Have you ever considered past life regression or therapy, either out of curiosity or to resolve some issues? Here are some thoughts on past lives. Our society puts great emphasis on left-brain, analytical, rational thinking. To balance this, we can practice more right-brain, intuitive processing. One way is to explore possible past lives we might have had. It is up for grabs whether this produces a daydream fantasy or will result in an expanded consciousness of self-reinvention.
High in the Peruvian Andes our little group excitedly followed our leader, Kevin Ryerson, to the entrance to Machu Picchu. As we entered the ancient grounds, I began to feel lethargic. This was unusual since we had acclimatized for a week at a higher elevation. Soon, I found I could hardly walk, as if I weighed a ton. When I asked Kevin, he said it was probably sadness. Without warning tears began rolling down my cheeks. I sobbed all the way through our tour, puzzled by where such a flood of emotions could be coming from.
At the top of the ruins lay a sundial, where a group member did a reading on a past life I might have had there. I was supposedly left there by my beloved father, who went away to fight the Spanish. I never saw him again. In the ensuing days of our visit, I scrambled like a mountain goat all over the steep terraces, even climbing the daunting Huayna Picchu peak with ease. My Spanish became very fluent, as if I were truly at home there. Memories? Perhaps. When I first visited Machu Picchu with my family at age 15, I remembered having felt the same lethargic sadness, barely able to move!
Sometimes a person has a strong knowing about a former life. This is particularly true with children. I once talked to a pre-schooler who insisted that he was a famous soccer player “before”. He was quite matter-of-fact about it, supplying his parents with many details. Other times, like in my Machu Picchu story, the “memories” are like swirling shadowy dream stuff out of which is extracted possible shape and meaning.
Clients with recurring patterns or emotional snares that limit their lives are encouraged to explore the roots of these patterns in past life stories. We go back to the very first time they ever experienced the pattern or emotion. Their unconscious mind makes up some story about what happened. It is in the context of that story that insights can be gained to reframe the experience. Is the story a memory of a real past life? Perhaps. But it doesn’t really matter. It is only an archetype, a myth, a context for the person to gain new learning and insights. Life is a point of view. As such, past life dramas give leverage for us to change our view. The shift in point of view is then like installing an update in your computer. It applies to all lives after it, including the present. It changes the person at a deep, visceral level.
Whether we know past lives are “real” or whether they are made up and we believe or disbelieve in their existence, I go for the practical. If past lives have a practical side or usefulness, then I am interested. Here are some possible uses, whether past lives are fact or fiction.
1. They may give insight into skills, life patterns or core beliefs that we have. The person can be seen in a larger context, a bigger picture. Like seeing the whole iceberg rather than just the tip, they provide greater definition of both skills and issues.
2. They may provide an avenue for the unconscious mind to give us metaphors that contain seeds to resolve issues or expand consciousness. Like telling children stories with morals or values, we can use these past life stories to be greater than our local self.
3. Like pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, we can reinvent ourselves in a larger context – our way. We are constantly bombarded by stories that depict reality for us and sell their own values. If we reach into ourselves for these stories rather than getting them from movies, TV, novels and the like, we are literally taking charge of our own evolution. If we don’t like the “story”, we can change it, because, after all, it is our story.