“and then you had to bring up reincarnation over a couple of beers the other night… and now I’m serving time for mistakes made by another in another lifetime” – Indigo Girls, Galileo
This post is the first in a series of four about past lives. This first one will be an introduction to Past Life regression and it’s relation to the Spiritual path. There will be two that are narratives about a particular past-life regression experience of mine. The other will explore the concept of the nature and reliability of memories in both this life and past lives and how that might impact a past-life regression experience (and, of course, our current lives)
Past life regression and the spiritual path
In other places on the blog I have referred to psychic development or energy work as auxiliary skills that are helpful, but not necessary to actively walk the spiritual path. I feel differently about past life regression. Our souls have much more to work through than can be experienced in one liftetime. The unfortunate truth is that, if you have lived before – which frankly is likely – you are probably carrying some past-life emotional baggage.
I realize that most of us have plenty of emotional baggage from this lifetime, and the most significant pieces of that should be worked through first on the spiritual path. However, sooner or later, if you are walking the spiritual path (and even if you are not) you are going to bump into some past life influence. How do you know when this happens? Past life influence often shows up as a more extreme liking or aversion to people, places, activities, or things than is warranted. Some influences are remarkably subtle and only reveal themselves after a past-life regression session. However, often it is something you do notice that prompts desperate people (of which I have been one) to seek out past life regression in hopes of finding some answers. Like everything else, your particular feelings on the matter (of reincarnation or past lives) will influence how quickly you recognize a potential past life influence and do something about it.
Obviously these feelings can be ignored or treated as unimportant, but if they affect your life in a meaningful and distracting way – is there really any harm in checking for some past life influence? I have sat for two past-life regression sessions a number of years apart related to two different issues and they initiated some of the most meaningful self-work I have done in this lifetime. Some troublesome symptoms may disappear immediately, as happened in my case. If the past life influence is very deeply entrenched, time may be required to process the full value of the session before the individual can begin working towards recovery and acceptance. Of course, you should make your own choices about whether or not past life regression is a part of your spiritual path journey, but I believe that working through detrimental and inhibiting past life influences in the current life is critical to avoid the continuance of karmic debt carrying that needs to be resolved in future lives.
Some of the things that have come up in my own regression sessions have been quite extraordinary – I will share the narrative of one of those experiences in this series. It’s only natural that I would question the ‘reality’ of these memories. Did I just make this story up? I do believe it’s possible that the subconscious could invent stories to help us work through personal issues that we may not want to face as-they-are (much like Campbell or Bettelheim would argue that myths and fairytales allow the psyche to work through issues). I think of the story “Life of Pii” as an example of this. After much rumination, I have come to the conclusion that my past-life experiences have been authentic. However, it’s important to hold any particular outcome with a Tai-Chi fist (see the post ‘Sink or Swim’ if you don’t know what I’m talking about here) and recognize the possibility that a ‘past-life memory’ may simply be a spontaneously generated subconscious narrative that helps resolve inner conflict. Regardless, If going into a deeply meditative state allows your subconscious to weave a tale that explains and offers resolution to some deeply embedded issues in your psyche, it still seems like a worthwhile activity to explore. And if you believe (as I do) that we have lived before and that the regression experience is authentic, delving into your past lives could help resolve internal fears and angers you have been holding onto for centuries. How amazing and refreshing would that be?
 this is in no way to diminish the work of people in these disciplines
 If I were going to wildly speculate (meaning – take this with a grain of salt) maybe a long time ago we used to live really long lives in order to experience more within them, but perhaps we moved towards more and shorter lifetimes so that more experience could be obtained. For example, even in one very long lifetime as, say, a man, important karmic lessons about carrying a child, giving birth, etc cannot be learned.
 <spoiler alert> at the end of the story in the epilogue it becomes clear that the bulk of the book is really an allegory for a much more gruesome reality.