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An Introduction to Past Lives

Do you feel you have lived before? If you think so you are in good company. Some estimate that over half of the world’s population believe in reincarnation.

So what does this mean? Literally that you have lived more than one life. I believe we have had many lifetimes and have experienced all sorts of circumstances. It is as though this planet provides a school for our souls to learn and grow and we do this by coming back into physical form over and over again. Sometimes, if we just haven’t ‘got it’ we’ll be given a similar set of circumstances to try again. Indeed there is often a core theme that can be discovered running through our lifetimes.

In my work as a therapist I have guided many clients into their past lives. I believe it can be very healing to revisit lives. Often they provide the key for present life feelings of ‘stuckness’, being in patterns of difficult relationships, phobias, dealing with medical problems and mysterious pains or issues that seem to have no basis in ‘real’ life injury or illness.

Is it important to verify past lives? Well no, I don’t think so. There have been many studies, particularly with children, to establish historical evidence for the remembered life, but I don’t think it is important to prove the facts. Some will say that the remembered lives are not of the individual, but are taken from the collective consciousness- an ocean of memory & knowledge we can dip into. If so the memories that surface are still of importance to the individual at that point in their lives. It doesn’t really matter if they ‘own’ them. Some will claim that past life memories are just facts stored unconsciously from this lifetime, or imaginative responses. I don’t believe this- the emotional responses of clients on the couch are too real in my opinion. However if this was true there is still therapeutic value to be gained. Why has the brain provided this particular response now?

It seems that we do come back into incarnation with at least a couple of soul group members each time. Sometimes these are past partners, sometimes friends or family, even our enemies. Often when we meet a soul group member there will be an uncanny set of circumstances that throw us together, or you will feel magnetically drawn to each other. It can be that we are back together to work through unresolved karma from the past, or to support and love each other. Sometimes souls will have contracted between life states to test another in their group. Hence some of our hardest relationships could have been set up to prove our mettle.

How can you discover your past lives? Keep a record of your dreams. Often the places we go to in dreams and the people we meet are oddly familiar, but not from this lifetime. Keep a notebook by your bed to record them. Notice places you feel drawn to visit. Many lives will have been in other lands & you may ‘recognise’ them at a deep level or be fascinated by these places. Of course this makes a nonsense of racism- we have all had skins of different colours.

The best way to discover your past lives is by visiting a past life therapist. I suggest this for safety’s sake. Although you can buy tapes to take you into past lives you need to be aware that the lives that are often accessed first in a past life regression are those in which trauma was inflicted. These are the lives that need healing sent to them most urgently, as they are having an effect on your current life. They often aren’t great places to be on your own without skilled support.

Of course past lives aren’t all about traumatic events. I often end a therapeutic session with a visit to a life in which some skill or lesson was learned that will be useful to the client in their current lives; for example knowledge of herb-lore, midwifery, healing or musical talents will emerge and engage an interest in the client.

Past lives are a way of re-framing our current life circumstances and seeing our life lessons in context. We can be much more accepting of the hand dealt out to us in this life if we approach it from the angle of ‘What was I meant to learn this time?’ If you'd like a good grounding in the theory behind past life therapy I can recommend Woolger's classic Other Lives, Other Selves: A Jungian Psychotherapist Discovers Past Lives.

My own past life story was written after a whole series of revelations that spanned a few years and woke me up to who I really was.

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