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Past life regression is the use of hypnosis and suggestion to bring up memories about lives before the one a patient is currently living. Many people believe that this type of therapy is dangerous because it implants false memories and delusions, but other people believe that unresolved issues in past lives may be the source of problems in current lives. Depending on someone's feelings about the existence of past lives, past life regression may be very therapeutic or may make current problems much worse. This treatment is not condoned by most medical groups, although certain religious traditions believe in the importance of recalling past lives.
Usually, past life regression involves placing a patient in a state in which he or she can call up memories from past lives. Typically, this involves some suggestion on the part of the person inducing the hypnotic state. These memories may be only fuzzy at first, but the hypnotist often helps flesh out the memories by making suggestions and by asking questions.
One way in which practitioners of past life regression find memories from past lives is by focusing on problems in a person's current life. It is thought that problems in these past lives may have effects on someone's current life. Some people also have success uncovering repressed memories from past lives by thinking deeply about a time prior to birth. Usually, the patient must have some faith in reincarnation in order for therapy to be effective, as a belief in past lives implies a belief in reincarnation.
In many cases, past life regression is practiced as a component of a larger belief system. People who undergo this type of therapy are therefore already predisposed to accepting the premises of the therapy. Often, treatment can be very successful because the past lives are used to talk about problems in present lives and may even provide guidance when attempting to solve those difficulties.
Problematically, it has been thoroughly demonstrated that humans are capable of believing truly that they remember events that were simply suggested by others. The ability of the human mind to create false memories may explain the compelling nature of past life regression. A person who chooses this type of therapy as a path to recovery often has trouble accepting that the therapy may be false after the experience of recovering these memories, which can make conventional therapy much more difficult. From the subjective position of the patient, the memories seem very real, and the experience seems compelling, which is a very difficult position to reverse.
I read about past life regression therapy when I was a teenager, but I didn't know anyone in my area that did that sort of thing. I often wondered if some of the things I did or didn't do were because of my past life experiences. There were times when I'd see a stranger on the street and get the feeling that I knew them from somewhere. I'd have very lucid dreams about living somewhere else, and usually I was in a different body.
There was an article in a magazine that mentioned past life regression stories, and it also had some past life regression exercises readers could try at home. It was mostly about meditating and getting into
a very relaxed state of consciousness, but you were also supposed to guide yourself back to the beginning of your current life. Once you could see things from your past clearly, then you were supposed to relax your mind and let events from a previous life come out.
I didn't really get much out of those past life regression techniques, but I did feel like I had a better understanding of reincarnation from a past life. I'd still like to try it again with a professional past life regression therapist some day.
A friend of mine went through past life regression therapy many years ago, when it was a popular fad. She told me that once the hypnotherapist got her in a relaxed state, she could remember things from her earliest childhood, like older relatives she never knew and events that happened when she was only a year old. Those were her most vivid memories during the session.
When the hypnotherapist started taking her back to a past life, she said it was a hazy memory that faded in and out a lot. She could tell she was male, and he wore a uniform but he wasn't in the military. She said she could sometimes see things through his eyes, but
she never saw his face.
I have to admit I was extremely skeptical about the whole thing, but then one of her older sisters confirmed the events she recalled from her childhood. She described several now deceased relatives perfectly. I don't know about her claims of a past life as a man, but I can swear she didn't make up those stories about her own childhood.
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