This work began as my masters thesis during my course of study with the University of Metaphysics in Arizona. I realized as I pursued my course of study with the university along side my study in traditional academia that there was a real need for multiple disciplines to come together to take a good long look at some of the issues and matters that affect the well-being of humans incarnate here on planet Earth if we were going to find any way at all to improve it. My first course of study following metaphysics was a course in psychology that followed a study on the biological aspects of aging. Following that, a bit of self-study in physics and mathematics along with contemplating consciousness in general and I realized that we are now in a place in our present day age where it is of the utmost importance that we shift away from tired and worn biases and paradigms built on false premises, move away from “because the bible says so” or what we’ve been taught to disbelieve or believe and begin to look beyond the purportedly tried and true traditions to find better answers to what seems to ail humanity.
This work is a journey into consciousness and is truly only the beginning for me. I see things differently than most probably and I realize my course of study flies in the face of tradition and I’m okay with that; my mind shall stay open because I don’t want to miss something important out of arrogance or egoism. If we closed our minds to only that which the majority considers to be tried and true, where would that leave our theoretical physicists who are gaining ground with new hypotheses and discoveries every single day? Where would that leave our doctors who practice medicine but then later learn that our beliefs affect both our illnesses as well as our prognoses at times? Where would we be if we never left our homes or read a book or entertained new thought in the form of all of the various new theories, philosophies and possibilities? I’m afraid we might still believe that the Earth is flat, that the sun revolves around the Earth and that tomatoes are poisonous. Even the Big Bang theory was not immediately well received when first introduced by Steven Hawking at Cambridge University many years ago. Great minds are those that are willing to reach beyond the walls of only the “tried and true” and formulate new questions, develop ever increasing hypotheses to test and try to validate and see where these clues all around us lead us as a species. There is so much more to who we are and our existence here on Earth than what simply meets the eye or the ear or even our limited sense of physical touch.
I intend to embark on a series of explorations from a laypersons perspective, from a spiritual perspective, from a metaphysical perspective and a philosophical perspective. I intend also to begin to look at consciousness in a way that perhaps deviates from what we know strictly from the world of academics like biology, psychology and philosophy, for example. I intend to delve into some of the great body of knowledge each of the disciplines posses in order to attempt to hold the doors open wide towards new thought and I do so because I personally care how people live, what helps them prosper and grow and how we each can contribute to this beautiful whole that only seems to begin with life on Earth. So, I begin with a concept in this work. It is one simple concept and it deals with one of the many alternatives to mainstream Western thought and turns instead to Eastern thought and non-traditional Western application with reincarnation and how it can impact the health and well-being of individuals living here now. Much more will come and not just from me but others like me who are no longer satisfied with the status quo.
I have been interested in the topic of the subject matter of this book for a very long time. I decided to conduct some research into the topic as I noticed certain themes carried throughout my life and from the stories I’ve read, heard first hand or otherwise learned about through my voracious appetite for learning. Through conducting some work on my master’s thesis, I came across the topic of reincarnation. Always curious and ever wanting to test my own beliefs, I chose this topic to explore it and better understand it from the view of those in the outside world. In my research I began to see a theme emerging I wanted to study a little more as I realized it had the potential for impact on health and wellbeing. I selected for my masters thesis, the topic of reincarnation and its impact on human health and wellbeing. This book began with my research and study for my thesis and I wanted to write and publish my work more broadly in the event others, like me, may be curious.
Another reason that I chose the topic of reincarnation was that it is one I feel somewhat familiar with. It is the very topic that led me to a conscious spiritual journey into the world of new age thought more than twenty years ago. In my observation, the problem that I’m seeking to address through exploration is that reincarnation is one of those beliefs held by many but yet perhaps little understood and so there is an absence of awareness of the impacts and benefits of reincarnation on health and wellbeing. Reincarnation is not limited to the realms of new age topics alone that some might think it is but rather it is an ancient topic as my explorations will uncover. The topic of reincarnation has only been brought to the Western world fairly recently in our history through travelers from the East reaching Western shores. Such travelers brought with them tales of their learning of Eastern religious and mystical texts. My exploration into this topic will cover some of those texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Tibetan Book of the Dead and more recent works by some pioneers in the field of past-life regression therapy such as Drs. Brian Weiss, Jim Tucker and Philip Newton.
In my efforts to craft this work, I wanted to express the importance of our human history and experience with the topic. I do this through the explorations of the pioneering works of some very brave and open minded souls. These educated writers outline the impacts their research and explorations have had not only on their patients lives directly, but also indirectly on others who are questioning their purpose in life. They impacted people just like me who happen to be wondering, curious and eager to learn about ancient understanding, new thought processes, history and the results of solid practical application in terms of helping others to deal effectively with the challenges of the day to day existence in a sense much broader than merely the physical or psychological experience.
I feel very strongly that it’s important to understand better the body of information that exists and is readily available to us whether or not it is deemed readily or reasonably acceptable. From this more open-minded perspective, we can then begin to understand the information in practical terms and how it may help with practical application by more who may be interested in this topic. Through that broader understanding, assisting human beings achieve greater health and a sense of well-being is truly paramount to making this world a better place, in my own opinion.
My plan for exploration into the topic of reincarnation and its impact on health and wellbeing follows. In my explorations, I’m going to evaluate and articulate four separate but related themes that emerge in the study and contemplation of reincarnation and its impact on the health and well being of human beings incarnate. The first theme relates to past lives and their impact on the present life, and the second theme is on an exploration of soul mates in the past-life to present experience context. The third is the understanding of the concept of soul families and the fourth is the expansion of awareness through understanding the concepts of reincarnation that may have an unconscious and potentially negative or positive impacts on human life.
This study will utilize two methodologies, if you will. One will be the study of the works in the new age genre and one will be a simple review of case studies selected from the works I have chosen to review.
I will outline my personal explorations of the literature of reincarnation over the past several decades. As my understanding of reincarnation increased, so did my understanding of the topic and my expertise in this area. This expertise has underpinned my observations and experience in my work as a spiritual counselor, providing guidance to those seeking greater health and happiness through an improved sense of positive health and well-being.
Within this section, I will begin with the review of more classical works, moving into the work of the pioneers in the field of past-life regression exploration and therapy under hypnosis and move into more contemporary works of authors who have written about their own experiences with past-life memories and the impact on their lives. I will share also, a few personal explorations. Although I’ve read hundreds of amazing works over the past several decades, I selected only a few works to share here for the sake of brevity and because I found them most relevant to the themes and threads that seemed to be emerging for me. I also wanted to show you where my thoughts emerged on the topic of reincarnation.
To some, the concept of reincarnation is pure hogwash and immediately relegated to the land of fantasy or as something those who lack accountability cling too. I could say that up until my early twenties, I was one of those and had no belief in reincarnation at all. But when I became pregnant with my first child, a book crossed my path concerning the concept of babies remembering their birth. I was immediately fascinated and so began a long journey of study into this topic through reading, personal experimentation and much thought. But enough on that for now. On to the specifics of my review…
The Tibetan Book of the Dead was written overall as a guidebook for the living officiants to use to help guide the dead through the various bardos or levels of the immediate after-life experience that each soul leaving Earth travels through. In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the bardos or levels are many but the author of the version I reviewed summarizes them as follows:
Chikhai Bardo – I: the primary bardo, the clear level seen as death,
Chikhai Bardo – II: The clear light recognition level,
Chonyid Bardo: Karmic illusions come to shine upon the soul of the departed,
Sidpa Bardo: Where one has shed all aspects of body and blood and has begun to ready one’s self for the selection of a womb door, and
Bardo Thodol – Of the Bardo Thodol, the author states it is that “…Which is the entire cycle of sangsaric existence intervening between death and birth...” (Evans-Wentz, Y.W., 2).
In the days following death, a soul is met by karmic apparitions of its unconscious choosing as it moves from one bardo level to the next. If one should align to the dullness of the light rather than the true lightness of being as the soul encounters each of his or her created characters representing common life themes, one is then immediately reborn into that category of behavior represented by the apparitions. These dull lights can represent various themes from which learning can be obtained such as greed, fear or any number of potentially negative scenarios that would later, hopefully, serve the soul through its continued learning and growth.
The dawning of the peaceful and wrathful deities during this time as the work points out, which are truly one and the same, test the soul for its readiness to fully reap the understanding of what one has learned in their most recent life incarnate. In fact, portions of the book are read to the departed person in an effort to help guide them through the various bardos and to facilitate the choosing of their best possible next life scenario.
The book concludes with instructions in the Sulpa bardo on how to choose a womb, to enter the womb door and to close it behind one in preparation for the next life.
As a whole, this particular book outlines a strong Tibetan belief in reincarnation, focusing and orienting the soul on choosing rightly for the best outcome in an incarnate experience and after that experience is done, the cycle again repeats until the soul has finished its learning cycle. Clearly, in Eastern philosophy, this work is representative of a long held belief in reincarnation and a plan for assisting it as a choice made wisely for the soul of the recently departed.
Choosing an incarnation, from the perspective of this work, is not something one should partake in blindly. One must be knowledgeable and ready to engage in the otherworld of consciousness where the choice is offered so that the individual may choose wisely. This aspect of consciousness is an interesting one. This book speaks of the states of consciousness where we begin to organize our focus of energies and intent for the purpose of physical incarnation and continued learning. This work points out that there is a purpose to life and that purpose is learning and soul growth, I gather.
This book is not limited to the Bhagavad Gita itself but includes also narrative interpretation by Paramahansa Yogananda as remembered and committed to writing by one of his disciples Swami Kriyananda (J. Donald Walters). Within the narrative of the Bhagavad Gita as originally written by Byasa, Krishna and Arjuna engage in deep philosophical discussion surrounding the battle of Kurukshetra, which is truly a metaphor for the battle of dark and light within. Through these communications with Krishna, Arjuna begins to understand the larger scheme of existence, the purpose for interaction, reincarnation and growth for the soul. In a particular chapter, Krishna discusses reincarnation by teaching Arjuna that the soul never dies and remains part of God always and as a result of this truth, is truly indestructible. (Note to the reader, take this concept a little broader and hold onto it in this way: No matter what, we are always and ever connected to Source through the medium of our shared consciousness).
Within this amazing work it is explained that the ego attached to the soul must incarnate in order to evolve toward liberation from Maya (the world of illusion). The soul is already perfect just as it is, this work points out from a great number of perspectives as outlined in lengthy discourse between Krishna and Arjuna. A direct quote from the sacred text at 2:11 expresses this well:
“With words of love you have been grieving over those who deserve no lamentation. The wise mourn neither for those who live on Earth nor those who leave it,” (Walters, J. Donald, 55)
The meaning is further explained by the author as an understanding that the soul does not die but its consciousness lives on. Those who understand the purpose of reincarnation and life in general begin to understand that all experience of life and death are part of the soul’s process of learning, growth and further spiritual evolution.
Within this work Krishna explains in detail to Arjuna that souls are drawn back to Earth, the master plane where concerns reflect whatever consciousness has developed so far. Another direct quote from the author further reinforces the holy text’s focus and belief in reincarnation as follows:
“…Krishna then, however, goes on to explain a deeper side of death and rebirth. For the Bhagavad Gita, is, above all, an allegory of soul evolution. (Actually, the soul doesn’t evolve, for it is ever perfect. It is the jiva or ego—the soul attached to the body – which evolves toward liberation.” (Yogananda, Paramahansa, Page 54).
(Another point for the reader to note and hold onto right here is the concept of stratifications of consciousness that go beyond psychology alone.)
The original text that is the basis of this work is an ancient one (estimated to have been written between 400 BCE and 200 CE) and part of a much larger body of holy scriptures included in the Mahabharata, Vedic texts from the Hindu traditions. Clearly, again, Eastern philosophy is quite comfortable with the concept of reincarnation and accepts it as more than just a belief but as a reality that reincarnation is part of our existence in the grander scheme of existence.
A more recent work I include here for bridging the gap between the Eastern and Western thought on reincarnation is a work by J.B. Tucker. This particular work outlines that, “A surprising number of Americans believe in reincarnation—between 20-27 percent, depending on the poll—and a similar percentage of Europeans do as well…” (Tucker, J.G., 4).
The author sets the stage of his study into the topic of reincarnation by stating that those in the west that believe in reincarnation cannot base their belief on evidence as many are unfamiliar with the research done at the University of Virginia, for example. The author cites the Harris Poll in 2003 and found that from that poll it is indicated that 21% of Christians believe in reincarnation.
Life before Life is an analytical rather than emotional work of research on the topic of reincarnation. In fact, the first edition was titled “Life After Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives.” The author draws on the research conducted at the University of Virginia in 1958 by Dr. Ian Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson was one of the original pioneers in the field of past-life research. When the American Society of Psychical Research advertised a contest in 1958, Dr. Stevenson responded by submitting the winning entry titled, “The Evidence for Survival from Claimed Memories of Former Incarnations.” Life Before Life cites that 44 cases were reviewed for Dr. Stevenson’s essay that were gathered from previous cases reported from around the world.
Within this work, the author discusses a topic outlining a compelling argument for reincarnation through the marks on the body in one individual in the same locale as a reported past-life memory of illness or even the cause of death in a prior life. In this concept, the author indicates that a soul may carry physical evidence from a prior incarnation into a current one. The author then goes into discussion very key to my focus which is also bringing certain behaviors, preferences and even irrational fears from a prior incarnation into a current one. The author references the work of Dr. Stevenson in working with children experiencing various fears and phobias that were actually relieved by reliving the memories of their prior times incarnate. In my case studies I will share with you a personal testing of this. Even if this personal experiment must be considered biased, I did encounter a result I will share later that I found interesting to say the least.
Journey of Souls is one of the classic works in reincarnation, in my opinion. In this work by Dr. Michael Newton, he describes his volumes of collected case studies from his clients over time utilizing hypnotherapy techniques to regress them to the origins of current life ailments believed to have originated with past lives. In this particular work, Dr. Newton has categorized his cases into topical explorations in an effort to understand soul development through reincarnation.
His studies and cases selected for publication span death and departure, returning home, interactions in the beyond, learning and development, in between levels, our guides and their purpose to the various levels of soul existence. His case selection continues the exploration of life selection, preparing for bodily choice, preparing to incarnate and then rebirth. These concepts, I cannot help but notice are not unlike those outlined in one of the works I previously reviewed, The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Of significant note in this book is an emerging common thread among the souls. This common thread is a realization of the oneness of origin, the individual striving for learning through incarnate experience and even realization of aspects of one incarnation personality into another. The cases under regression seem to emphasize the need for amnesia as a way to maintain focus in this incarnation in real-time without interference of past life memories. As my partner recently mentioned to me in conversation, “You can only drive one car at a time.” This same concept applies here in that one couldn’t really focus on the life at hand with all of the memories and details of other lives flooding one’s consciousness. So there is a need for a veil of amnesia. The veil or the ego that holds it is important.
Another of the common themes in this book underscored the advancement of souls while at the same time holding a complete lack of judgment or a sense of competition between the levels of development of individual souls. That is very different from our experience here where competition seems to run rampant and we humans seem to hold first this “dog-eat-dog” approach to life (forgive the axiom, it isn’t one of my favorites but aptly outlines the point). But I digress…back to my review! Dr. Newton’s collection of cases in this book represent an array of individuals from various cultures, types of work along with various present day experiences or ailments encountered with origins in sometimes not only one but several past-life incarnations. In one of the narrative sections of his book, Dr. Newton made the following observation:
“Both positive and negative emotions are mixed between soul and host for their mutual benefit. IF a soul only knew love and peace, it would gain no insight and never truly appreciate the value of these positive feelings. The test of reincarnation for a soul coming to Earth is the conquering of fear in the human body. A soul grows by trying to overcome all negative emotions connected to fear through perseverance in many lifetimes, often returning to the spirit world bruised or hurt….Some of this negativity can be retained, even in the spirit world, and may reappear in another life with a new body…” (Newton, Michael, 69)
If you are curious about the subject matter of reincarnation in general, I couldn’t recommend this work enough. For the curious, it provides much food for thought as do the rest of the works I reviewed that underpin and align with my own thoughts and experience on the topic of reincarnation. As I read these works reminding myself to keep a very open mind, I begin to see how there is so much that we understand just a little. If we could endeavor to understand more, how might that change how we live our lives? I wonder…
In this book I’ve chosen to review and share here, I deviate slightly from the general theme of reincarnation and dive into one of it’s specialized focus areas, that of the concept of soul mates. In his work, Dr. Brian Weiss makes a compelling case for the concept of soul mates. Forming this opinion from countless case histories, Dr. Weiss explains that there is a certain someone for everyone. He also explains there may be several Someones in a soul’s life that qualify in the category of a soul mate or even as part of a larger soul family. This is a bit different than the common belief that there is only one true soul mate or our other half we so often seemingly long for. Personally, I tend to agree with this Dr. Weiss’ concept. But, I’ll get to my thoughts on these concepts later on.
In Only Love Is Real, Dr. Weiss tells a story of two particular soul mates who happened to be two of his patients. The tale begins with the case histories of Elizabeth and Pedro. Each had been separately suffering depression from the loss of a loved one as well as challenging relationship issues with family and/or partners. Through past-life regression under hypnosis, Dr. Weiss takes both Elizabeth and Pedro, respectively, back through various lives and times and each begins to improve in terms of their present day physical and emotional concerns as well as troubling symptoms.
As Dr. Weiss continues to work with these two patients, he discovers that each is describing similar aspects of potentially, the same life in Palestine. Pondering this, Dr. Weiss continues his work with the two of them understanding the lives they have held together and even goes so far as to make an arrangement for them to meet by scheduling them sequentially for appointments on the same day so that they may run into each other.
The first time they met in person, neither pursued further interaction but Dr. Weiss holding the information of each soul’s experience of the other made a second attempt to have them run into each other. Pedro was leaving the country to return to Mexico and Dr. Weiss felt that time was running short for the opportunity for the two of them to connect and so felt compelled to arrange their next appointments sequentially on the same day so that they may run into each other yet again. Each noticed the other but neither pursued any further information with or about each other. Being bound by confidentiality, Dr. Weiss understood clearly he had to maintain boundaries as required by the ethics of confidentiality.
Dr. Weiss expressed in his book that he wondered about this particular connection and how destiny might work its way into introducing these two. He was not disappointed. As fate would have it, both Pedro and Elizabeth, through a series of airline rescheduling mishaps ended up on the same plane. Having seen each other before in Dr. Weiss’ office, there was a sense of safety in connecting and also a sudden and unexpected compelling “pull” described in their connecting from observing each other from separate locations within the gate waiting area. After conveniently being seated next to each other on the flight, an encounter with turbulence that caused Elizabeth distress, Pedro reached for Elizabeth’s hand. The electricity of meeting, lifetimes unfolding unconsciously and perhaps at some level consciously, the deeper connection had at last been made. After that meeting the two decided to pursue spending time together, became romantically involved, compared past-life history notes and reported back to Dr. Weiss that they were both incredibly happy together and now married.
Dr. Weiss notes in this book that he has frequently regressed couples who have experienced prior lives together and believes that we have large soul families that we choose to incarnate with and to learn from in various ways and from different roles. The life in Palestine for example, Pedro and Elizabeth, the main focal cases for this book, were father and daughter. The roles we experience each other in change in ways that will promote the greatest learning for the souls involved. Dr. Weiss makes a good case for soul mates as well as healing in this book. Dr. Weiss outlines his commitment to continuing understanding of reincarnation with this quote from his book:
“I am reminded that the concept of reincarnation is only a bridge. The therapeutic results of walking over this bridge are beyond question. People get better, even if they don’t believe in past lives. The belief of the therapist isn’t important either. Memories are elicited and symptoms resolve…Reincarnation is a bridge to greater knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. It reminds us of what we take with us and what we do not, of why we are here and of what we need to accomplish in order to move on. It reminds us of the incredible guidance and help along the way, and of our loved ones returning with us to share our steps and to ease our burdens.” (Weiss, Brian, 170)
I didn’t feel that my exploration into this area of consciousness and reincarnation would be complete without including the work of Dr. Raymond Moody. In this book, the author explores the near death experience with specific details concerning the accounts of patients who have reported near death experiences. Dr. Moody researches, investigates and explores the various phenomenon that occurs to those experiencing death during traumatic experience, surgical procedures, etc. and return to tell the tale. In this book, Dr. Moody makes an objective and yet compelling argument for the existence of life beyond the current incarnation via the fact that consciousness of a being exists beyond the corporeal physical existence within a body. Dr. Moody writes about processes he has developed to help individuals achieve a state in which they experience the spirits of loved ones who have departed allowing them the opportunity to be comforted in the concept that life does not end at death.
In the Preface of Life After Life written by Dr. Melvin Morse (another pioneer in past-life research whose work is also very important to the field), he states of Dr. Moody’s work:
“Prior to the publication of Life After Life, the term near-death experience did not even exist…Once Dr. Moody took the time to actually listen to people who had survived heart attacks and so learned about their near-death experiences, our society had a sort of collective “a-ha-moment” and began to realize that something very spiritual happens to us when we die…Life After Life was hugely successful because it addressed two major problems in twentieth-century Western Civilization: (1) the loss of collective societal myths having to do with death and dying, and (2) the systematic devaluation of anything to do with the spiritual side of humans.” (Morse, M., x)
Another important quote I wanted to include from Dr. Moody’s book as it supports the explorations I’m outlining comes from none other than another pioneer in the field, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross. In the Forward to Dr. Moody’s book, Dr. Ross states:
“…We have to have the courage to open new doors and admit that our present-day scientific tools are inadequate for many of these new investigations…They will know that this account of Dr. Moody’s findings is true, because it is written by a genuine and honest investigator. It is also corroborated by my own research and by the findings of other very serious-minded scientists, scholars and members of the clergy who have had the courage to investigate this new field of research in the hope of helping those who need to know, rather than to believe…” (Kubler Ross, E, xxiii).
The concept of consciousness existing beyond the body incarnate is important to my explorations into reincarnation. There is a picture I am attempting to paint and that is one that needs more painters (those willing to open their minds, explore and understand the various levels of consciousness so we can all better understand the bigger picture). While we are making great strides in better understanding consciousness, we have a long way to go. Understanding the concept of consciousness is in part what understanding reincarnation is all about. In one of my own related works soon to be published, The Ego is the Veil, I will explore this aspect more deeply.
In this book, also by Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Raymond Moody wrote the Introduction. Considering that Dr.’s Weiss and Moody are two of many pioneers in the field of psychology exploring the effects of past-life and regression therapy, I felt this summary wouldn’t be complete without mentioning his initial commentary. Dr. Moody points out in the Introduction that the Western society has undergone a revolution in consciousness. He has noted that an entire generation of young people has grown up hearing and reading about near death experiences, past life regressions, out of the body journeys, apparitions of the deceased and a host of other remarkable phenomena of the spiritual life. Dr. Moody underscores that the public interest in near death experiences really began in 1975 and while some have dismissed the concept as a mere fad, it is now more commonplace in understanding many years later and that through his own work he has discovered it is more than just a fad, it is a reality.
In Through Time Into Healing, Dr. Weiss writes about his humble beginnings in his past-life regression work holding concerns of how academia would perceive him and regardless, throwing caution to the wind, he came out and began writing about it. But first, he realized research was needed. He discovered other pioneers, although very few in number at that time, came forward with similar findings and results and they began a whole new body of work in past life incarnation understanding. Dr. Weiss, in many of his books has noted psychological improvement to a number of ailments from simple and complex physical ailments to more mentally induced ailments like anxiety, grief and depression.
In considering his many cases and experiences of patients undergoing past-life regression, he notes two particular types: 1) “Classic” (Weiss, 31) and 2) “Key moment flow” (Weiss, 34). Each of these provides two specific ways in which a patient may experience a past life. Dr. Weiss notes that both types have proven beneficial to his patients in terms of providing an impact to their healing and overall sense of well-being.
Dr. Weiss writes about the challenges of his early days of work with this therapy in that not many papers or works existed from which he might glean greater understanding. In his research he came across the body of work from Dr. Ian Stevenson. Dr. Stevenson’s work consisted of documentation of children who remember birth and their lives just prior to this one. Dr. Weiss turned to a number of religious doctrines in order to conduct research and found documentation in Eastern Religions such as those described in Buddhism and Hinduism. He had also learned that the Sufi tradition of Islam has a very beautiful tradition of reincarnation, rendered in poetry, dance and song. Dr. Weiss also found that in Judaism there was a fundamental belief in reincarnation. He also learned that in the Orthodox and Chasidic communities, belief in reincarnation continues unabated today. The Kabbalah, mystic Jewish literature dating back thousands of years is filled with references to reincarnation. When Dr. Weiss researched the history of Christianity, he discovered many of the early references to reincarnation in the New Testament had been edited out in the fourth century by emperor Constantine when The Bible as we know it today had been canonized. Apparently, the emperor had felt the concept of reincarnation was threatening to the stability of the empire--possibly, citizens that believed they may have another opportunity to be obedient and law abiding in another life, may not do so well in the current one along the lines of the Church’s tenets.
This paper contains multiple case studies representing various types of individuals suffering multiple types of maladies in the present that Dr. Weiss regressed to the points of origin in past-life incarnations. Dr. Weiss reports the success of each of these regressions in terms of the alleviation of the intensity or removal all-together of life long pain, fears, phobias and other concerns patients held before entering therapy. Perhaps unexpectedly, Dr. Weiss stumbled upon a way to thin the veil of the ego of each of his patients through the relaxed state induced by hypnosis, have them reach into the memories of past experience and bring them forth to current consciousness for greater understanding and ultimately, healing.
Dr. Weiss indicates in this work that he quickly learned that he was going to have to be one of the pioneers to begin writing papers on this topic and that he has with this book of many documented case studies of reincarnation from his own case load of patients through time and its impact as a strong healing modality for many. Dr. Weiss closes this book leaving the readers with details and instructions for moving through past-lives or getting to those past lives through multiple modalities such as meditation, word-association and listening to recorded scripts to help produce the atmosphere necessary to call forward past-life information that will be beneficial to the person undergoing the work on his or her own.
Dr. Weiss states earlier in his book that the consciousness of the individual will not allow them to recall things too traumatic for a soul to experience and even if a patient stumbles onto something traumatic, he or she can outreach to a clinical therapist for assistance with integrating any troubling feelings of guilt or shame at any past life experiences recalled during self-work. In this book Dr. Weiss documents the nuts and bolts of his beginnings in exploration into the topic, how it has been used by himself and other pioneers in the field to promote healing in their patients through past-life memory recall and the techniques used to get there.
In order to further support my exploration outlined within this paper, I’ve selected some case studies from within the works referenced herein. For the specific cases selected, each comes from the authors of the works I reviewed and includes patients in which the doctors documented, with patient permission, the basic elements of current symptoms of a physiological or psychological nature, the effect on their present lives, the origins of the issues causing the symptoms and the alleviation of symptoms through discovery of the origins within past lives. The doctors each used a similar methodology to explore the origins, hypnotherapy. I have selected only 3 of the cases from my reviewed works to provide an example of those representing physiological complaints alone, combination physiological and psychological complaints and finally, purely psychological complaints. In the final case study, I have included my first experiment in past-life regression therapy and will share the outcome of that particular session.
I found it more than coincidental that the same exploration of prior incarnations seemed to be at the core of some of the ailments presented in each of these case studies, including my own. I’ll talk more about my thoughts on why this might be so later in this book.
Case Study 1 (Life Before Life, Tucker, 52)
Description/Symptoms: At birth Patrick was found to have a slanting birthmark with the appearance of a small cut on the right side of his neck, a nodule on his scalp above his right ear and an opacity in his left eye, diagnosed as corneal leukoma that caused him to have very little vision in that eye. When he began walking he limped, favoring his left leg. When Patrick was 4 and a half years old he began talking about his old house and wanting to return to it. However, this was not a house that he had lived in but one his mother and his older deceased brother Kevin lived in. Kevin died at 2 years of age. Kevin had a central line place on the right side of his neck while he went through treatment – the same location of Kevin’s central line. Patrick had a mark that appeared to be a cut right in the same place where is older brother Kevin had a biopsy and then, tumor removed. When Kevin was one year old he had a fall and broke his leg. The same leg much younger brother Patrick began to favor as soon as he could walk.
Observations: The younger bother Patrick displayed without knowledge due to his very young age, similar physiological symptoms of his older but deceased brother Kevin who died at a very young age.
Case Study 2 (Healing the Body by Healing the Mind, Weiss, 56)
Description/Symptoms: Elaine presented with intermittent excruciating pains in the neck, shoulders and upper back. Elaine also presented with a fear of heights.
Under hypnosis and seeking the origins, Dr. Weiss and Elaine discovered a life in which Elaine had been a soldier who had lost a battle and found a scene under hypnosis where she had her hands tied behind her back. She was lanced and then pushed over the edge of something as she recalled falling into the water of a mote. Elaine reported always having both a fear of heights and drowning.
Observations: Following the session with Dr. Weiss and exploring this particular memory, Elaine reported complete alleviation of her symptoms.
Case Study 3 (Through Time Into Healing, Weiss, 87)
Description/Symptoms: A female presenting with depression and relationship problems with her son. Under hypnosis Hope discovered a past life in which she worked for a man that was taking advantage of her. She left the employment of that man but harbored great anger in that life towards this man. On further scrutiny under hypnosis, it turned out the man in that life was her present day son whom she had so much trouble with. Through continued therapy and follow-up, Hope begins to make greater strides toward understanding and integrating the former life experience of disappointment and anger and her current feelings towards her son. Dr. Weiss states that she began to understand which issues are hers to deal with and which are her son’s. It was important to her recovery to discover the feelings at the core of this relationship that seemed to be causing so much distress seeming to cause her depression had origins in another life when the relationship was different.
Observations: In this case, a past life interaction that resulted in anger on the part of the patient for being taken advantage of manifested in the present life having the person who was the source of her anger being the very same person she was angry with in a past life. Through this understanding the patient begins to make strides towards understanding and recovery.
Case Study 4 (My Own Journey)
Subject: Myself (age 24)
Symptoms: An undiagnosed condition called vasovagal syncope. The Mayo Clinic defines it as:
Vasovagal syncope (vay-zoh-VAY-gul SING-kuh-pee) is one of the most common causes of fainting. Vasovagal syncope occurs when your body overreacts to certain triggers, such as the sight of blood or extreme emotional distress.
The vasovagal syncope trigger causes a sudden drop in your heart rate and blood pressure. That leads to reduced blood flow to your brain, which results in a brief loss of consciousness.
Vasovagal syncope is usually harmless and requires no treatment. But it's possible you may injure yourself during a vasovagal syncope episode. Also, your doctor may recommend tests to rule out more-serious causes of fainting, such as heart disorders. (Mayoclinic.com)
For me, this wasn’t a very serious matter and the symptoms were quite mild. I never actually passed out from it but if I stood up too fast, well, it was a challenge. Now, with that understanding, I’ll go into the experience.
The intent for the experience was just to experience a past-life, any past-life that may have some relevance to me in this one. I underwent hypnosis and the doctor took me back through various points in my life and then beyond the point at which I entered this one. In a deep and relaxed state of consciousness, she indicated I would explore a lifetime in my past that was relevant to my current incarnation. I had no expectations other than exploring past-life regression to see what it was and what it was like and so went into the matter with an open mind. Not long into deeper levels of consciousness did I find myself staring out into a very busy unpaved street with horse drawn carriages in a bustling city. It was not unlike some of the videos you might find on the internet showing the earliest years of San Francisco, California just not quite as busy. The doctor asked me to look down at my feet and as I did, I saw I was wearing men’s black leather shoes. As the doctor asked me to describe what I was wearing, I saw very clearly that I was wearing a man’s suit. It was black and made of wool that was a bit scratchy and uncomfortable. The city street I was on, while bustling and busy was not quite a busy as other cities.
During the moment of this lifetime I explored, I managed a print shop that printed anything from news papers to pamphlets and flyers sometime around 1860. I had a family and dear friends. I was young, somewhere in my early thirties. I recalled a scene in which I was taking a carriage ride with a dear friend, a female. The doctor asked me if I recognized the friend as someone in this life and I did. The soul was that of one of my dear best male friends in this life. During the scene I recalled with my friend she (he) was making me laugh not unlike he does in this life as I drove the carriage down a bumpy road country road outside of the city. With the doctor’s help, I explored trivial things about this life that were actually quite pleasant. The doctor asked me to tell her about how that life connected to this one. In that life, I had a very weak heart and as a result, I died very young for what was an untreatable heart condition. The doctor directed me to the moments shortly before my death. The scene went gray and then all of a sudden I recalled lying in a bed in a small room in my home surrounded by family and friends. I took my last breath peacefully as if going to sleep. The doctor took me beyond the stage of death and asked me to tell her what the connection was between that life and this one. Under hypnosis, I explained as if I were a third person that “the woman in this life has a condition called vasovagal syncope, it stems from the former life and is nothing but a residual memory that will dissipate in time. The other message for this woman is that she is always surrounded by loved ones just as she was in her former lifetime.”
I did not know at the time of this exploration that I had vasovagal syncope as it had not been diagnosed. I was aware of its symptoms even without a name. I had, since a child, nearly blacked out a number of times when rising from a sitting position or after kneeling. Neither my parents nor I ever gave it a second thought as something to worry about. It wasn’t until a few months after my past-life regression session that I had suffered a fall and a concussion that the doctor told me I had the mild malady and that I just needed to rise slowly whenever I was sitting. I was then, 24. The problem, as was stated under hypnosis did actually dissipate. I’m now 47 and I haven’t suffered this since my twenties. The problem literally disappeared. Did it disappear because of the past-life regression? Who knows for sure.
My findings as a result of the review of literature, my own first hand experiences as well as other reading on this topic affirms my own thoughts that reincarnation and the episodes experienced in former lives impacts our experience in the present. The evidence of past lives in the present may seem at times to be disturbing but ultimately through exploration and understanding we are lead to greater health and well-being often as a result of the simple act of remembering.
Stepping back from the specifics of the topics addressed in the literature as well as the case studies and my own experience, I found a theme emerging that is not limited to proving or disproving reincarnation or justifying or refuting past-life regression therapy as a true healing modality but rather that there is just simply a theme to our experiences of reincarnation. That theme has to do with the lessons in life that we ourselves determined we most wished to learn. The reasons we wished to learn seem to be for the greater enrichment and understanding of our overall consciousness and understanding of existence. The thought alone that we do not die but return may be enough for some to better understand there is no reason to fear death if your consciousness does not die, so move on and enjoy the experience of this particular journey incarnate.
Dr. Newton, in his work, Destiny of Souls, indicates a similar sense when he states:
“Life is a matter of constant change toward fulfillment. Our place in the world today may be different tomorrow. We must learn to adapt to these different perspectives in life because that, too, is part of the plan for our development. In so doing, there is a transcendence of Self from the masking process of a temporary outer shell to that which lies deep within our permanent soul mind” (Newton, M., 401).
Each of the authors of the books I reviewed outlined case study after case study of their own patients presenting with physiological or psychological symptoms or even curiosity that lead them to the exploration as well as the finding of past-life interactions with others that seem to have an impact on the current life. But, there is more. One author in particular writes about a concept that underpins the theme of my own understanding and experience of past-life memories and the impact they’ve had on my own life with the process of querying his patients not only about the occurrence of past lives but the purpose. In understanding the purpose of lessons learned from past lives, we see how they impact our present and continue to foster our learning and remind us of many things we seemed to have conveniently or purposely forgotten to make the journey that much more exciting for us this time around.
In my own experience I have come to understand that the threads of many a past-life memory still weave their essence through my own current life today. The purpose is not to confound, cause pain, distress, ailments or fatigue but to give us an opportunity to experience people, situations and interactions that might trigger the theme we intended for ourselves for learning in this incarnation. Through the various case studies simple phobias and fears turned out to be remnants of fears from past lives and they seemed to exist for a very good reason. Certain ailments, random pains and diseases seem to reveal origins in past lives as well for similar purpose. Even more interesting was that in some cases, the memory of the origin of the fear or even a string of the same fear in life after life recalled seemed to materialize in the present and for the same reason. That reason seems simply to be one of learning, self-enrichment, greater understanding, reducing fear and reaching for the brighter side of life through greater understanding of the purpose of the events that we face.
Clearly the material presents similar findings to my own thoughts on this topic. We learn best through direct experience and reinforcement over time and that the “time” part of this sentence is not limited to the time spent in a single incarnation. We have established themes and patterns to foster our growth. As Dr. Newton points out in his querying of patients in the in-between-state, there are levels of development not unlike our simple schooling arrangement here on planet Earth today. There are beginners, intermediate and advanced lesson themes that emerge in past lives and a simple look at the beautiful and wonderful characters and actors we interact with on a daily basis seems to ring an echo of truth of this concept. At least in my opinion it does.
I come away from my review of the literature both ancient and contemporary, my metaphysical course literature on the topic as well as my own life experience and exploration into the topic of reincarnation and it’s impact on the health and well-being of human beings incarnate today with greater confirmation of what I already knew. Our past lives affect the present one in remarkable ways. Past life trauma suffered that manifests in a present life interaction adds a depth and importance to the experience and a need or opportunity for the experiencer to transcend old patterns of thought, to expand consciousness and understanding thereby creating the very necessary space within which to enrich our own health and well being in this incarnation.
One of the challenging aspects of the concept of reincarnation is that there is no empirical scientific way in which to prove it exists at all as yet. However, it remains a part of a higher consciousness that is hinted at through new age philosophy and the existence of the concept in ancient literature from around the world. Further, although it cannot be empirically or scientifically proven, past-life regression therapy has been used by the psychiatric profession with some success in the alleviation of physical symptoms, disease states and psychological impairments.
Another challenge in the concept of reincarnation itself comes to us through either the spontaneous occurrence of memory, dreams or through the sometimes controversial practice of hypnotherapy which cannot be proven scientifically as an achievable state other than through self-report (Hanary, K., 1992). The reason these three things are considered controversial is that all three are subjective and highly dependent upon self-report. In particular, memory may not be precise. False Memory Syndrome can obscure the truth of a memory through various brain functions and psychological states (Flannery, K., 2003). With dreams, we have another issue in that dreams are also not empirical evidence of memory and can be indicative of the mind’s processing of daily events, psychological interpretations or pure fantasy in some cases (Simons, I., 2009).
Aside from the reports that lead us towards reincarnation of an actuality standing on shaking ground concerning scientific proof, we have evidence that even if conjured by the mind alone, still has an impact on the health and well-being of an individual. Why this can vary so broadly from belief and faith in religious teachings, to experience conveyed through numerous mechanisms to more controlled attempts at investigation through various means of inquiry such as self-report of near death experience, spontaneous or past-life memories induced through hypnosis or other unexplainable or intangible sense or feeling of an individual and documented case studies of impact of reincarnation on the health and well-being of human beings incarnate.
Belief alone, to me, is merely an untested hypothesis. I’ve written about one of my own incidents of spontaneous past-life recall explored further under hypnosis in my book, Expanding Horizons: Growth and Beyond, (1). I can assure you the themes of that particular experience were impacting me in my present life at that time and were relived with the memory and further exploration with the assistance of a trained hypnotherapist in past-life regression therapy. I also noted a similar occurrence within the Case Study section herein when documenting my first personal experiment of the experience of a past-life regression session. Whether we are consciously aware or not, believe in reincarnation or not, subscribe to the new age or ancient religious thoughts or not, our health and well-being are still impacted by the themes encountered in past lives.
As a number of authors I have reviewed specifically herein and many others I have not noted in this book have pointed out in their observations of their own patients and expressing their own thoughts on the matter objectively or subjectively, there seems to be an impact of past incarnations on a present one and that may be either positive or negative but if negative, going back to the original source through exploring reincarnation can have a positive affect in our health and well-being.
As for me, I do not consider myself a believer in reincarnation. I rather consider myself a “knower” as I have taken my belief to a level of testing sufficient to give me cause to understand that reincarnation is real and its impacts on our lives are not without purpose that is ultimately for our greater well-being whether or not we fully understand how or why. In this way, I am a bit biased as I engage in this exploration of reincarnation and its impact on the health and well-being of humans. I think it is important to keep an open mind and consider the body of evidence being collected by well educated researchers and investigators on the topic.
Again, while one can still argue, and validly so, that reincarnation is nothing but a production of the mind, they still cannot fully refute the body of case histories and studies of improvement to health and well-being of patients who sought treatment undergoing past-life regression therapy or the remembering of the origins which seem to result in alleviating the former uncomfortable or painful symptoms one experienced prior to seeking treatment. Some do not seek treatment and continue to suffer without reaching beyond the limits of pure disbelief and free will dictates this must be so.
If we, as a society were to find a way to remain more open-minded to possibilities and potentialities in alternate beliefs or the facts the case studies of the authors I have chosen to review in my explorations herein, they might greatly benefit from greater understanding of the origins of challenges they face in life. Expanding awareness along the lines of reincarnation in particular could benefit individuals by helping them to realize there is much more to life and their experience than mere drudgery or acquisition of the most wealth or the best material possessions. If the concept could be embraced by more even as a possibility that they determine to go out and test for themselves, they may find their life experiences here greatly enhanced or at least potentially better understood.
I disagree with the term YOLO (You only live once) bantered about so simply by some of the populace. We don’t have just one life but even if you believed that, your life could be improved in the present by contemplating the possibility that some of your challenges have long-running themes through various life-times and particularly with grief and loss through death, it is not the end. Our loved ones are not gone forever when they die but are just, elsewhere for a time.
One thing I am certain of after my research not only for this work but the two that follow is that consciousness is not well-enough understood to draw any concrete conclusions. We can understand certain striations of consciousness through the various fields of academia such as Freud’s division of consciousness into awake consciousness and the two levels of unconsciousness (latent consciousness and complete unconsciousness). In my research and continued study, I see ever more striations of consciousness and so I’m finding bits and pieces of my former beliefs changing into knowledge as I experience different levels of consciousness. This experience, to me, begs for greater understanding, more study and the knowledge transfer to those interesting in living better lives while here incarnate in this one.
There is a growing body of research into reincarnation, life between lives, life after life and reaching beyond the corporeal living world into the ether via deeper levels of conscious awareness or unconscious awareness. This growing body of work supports the possibility that reincarnation is not only real but that even the exploration or realization of it as a potentiality that may have an impact on one’s current reality can be beneficial.
From ancient writings we see there are preparations for life after physical death so that there is facilitated an opportune existence in the next life, a new opportunity to live incarnate and continue learning and growth. From more contemporary texts we see hundreds of case studies accounted for by the pioneers in the field, Drs. Stevenson, Moody, Morse, Newton, Weiss, Kubler Ross and many more. New practitioners join their body of work every day which adds to the collection of cases from which we can review and understand more clearly who and what we are and how our existence goes on beyond the physical or even aware aspects of our present understanding of consciousness.
There is a great need to continue to study this area so that we might learn as much as we can from the growing body of work and how we may learn to utilize this knowledge to improve lives through healing, awareness and understanding. In practice following this awareness and understanding we may live our lives with greater hope, vigour and success thus achieving our lessons for growth much more readily. As I consider the works of the authors I reviewed, I realized that there seems to be a bit of a linear aspect to the approaches they have taken with their explorations into reincarnation. The one thing I walk away with is that I’m not convinced that “reincarnation” is limited to a linear progression alone. There are other works that begin to look at alternate planes of existence and experience that may also impact our health and well-being we have only just begun to take an interest in studying. Physics begins to define alternate dimensions and yet our knowledge remains limited. If alternate dimensions can be proven to exist by scientific means, perhaps so too does life as we know it, exist in those alternative dimensions having the same source identified in the being that is you or me.
Perhaps we are multi-incarnate beings at the same time but the dimensions skew how we tap into or recall what may be there for us to learn from. It might explain some challenges encountered with timelines expressed in past-life regression therapy alone. I myself have encountered such seeming paradoxes. How can I be here and yet elsewhere at the same time? We need more brave pioneers to go out there and research these questions. And I’m every delighted to find that more are doing just that. My hope is that I can join them if not with direct evidence but in the act of querying and making compelling arguments for keeping the doors to the mind wide open.
The Tibetan Book of The Dead, Third Edition, Evans-Wentz, W., 1960, Oxford University Press, London. Print.
“False Memory Syndrome and the Brain,” Flannery, K, 2003 at http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro03/web2/kflannery.html Accessed on March 15, 2014. Web.
“The Trouble With Hypnosis,” Hanary, K, 1992 at http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200910/the-trouble-hypnosis Accessed on March 15, 2014. Web.
Expanding Horizons: Growth and Beyond, Hart, J., 2011, Mysticfire Books, Los Angeles, CA. Print.
“Impact of Reincarnation on Health and Well-being,” [unpublished MA Thesis] 2014, Harter, J.L., University of Metaphysics, Sedona, AZ.
“Vasovagal Syncope,” http://www.mayoclinic.com, accessed on July 19, 2014. Web.
Life After Life, Moody, R., 2000 Harper, San Francisco, C. Print.
Destiny of Souls, Newton, M., 2004 Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN. Print.
Journey of Souls, Newton, M, 2004 Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN. Print.
A Seth Reader, Roberts, J, 1993 Vernal Equinox Press, San Anselmo, CA. Print.
“Why Do We Dream?,” Simons, I., 2009 at http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-literary-mind/200911/why-do-we-dream Accessed on March 15, 2014. Web.
“The Evidence for Survival from Claimed Memories of Former Incarnations,” Stevenson, I, 1958, American Society of Psychical Research. Print.
Life Before Life, Tucker, J., 2005, St. Martins Press, New York, NY. Print.
Only Love Is Real, Weiss, B, 2000, Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY. Print.
Through Time Into Healing, Weiss, B., 1993, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY. Print.
Rev. J.L. Harter, PhD, M.Msc., B.Msc., Author, Blogger, and Spiritual Counselor, Editor of the JMCC. See Bio section for more information.
(photo above created at weavesilk.com)