edited: Saturday, December 10, 2005
By E D Detetcheverrie
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, December 10, 2005
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My past-life regression.
So you think I believe in the idea of past lives, but in actuality I only lean toward it, still uncertain despite my odd experience. Over the decades, my personal studies into parapsychology, the occult, world religions and mythology have shown me that the belief in past lives occurs in something like 2/3 of the world's population. There are even Christians who have explained passages in the Bible to me as evidence. However, I've noted that popular beliefs from various regions of the world seem to dictate what they feel occurs in the process of reincarnation: In male dominated societies, men almost never reincarnate as women and vice versa; in some places people are believed to become animals at various points throughout their spiritual journeys, sometimes with a sort of animal heirarchy determining pretty much which creature any given person may become next; and in other parts of the world humans only reincarnate as humans, but never as animals. As in religions, which belief is the correct one? Well, as I'm fond of telling people who question me about the sorts of things which may allegedly occur after our deaths, "You'll find out when you're dead."
I have heard of stories of children who spoke of living other lives with other families which, in some cases, were allegedly researched and verified. There is the famous case of "Bridey Murphy" where an American woman undergoing basic hypnotherapy was allegedly sent back into her past too far, and began telling stories of her life as a child on a farmstead in Ireland long before her current date of birth. I use the word "allegedly" a lot because in many cases, the information presented in book form or over the Internet is pure hearsay, and seldom does anyone with any merit or professional background get to investigate the phenomena firsthand.
I was a member of the Association for Research and Enlightenment which is based out of Virginia Beach and boasts the largest parapsychological library in the world when I was informed that a past-life regression workshop was to be held in a hotel in Dover, Delaware. The cost was minimal, and I assumed I would gain some fresh knowledge of the topic, but had no idea I would become a part of a group regression. The group regression involves a hypnotist working with an entire audience all at once. There is no time to gather information on the subject ahead of time, nor to lead any subject singly toward a predetermined outcome. I'd heard that there really is no such thing as hypnosis or a hypnotic or trance state, but I was eager to observe the goings on in person even if it didn't happen to work for me personally.
Our guest that afternoon was a woman with a background in hypnotherapy, and not just past life regressions. She began by explaining to us the different means of attempting to recognize past life influences in our daily lives by paying attention to our dreams. Do you sometimes dream of existing in a different time period? Is the dream highly detailed with furniture and vehicles and clothing and the like matching the time period? Do you ever dream of being part of a family you don't know now? Of living in another part of the world? Do any of these sort of dreams repeat?
We were asked to take note of whether we seemed to have more masculine or feminine qualities despite our actual genders. Was there a place or time period with which we were currently fascinated? She told us that our music preferences, our food preferences, our choice of home decor and even clothing could give us hints about our long distant pasts...at which point everyone in the auditorium simultaneously turned and looked at me in my hiking boots, cargo pants, khaki shirt with rolled up sleeves and tribal embroidery surrounding the buttonholes, pinch front fedora with white ribbon band, and nine foot bullwhip worn around my waist as a belt. Yes, in my past life I was apparently a deer caught in the headlights...sheesh....
Anyway, she began the actual hypnosis bit by playing a piece of classical music I shall not name because whenever I hear it now, I go a tad spacey, but it's a popular, relaxing bit often used in television commercials for luxury cars and the like...unfortunately. We were asked to assume a comfortable posture in our chairs with palms upon our laps, spines straight, both feet flat on the floor, and heads held up. She told us to breathe slowly and deeply and to pay attention to each breath we took as she guided us through a relaxation exercise in which we'd inhale for a few counts, briefly hold the breath, then exhale slowly. "Imagine deep within yourself a tiny, pure white light," she said. "Now it is slowly growing larger and begins to fill you until it is you, in your very shape. Feel your body relax and warm slightly, feel your extremities begin to tingle gently, but do not go to sleep." As she spoke, I frequently peeked around the room, thinking there must be others like myself finding this quite amusing and trying to gauge the reactions of the other visitors. I didn't feel hypnotized--if there is a such a feeling--but continued to do as I was told and still occasionally peek. This white light shone through our physical housings and we became enveloped in its glow, each of us now imagining ourselves a being of pure white light. She directed us to imagine ourselves drifting weightlessly, slowly upward from our chairs, up through the ceiling, through the upper floors of the hotel and outside. We were told to keep floating peacefully, drifting upward, seeing roads turn into mere ribbons amidst patchworks of fields and forests and small communities. We were told to notice the blur of the land as it faded toward the distant horizon and the earth below became a mottling of browns and greys and greens and the silvers of bodies of water. Upward we drifted, up into the deepening haze of the upper reaches of the atmosphere, able to look down and see cloud formations, the ocean, the coastline. Onward and upward did we drift, listening to the lilting strains of violin and cello as our surroundings darkened to the rich jewel blackness of space, interspersed with the brilliant cold light of distant stars. And there we hovered, each of us a brilliant, star-like ball of light, awaiting her instructions as I continued my clandestine spying, waiting for someone to snicker.
"Now you will begin to drift back down to earth," she explained to us, "falling slowly, watching everything come back into focus again, but this time you will be in your previous life, not too far from the time of your death. Once you get there, the first thing I want you to do is look down at your feet. Very often, there will be no mirrors around when you get there, so look down first and see what you are wearing, note what kind of surface you are standing on, and then begin to explore your surroundings." I imagined all this as she told me to, and at the moment she'd counted us down from three with the instruction to look downward as soon as we got "there", something funny actually happened to me which caught me completely by surprise.
Within my mind, everything was blank. Dark. Empty for just a moment. And then I saw an image come spinning at me like a television special effect, the colors vivid and shifting strangely until the scene filled my vision and all my other senses, and abruptly I realized I was sitting before what looked like a drafting table in a long, poorly lit room which contained an entire row of these workstations pushed together with simple stools for us to sit on. I was alone. A small lamp lit my workspace. I was bent studiously over a type of ledger in which I had been drawing or writing...I'm uncertain which. The walls were bare and a rich ochre color--unless that was just an effect of the bad lighting. I could see my stiffly starched white shirt cuffs with fine lines of blue stitching like pinstripes and plain brass cufflinks in them. To my right was a doorway, open, displaying a long corridor lined with very high windows allowing in the slanting rays of what I guess was late afternoon sun.
The scene shifted abruptly the way things progress in dreams, and I found myself standing outside of a very large building, on the broad marble steps of it, gazing toward someone who stood with her back to me. She was a little shorter than I, slender, with shoulder-length dark brown or black hair, clad in a simple, but handsomely cut blue dress suit in a style that made me think of the mid nineteen forties. She was angry at me and crying. I knew I was leaving her, but that I had to, and my promises to return weren't enough to assuage her. Beyond her, there was an intricate pattern in the concrete or tile in front of the building like a huge mosaic of a compass or perhaps something like zodiac signs.
Again the scene shifted, and I saw I was inches away from a pebble-strewn dirt road, lush green grass strewn with a few wildflowers all around. Mountains in the background, fresh air, the ground rising beneath us. I was under the impression that I was tied or otherwise bound to the running board of a lory of some sort, left near the edge, head hanging down, just then regaining consciousness. I believe I was somebody's prisoner. Mainly, I just watched the ground speed away as I was taken somewhere.
Our leader then told us to go ahead to the scene of our deaths. The next image I saw was of me looking out over the edge of a bluff at a village nestled in a small valley. There were people in uniforms very near me, and while I never turned to look directly at them, I had the distinct impression I was being held at gunpoint. As I watched, an explosion wracked the center of the village, very near an old church, and I felt myself cringe internally, heart broken, helpless. I think there was laughter nearby, and then I was forced to my knees. I did not acknowledge my death during the regression, but I'm pretty sure a bullet had been put through the back of my skull.
At which point we opened our eyes and were encouraged to replay what we had seen or experienced in our memories so that everything remained fresh. Then we were told that if we wanted to, we could share our experiences with the people seated nearest us. I chatted briefly with a man who claimed he'd only witnessed a series of still images like paintings in a gallery he couldn't quite understand and was frustrated that he hadn't been able to really get into the regression. I picked up the notebook I'd brought and began to scribble frantically while everything remained fresh. Our guide then told us that any of us who wished to volunteer our experiences to the rest of the audience could do so, and as she called upon those of us who raised our hands, we heard stories of frontiersmen and Native Americans and trappers and Civil War battles. Because we had really only been "under" for a few minutes, most of the recollections were brief, some of them unclear as to where or when they had seemingly taken place. Unfortunately, one gentleman launched into a very lengthy story of his existence as a Native American chief, going into enough detail that it made the experience seem rather fake, droning on and on about his life, his daughter, how he aged and his wonderful death ceremony like he was trying to pitch an epic screenplay for Sony Pictures or something. Even the hypnotist rolled her eyes.
I had hoped for enough information to research my story, but I received so little that day, I've had virtually no luck with it at all. It's my intention to seek another regressionist who comes well-reveared and attempt a private session. I do not wish any knowledge of myself or my previous regression to play any part in it, and I want the session monitored to ensure I am not lead by the hypnotherapist into a fantasy concocted by him or her which sounds plausible enough for me to continue seeing and paying him. I will lean more strongly toward belief when I can furnish specific details, but until then I will admit that the session left me fascinated and eager to learn more about this alleged phenomena.
If you'd like some clues to your own possible previous life, here's a checklist to help get you started:
Which religion or belief system do you feel the most comfortable with?
What types of foods do you seek out or prefer?
Is there a geographical location you feel drawn to or would just like to visit?
Is there a time in history which fascinates you?
Do you enjoy music from specific regions or time periods?
What style or styles of clothing do you prefer?
What sort of decor do you employ in your home or personal space?
What types of skills or talents do you show aptitude in?
If you have a hobby or collection of any kind, could it possibly relate to a time from the past?
What kinds of people do you feel the most comfortable around?
What languages do you know or would like to learn?
Have you ever dreamed of existing in another place or time?
Have you ever experienced a particularly detailed dream in which everything seemed to match a particular region or era--down to furnishings, vehicles, accents, clothing, etc?
Jot down all possible responses to the queries above, then be sure to take note of things which repeat or seem connected. They could possibly help point you toward your past or all just be coincidental or based upon your particular environmental influences. We were also told to make note of those things we did not like at all or which make us uncomfortable, like which place would you least like to visit or what sort of foods do you hate? These answers, too, could potentially help point you in the right direction if you're interested in the idea of reincarnation.
In the meantime, however, never try to force your particular beliefs on anyone else, and always remember to keep an open mind. As to whether or not past lives are a fact or just fiction, well, you'll find out when you're dead.
Now I must off to continue my quest to learn the identity of the fair maiden whose feelings I may have hurt so long ago, and see if there's anything I can do to ease any lingering effects my sudden departure may have had. I may have betrayed her trust by promising I'd be by her side again, but perhaps we could rekindle our friendship if she knew why I was unable to return to her in that last lifetime....
Doesn't that sound like it would make a wicked cool story? ...particularly if it was true ....