past life ("cross the bridge, and on the other side you will find yourself in another time and placeÖ") Another image connection to the past is the concept of a building, a kind of past-life temple or storehouse of past-life knowledge. The subject sees himself walk up the steps and enter a long corridor, filled with many doors. He then lets his own inner guidance direct him to one of the doors, and enters through it into the past life which is meant for him to see, at this time. In yet another variation, which requires less imagery, the subject is guided to imagine (feel) himself floating from where he now is, floating up, then floating down again, to land in another place and time.
Once the subject has been guided to land in another place and time, vivid imagery and information may emerge at once. Or, on the other hand (and most commonly), the subject may have some vague, undeveloped sense of awareness, a feeling, an image, which is a starting point, but which does not yet tell him very much.
The therapist then uses "grounding techniques" to help "ground" the subject in the experience, to help the subject establish firm contact with it, and begin to develop it. Often the therapist will ask the subject to look down at his feet, to describe his footwear (if he has it); to describe his clothing or hair (if he has them); to describe his surroundings. If the subject is in the dark, seeing nothing, the skilled therapist will attempt to ground him on a non-visual level, asking him how he feels, what sense he has of the place he is in, does it seem spacious, or cramped, outside or inside, safe or unsafe, comfortable or not? Does he feel like he is alone, or not? A sample grounding segment in a past-life regression might go something like this:
Therapist: Look down at your feet. Are you wearing anything on your feet?
Therapist: Look up to your legs. Wearing anything on your legs? Anything covering your legs?
Subject: A dress. A long dress.
Therapist: Can you describe the dress? Tell me a little bit about what it is like?
Subject: It is dirty. It is torn. It is a poor personís dress.
Therapist: Can you tell me what color it is?
Subject: It is brown. Just a brown, torn dress. A skirt.
Therapist: And higher up? Can you see what you are wearing higher up?
Subject: Yes, Iím wearing a white blouse. Itís dirty alsoÖ
Of course, every therapist will have his own intuition, his own instinct for conducting the past-life regression. In this case, the therapist could (and probably would) continue to ground the person a little bit more, having this subject describe her hair and/or headgear, describe what she saw around her (in terms of landscape, homes, other people, etc.) If she saw people, she could be asked if she knew them, who they were, what were her feelings about them, etc., etc. Through questioning, important elements of the past life could begin to be flushed out. For example:
Therapist: You say you saw a soldier getting off of a horse. Can you describe the way he is dressed?
Subject: (She does it.)
Therapist: Do you know what army he is in?
Subject: They say it is our army. (She uses a certain ironical tone with the word "our.")
Therapist: Who says that?
Subject: Our rulers. The lords.
Therapist: You said ĎThey say it is our army.í What about you? Do you feel it is your army? Do you call it your army?
Subject: An army should protect its people. Not eat up its food. Not take its land. Not abuse its women. I donít call it my army. None of us do.
Therapist: None of who?
Subject: None of the people of this village, I know of. But we keep our mouths shut, what else are we to do?
In this case, the therapist is well on his way to eliciting a lot of valuable information from the subject about her past life. He can continue questioning her and finding out more about the events and dynamics of that life.
In cases, a past-life regression may become stuck at a certain point, or stagnated in a certain scene. The regression therapist will then have to seek to apply new techniques to get around them.
If the experience is frozen at the very beginning, trapped in darkness and numbness, the therapist, as I said, could attempt to get things going in a non-visual way. For example:
Therapist: What are you feeling in that darkness?
Therapist: Did you know that even in the nothing, there is always something? Many times the nothing is just a form of numbness; but below it, inside it, there are a lot of feelings. Iíd like you to imagine that there is a dial, just like the dial that controls the volume to a radio, and that that dial controls your ability to feel certain emotions. Now Iíd like us to begin turning that dial: to begin turning the numbness down, and the feelings that are underneath the numbness, up. Letís begin to see what is really inside that numbness. Letís begin to turn the feelings up. 1- turning them up - 2- turning them up - 3. Tell me if you can begin to feel something?
Subject: Yes. I am beginning to feel loneliness. I am feeling lonely, and sad.
Therapist: When you feel lonely, what are you missing?
Subject: I donít know.
Therapist: Give it time. The answerís there. Give it time to come up, to reach you. If you are feeling lonely, there must be something that is causing that feeling of loneliness. Something you are missing.
Subject: I am missing my family. My friends.
Therapist: They arenít with you now?
Therapist: Why not? Where are they?
Subject: Back home.
Therapist: Youíre not at home?
Therapist: Where are you?
Subject: I donít know.
Therapist: Well, canít you just go back home to be with them, again?
Therapist: Why not?
Subject: I donít know.
Therapist: Do you feel that you can go back home to see them when you want to?
Therapist: Even if you want to, you cannot?
Subject: Thatís right.
Therapist: Why not? Why do you think? What do you feel?
Subject: They wonít let me. Iím stuck here. I think Iím in some kind of prison.
As you can see, the therapist is really being put to the test here, but little by little, he is working with the subject and beginning to develop material from feelings, with a minimum of visual input.
Other tricks for "breaking out" of the darkness, include the suggestion, if one is outside, that one waits for the sun to come up; or if one is inside, that one finds a light source (opens a window, lights a candle, turns on a light) or waits for someone else to come to introduce a light source; or sometimes, the subject may even be told to "go around the darkness, and tell me what is on the other side of it."
In the case of a stagnant scene - say, the subject has been sitting in a cabin in the woods for twenty minutes of the regression, and nothing new is unfolding - the therapist may seek to move the regression on, with a line of suggestions that goes something like this:
"Letís ask your inner guidance to move out of this scene and show you something else important to you from that lifetime. Is that OK with you? OK, letís do it. I will count down from 3 to 1, and when I reach the number 1, you will find yourself in another scene from that lifetime, one which will provide you with important, new information. 3 - 2 - 1 - becoming aware of yourself in another scene from that lifetime. Where are you? What do you see?"
It is a well-known fact that "suggestibility" - the receptivity of the subject to suggestions/directions made by another person (in this case the therapist) - increases dramatically during hypnosis. It is for this reason that the kind of strategies mentioned above, used for overcoming blocks in the regression, are frequently able to work. (Of course, some blocks are not overcome. In such cases, the subject may not be ready for the experience, due to the persistence of unnecessary anxiety and fear; or his "inner guidance" may be shielding him from something he is not yet ready for. If the therapistís work is done well, however - or perhaps "thoroughly" is a better word than "well" - the subject should be ready to be hypnotized; and also be ready to move towards a past-life experience which he IS ready to experience, while staying away from anything that he is not.)
Using these basic strategies, and this basic approach, the therapist helps the subject to develop details of his past life, and sometimes, even a complete past-life story. Many times, the subject may experience his moment of death (it may come spontaneously, or the therapist may tend to move him towards it, without forcing him to experience it). Reincarnation therapists tend to consider the death scene important, because the circumstances of a personís death, and the feelings and attitudes which he has at the moment of death, tend to imprint themselves with particular force upon a personís soul, often freezing his soul in a particular "outlook", or burdening it with a particular limitation or wound. A person who loses his life as the result of a horrible betrayal, for example, may die with all the power of that feeling of betrayal in his heart, stamping his soul with the inability to trust others, perhaps interfering with his ability to make friends in his current life, since deep inside, he expects them all to betray him, even believes friendship, itself, does not exist, just deceit and manipulation. In such cases, knowledge of the way a subject died can be important for his healing.
In past-life regression theory, healing is often considered to follow, naturally and organically, as a result of new knowledge gained about the self. (But other times, healing may take more time and struggle.) A person with chronic neck pain, as the result of having his neck broken in a past life when he was thrown from a horse, may, for example, once it is detected that that pain is really the residue of a past life, spontaneously heal. The soul may let go of the pain that it has been carrying from other times, and imbedded into the body as a kind of memory, which has no organic, present-life cause, or justification.
It is often considered particularly helpful, by some therapists, if the subject is able to relive his past-life suffering with emotion. Take the case of the betrayal mentioned a moment ago. If the subject, during his past-life regression, were able to re-experience the pain of that betrayal, to feel the awful sorrow, in its full intensity, and to cry and suffer, it is said that that past-life trauma, trapped and hidden in his system, might be partly discharged, and might, as a consequence, lose much of its power over his present-life behavior. Patients who are victims of trauma in this life - victims of anything from war, to accidents, to abuse - are often guided to relive their traumatic experiences, and to discharge emotion, as part of the healing process. So it is not surprising that many past-life therapists believe in the value of this approach. Some therapists, believing in the therapeutic value of reliving past-life suffering, will attempt to lead their subjects to an intense emotional state and "push" them through it, while most therapists will allow the subject, himself, to decide if he wants to experience such a scene, and at what level of intensity.
Whenever a scene becomes so intense that the subject is likely to suffer beyond the level which either he or the therapist considers acceptable or prudent, the therapist is generally able to utilize a technique which "pulls" the subject "out" of the experience, and allows him to witness it as an observer, not feeling it from within, but watching it like a movie, or like it was something happening to someone else. "Donít worry, you canít be harmed by what is happening," the therapist may say, "it already took place, and you are alive, now, you are safe here, in my office, and what is going on there cannot harm you. Let yourself step out of your body for a moment, if you wish, and just watch. You will be able to see what happens to your past-life self and to learn from it without going through it all over again. Just watch it, now, from your position of safety." At the very worst, if the situation is unbearable, the subject will probably snap out of it himself, come out of the hypnotic trance, (the same as a lighter-than-water craft that has ditched its ballast will rise back to the surface). The therapist should then re-relax him, and bring him more gently back to a full waking state; and also talk the whole thing over with him. (It should be emphasized that this kind of problem is quite rare.)
Very often, as a subject witnesses himself die in a past-life regression, he may be able to go on to the next soul phase, and to actually experience a kind of memory of his soulís passage to the Beyond (somewhat like an NDE, but without the overwhelming sensory power and vividness of the real thing - after all, this is just a memory). Here, in this state, he may meet guides, angels, and other spiritual beings, and learn invaluable lessons and insights about his life, and life in general. (See Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton.)
In all events, after the basic regression material has been elicited, the therapist and the subject ought to talk it over, both in and out of hypnosis. What lessons have been learned? About oneself? About oneís relationships? About life? How can these lessons be "integrated" into oneís present life (applied, incorporated, and used to enhance the quality of oneís present life, and the development of oneís soul?) In cases, the subject will only wish to satisfy his curiosity. In cases, he may come seeking some kind of healing - trying to find the roots of present-life problems in the events and wounds of things past: things that took place even beyond childhood, which is the "source" at which conventional psychologists stop. The therapistís goal should be to work to meet the needs of his subject.
After some form of lesson-gathering/assessment is conducted while still in the state of hypnosis, the therapist then confers with the subject, and begins to guide him back out of the hypnotic state. He may, for a time, guide him back to an intermediate resting place, the image of the Garden, for example, and give the subject some final suggestions for healing. For example: "Allow yourself to relax. Before we start the journey back from the hypnotic state, please allow yourself to relax in this beautiful Garden, which is the center of your soul. Allow yourself to absorb your essence. The support and love of your guides, and all the Universe. There is healing here. Let it come into your body, your heart, your mind, your soul, and fill you like a gentle, loving light. Feel the love. Feel the healing. Let all the harm from the past be gone, left back in its own time. Here is a place for healing and renewal. Now, you are free to start again, to live again. Let yourself be free. Let yourself be healed. Let yourself feel the love that is all around you. You can be free. You can be healed." And after giving the subject some time here, the process back up can be begun, usually with a slow count upwards, from 1 to 10, reversing the "descent into the subconscious." The therapist may say:
"As I count from 1, back up to 10, you will begin to grow more fully awake. You will feel refreshed, and revitalized.
"1. Beginning the return. Coming back up towards the waking state.
"2. Coming up. Coming back.
"3. Continuing to come back up. Feeling is beginning to return to your body. Awareness is increasing.
"4. Coming back up. Feeling refreshed and revitalized. Renewed.
"5. Coming back. You can begin to feel your feet, your toes. Begin to feel your hands and fingers. Becoming aware of your body. Becoming aware of the couch you are in."
And so it goes, up to 10, with the therapist making sure that the subject has feelings in all parts of his body, that his eyes are open, and that he is fully awake.
There usually follows another brief period of consultation and/or analysis, or chatting, at the end of the regression, which should also give the subject time to fully awaken (because the full effects of hypnosis may take a little while to wear off. Subjects who have driven to their appointment are usually advised not to drive for some time after their experience. Sometimes 15 minutes is recommended, sometimes a half hour. The therapist should advise the subject on this matter.)
And thatís it: the past-life regression.
Following, are the answers to some common questions about the experience. Back To Top
Iím afraid of hypnosis: Canít I be taken over and controlled?
Many people are afraid to undergo hypnosis; and even when they decide to go ahead, their fears may hold them back, and they may not be able to fully enter a hypnotic state. One of the fears which frightens people about hypnosis is the possibility of having another person (the hypnotist) take control of them. Movies in which criminal masterminds are portrayed as hypnotizing innocent people to rob banks or carry out Mafia-style "hits" for them; as well as some "show hypnosis" spectacles, in which subjects are made to do ridiculous and embarrassing things, have convinced many people that they could be "taken over" by hypnosis. They are afraid to "put themselves at the mercy" of the hypnotist in that way.
The truth of the matter, however, is that hypnosis cannot be used to make anyone do something they do not want to do. The person who is hypnotized always maintains a certain level of awareness while he is hypnotized, and he does not cease to be controlled by his own conscience and sense of right and wrong. If the hypnotist were to tell a moral person to kill somebody, he would not only not do it (the suggestions would "not stick"), he would probably "come up" out of the hypnotic state almost at once, for that inner and aware part of himself monitoring the process from within would rebel, and activate an internal alarm, bringing him out of the state of vulnerability. Trust would have been broken, and without trust, the hypnotist has not one iota of influence.
In terms of the people who behave in ridiculous ways at nightclub hypnosis shows, the basic fact is that they really do want to participate in the show, and their desire to be the center of attention, to have fun and play the role of entertainer or clown, overrides any other desire they may have to be discreet, at that moment. (Those who donít want to participate do not become hypnotized, under these circumstances. So that the showmanís task is to conduct some exercises, or use his experience, in order to identify and select those individuals who he thinks will prove most "hypnotizable" by him, under these conditions. He then hypnotizes them into being willing participants in his show, essentially overcoming their stage fright and making them ready to "play the fool" for a laugh.)
Of course, as a potential technique for lowering inhibitions, there is no doubt that hypnosis could sometimes be used to encourage a person to do something that he really wanted to do, but had not yet dared to do. In the same way that an upright Victorian lady, who was secretly filled with sexual longings, might be prepared, by some drinks, to discard the social conventions that stood in the way of her attaining her happiness, so hypnosis might, under some circumstances, be able to release behavior that was really desired, but which until that moment had been held in check. The possibility has also been suggested that a personís moral reservations might be bypassed, not by a direct challenge, but by a clever effort to change the perceived context of what was taking place. For example: a crooked hypnotist who wanted to get a woman out of her clothes would not tell her, "Strip, I want to see you naked, because Iím a whacked hypnotist with a love of female bodies, and you must obey my every command." She would wake up in one second, and dial "911" as soon as she was out of the office. But what if the hypnotist were able to convince her that her clothes were on fire, or that she had been contaminated and must take a shower? Then the act of taking off her clothes, in that scene which was real to her, would not violate her moral beliefs. This possibility, however, is quite exotic and remote. I am just passing it on because I have heard it discussed, on a theoretical level, but it really represents the most suspicious attitude possible towards hypnosis. Certainly, one should choose oneís hypnotist with care, the same as one should choose oneís doctor with care. (And remember that an immoral doctor would be much more likely and able to do you harm than an immoral hypnotist.)
As a general, and nearly inviolable rule, I feel that it is safe to say that hypnosis cannot be used as a means of one person taking over another person, and directing him to do anything that is against his will. Back To Top
Is it possible that I canít be hypnotized?
It is very unlikely that you cannot be hypnotized. If you perceive "hypnosis" as a form of surrender to another individual, it is possible that you will not allow yourself to be hypnotized. But if you come to understand that "hypnotizability" is a talent, rather than a weakness; that it is a tool for self-development and growth, rather than a means by which others overpower you; and that you have internal psychological mechanisms that will keep functioning while you are within that state, like gyroscopes, monitoring what is going on and keeping your moral principles intact, while tending to filter what comes through to you so that you do not receive any more than you are able to handle - then you may be able to overcome this fear.
It is very important, if you have any history of, or anxiety about, being difficult to hypnotize, that you:
(1) Take particular care to find a hypnotist who you feel very comfortable with (this should always be a goal). Trust goes a long way in overcoming fear.
(2) Talk openly about your fears and reservations with your regression therapist, give him the opportunity to reassure you, and to prepare any stylistic adaptations which he feels may be able to help you work better together.
(3) Practice relaxation exercises before you go in for your session. (Many regression therapists, especially the elite ones, will not even conduct a past-life regression the first time that they meet you. They will conduct an interview, find out about your present-life background and issues, and give you a "training tape", which is meant to enable you to practice relaxing your mind and body by means of music, visualizations, or even hypnotic inductions, designed to accustom you to the process, to open you up to it, and to lessen your fear of it. Other forms of relaxation exercise could include just resting while listening to soothing tapes - like tapes of the ocean, or forest, or just soft music; looking at interesting pictures in a quiet place; practicing breathing exercises; sitting in a dark room looking at candles, etc. Anything to "slow you down" and "quiet you.")
The bottom line is that, since the state you seek to enter via hypnosis is a state that we naturally go in and out of, anyway, during the normal course of our lives - not something completely bizarre and unheard of - you have ALREADY been hypnotized, many times - and the challenge, now, is just to develop the trust and the patience needed to allow yourself to enter into that state in a structured setting, working with another person in order to develop something constructive and useful for your life. As for fears you may have about the experience, itself, your own mind will offer you a great deal of protection; and a skilled and experienced therapist will be able to provide you with additional support, knowing how to "pull you out of" a situation which you do not want to go through, and how to help you cope with information which is disturbing.
If you are particularly anxious about the idea, yet do want to go ahead with it anyway - (and remember, no one is forcing you, it is no shame to put the idea on hold and wait for a time in your life when you feel more ready to go ahead with it) - you should establish very clear ground rules with your therapist before you begin (concerning his style, your "limits", etc.); and probably, also, you should seek the highest level of trained professional. That will cost more, but help to assuage your worries, since, at this level, the therapist should be prepared to handle just about any crisis which you could imagine. Back To Top
Is it possible to get "stuck" in the hypnotic state?
No. You will most definitely come out of that state. Even if the hypnotist were to walk out of the room and never come back, or collapse in his chair, leaving you "hanging", the worst that would happen is that you would "fall asleep", and, eventually, wake up. Nor will you become stuck in the role of an ancient Roman, speaking Latin for the rest of your life. Or if you do, you will be the very first, and certain to become quite famous! Back To Top
Are there any health risks to hypnosis?
Generally not. However, it should be noted that in the case of some hypnotic regressions, stressful and even traumatic material could, in theory, emerge. People who have any health condition which makes it advisable to avoid intense and potentially unsettling emotional experiences - those considered at high risk for heart attack or stroke, for example, or with other conditions which could result in severe physical reactions, such as acute asthma or epilepsy - should inform the therapist, in advance. It would also be advisable to get the "go ahead" from a physician. (This same advice would apply to any hypnotic regression, whether it was oriented towards past lives, or aimed at dealing with present-life issues.) In the case of individuals who have a history of mental illness or emotional disturbances, such as severe depression, schizophrenia, traumatic flashbacks, etc., care should also be taken. The therapist should be advised, and the highest level of professional should be sought, one who has formal mental health credentials - a psychiatrist or psychologist, for example. Individuals who are suffering, or have suffered, from these kinds of problems should seek someone with a definite capacity to handle powerful emotional reactions, and to conduct effective therapy. (Note: Individuals diagnosed as "delusional" or "disassociated from reality" would be considered to be at high risk for this kind of experience, since most mental health professionals would emphasize the importance, to these individuals, of grounding themselves in their present reality, and improving their capacity to function in it. These professionals might consider past-life regressions to be counterproductive in the case of people who are struggling to relate to, and to survive in, the contemporary world: as something likely to lead them "farther away", and to loosen their connections with this time and this place even more. Certainly, mainstream mental health professionals would hold this view. It is possible that some mental health professionals, open to the idea of past-life regressions, might differ in opinion, but, if so, they should be consulted and this information should be obtained from them directly; just as they should be the ones to conduct such regressions, in the event that they decided it was all right to go ahead.) Back To Top
What will the past-life regression experience be like for me?
Thereís no telling. The experience is sure to vary from individual to individual.
In most cases, you will enter into the state of hypnosis. You will probably reach a light-to-medium trance state, in which you may still feel quite deep and different. (The deepest trance states would not be optimum, since it might be harder for you to communicate and work through an experience with the therapist. You might drift away into a kind of self-contained, inner visionary world, or just go to sleep.) Yet, even as you sink down into the state of hypnosis, you will most likely continue to be aware of what is going on around you. Not only will you hear the hypnotistís voice, you may also hear noises like cars on the street outside his office, the sound of an air conditioner or fan, creaks he makes as he shifts his weight in his chair, the sound of a tape recorder at work. (Many therapists, with the subjectís permission, make tapes of the session, for the future use and benefit of the subject.) These noises, however, will cease to be the object of your attention, they will fade into the background so that you are aware of them, but not disturbed by them, and so that they cease to have any importance or meaning at all. As you are in this state, you will not lose your memory of this time and this place, but will be able to utilize your present-life memory to compare and contrast what is going on in your past life. (For example, you may recognize somebody in your past life as a previous incarnation of someone you know in this life.)
Some people, of course, will not enter into the hypnotic state, due to persisting anxiety or distrust of the process (which they will one day have to overcome if it is their intention to experience a regression); due to a lack of preparation (they will need to "train" themselves to be ready for hypnosis in the future); due to bad rapport with the hypnotist (they will need to look for a hypnotist/regression therapist who they feel more comfortable with); or due to certain other problems (not leaving enough time for the session, worrying about getting back to work on time, or something else they have to do, etc.) - And - by the way - one should always leave plenty of time before and after a regression, and make it be the priority of oneís day, when its day finally comes. It is not a good idea to try to rush it, to fit it into a busy schedule, to run in and out. It needs to be respected, to have time and emotional space framed around it, so that it will be easier to relax during the experience, and so that there will be time, afterwards, to process and think about what has happened.
But most people, as I said before, will be able to enter into the state of hypnosis.
Once you are in the hypnotic state, and the past-life regression, itself, is underway, there is a wide variety of experience that is possible. Some people will begin to see very vivid imagery. Some people will see less, but feel, sense, or in some other way, know many things.
For some people the experience will be emotionally powerful, felt and lived like it was really happening, especially at certain intense moments. Others will see and learn about their past lives, without really experiencing strong feelings - they will be witnesses, more than re-livers, of their pasts.
For some people, what they are going through will seem like a daydream, and they will wonder if they are just making it all up, and fantasizing. (Note: while the experience is actually taking place, it is best if one can reserve judgment about whether what is occurring is real or not. Just let the experience flow, and judge it later.) For others, what they are experiencing will seem wholly believable, and they will have no doubt that something very real is unfolding in their inner vision.
Be prepared to meet people you know in your past-life regression. It may not happen, but it can. According to regression therapists, groups of souls often travel through time together, frequently reincarnating around the same time, and in such a way as to be able to meet each other, and interact with each other, in many different lives. They are held together by a kind of soul attraction, which could be positive or negative (enemies, as well as friends, may share many lives together). Thus, it is very possible that, during your trip, you might meet someone in your past-life regression who you know from your current life. It is interesting to note that their relation to you may have been different in the past than it is now - for example, a mother could have been a sister, a father could have been a friend, a brother could have been a son. Whatever the case, it is helpful to observe what kind of relationship you had, in the past, with individuals who you know in your present life. The knowledge you gain from the regression could increase your understanding of the dynamics and dimensions of your present-day relationships, and provide you with the insight needed to improve these relationships (or avoid them).
Past-life regressions may also be filled with surprises, sometimes pleasurable and uplifting, at other times unwanted and troubling. If you are a man in this life, do not expect you were always a man, in every single life you ever lived before. You might have been a woman one or more times. Be ready!
You may also discover that you had a sexual relationship, in a previous life, with someone who would definitely be off-limits in this life, someone like a sister, or a mother (they may not always have been your sister or your mother). Be ready for that, too. And do not be freaked out by any of this stuff, it is normal, cosmic activity. (Note: if your mother was just a girl who you knew in your past life, it would not have been incest, back then.)
Finally, you may discover disturbing and unwanted things about yourself. Cowardly behavior. Treacherous behavior. Cruelty. Things which do not make you feel proud. Things which could even make you feel ashamed. Very ashamed. (It is good to remember, if you encounter any information of this type, that we, as human beings, are filled with the potential to manifest both moral greatness and moral baseness. And it is unlikely that most of us, having lived so many lives, have never once destabilized, never once lost our moral balance and "let out" that "other part" of ourselves that we try to keep in check. As we accept the humanness of any past-life "falls" which we may have succumbed to, and which we may discover in our regression, we must also resolve to try to rise higher so that we never give way to such behavior again. And, depending on the circumstances, perhaps exercise a little self-forgiveness. Rather than beating our heads on the wall for what we have done in the past, we must utilize whatever negative information we come upon in our regression to make ourselves into better people today. See Sample Past-Life Regression Follow-Ups/A Case Study Of Guilt.)
In cases of particularly disturbing events, in which we have been either the perpetrators or the victims, it will be useful to have the support of a caring regression therapist, experienced in dealing with these kinds of issues.
At the end of the regression, the subject may come away feeling he has learned a great deal about himself, or very little. He may come away feeling exhilarated or disturbed. Satisfied or disappointed, or even angry (furious at the therapist for "wasting his money.") He may feel he has a lot of material to work with and go over, or just traces of memories, not the coherent picture of a life; and, therefore, feel that he has got all that he needs, or else that he is just beginning, and will require further sessions to piece together the puzzle of who he was, and is. And he may feel, if he has learned anything at all, that he can handle the knowledge he has gained on his own; or, on the other hand, that he could profit from further guidance, and therapy. Back To Top
How do I know if what Iíve seen is real?
You donít. Although some regressions do turn up obscure historical details which can be checked out and verified, this is rare. Most of the time you will not come up with something like, "My name was Angus MacKenzie MacElroy III, and I lived in Aberfeldy, Scotland, where, in 1697, I was shot dead by highwaymen"; and then, checking in church archives, with the help of some Scottish genealogical-historical research society after your regression, discover that there was actually such a person, "killed by bandits and ruffians most foul in Our Lordís Year of 1697."
Most likely, you will also not display some startling past-life ability which is surefire proof that your experience was real. For example, speaking in the ancient Assyrian dialect of Hammurabi, or the Egyptian of Ramses. (That gift, to speak a language which you are not "supposed to know", is referred to as xenoglossy. Although it has been reported, it is extremely rare, and when it does occur, it is often hard to document. Most of the time, the subject will communicate with the therapist in his current language, for he is getting in touch with past-life memories, and feeling them, not disappearing into them; he is resonating with who he was, not being completely swallowed up by who he was.)
Skeptics have a great deal of resourcefulness in explaining away the past-life regression, even when it unearths intriguing facts, and triggers feelings that seem very real; and it is true, that fantasy can be produced under hypnosis, as well as real memory. Sometimes, past-life regressions may uncover real past-life memory. Sometimes they may only generate fantasies. And sometimes, they may produce a mixture of real memory and fantasy (in which case the fantasy element, very unfairly, is often used to discredit what is real).
Given this complexity, how can the subject know if the regression he experienced was real? Ultimately, when all is said and done, it is a matter of choice. A matter of instinct, gut feeling, resonance, even temperament. The subject must decide for himself whether to believe, or not to believe. And he should never forget that what really matters is what he believes, not what anyone else believes, and least of all a skeptic, who will never believe!
In terms of therapy, many top regression therapists sidestep the question all together. While they do believe in reincarnation and past lives, they do not worry about whether the regression they have just helped a subject to experience is real, or a fantasy; for even if it was a fantasy, they consider that it has great therapeutic value. Roger Woolger (Other Lives, Other Selves), states that fantasy material that mistakenly comes out in a past-life regression can be used to help a subject, the same as dream analysis, with the advantage that it provides a far easier way to reach and understand a personís major issues (past-life stories, real or imagined, are not as symbolically complicated and obscure as dreams sometimes are). What is important to these therapists is how the experience, real, imagined, or a mixture of both, is utilized to enhance the subjectís knowledge of himself, and to improve the quality of his present-day life. And for this, the potential effectiveness of the past-life regression is undeniable.
For more on the complexities of determining how to relate to oneís past-life memories, see my book, The Journey of Rainsnow, in which I had to deal with this issue. Back To Top
How do I go about finding a regression therapist?
Once you have decided that you want to undergo a past-life regression, next comes the effort to find the hypnotist/therapist who will serve as your guide for this experience. How do you go about finding one? How do you go about looking for one?
First, you have to decide what you want. The more you know about the style and approach you want, the easier it will be for you to begin your search.
One class of potential therapist is the Certified Hypnotherapist (CHT or CHt). This individual has, in theory, been trained to use hypnosis as a therapeutic tool. He has been taught hypnosis, and some basic rudiments of therapy. On the other hand, this certification can be obtained by any individual who wishes to obtain it, who is willing to pay a couple of hundred dollars, and who is able to attend a workshop/training seminar over a weekend. Much of the therapy he is trained to do comes down to using suggestions, while his subject is in the state of hypnosis, to try to influence the subjectís behavior, particularly with regard to issues like smoke cessation, weight loss, stress reduction, overcoming shyness and the fear of public speaking, etc., etc. At the lowest level of proficiency, the CHt may be unprepared for the challenge of structuring and guiding the developments of a past-life regression, and for dealing with any major emotional content which might emerge.
On the other hand, there are all kinds of CHts. Some are not very spiritually oriented, some are boorish and domineering, unskilled and awkward. Others, in contrast, are sensitive, compassionate, caring, and spiritual people, who have gotten this qualification as part of a strategy to increase their overall ability to heal and help, in a spiritual way. They understand what is going on in the past-life regression process, and have the level of human awareness to work effectively with the subject, as difficult issues arise - especially as they continue to study on their own, to gain experience, and to learn from their experience.
Obviously, then, when dealing with a CHt - or with someone who, though uncertified, claims to be able to conduct a past-life regression - the key is not the credential, but the individual who has the credential. You, as the potential client of this individual, must talk to him, by phone, at the very least, and see if you two see eye-to-eye about past lives and regressions, hypnosis, etc.; see if this individual seems to make sense to you, if he listens to you and answers you, if he seems responsible, warm, caring, compassionate and respectful, someone you could trust to work with you in a highly vulnerable state, dealing, possibly, with highly personal things. It is, more than anything else, the human connection, the rapport, the trust - with, hopefully, more than a little skill and experience thrown in - that will tend to make your past-life regression experience a success.
Beyond the CHt, there are the psychiatrists (MDs) and psychologists (PhDs). Neither mainstream psychiatrists nor mainstream psychologists will handle past-life regressions, because they have been trained to have a different mindset, a different worldview, and cannot accept the possibility of these experiences being real. On the other hand, some of these mental health professionals are open to the idea of reincarnation, and past-life regressions (and some of these have impressive mainstream credentials, like Dr. Brian Weiss, MD, one of the foremost exponents of past-life regression therapy). The advantage of using one of these professionals - once you have found one who is open to the idea of reincarnation and past-life regressions - is that his formal level of training is, obviously, vastly superior to that of the CHt. His credential ought to be an indication that he has studied a great deal about the human mind, human behavior, psychological issues, and therapeutic techniques, and he should, therefore, in theory, be better able to deal with any issues and problems that arise during your experience, as well as more capable of helping you to apply what you learn in a constructive way to help improve the quality of your present-day life.
Of course, that is the ideal. In reality, the acquisition of an MD or a PhD does not indicate anything about the therapistís qualities as a human being, so that it may be that some of these professionals lack the sensitivity, tact, compassion, and respectfulness to establish the kind of rapport that is necessary to produce a high-quality regression; and some may even lack the human skill necessary to put their therapeutic knowledge to good use, in the case of a given client. Thus, therapists with MDs and PhDs should also be looked over, and felt out, before one agrees to work with one. They should not be chosen automatically. One just canít overlook the human element.
In all cases, whether you are approaching a CHt, MD, PhD, or uncredentialed hypnotist, you should seek to get references, wherever possible.
One advantage of the CHt over the MD and PhD, of course, is the fact that his services generally go for less. The cost of having a past-life regression will usually run anywhere from $50 or $60 per/session, to as high as $200 and above per/session. Donít expect to work with a big-name therapist without paying a lot. (And consider the fact that you may want more than one session to develop your self-understanding, and/or to undergo follow-up therapy.)
In terms of actually locating a therapist, if you are in a network of people into past-life regressions, astrology, spirituality, etc., ask around, see what your friends and contacts know, if there is anybody they can recommend to you. There are also, in some areas, New Age magazines and publications which may have some information, including advertisements for this kind of therapy; or there may be New Age bookstores, or activity centers, in which there are people who may have information, or files, about possible contacts.
If you live in a small town, unless you are very lucky, chances are you may have to be prepared to travel to a major city to be able to encounter someone able to help you.
One of the best resources for locating a past-life regression therapist is definitely the International Association for Regression Research and Therapies, IARRT, formerly the Association of Past-Life Research and Therapies, APRT, an organization which specializes in promoting past-life regression therapy, and which has extensive listings of therapists, around the nation, who carry out this kind of therapy. You can browse their listings on the web, or contact them directly for a therapist referral. Their web address is http://www.iarrt.org. Their mailing address is IARRT/P.O.B. 20151/Riverside, CA 92516. Their phone # is (909) 784-1570. (It should be noted, however, that the fact that a regression therapist is listed with IARRT does not necessarily imply that he is a well-trained expert, a great human being, or the right therapist for you. You must still check him out, and sound him out, to look for that special rapport and openness which you want from your therapist.)
Just to give an example: I have heard complaints about SOME members of APRT (as it was called then) in the past. The criticism I heard was that the individuals in question had a very rigid concept of karma, and that when they encountered people with past-life memories as Jewish victims of the Holocaust, they attributed that catastrophe and all of the suffering that went with it to the "bad karma" of the Jews. In other words, they saw the Holocaust as a kind of cosmic payback to the Jews for errors which the Jews had committed in the past. Naturally, this rather rigid application of the law of Karma - (for the Holocaust is a calamity which defies simplistic explanations) - drove a deep wedge between these therapists and the past-life Holocaust victims who they were, in theory, here to heal. Instead, the Jews felt "blamed" and denied empathy, and rapport broke down. (See more on the problem of misapplying the concept of karma in Weapons of Depth/Misuses of Reincarnation.)
I wish to emphasize that this was a specific problem, at a specific time, with specific people affiliated with the APRT. Hopefully, the vast majority of APRT (IARRT) members have a more flexible and compassionate approach to the work that they do. But I bring up this example just to warn potential subjects that they must never make assumptions, but always sound out any therapist they plan to work with, and make sure that they are on the same basic wavelength, and that the connection seems right. Back To Top
Can I do my own past-life regression?
It is a possibility. (See Self-Regression Techniques: Or How To Have A Past-Life Regression On Your Own.) Using self-hypnosis, it is possible to conduct your own past-life regression - to be both the hypnotist and the subject! There are many New Age do-it-yourself books these days which provide ideas for tapping into your own past-life memory. Dr. Brian Weiss, in the appendix of Through Time Into Healing, provides a script which can be recorded on tape, then played back, as a hypnotic induction, with some questioning and silent time (which you have to leave in the tape) for the memories to actually emerge. Although self-hypnosis is usually done in this way, by writing a script, and recording it, then playing it back while you are sitting or lying down in a comfortable and quiet place, where you are free to "drift away" into your inner world, it can also be done without a tape recording, through visualizing/going through progressive relaxation, the descending staircase, and other procedures mentioned earlier in this article. (Nowadays, there are also many commercially prepared regression tapes available.)
Of course, the advantages of self-hypnosis are that it is in your hands, and that (minus tape costs) it is free! Since visiting regression therapists can add up to become quite an expense, that is a real benefit!
The disadvantages are that self-hypnosis by tape lacks a great deal in flexibility and responsiveness, and can limit and hem in the experience due to its rather mechanical format. In other forms of self-hypnosis, it is sometimes easy to drift too far during the induction, and to fall asleep. In both cases, one misses the constructive interaction of a human guide, and, when needed, the therapeutic contribution of the skilled regression therapist.
Of course, it is not only by means of past-life regressions that past-life knowledge can be gained. Other techniques may also be attempted, such as mirror-gazing, automatic writing, or using self-hypnosis to try to induce the emergence of past-life material in dreams. (See Esoteric Dreams/Past-Life Memory In Dreams.) Back To Top
Coping with past-life knowledge and information
At times, it can be difficult to cope with the experiences one encounters in past-life regressions. The imagery or the feelings involved may be disturbing, or just the knowledge of who one was, what happened to one, or what one did.
The problem has already been discussed, to some extent, earlier in this article. Basically, if one finds oneself deeply disturbed and unsettled by what seems to have happened in the past, and if one does not feel that it might only have been a fantasy, then one must, first of all, remind oneself that one is alive now, and that living, in a positive way, in the world one now inhabits, is the main priority of any human being. After recognizing this, and trying to re-ground oneself in the present - to do things in the present, and constantly refer to "landmarks of the here and now" that remind one that one really is in the present, and not the past - one must consider ways of trying to work out the issues that are causing such distress. Quite probably, additional therapy concentrating more on the healing of past-life wounds, than on the uncovering of past-life facts, should be undertaken. If the person you are working with seems limited in his abilities as a therapist, you might seek out someone new, who is stronger in this department. And, in the meantime, do not neglect the age-old recourses of prayer and the search for divine guidance and support. Back To Top
And thatís it! The end of this practical tour of the world of past-life regressions, for aspiring time-travelers. I hope it has been useful to you. For more about past-life regressions, see Books of Interest.
Best of luck in your inner journey! And when you do finally take the step to go into your own secret world, to uncover the mysteries of your past, may you find the keys, there, to a healthier, happier, greater, and more rewarding present, and future! Back To Top
Past-Life Regressions Contents