SELF-REGRESSION TECHNIQUES:  OR HOW TO HAVE A PAST-LIFE REGRESSION ON YOUR OWN 

 

 

Introduction

Self-Regression Tapes

The Commercial Past-Life Regression Tape

Making Your Own Past-Life Regression Tape

Music Tapes As Aids To Relaxation

Self-Regression Without A Tape:  My Preferred Style

Preparing The Space, And Preparing Your Mind And Soul

Progressive Relaxation Induction

Deepening With The Descending Staircase Metaphor

Questions Of Guidance During Self-Hypnosis

Alternative Descending Techniques

The Inner Garden:  Platform For Launching The Past-Life Regression

Launching The Past-Life Regression

Advice For Disturbing Episodes

Coming Up And Integrating

Concluding Concepts:  Persistence, Patience, Temporary Suspension Of Judgment

 

 

Introduction

A friend of mine just recently asked me if I could provide any guidance to him as to how to undergo a self-induced past-life regression. A "self-regression", in other words.

I have prepared the following guide for him - and, with his encouragement - for you!

The request arose out of his interest in The Journey of Rainsnow, a book which describes my own experiences with past-life memories and visions, which were mostly elicited by means of self-hypnosis, and other "solitary" procedures. I told my friend that I would be glad to share the techniques which I used to uncover the memories described in my book, while at the same time I warned him that these techniques were only one possible approach to the matter, and would doubtless suit some past-life explorers more than others.

Before going any further, I recommend that you read my article "Past-Life Regressions - A Basic Guide." That article, also on this web site, contains a lot of introductory material which this article will not duplicate, but only build upon. See, especially, the following sections of the Past-Life Regressions Guide: "How Does A Past-Life Regression By Means Of Hypnosis Work?", "Are There Any Health Risks To Hypnosis?", and "Can I Do My Own Past-Life Regression?"

Before going on to describe my own technique, I would like to briefly mention another popular approach to self-regression.  Back To Top

Self-Regression Tapes

Many individuals seek to regress themselves by means of tapes or CDs. Of these, there are two main kinds: (1) Commercial tapes, especially created for the purpose of helping subjects to regress. And (2), tapes which the subject, himself, prepares for his own use. Sometimes, another category of tape may also be used: (3), tapes which are not specifically designed for self-regression, such as music tapes or nature soundtracks, which can nonetheless be used as accessories to the process.  Back To Top

The Commercial Past-Life Regression Tape

In the case of the first kind of tape, what you will usually find is a hypnotic induction utilizing progressive relaxation, which is accompanied by a soothing "New Age" soundtrack. The tapeís narrator/hypnotist will then direct you through one or more visualizations meant to deepen your trance state, and then through another procedure meant to move your awareness from the present into the past. Once he reaches that stage, it is likely that he will attempt to provide some structure and guidance to your experience by asking a series of questions meant to "ground" you in the past-life he hopes you have found, and to elicit some more detail about it. Time will be left between questions to give you room to explore and experience, and, after a while, the voice will begin to wrap things up, maybe prompting you to draw conclusions and identify valuable life lessons. Some suggestions for healing will probably also be given, and then you will be gradually withdrawn from hypnosis by means of a "coming up induction", and returned to your normal waking state.

In general, the advantages of such a tape are that a (hopefully) knowledgeable and professional team, experienced in the structure and dynamics of past-life regressions, has prepared it for your benefit. The tape should, therefore, embody a clear concept of how to guide you through the experience.

The disadvantages are that a tape, inherently, lacks flexibility in terms of timing, and the kinds of questions that it provides as a framework for structuring your experience. For example: in order to ground you, the voice may say, "What are you wearing?" Then, supposing the image of a woman comes to you. Not you, but someone passing by. While the therapist sitting by you (assuming he was interacting with you throughout the grounding procedure) might be able to pick up on that, and go with it, leading you in a fruitful direction - something which you could also do if you were completely on your own - the tapeís voice, committed to running down a standard checklist, may, at that very moment, ask you, "Do you have hair? If so, is it long or short? What color is it? - Now, look around you, and describe the natural environment you are in. Is it light or dark? Are you inside or outside? What country are you in?" In other words, the prefabricated structure could, in some cases, pull one away from the natural development of the experience. In the example just cited, the image of the woman, who could have been the "white rabbit" waiting to take you into the heart of a very deep experience, has been let to come and go without you. The spontaneity and magic of the adventure has been stolen, and you may have missed the boat - for this day, at least.

In the same way, the prefabricated tape structure may cramp you in terms of the time your subconscious needs to bring a certain scene to fruition. The voice may ask, "Where are you? What do you see?" You may see something that looks like a castle in the haze. You may need time for the haze to clear, to walk closer to the castle, to study it, perhaps to enter, but what if the voice on the tape now goes on to say, "Look around, try to see yourself with other people [which may change the scene]. Who is with you? What are they doing?" The castle and its significance may not have time to fully materialize, as you are pushed, prematurely, on to something new. In the same way, the whole encounter may be somewhat rushed, not only cutting many aspects of your journey short, not allowing them to properly unfold, but even interfering with their development at all, as too many suggestions in too short a time may end up interfering with each other, knocking each other off track, and canceling each other out.

To me it is these issues of structure during the past-life phase of the regression that are the most serious drawbacks of the past-life self-regression tapes. Before that point, most of them do provide competent approaches to the actual hypnotic induction. And yet, even here, there are more than occasional blunders. Some of the tapes, for example, commit the error of injecting too many specifics into the induction/deepening imagery. For example, at the moment of the "descending staircase" - a visualization meant to bring the subject into a deeper state of trance - why must some narrators go into so many details regarding the nature of the staircase itself? One narrator says to imagine that one is walking down a staircase that is located outside (not your usual indoor staircase); while another "descending staircase" description, given in a book, describes the stairway as having a golden railing. What for? These details can often throw a subject off track, since he may find it hard to visualize the staircase in exactly the way it is described, in which case, it may be hard for him to "go down that staircase" and integrate the deepening process into his experience.

Furthermore, the effort to conform to these specifics, even when it is possible, may require so much "mental force", that the natural "giving-up", "passive" energy of the deepening process, which allows one to sink more fully into hypnosis, may be sabotaged by intellectual struggle, which keeps the conscious mind at too active a level.

Then, of course, there may also be incidents of psychological resistance - as in the case of those individuals who have a problem with heights, for example, who may feel extremely uncomfortable descending down an open staircase on the outside of a building. Or those who find something ostentatious or socially irresponsible about golden railings. In my opinion, it is a far better option to leave suggestions such as "the descending staircase" as vague and open-ended as possible, so that every subject may relate to this concept in his own way and create the staircase, within his own mind, that works best for him. I also think the subject might profit from a choice between stairs and an elevator, or some other means to "descend." (Some people would prefer to "use" the stairs, and others the elevator. For some, the stairs might seem to require too much effort, while the elevator would seem effortless and capable of going faster and deeper; while for others, the elevator might trigger certain anxieties, ranging from claustrophobia to the fear of losing control. I can tell you, from my own experiences, that there have been times when I have started going "down" in an elevator, then switched to using the stairs! Or vice versa! Not to mention other unusual ways I have descended!)

When self-regression tapes try to impose certain images and metaphors on the subject, without adequate reflection, they sometimes end up losing the subject along the way. (A technical note: in the examples just provided, each of the flawed descending staircase scenarios was most likely motivated by a rational objective. I can, in fact, discern what each motivation probably was. However, I believe the objective of the deepening imagery should have been limited to deepening, and not attempted to simultaneously fulfill other objectives to the detriment of the original purpose.)

In summary: inflexibility, overstructuring, and disconnection from the individual are the major drawbacks of commercially-prepared self-regression tapes. (There may be some which avoid these pitfalls.)  Back To Top

Making Your Own Past-Life Regression Tape

The second class of self-regression tape - that which the subject prepares himself - has definite advantages over the commercial tape, in my opinion - or can have (it depends on how well one crafts it). The principal advantages are that one is able to personalize the induction, and the deepening suggestions and other suggestions, in order to make them better harmonize with oneís own preferences and responses. One can also create a guiding structure for the actual past-life phase of the experience that is less cramped, and more open-ended, allowing oneís mind greater liberty for exploring and receiving. (After a few preliminary grounding questions, one can leave large periods of silent time on the tape for seeing what develops, interrupted with occasional permissive suggestions, that leave the choice of where to go and what to do, in oneís own hands. Example: "If you are finding the scene your in fruitful and of interest, please feel free to continue experiencing it for as long as you like. If, on the other hand, you wish to move to another scene, please know that you can, at any time that you wish.")

Disadvantages of the homemade self-regression tape, as compared to the professionally prepared one, could, at times, include inferior quality (if you do not make an effort to achieve the right tone of voice, and right timing when you record your tape, the induction and other elements may not be as effective). For some people, the "mysterious" and somehow "powerful" voice of the narrator may also be very important. They may allow that strangerís voice, embellished by background music and the mystique of being a famous writer, therapist, or "professional", carry them off into a deep trance state; while the sound of their own voice, on the contrary, may not move them at all. (Many people hate their voices on tape, while others might not be able to take themselves seriously as "hypnotists" - a version of the ancient adage, "No one is a prophet in his own land.")

The most common way to make your own past-life self-regression tape is to record a script. Brian Weiss gives a past-life regression script on pages 187-192 of Through Time Into Healing. Although I find flaws with the past-life part, itself, I think itís pretty good for a script (all scripts have limitations), and the induction part is excellent. When making a recording of a script, I repeat, it is so important to get into it, to get a soothing, relaxing tone (if you are using progressive relaxation), and to leave time for your suggestions to take effect. (If, on your first attempt to regress with the tape, you discover flaws in your recording - flaws in timing, intonation, structure, etc. - you can always work on another version, later, taking your observations into account.)

In Hypnosis For Change by Josie Hadley and Carol Staudacher, there is an excellent chapter on "The Hypnotic Induction", 21-36, which includes an induction script. This book contains subsequent chapters which present suggestions for dealing with a wide variety of conventional problems. Not being an esoteric/New Age book, there is nothing in here on past-life regressions, but you might be able to use the induction material which the book does present as a starting point, then graft on some past-life related structure. (If you are lucky enough to have a partner or friend who is into past-life stuff, also - someone you can really trust - you might consider doing a hybrid past-life regression/self-regression, in which a scripted tape leads you into the past-life phase, and your friend/partner asks you some relevant questions, while keeping tabs on what is actually going on in your mind - something a script canít do. "Whatís going on now? What are you seeing or feeling?" is all thatís needed to check inside and see if itís time to move on or not. The drawback is this: besides your partnerís probable lack of experience, he/she might witness things youíd rather he/she didnít. Therefore, I emphasize: only if there was a super amount of trust between you and your questioner, who should also be very mature and aware of the complexity of the human psyche, would you want to open yourself up in this way.)

Good progressive relaxation inductions are also given in the Handbook Of Hypnotic Suggestions And Metaphors (an expensive professional book, edited by Corydon Hammond), in the following articles: "Progressive Relaxation Induction or Deepening Techniques" by Dr. Corydon Hammond (p. 156-157) and "The Private Refuge" by Selig Finkelstein, DDS (p. 158). Again, nothing specifically pertinent to past-life regressions, just these useful induction scripts. (This book is an excellent resource for professional and semi-professional hypnotherapists.)  Back To Top

Music Tapes As Aids To Relaxation

As I mentioned a while back, there is also a third tape option, which is the option of putting on a music or nature soundtrack tape to help you in your relaxation process, if you decide to proceed without a written script. (Of course, you could also use these tapes to create background music behind your own recorded script.) This technique is sometimes useful (though you should put the tape or CD in a machine capable of replaying it, so it doesnít suddenly stop in the middle, once you have gotten used to it). Besides soothing one, and helping to relax oneís mind for entry into hypnosis, the tape may also help to drown out other possibly distracting noises in your environment. (However, these noises, such as honking cars, voices from the street, etc., will usually cease to have relevance as one works oneself into the hypnotic state, and there are suggestions to help in the process, such as: "All noises from the street, or other apartments in the building, will begin to fade away, to grow more distant and meaningless. Even if you hear them, they wonít matter; in fact, theyíll help you to go deeper into yourself, away from them, deeper and deeper into yourself, leaving them on the outside, leaving them far behind, forgetting about them, they donít matter anymore.")

The main problem I have with music and nature soundtracks is the fact that they sometimes set moods and evoke imagery which might possibly influence the development of a past-life experience. For example, if you are regressing to Celtic flutes and pipes, or shamanic drumming, or the sound of birds in a forest, is it not possible that your imagination might be stimulated by these inputs, affecting your experience, maybe even generating images based upon the music instead of past-life recall? My own feelings on the subject are mixed. Although I am anxious about this possibility, I know I have experienced some past-life recall while standard New Age music was playing in the background, without suffering any visible effects of "image contamination." In the end, I think the risk is well worth taking if you find that either music or nature soundtracks are important for helping you to relax and to enter into the hypnotic state.  Back To Top

Self-Regression Without A Tape: My Preferred Style

And now for my own preferred technique (the technique I used to reach most of the inner visions described in my book, The Journey of Rainsnow). As I said at the very beginning of this article, I am writing about this because I was asked, not because I think my technique is the right technique for everyone. We are all different, and we respond differently to different approaches. In my case, the approach I use is one that suits me very well, but it must also be remembered that I studied hypnosis and hypnotherapy before I began to apply it, and was, therefore, already relatively experienced and prepared at the time I started to utilize it. I present my technique as one possibility to would-be self-regressors. And let me say one more thing, before going on: that the techniques presented here are hardly original. I have only personalized a very standard regression model, making the small changes and adjustments that enable it to work for me.  Back To Top

Preparing The Space, And Preparing Your Mind And Soul

First thing I do is to make sure my space is ready. The phone is disconnected, no visits are expected, no one is going to disturb me, I am going to be left in peace, and what I am doing is going to be respected and given room. Otherwise, I wonít start. If the doorbell rings, Iíve already decided that I wonít answer it. (And in my case, my cat is left with a lot of extra food in his bowl.) Naturally, if I have to go to bathroom, drink a little water, whatever, I get it over with.

Next, I undertake some form of spiritual preparation. I may light candles, bring out objects which for me are powerful or sacred, apply incense, and pray. I donít have a therapist, so I need to consolidate my feeling of being supported and safe on this journey. At this time I ask for protection and guidance from a higher source. I ask to be kept from harm and shown only those things I am able to deal with.

I settle myself down into the place where I will undergo the experience. For me, itís always been a comfortable chair or sofa. I sit, instead of lie down, and may use a pillow for the back of my head. This is a very personal choice. Sitting is better for not falling asleep (the hypnotic induction is quite able to miss the mark, and to carry one too far, into the state of sleep). On the other hand, for many people, sitting is too uncomfortable, and they respond much better when lying down. You should do what works best for you.

Comfort is very important, because this experience could take a while, and if you are in a position which puts some part of your body under stress, it could interfere with your ability to sustain the experience. You also wonít want to cut off your circulation. Sometimes, as the experience goes on, and everything in your body slows down, you may become susceptible to the cold, so make sure you are also in a reasonably warm place, covering yourself with a blanket if need be. Donít underestimate the coolness in the room. Also try to avoid strong light. You may pull down the shades. If you leave the shades up, take into account the fact that a change in the time of day, and/or a shift in the clouds, may unexpectedly increase the amount of light in the room. Although this can be borne, and essentially swept aside by the mind, some people are distracted by this, and intense glare will, of course, bother almost everyone.

Wherever and however you position yourself, you should be able to sustain yourself for a considerable amount of time. (My typical self-regression, including the induction, usually takes between 1 and 2 hours. Naturally, the length of the experience will vary from individual to individual, and from session to session.)

Before beginning, clearly frame your objective in your mind. (You should, in most cases, already have decided this before you begin to set up, but remind yourself of it again, now.) Usually, I frame things in a pretty general way: to find something that will be of value to me, something I will be ready for, and something that will help me in some way, giving me more knowledge of myself, more insight, more understanding. Although I sometimes enter into hypnosis with the specific objective of finding a past life that will be of use to me, mostly I enter the experience with a very open objective, which could lead me to a past life, to memories from my childhood, to a meeting with a spirit guide, to insights that occur to me in other ways. Sometimes, my objective may be framed very specifically (yet without assumptions) as in: "Please show me the origins of [a specific health problem]." Or, "Please help me to understand what the word [ĎXí, a word heard in a dream] means." Or I may decide to go back into a building or place I glimpsed in a dream, if I believe it is part of an esoteric landscape.         Back To Top

Progressive Relaxation Induction

Once the purpose is framed, and I am sitting back comfortably, my hands resting on top of my legs, my head, neck and back supported, I close my eyes, and begin with a progressive relaxation induction. (I use no music. Usually, at some point in the induction, often when I hear a car or somebody yelling in the next-door apartment, I give myself the suggestion which I wrote about earlier, the one about all outside noises fading away, or becoming irrelevant.)

Sometimes, I whisper or think repetitive strings of words about relaxing, which are sort of like a mantra, requiring no intellect, but more than that, I believe I generally bring the relaxing energy through my body without words, just by imagining. There is some visualization during this process, but more feeling (in my case).

I begin with my eyelids, letting them feel heavy and closed and "glad to be closed, because it means the journey has begun." (I respond well to the "eyes locked shut" feeling which many authoritarian hypnotists use, though I, myself, use a permissive style when I regress others.) I donít feel my eyelids tight or uncomfortable at this point, just securely shut. Then I start from the top of my head and begin working down (in the manner described in my past-life regression guide.)

It is crucial, during the progressive relaxation induction, to proceed at the right pace. Many people rush through this, and really donít get in very deep, so right away they are "in trouble", since they will be attempting to carry off the experience at too shallow a level. (Just as a gymnast or skater who does not get enough height or speed cannot pull off a proper jump, so the subject who lacks proper hypnotic depth will have a more difficult time experiencing a legitimate and vivid past-life regression.)

Besides taking oneís time, it is also absolutely critical to get feedback from oneís body during the relaxation induction. This is, in fact, an important factor in determining oneís pacing. For example, when one moves the relaxing energy into a specific part of oneís body (shifts oneís focus to that part of the body), one should not move on until one feels the relaxation beginning to take place there. In other words, donít tell your shoulders to relax, then move on if theyíre still tight as a knot. Feel that relaxation and peace beginning to fill them up and unburden them, and stay there, patiently, as they loosen up. The same way a massage therapist will stay with a tight set of muscles for a while, working on them until they begin to relax and let go of their tension, stay with the tight parts of your body for a while. A useful metaphor for me during this process, when a part of my body is tight, is to imagine that the tightness is something that will dissolve in water, and to imagine waves of water coming to wash it away, slowly dwindling it in size, eroding it, erasing it, till it is all gone. Many people respond well to the image of green or golden light healing the body of its physical and emotional wounds. (Always use those metaphors, images, and techniques which work well for you - be adaptable, do not let any model trap you.)

As I move through the body, relaxing it, I do not take the relaxing energy with me from one part of the body to another, I extend it, leaving it where it has already been to continue doing its work, as I also move it into a new part of my body. Even while I am then focused on the new part of my body, another part of me knows that that relaxing energy is continuing to work in the same places where it has already been, relaxing me even more. In this way, if one part of my body is really tough to relax - an obstacle - I may move on after a while, leaving lots of relaxing energy there, to continue working on it, but not letting it detain me any longer. Then, after I have finished visiting every part of my body, I may send a second (less time-consuming) flow of relaxing energy through my body, which will eliminate most (hopefully all) of the remaining tension spots which persist. (Important: I bypass a tense area only after spending a good amount of time with it, and only if I sense that I could otherwise get "stuck" at this point.)

During the progressive relaxation, certain parts of the body play a particularly important role. These parts may vary from individual to individual, but for me they are the scalp, where the energy flow begins (I sense a tingling, after a while); the nose (I feel some expansion or movement); the jaws (my mouth drops open slightly); my wrists (I can feel my pulse) and hands and fingers (I feel a lot of lightness and tingling); my lungs ("feel your lungs relax, feel space open up all around them, as though they were freer to breathe, it is easier to breathe"- I feel an expansion in my chest, and begin to breathe more deeply and slowly); my heart (I imagine a light around it, a feeling of love, which may produce emotions); my ankles and feet and toes (tingling). These sensations are not only cues to help guide pacing (I wait for them, and then once they come, stay with them for a while); they are also crucial builders of "hypnotic confidence", which - by showing you that you are actually beginning to go into the hypnotic state - help to strengthen the power of the process, and to bring you more deeply into it.

I also, frequently, get a strong emotional reaction, sometimes when I am working by the heart, sometimes long before, when I am working with my face, around my eyes. Then, I may begin to cry and release emotions trapped and held by my tense body. Although this is not a standard reaction for a person entering hypnosis, it is actually not uncommon. For me, when it does happen, it also helps to link me more strongly to the process.  Back To Top

Deepening With The Descending Staircase Metaphor

After this phase of progressive relaxation, I begin to go down the "descending staircase." This conventional deepening technique works well for me. I do try to count down from 10 to 1, but by this time, my mind is usually pretty spaced, and sometimes I really canít keep track of the numbers. However, I donít push myself back to the higher intellectual plane of being able to easily keep count, because I am trying to sink deeper into my subconscious mind. So I sacrifice coherent and accurate counts, at this stage of the process, and make up for becoming lost by not getting hung up on it. (If Iím not sure if Iím on "6" or "7", I know Iím already pretty deep in, so I donít worry, I just say, "7, 6Ö," and continue.)  Back To Top

Questions Of Guidance During Self-Hypnosis

As you can see, one of the drawbacks of my technique - the price I have to pay for trying to escape from the inflexibility of scripts - is that as I go deeper into the hypnotic state, I begin to lose the firmness of my directing hand. The therapist and the voice of the recorded script keep functioning clearly and "logically" as they guide you into the hypnotic state, but as you drift deeper into the state of unassisted self-hypnosis, you are slowly letting go of that logical, outside voice that keeps you on track. Your very success in leaving behind your conscious mind is now emerging as a threat which could cause you to "lose control" of the process - not in a frightening, harmful sense (since your inner defense mechanisms and prayers will still be there to protect you), but in the sense of making it harder for you to guide yourself through what is unfolding, and harder to utilize it in a constructive way. In unassisted self-hypnosis, you will definitely come to rely more upon a form of inner automatic pilot, which has been partly shaped by the intention and objective you framed at the beginning of your session (but which will also seem to know just how much to follow your blueprint, and how much to stray from it.) Experience also helps this automatic pilot to run the regression: the more familiar you are with self-hypnosis and yourself, and the more times you have undertaken this journey, the easier it will be for you to carry on without the clear, strong direction of the conscious mind, or an external voice. You most likely wonít be 100% on automatic pilot, at any time, you will just feel somewhat dazed and may lose a coherent, logical grasp of what it is you are trying to do, or how to go about eliciting information from yourself, in the manner of a therapist. The price of the freedom that comes with the unassisted self-regression, is definitely increased dependence upon your subconscious to direct and develop your experience from within.

During the stage of the descending staircase, I very frequently drift into another place of which I am not aware. I am "out", barely conscious, or even asleep. At times, when awareness suddenly returns or I wake up, I feel that my energy comes up a notch, bringing me up too high (back towards the realm of the fully conscious mind); but in this case, I only need to be patient and "re-deepen" myself, starting the journey down again. (Re-deepening may also be used if a really loud noise or distraction temporarily brings you "up." If you were well-relaxed at the point in time when the distraction occurred, it is usually not that hard to get back into a deep state, either by means of a little progressive relaxation or descending staircase.)  Back To Top

Alternative Descending Techniques

I want to be clear that the descending staircase is only one approach to deepening oneís trance state. I have also used the "descending elevator", and a curious technique of falling through some kind of material which breaks my fall (like going through holes in many successive floors, each one covered with something like a spiderís web that does not hold me, but slows my fall down). As the human imagination is infinite, be inventive, and use anything that works for you. (I didnít try to invent the technique I just described, it just began to happen one day, and I went along with it.) Regarding the descending staircase, do not be fixed by form. I do not really see myself walking down steps - that is to say, I donít see my feet actually moving and touching each individual step on my way down, that would take too much energy the way my mind is working at that point. Instead, I just see stairwells - they have looked different on different occasions - and sense myself moving down them, without any motor sensations of walking. (Your experience could be different.) See the stairs as you want, and go down them as you want. And certainly, do not correlate every step with a number, because, in my opinion, it takes a lot more than 10 steps to get as deep as youíd like to be. (Even though I only count from 10 to 1, I take quite a long time to make this part of my trip. If Iím feeling very deep at the top of the steps, naturally, I may come down a little faster than if I still feel too "up", in which case I will try to prolong the descent, which allows me to go much deeper.)             Back To Top

The Inner Garden: Platform For Launching The Past-Life Regression

Once I arrive at the bottom of the staircase, I find myself in a kind of dark place, with an opening (like a large doorway without a door) at a distance (not too far, like 15-100 feet away - Iím not good with distances!) I walk through that opening into a garden, which is my own "special place" of healing, knowledge, peace and love. It represents the center of who I am, and all my possibilities; also the place where I am supported by the divine power of the universe. Here I rest for awhile, gathering in this energy and support, asking again to be guided and protected, perhaps remembering my purpose. I may see some of my guides here, and stay with them awhile.

The Garden is the staging area for my past-life regressions. Sometimes, however, it becomes the staging area for other experiences. I may go out of the Garden (Iím not quite sure how I do, maybe floating over a wall, or just seeing other things? - Iím usually rather dazed by this time.) I may begin to see episodes from my childhood, and begin to feel a lot of emotions and understand a lot of things. (Like scenes from nursery school - loneliness and pain, standing by a fence. Or the time I was accused of stealing toys which one teacher had given to me, by another teacher who did not know, and said awful things about me.) Important memories for understanding the formation of my personality, and the origin of some of my wounds. Or I may meet with other guides, who say wise things to me, or merely sit and watch me as I "think" about life - not really "think": more like pass over truths, like water that touches and knows what it flows over. Why I go where I go at these times is hard to say. I just feel like it. Like water flowing, there just seems to be a natural path to flow down, and thatís what I do.     Back Top Top

Launching The Past-Life Regression

In the case of my past-life regressions, I usually will use the connecting metaphor of the Past-Life Temple or Building, though sometimes I will float out of the garden, over its walls, into another time and place. (Remember, there are many possible approaches to accessing past-life memories.) The Temple/Building, as described in my past-life article, contains a long - very, very long - hallway, filled with doors. I walk slowly down that hallway until I find the door that draws me (I just "know" itís the one), and I enter it. On the other side I know I will find a past life - the one I am meant to find (or revisit) at that time.

How do I know where the Temple is and what it does? The Temple/Building metaphor is internalized, due to my work and expectations; it is not something I have to struggle to create or explain to myself each time I arrive there, it, and what it stands for, is recognized at once, and I just use it, the same as a commuter uses a familiar train station. (Though, of course, the feeling is more special and sacred than that).

Once you are actually in a past-life scene, depending on the amount of awareness you have, you can attempt to ground yourself, and then to get into the experience (following some of the guidelines presented in my past-life guide). You will probably have some ability to guide yourself through what is happening here, to move yourself around within the experience in the same way that a therapist does; only this ability is likely to be much more limited, which, as I have said, requires that your experience move largely by itself, and unfold largely of its own accord. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Our dreams move and flow by themselves, without conscious guidance or intervention. In this same way, the past-life experience may be able to develop according to its own internal mechanisms, with only the slightest intervention and prodding by ourselves. Just as a rocketship, which is already flying towards its destination through space with the initial energy of its orbital departure, needs only minor bursts of thrust from there on in to keep it on course, so the past-life phase of the regression, once it is launched, can get by with only minor doses of conscious input. This is especially true as one gains more experience with the process.

I really have nothing more to say about the past-life experience, per se. (My past-life regression guide covers some of the possibilities of the experience.) See what happens. See what develops. If you have the ability to do so, move yourself around in the experience as needed (to other scenes, for example). See and learn everything that you can: that is, everything you feel that you want or need to see and learn, and which you feel able to handle at this time of your life.  Back To Top

Advice For Disturbing Episodes

If something you canít bear to see or feel starts to come up, try to pull out of it (withdraw from being in it, to become an observer of it. You may do this by imagining that you are floating out of your body to a place of safety, or just withdrawing your perspective to outside of your body, perhaps imagining a protective shield of energy around your observing self, to further separate yourself from the scene, or imagining that you are in a place of safety viewing what is happening through a window or looking glass, or on a movie screen, etc. Whatever works best for you. If you have any doubts about what might come up to begin with, you could forego the Past-Life Temple approach altogether, and just seek to witness your past life through a window or on a screen, maybe with your guides or some form of protectors sitting beside you.) If, after detaching yourself from such a scene, it is still too intense and difficult to bear, even as an observer, ask your inner guidance to move you out of this scene to a safer scene or place (which could be back in the Garden). If you canít do this, and are freaking out (rare), remember that you wonít stay trapped in here forever. Most of the time, your internal struggle against the scene will bring you up out of hypnosis, and most definitely you will finally emerge from it (no matter how long it seems you are stuck), which will be just like waking up from a nightmare. If this does happen to you, please take time to re-relax yourself once you are awake (if you are able to - at least make the effort); give yourself some suggestions for well-being ("Iím OK now, I will be OK"); perhaps do some healing visualizations; and then bring yourself back up again in a slower and gentler way. In the same way that it is not healthy for the body to rise too quickly out of the depths of the ocean, so it can be jolting to the system to emerge too quickly from hypnosis.

Naturally, if lasting pain and anxiety results from oneís experience, one should consider seeking therapy or some other form of support.

None of this is meant to frighten anyone, only to provide some guidance for those very few who might encounter such adverse experiences. It does go without saying that self-regression is an approach that should be undertaken by those who have some degree of confidence in their ability to handle whatever comes up, and perhaps, also, some sense of spiritual protection and support. If one is feeling very anxious, or has a sense of foreboding about what one might find, it might be better to work with a past-life regression therapist, than to try to go it alone. I think it is fair to say that one should not be pushy with oneself ("no pain, no gain") when it comes to self-regression, but be very respectful of oneís limits at any given point in time, since one is acting without outside professional support.  Back To Top

Coming Up And Integrating

After I have gone through my past-life regression, and sense that I have got what I need to get from this trip, or that the experience has run its natural course, or that I am spent, I initiate a conventional return procedure.

I usually "see" myself back in the Garden, rest there for a while, maybe with my guides, who may sometimes come to ask me what I learned from my experience. Other times, I just focus on absorbing the healing, soothing energy of this special inner place. (Remember - you need not go to a "Garden." You could visualize yourself on a beach, in a room, or just relax in a dark, calm space, whatever provided you with that special sense of belonging, connectedness, and peace. At times, I may also make specific healing suggestions to myself at this point.)

After this time of recovery and healing, I begin the slow count from 1 up to 10 (counting in the opposite direction from the way I did when descending). This count back up is sometimes known as the "coming-up induction", and it is helpful to put suggestions for healing and health into it. (See my past-life guide.) One should take oneís time, as there is no need to rush back.

Even after the count is finished (I am "free" to open my eyes at "9", and I usually open them at "10"), it is advisable to just hang out for a while, relaxing and taking it all in.

I will usually go to my desk, after a while, to write down notes about what I have seen, the same as I would after waking from a dream, in order to record as many details and facts as I can, while everything is still fresh in my mind. I will later, if necessary, rewrite this information in good form.

The material is now permanently available to me, like material in a dream journal. I am able to analyze it, learn more about myself, my strengths, my fears, the origin of some of my problems, and to begin to work to apply that knowledge to my present life (see my past-life guide, and section on past-life follow-ups).

At times, I may go back into hypnosis (on other days) in order to learn more about a past life which I feel still has more to reveal to me - or else use the induction to go to a healing place or a place of guidance, to work on coping with/learning how to utilize my past-life experience there. (Brian Weiss, I think, has a wonderful tape which features a healing temple, in which one lies down on a table as healing lights work over oneís body. In the Handbook for Hypnotic Suggestions and Metaphors, Dr. Marlene E. Hunterís article on "Healing Imagery", p. 239-241, contains some excellent suggestions which could also be a model for healing work.)

One of the wonderful things about learning how to do a past-life regression via self-hypnosis is that it opens the doors to doing a lot of related work, as well, ranging from contacts with spirit guides, to work on physical and emotional healing, to work on present-life childhood issuesÖ  Back To Top

Concluding Concepts

While the method I have just described works well for me, I must reiterate, yet again, that that does not mean it is the most suitable self-regression technique for everybody. For those who are unwilling or unable to see a past-life regression therapist - or for those who simply believe they will be able to be more effective working on their own - there are a variety of self-regression options to choose from. For some, the commercial past-life regression tape may be best, after all; for others, a self-made tape, based on a script, with personalized suggestions and imagery, and perhaps a more open-ended structure as regards the actual past-life phase. While for others, a self-hypnosis session along the lines of the one I have just described may be ideal.

In the case of using a self-made regression tape or self-regressing without a tape, I feel some final points are in order.

First of all, the foundation of everything is the art of self-hypnosis, centered on the induction. Oneís initial goal should, therefore, be to master reaching this state, without worrying about past lives or anything else. For individuals who are very open to suggestions, and have a generally relaxed energy - individuals who spend time with themselves rather than running from one activity to another - it will be easier to arrive to this state than for others. Accomplished meditators of various kinds, yoga or tíai chi practitioners, etc., will all have a great advantage. (Many meditators, on a daily basis, reach inner states that match or exceed the depths of the hypnotized subject.) Individuals who are hyper, go-go-go, overexcited, etc., may find it harder. It is important to remember, however, that going into a hypnotic trance state is not a one-shot, now-or-never deal, especially if you are working on your own and not dishing out big bucks to a therapist. Individuals who are exceedingly restless, impatient, nervous, etc., can master the art of giving in to the hypnotic induction the same as anyone else, they may just have to practice more, and keep at it longer. In the same way that you do not ask someone who has never stepped on a track to run a five-minute mile (and trust me, going into hypnosis is a LOT easier than that), so you do not need to be so initially demanding on yourself if you are a newcomer experiencing difficulty with relaxing. (I know that our modern society does not foster relaxation, and that it is easy to get caught up in its energy, and even to internalize it. This is a completely understandable problem which, thank God, CAN be overcome with practice.) My advice for those who belong to this category is not to go for everything at once, to set modest goals and to work on attaining them methodically. Master the hypnotic induction first (even without the past-life regression, you can go into the Garden and just relax there. It can be very refreshing, revitalizing, and healing.) Little by little, as it becomes easier and more natural, you may begin to move beyond the attainment of the state, to the actual use of the state.

As you work to master the hypnotic induction, and various forms of work while in the state of self-hypnosis, be imaginative, and inventive; feel free to create, and change, to adapt and alter, donít ever let yourself be trapped, stymied or thwarted by any model, work to develop metaphors, imagery, suggestions, structures, and styles that work for you.

If things donít work out in any phase of the experience, donít be discouraged. Review your efforts, and if you can detect errors or problems, seek to correct, overcome, or bypass them. It is often a big mistake to see the successful past-life regression as merely an hour-long experience: it may take many hours of practice to build yourself up to the point where you are actually ready to have one (depending, once again, on your starting point).

In my own case, I was prepared by 12 hours of training in hypnotherapy, and maybe 15-20 hours of practice in a hypnosis workshop, in which I also witnessed several past-life regressions conducted by a therapist. Outside of this workshop, I had a chance to do hypnotic inductions on others, and to see some impressive results, which inspired me.

When I finally sat down to attempt my own past-life regressions, even so, I had to go through an additional process of learning and preparing. In one of my earliest efforts, I was seated in a high chair (duh!), and fell forward, striking my head against a desk as I slipped into the hypnotic state. Reestablishing myself in a more suitable location, I tried again on another day. At that time, I went in rather deep, and for a while saw a black so black that it was quite amazing. I didnít push myself, I just sat there patiently, waiting for quite a long time, until suddenly, against this black of blacks, appeared a most intense and brilliant object of gold, like a tiny mask or figurine, before it faded. It looked Mesoamerican, perhaps Aztec. Later, I glimpsed an image of marsh reeds (perhaps from Lake Texcoco). These were tiny hints, traces of a past-life regression I would only, finally, experience far in the future. No coherent story or flow of images followed from them, they stood alone, but they were a beginning. In other regression attempts, for one brief moment, I saw Black Elk, the Lakota medicine man, more as a spirit than as a past-life image, I believe, for he was old and seemed to be visiting me in the capacity of a kind of guide, or observer. In another regression I saw a prairie with sage brush; in another, an Egyptian building; in another, an apartment in London (I thought) with two well-dressed Victorian sisters (?); and in another, some kind of little house or cabin with a woman who had blonde hair and high cheekbones, who I thought might be Slavic. How she fascinated me, though I have not placed her after all this time. As you see, images and pieces, glimpses of past lives or spirits (?), which did not develop further. But all the time I was gaining experience and moving closer to the day when I would begin to open up to more complete streams of past-life visions.

It was not until after I went to a past-life regression therapist, undergoing the experience under his professional guidance and direction, that something in me finally opened up enough to enable me to begin to have these experiences on my own. Then, for a time, I was inundated with them. So much so, that I was inspired to write a book describing them (The Journey of Rainsnow).

Hopefully, my personal story will help to encourage you, and to underline the importance of tenacity. Once one approaches the experience as an adventure - and realizes that the hypnotic state can be quite rewarding, beneficial, and pleasant in its own right, whether one goes on to have a past-life regression or not - then one may come by the motivation to continue trying, until one finally does achieve a "breakthrough" of some kind, and encounter coherent memories of oneís past.

One other additional, crucial point: In order for the past-life regression to work, one must observe it, and go with it, not judge it or censor it while it is happening. If something weird or illogical appears, donít stifle it and say, "No, that canít be!", just let the imagery do what it wants to do. For example, if you see ancient Roman soldiers walking down a cobble-stoned street, then suddenly see a rhinoceros charging at them, donít say, "Phony!" and begin to inject your conscious mind as a censor into the experience. "No rhinos in Rome", snip, snip. Donít edit while itís going on, because that way your subconscious mind will cease to be the origin of the material, and you will essentially be creating something from a conscious level, which is not the level genuine past-life material is believed to come from. Let things happen, and stay out of their way. Only later, once you are "awake", should you come back to analyze what happened, sift through it, and determine what parts of it were likely to be fantasy, and what parts of it might actually have been real. (Fantasy and reality do sometimes mix in these experiences. But the effort to tell which is which should only occur after the experience is over. Once you get an inner visionary flow, stay with it, donít throw unnecessary obstacles in its way!)

Once more, my techniques are not for everybody, nor is self-regression for everybody. For those who are interested in learning more about their past-life selves, what is really important is that they seek to find the methods for obtaining that knowledge which suit them best. I hope that my article, here, may provide at least a little bit of guidance to all.

Peace to all! And for those who dare to undertake the journey - Bon Voyage!

JRS

 

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