People remember living lives before this one.  Whether they are fabricating those memories, conflating stories they heard in childhood with memory, or if these are actually memories, the fact is that they are happening.  The way in which they do so fall into two general categories:  spontaneously as part of childhood development or as a retrieved memory in adulthood.  There are scientists who are dedicating their careers to studying children who self report and I find the criteria they use to try to make the process as scientific as possible and to make the results as verifiable just as fascinating as the results they continue to publish.

However, I don’t work with children and so my experience is with adults and trying to help them navigate the world, which includes helping them make sense of past life information.  Some people remember flashes of past lives on their own.  Like remembering something you forgot from years before, these memories feel familiar and connected and yet are a bit abstract and disconcerting since they don’t seem to apply to the here and now.  Others are frustrated with or somewhat hampered in life by phobias or habits which have no seeming cause in this lifetime and yet their effect is far reaching.  We all seek meaning out of our experiences and even more so when the experience is coming from within us.  And still others seek healing for physical or mental difficulties that are debilitating and find hypnotic regressing can allow them to bypass mental blocks to help them work with whatever within them is aiding and abetting the problem.

I take my grain of salt dose when I listen to practitioners claim that past life regression is a magic cure all for people’s woes and their accounts of miraculous healings.  No one thing is a magic wand for all hurts.  Aspirin is an amazing healing tool, but it won’t stop the bleeding when you get stabbed.  Life is complex and we are quite able to navigate that complexity mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.  So while I’m sure that past life regression heals some, it’s not magic.

Past Life ExperienceJust as in this current life, experiences impact and change us.  And yay!  Because if they didn’t we wouldn’t grow or become or create.  We’d just be static, stagnant things with no purpose.  Interaction, experience, change are all integral components of life.  And each experience helps us create who we are, our identity, and therefore influences our current choices.  They don’t control them or determine them, but they do have an influence.  They are part of the perspective we hold on things and the lens through which we see the world around us.  So past lives do influence our current life.  However, rarely see where something from a past life has ‘leaked’ into a current life by accident.  We do a tremendous amount of preplanning before we enter into an embodied life and so it is rare that we would manage to bring with us something random from a previous life.

What I see most often is that our past lives have themes to them, things we are working on, skills we are developing, personality traits we are supporting or correcting, and challenges we are working through.  To accomplish this we utilize various aspects of our previous experiences in a variety of ways, like weaving or braiding hair, we take strands from one life and strands from another and weave them into the complexity of this life in order to set up the right mix of circumstances, behaviors and choices in order for us to learn and grow and become.  Phobias are one way in which to accomplish this.  It’s never as simple as “I don’t want to jump off of high places to my death” or “I was strangled in as past life therefore I don’t like turtlenecks.”  These phobias are usually symbols, densely packed messages to the self that over time we are to unfold and work with.

Past lives affect us in a great many ways because once a bell is rung it cannot be unrung.  What has happened to us previously helps form who we are today.  But what shape we take and what choices we make are not predetermined.  We are not a victim of our pasts.  And the remains of past lives don’t linger waiting to trip us up nor are they like toilet paper stuck to our shoe, a forgotten and overlooked piece of trash to be removed and disposed of and causing us embarrassment.  They are a part of us and valuable for the lessons they have taught us and what we have become because of them.  If you have brought some aspects of them with you this time, think of this as a note from a previous self to be read by the you that you are now.  What is it you are trying to tell yourself?