The subconscious mind is a wonderfully complex piece of internal mental machinery. Most of us try to understand the complexities of the subconscious mind and the even deeper complexities of the unconscious mind with the relative simplicity of conscious mind. Herein lies the problem.
During one of my very first hypnotherapy sessions, I had a powerful, physical and emotional experience of regressing back to a war zone that was not in this lifetime. Because the subconscious mind has access to all the senses, I could actually feel the dirt on my skin, smell the dead bodies around me and feel the freezing temperatures of the night air on my skin. When I returned back to the everyday reality, I was quite puzzled and discussed this with my hypnotherapist.
There are many different aspects of “past life experiences” which are valuable in our own personal development. First, with Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy we are most concerned with the client’s presenting issue. If someone comes into our office with a marital or relationship issue, that is what we will be addressing. So our client, Sandra came in saying that her daughter Franny was extremely defiant towards her, very disrespectful and ready to fight her at the drop of a hat. To further add pain to this situation, Franny’s father, Sandra’s husband, did not seem to notice the defiance of their daughter and if he did, he usually sided with Franny.
The value of Heart-Centered-Hypnotherapy is that we can regress the client back to the source of their conflicts, in order to then resolve any underlying unconscious issues that often are contaminating their relationships. Sandra at first regressed back to her family of origin where a familiar family scene came into her awareness. It was that her older sister was beautiful, intelligent and seemed to be the “Golden Child” as she described her. Sandra’s mother and father constantly compared her to her sister and somehow, Sandra always felt she came out on the bottom rung of the ladder. We began to address this issue of competitiveness and regressed her once again on these feelings of other females disrespecting her.
In this regression, she found herself in another lifetime where she was being stoned to death for her religious beliefs by a group of zealots. It was a very painful, shaming and completely devastating experience. As she was dying in that “past life” Sandra concluded that she didn’t deserve respect and that there was nothing she could do to redeem herself. She was powerless and devastated.
We asked her to look at the faces of the people in the crowd that stoned her to death to see if she recognized any of them. She felt that her daughter, sister, mother and father (in this life of Sandra) were all in the crowd. She felt she could see a person that resembled her husband standing off from the crowd but unwilling to help her. We asked her to then get in touch with her spiritual connection and to cut the cords that have kept her connected with that past life experience. She was able to do that, along with other techniques we use in hypnotherapy to free people from their past experiences, whether in this life or another.
Now, many common questions often arise in the mind of a client: 1) Do past lives really exist? 2) Was that a true experience of a past life? and 3) What do I do with this experience?
There is much research in other cultures and countries such as India that “prove” that past lives do exist. A common study has researched many young children who were speaking about their “other family” from another town. The children were young enough to remember names, houses, family members and even addresses. The researchers set out to these towns and in 80% of the cases were able to verify what the children said and how they died in that incarnation.
In order to work with past lives, however, it is not necessary to believe this research or to believe that past lives literally exist. Dr. Carl Jung taught about the collective unconscious where we each have aspects of ourselves that relate to universal archetypes. They are the primal images that come alive every night in our dreams, or in moments of fanciful imagination. In Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, we work with these archetypes as a way to heal on the deepest unconscious level.
Another form of healing that we use is Energetic Psychodrama. We would take Sandra’s current family situation and assign roles for people in her therapy group to play. Sandra would be in a trance state and go through her feelings, eventually regressing to her childhood and then even to the “past life” in order to heal these issues. Our goal is not to unveil what some people see as the fascination of past life issues. But rather to see the links, conclusions and decisions that people make in their lives that continue to attract dysfunctional patterns of behavior.
Changing these patterns on the deepest subconscious level is the main difference between Hypnotherapy and talk therapy. It is also fascinating to explore the depths of the subconscious mind for what is stored in that vast treasure trove of surprises. And past lives just may be one of them!
Dr. Jim B. Tucker, M.D. is a board-certified child psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He has carefully researched past life phenomena, and written two very good books about it – Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives and Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives. You can learn more at http://www.jimbtucker.com/return-to-life.html.