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“Been there, done that”

Who were you in a previous life?

Want to know what you were like before you were, well, you? Try a past life regression therapy session.

An attractive woman in dangly earrings and a Bohemian black midi dress handed me a soft lavender blanket to snuggle under.

“I want you to feel comfortable,” she said. I think she was trying to make the whole experience more “therapeutic” and less spooky. But then, I am a fan of the supernatural. Who needs to dwell in the scientifically provable all the time? Sometimes, you need to take a bit of a spiritual leap.

Which is how I found myself being put under—not with anesthesia, but hypnotherapy, in a past life regression (PLR) session at the Edgar Cayce’s Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E). Cayce was a late 19th-century mystic who, in a trance, accessed the Akashic record—kind of a cosmic past-life database of all that happened, and all that will happen—and provided past life readings for the glitterati of the day. 

Here’s the idea. In a PLR, the trained practitioner/therapist asks what the person being regressed wants to focus on: it could be a specific life issue (like why they can’t find a partner), family trauma, the genesis of a recurring issue or phobia, or their purpose in this life. (Originally many clients had a chronic illness, and wanted to see if their complaint could be traced to some event in their karmic past.) 

The therapist uses meditation and imagery to get the subject to a state of consciousness, where they can access their past lives, then asks them to describe the people, events, and emotions. (Past lives? Well, if you can’t at least entertain this concept, you’re probably not a candidate for this form of therapy.)

The possible connections between your past life and this one are endless.

A woman lying down having an out-of-body experience
The therapist uses meditation and imagery to get the subject to a state of consciousness, where they can access their past lives. Photo by sdominick/Getty Images

For example, someone who has problems forming lasting attachments to family or friends may have been (according to past-life regressors) abandoned by a parent in an orphanage. Musical ability could be due to a past life as a jester in England, and choosing to live in Massachusetts connected to coming over on the Mayflower. Understanding the root of your abilities, traumas and connections can lead to forgiveness, and letting go of the past.

What was I curious about, in that connection of who I was then/who I am today? Well, in my favorite Barbra Streisand movie On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, shy Daisy Gamble goes to hypnotherapy to stop smoking, and discovers a past life as a seductress. I was the opposite of shy (and didn’t smoke), but I told the therapist I wanted to explore whether my natural assertiveness was a reaction to a life before my birth in this one.

“You’re going down . . . down . . . deeper . . . deeper . . . through the years, more relaxed with each step you take. Now, stop in time. What do you see?”

“Imagine being wrapped from head to toe in a cocoon of white light,” she began. “Close your eyes and feel yourself melting into the chair as you take deep breaths. Now, let’s have you float through time.” I felt my body relax as I listened to her melodic voice. “Breathe deeply and slowly relax your hands, then your arms, your stomach, your legs.”

Next, she instructed me to go down a beautiful staircase. “You’re going down . . . down . . . deeper . . . deeper . . . through the years, more relaxed with each step you take. Now, stop in time. What do you see?”

“I see a man with piercing eyes, dark hair and a chiseled jawline,” I said. “He is cruel to me. He is speaking harshly in a strange language. We are very poor. I’m very submissive, and I accept this treatment, because I have no other options.” Suddenly, I recognized him. You don’t always see people in your past life who are present today—but sometimes you do.

“I think in this life he is . . . a cosmetic dermatologist.” I told her.

Wait, what?

Of the people I expected to see in my past life, the man who made me look “refreshed” was not one of them. But he was more than that. We had written a book together. The way the book came about, I just decided he was an excellent doctor who needed to elevate his career . . . and I sort of charmed him into it. I can be persuasive.

Somehow, the therapist and I came to the understanding that I had a “soul contract” with this man—a relationship between souls that is preordained, decided some time before you are born. Our contract in this life was fulfilled when I wrote the book with him. And according to this logic, my assertiveness now, in this life, was a reaction to not feeling I had a choice then, in my previous life.

I know. It sounds a little out there. But it was profound too. I mean, if our childhoods make us who we are, is it that ridiculous to think that maybe a life before childhood also had something to do with it?

My past-life guide used the same tactic of a staircase, but this time I went up, up, up, back to the present. She ended by telling me: “Estelle, open your eyes.”

I did.

Hero image by wildpixel via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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