By Anupama Bhattacharya July 1998 Past life therapy can help resolve karma, improve relationships, cure diseases and aid your personal growth. Above all, it can bring you a step closer to the timeless in you that can never die Do it yourselfThere are many ways to induce past life regression. However, if you are doing it with a group of friends, be sure that you feel comfortable with them. Sound SimulationPlay soft and monotonous music and face a wall in a dimly lit room. Single notes played by a woodwind are effective, as is soft meditation music. These sound frequencies transport you into an altered state of consciousness.Mirror Method In a dimly lit room, focus on your reflection in a mirror held by you. Soon, the reflection would change and you might come face to face with your personality from a past life. Historical References Here, a person mentions a particular country or time in history and all others are asked to concentrate for five or ten minutes to see if they feel any connection to it. This is repeated.Focused Reading Each group member makes some intuitive comment about the past life of the participants. It often reveals surprisingly similar responses. Resonance Method Do you feel a special affinity for any country or culture? Are your tastes specific to any period? See if you can find a pattern in your behavior. In fact, one of the many indicators of your past life is also the kind of climate you’re comfortable with. Even your body structure, especially your eyes, often bear a close resemblance to your past persona. Caution: Make sure that there is at least one healer or therapist in your group. Rebirth factor Reincarnation has been one of the integral beliefs of most religions, especially in India. However, it was Dr Satwant Pasricha, a student and co-researcher of Dr Ian Stevenson, world authority on reincarnation research, who first conducted a scientific, empirical research into the phenomenon of spontaneous past life recall in India. In her attempt to validate reincarnation, Dr Pasricha came across some interesting phenomena including strange birthmarks, often corresponding to the previous personality, or their manner of death. Her research revealed some interesting facts, such as changes in gender or class are rare in most cases of spontaneous past life recall (as against evidence from PLR). Dr Pasricha also came across cases where a child started to talk about a previous life after suffering from a near-fatal disease. But the previous personality claimed to have died after the birth of the child. This is known as parakaya-pravesh or possession. During her research, Dr Pasricha discovered that many children who remember their past lives often do so in a state of fever. ‘It is possible that the fever changed the brain metabolism enough so that previous life memories could come into consciousness,’ she writes in her book Claims of Reincarnation: An Empirical Study of Cases in India. Though her research could not provide absolute proof of reincarnation, the probabilities of fraud seemed minimal in a large number of cases. Before the sun, the moon, the earth,Before the stars or comets free,Before e’en time had had its birthI was, I am and I will be.—Swami Vivekananda To live again is to confront your immortality. As you meander from life to life, scooping out handful of moments to relive, you recognize the wänderlust deep within your soul. Seeking adventure and peace, joy and hardship—an immortal in the guise of mortality. Beautiful thoughts. But are they for real? Born with a constitution that vacillates eternally between imagination and cynicism, I approached my first past life session with mixed feelings. Can we cross the frontiers of this lifetime? What would it be like to confront my doppelgänger? And the final doubt—is there really a life beyond this? Closeted in a small, dimly lit room, as I allowed myself to be enveloped in the fragrance of incense sticks and flowers around me, the chime of bells and a Tibetan bowl ringing in my ears, I tried to follow the instructions for past life regression (PLR). If you haven’t experimented with PLR, the idea might seem scary at first. It did, to me. I wasn’t prepared to be swept off my feet into the life of some strange personality. Neither was I willing to let go of my hold on my consciousness. But Poonam Uppal, a past life therapist and psychic who was conducting the session, reassured me that nothing of the sort would happen. Most people experience PLR as a gradual unfolding of images. In fact, your conscious mind continues to wonder if you are making everything up. Only a minority experience total involvement, and fewer still have amnesia about the session. ‘A PLR is never at random,’ says Poonam. ‘You go back to understand and live this life better. So you glimpse only those events that might have a positive effect on you. Even if you experience trauma, it is to release the negativity of your past.’ Opinions differ on whether PLR should be done without a therapist’s guidance. Most Indian therapists I spoke to were dead against self-conducted regressions, or even doing it with a friend who isn’t an experienced therapist. However, past life therapists and psychiatrists outside India, such as Glenn Williston and Michael Talbot not only encourage you to try it on your own, but also explain how you can do it. Pradeep Aggarwal, a Calcutta-based hypnotist and past life therapist from India, has even brought out audiocassettes for self-regression. AN ANCIENT TECHNIQUE Though PLR dates back to the 4th century BC when Patanjali, the ancient Indian philosopher who codified yoga, instructed how past lives can be recalled through meditation, it made a comeback in modern times around the early 20th century with Albert de Rochas, a French colonel who practiced hypnotism. However, Dick Sutphen, an American past life therapist, popularized its therapeutic use in the ’60s. Raymond Moody, author of Life After Life which detailed near-death experiences, also contributed through his book Coming Back—a tale of nine of his past lives. PLT entered India less than a decade ago through the seminars of Karl Everding, a German past life therapist. Since then, a handful of therapists have been practicing PLT in India, but not exclusively. They are based mostly in Delhi and Mumbai. Past life therapists claim that PLT can easily cure obesity or overeating, often caused by past life deprivations. Diseases such as allergies, headaches (especially migraines), back problems, chronic pain, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, hyperactivity and insomnia can also be traced to past life experiences. Even depression, suicidal tendencies, addictions, child abuse, multiple personalities and schizophrenia have their roots in the past. MANY PATHS PLR can be induced through many methods, the most common being hypnosis. Though each therapist’s hypnotic suggestions have slight variations, the skeletal frame remains the same. You visualize a dark tunnel with a white light at the end which apparently connects you to a different reality. The rest is up to how well you can regress. According to Poonam, I went on an astral travel the first time. Shanti Dhawan, a school principal, could not regress at all in a group session, while there were many who immediately stepped into their past lives and apparently experienced the emotional intensity of another life. Many came out of the session crying. Carl Carpenter, a hypnotherapist, uses hypno-kinesiology, a system combining hypnosis and muscle testing, for PLR. The system consists of asking questions and checking the body’s reflexes to determine the answers. PLR can also be induced through acupuncture, as experienced by Hollywood actress Shirley MacLaine. ‘When the needles are placed around the third-eye area or the psychic meridian points, the patient begins to experience scenes, memories and vignettes of lives he has lived in the past,’ writes MacLaine in her book Dancing in the Light. Breathing can also induce regression, claims Gurdeep (Deep) Singh, a Delhi-based past life therapist and reiki grandmaster. A system also used by Everding and Dr Syed, a Hyderabad-based workshop leader and channel for spiritual energies. ‘I learnt PLT from my invisible master Power-King from the sixth dimension,’ explains Dr Syed who also remembers the destruction of Atlantis and Lemuria through past life recall. The American, Dr Morris Netherton, who introduced the non-hypnotic method of regression now named after him, made his patients talk and listened for ‘specific recurring or out-of-place phrases’. Whenever he came across one, he asked the patient to repeat the phrase till a mental picture appeared. This leads to a past life incident with which the phrase was related. The Netherton method is practiced by past life therapists such as R. Chandran and Dr Pradeep Diwan in India. Sometimes, dreams also become windows to a different reality. To understand them, maintain a chronological past life journal. Whenever you undergo a PLR or feel that you have had a glimpse of a past life, be it in dreams or a sense of déjà vu, jot it down in as much detail as you can remember. See if any characters from the past remind you of somebody in your present life. Soon, you’d become adept at recognizing images that have a past life connection. DOUBTS VS BELIEF But do we really regress to past lives? Attention seeking, information stored in DNA, hallucination-there are many explanations for past life memories. A patient is also said to develop a telepathic link during regression and reveal unconscious thoughts passed by the therapist. Not improbable. Most regressions confirm a therapist’s particular beliefs. Take, for example,
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