Past Life Regressions as Therapy
When considering a physical, emotional or spiritual healing modality, it’s important to understand its purposes as well the healing effects and limitations in its ability to move you forward in your wellness goals. This article is designed to give you a basic overview of Past Life Regressions as a therapy model.
Therapeutic Past Life Regressions are not parlor tricks and have serious implications about how we live our lives. It is deep work on the unconscious template that often dictates our reactions to situations, people we choose to partner with and our physical health and habits. With this in mind, when doing a past life regression, it’s important that you work with an experienced professional who can assist you with issues that may arise following your regression.
With that caveat, there are very few healing modalities that can offer the physical and emotional healing and insight that can be had through past life therapy. We are, as individuals, far more than we understand ourselves to be in this present lifetime. I believe that the numbers of previous life experiences that we have had are countless. Furthermore, my belief follows that we continue in an infinite number of future lives in order to realize who we are. As we experience, we continue to grow, change and become as we evolve into something more wonderful and wise than we can imagine. Past Life Regressions are an important tool for us to understand what we (as souls) have been becoming which assists us in moving forward on our path toward God.
Are Past Lives Real?
Most major religions have reincarnation as a basic tenant. Early Christians believed in past lives as well until the Catholic Church banned it as a heretical offense. however, nowhere in the Bible is reincarnation denied as a spiritual reality. Because of this, the tradition of reincarnation in the west is new and takes an approach that often leads to a more surface understanding. We want to know if we’ve been here before, who we’ve been and maybe to see if we were some famous past-life figure. Often times, the deep spiritual meaning as well as the importance and effect that has on our current life situations are overlooked.
Hindu tradition views reincarnation as a spiritual prison where we keep going around an endless circle of lives and reincarnation until we reach enlightenment. This enlightenment can be reached at any moment ending the cycle of incarnations. In Buddhism, incarnations are a way of development for the soul and the realization that there is no me/you or mine/yours. We come together in the realization that we are all one with everything. Obviously, these are simple statements for dynamic religions that have been in practice for thousands of years.
Therapist’s Point of View
While Past Life Therapists view reincarnation as a spiritual reality, this view is of secondary importance in Past Life Regressions. Primarily, the importance is the material that surfaces from the unconscious mind that is acting on the inner and outer life of the client. If, for instance, a client discovers that they were Jesus in a past life, the work around that manifestation is on the Christ within and the healing of that aspect of the self. So, even if one has an “unlikely” past life experience, it’s necessary to treat is as real in order to get the full benefits of the regression. The reason for this is simple. Whether you were Christ, or whether you deeply identify with that figure, your unconscious mind has brought this aspect of you to your attention.
Perhaps the client who regresses to a Christ life needs to bring that energy into his life. It is possible that a client thinks about herself as “too small” and by bringing up the possibility that she may have been Christ in a past life may be a way to help her think about herself in a larger capacity. Finally, it may be possible that this person was Christ. In getting the most out of the regression, do not judge your experience, just go with it and see what is uncovered about yourself.
Why Choose Past Life Regressions?
In my practice, I have found that Past Life Regressions are particularly valuable when dealing with issues that have no “rational” cause. Many people find healing with individuals that they are in conflict with at work, in social circles and in their families. These conflicts all have the quality of “unsolvability”, meaning that there is no outward cause of the conflict but rather the feeling that “there’s just something about that person I don’t understand.”
I find regressions are particularly helpful in solving relationship problems with partners, parents and family members because of the tendency to continue to share life experiences with these primary people. I have also noticed that people with phobias tend to do well with Past Life Regressions. Fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of water, etc. often seem to have roots in Past Life Traumas and I have found that this modality is especially effective in these cases.
There is also remarkable evidence both in my practice and the literature that chronic somatic illnesses can be relieved and often times cured through the use of Past Life Regressions. Our bodies are a reflection of our conscious and unconscious mind. As a result, certain traumas that occur in a previous life can manifest physical symptoms in this life.
I had a client named “Beth” who had problems with headaches and dizziness. Tests and MRI’s showed no physical cause. In her regression, she was “blindsided” with a blunt object while asleep in a teepee during a raid on her village. After the regression, her head was in pain and she was extremely dizzy for about a half an hour. When she regained her balance and her head cleared, she was able to go home. She reported to me that her headaches were cleared.
While Past Life Regressions can have impressive curative effects on somatic illnesses, it is important for such people to continue their allopathic care and to realize that it’s important to heal the body as well as the mind and spirit.
How to Approach a Past Life Regression
In approaching any “transpersonal therapy” it’s important to have a specific intention. While many people initially want to “just be open” to whatever they might experience, it has been my experience that we just have so much going on that an intention offers us a better context in which we can consciously understand our experience.
In approaching a regression and a new client, I never know what that client is going to see or why spirit has brought them to me in the first place. An intention allows the client a framework in which to draw conclusions and gain insights into themselves. Many people are concerned that an intention will limit what could be obtained, however my experience is that spirit never disappoints or limits us. The intention is for us, not spirit. You will experience what spirit wants you to experience.
My advice then is to have an intention, then be open to the possibilities. “This or something better” is a prayer that is often said in the new thought community and a good approach to regression therapy.
What kind of intentions work well? Anything that is problematic is really best. Specific questions about life circumstances, relationships, phobias or illnesses will all bring good results. Make sure that you keep it within the realm of your everyday life and always about you only. This will also help you see how truly spiritual your everyday life is. If you stay with things that you consider problematic, you’ll be able to see how you’ve played out your problems in the past and what you’re trying to accomplish in this lifetime.
Compulsion to Repeat
The compulsion to repeat offers a clinical explanation of why we live out the unfinished business of a past life. Jung wrote, “a complex arises where we have experienced failure in life.” Roger Woolger Ph.D. expands that phrase to “in any life”. This compulsion to repeat is the method by which we finish our unfinished business for when we repeat the behavior, we have the opportunity to change the outcome, thus finishing the business.
Past life therapy offers another way in which to finish business while learning the lessons. The client, after experiencing the failure of that particular life, is able to release the repressed emotions and see the situation from the paradigm of his current life. This view allows resolution with his past situation as well as assisting him in finding other solutions, alleviating or dissipating the existential problem.
Often times, clients who have anorexia or bulimia find past lives of starvation. Also, the compulsion to repeat is often expressed by the opposite behavior. Roger Woolger noted “the number of concentration camp past lives that appear in the U.S. (can be expressed) with all its 24-hour grocery stores and fast food chains.”
I have found that many of my interests and talents come from past life experiences. My metaphysical, Gnostic and shamanic leanings seem to come from a past life as a medieval priest as well as a medicine woman in a tribe of American Indians. Both of these lives were violent and ended in predictable and deserved death in the former and tragic, Shakespearean death in the later. Many of the drives of service began with “setting right” the past. Understanding the meaning of the lives and letting go of the repressed material has cleared the picture of the direction that I am going in this lifetime.
What if I Get In Over My Head?
This is one of the two most commonly asked questions that I hear from clients that begin working with Past Life Regressions. The unconscious mind’s “prime directive” is to protect the body and the psyche from harm, so you can rest assured that you will not experience anything that you cannot handle. This is one of the “fail safe” mechanisms built into human beings. Even when it feels difficult, know that you are ready for this experience. You are much wiser than you are consciously aware of.
We see this psychic prime directive working when discussing abuse. Often times, people do not remember their abuse as a defense mechanism allowing them to cope and survive in society. When one begins to remember abusive situations, they do not “get it all at once” but remember pieces and spend years reconstructing their childhood. To remember it all at once would be devastating to the individual.
The same is true of past life experiences. My experience tells me that people have been through torture, separation, war and abandonment both as the victim and the perpetrator. To remember all of this in present time would be absolutely overwhelming. In regression therapy, the goal is to remember just a little bit at a time, process it, and remember a little bit more.
Will this Work for Me?
There is some debate in the hypnosis community about who is hypnotizable and who is not. My experience is that a person who is willing to suspend what they think they know and are willing to allow themselves to sink into an altered state of consciousness are good candidates. My answer is “yes” provided that you’re willing to allow yourself to become deeply involved in your experience.
It’s like reading a book. While you’re reading, you allow yourself to get into the flow of the action, become deeply involved with the characters in the story and often times draw pictures in your mind about what the characters might look like, their setting, perhaps what they’re feeling, etc. This is a form of hypnosis and if you can look at it that way, you will be very successful. You wouldn’t say while reading this book,”this isn’t really happening, its just words on a page and my imagination is making it up.” No, you become involved in the action and often get your other senses involved. This ability is what I find is most helpful for people doing regression work.
What Results Can I Expect?
Past Life Regression is one of the most effective psychological and transpersonal tools available and often saves many years of psychotherapy, however, nothing is a panacea and rarely does just one or two sessions solve a lifetime of problems and habits. People often notice profound changes after one or two regressions, but without continued work and follow-up, these changes tend to be short lived. Rarely does one past life hold the answer to all of our problems, nor does one regression cover all the subtleties and insights of a given life. Our past lives were lived in the same way that your present life is, with growth spurts, times of stagnation, moments of sorrow as well as joy.
Dedicated and consistent effort in your healing process provides the best results. In the case of regression therapy, you will probably find a series of lives focusing around one issue. Successful lives around particular problems can be accessed to give you more resources and energy to move forward, difficult and painful lives can be brought to closure and redirected, again to give you more energy and resources to your own personal becoming.
Robert Morrison © 2009-17