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Past-life Regression? Been There, Done That

Aaron just announced (on Mysterious Universe Plus, episode 105) that he is about to undergo a past-life regression session and expressed a little concern about the impending experience, “What if I find out you murdered me in a previous life?” he asked Ben.  Sensing his fear, and since I’m an old hand at regressing into past life, I feel it is my duty to step in and offer support.

Allow me to confirm your suspicions, Aaron. It could very well turn out that you and Ben were acquainted in one past life or many. Could he have murdered you? Really, I believe its quite unlikely. Think how few people (relatively speaking) are murdered in any lifetime. Besides, Ben appears to be a very evolved soul, at least a few lifetimes removed from blood lust. You’d probably be the one doing the killing, Aaron, so relax and enjoy the trip.

Aaron promises to share his past life with MU Plus subscribers. Until that much anticipated report is unveiled, I thought I’d share with you my own past life experience. If nothing else, it is so thrill-free (although very enlightening for me) that it is certain to ease any regression qualms Aaron might be feeling.

My journey into the past was actually a story assignment for the feature section of the the newspaper I was working for at the time.  As I explain a little later in the story, it just so happens that I’ve had a lifelong fascination with past lives that began with Bridey Murphy, so I had some idea what I was getting into before I arrived at the group regression session.

Here’s my account of what happened when I went under the hypnotists spell:
It was a love story, the very best kind of love story, one part joy, one part tragedy with a very satisfying third act that involved both redemption and reconciliation.  It was better than anything I could have made up.  At least I think it was.

It was my past life regression conducted in a group setting by a certified hypnotherapist.  I was a little nervous going into the session but once the 15 participants were assembled and the hypnosis began, I found I fell quickly under the spell of of the hypnotist’s voice and easily silenced any inner critic that might have asked, “Is this for real?”  Whenever the hypnotist’s voice made a suggestion:–”Walk through the tunnel and come out on the other side in a different time.”– I was right there with her.  In fact, as the hour-long session progressed, I found I was sometimes a step ahead of her guiding voice.

From the beginning the story that unraveled had a fated feeling to it. “I” and I use quotes because the character wasn’t me, she was a willowy young woman in a rough homespun skirt living on the American Midwest prairie in 1856. She wore a bonnet tied beneath her chin with ribbon. She stood gazing down, into a stream bed running with cool water and when she looked up, there he was, and she was filled with shy wonder and disbelieving happiness.  So was I, and I’ll tell you these are not in my everyday repertoire of feelings.  It was his smile, mostly,  You couldn’t doubt a smile like that or the heart behind it.

When the scene changed , that young girl was many years older and dressed in mourning, staring out a tall window that let in a faded, white sunlight that warmed nothing, least of all her grief. Her heart was as empty as the house she lived in, yet she was very self-possessed, her back very straight. She was waiting, but I couldn’t tell for what.

The the rest of her story came to me in a series of short flashbacks. The young couple had married, and gone back east so that he could attend medical school.  They were unable to have children, but they shared much in life, working side by side in his–his name was Dr. Hobson–medical practice.  Soon the Civil War came and took him away from her to the battlefield.  He died of diphtheria during the war.

She returned to her in-laws home and after their deaths, lived there alone until very late in a long life. Then she used the fortune left by his parents to build a medical school in her husband’s name: Hobson Medical School.

When she died, she was attended by only a hired nurse and the president of the medical school, but as the end of her life came she felt only relief believing that she would at last be reunited with her beloved.  And she was right.

That was that. End of story.

But was it just a story that I made up from bits and pieces of movies, memory, wishful thinking? Or was it a true past life, a piece of history?

I first became intrigued with the notion of reincarnation and past lives regression when as a girl I found a book on Bridey Murphy in the public library.

In 1952, Morey Bernstein hypnotised Virginia Tighe. She began speaking in an irish rogue and claimed that she was Bridey Murphy, a 19th century woman from Cork, Ireland.  While under hypnosis, she sang irish songs and told irish stories, always as Bridey Murphy. Bernstein’s book, the one I read, “The Search for Bridey Murphy, “became a best-seller.

Later reporters found that a red-headed Bridey Murphy lived in Ireland in the nineteenth century.  But one paper–The Chicago American–found a Bridey Murphy in Chicago in the 20th Century. Bridie Murphey Corkell lived in the house across the street from where Virginia Tighe grew up.

Despite the debunking, the story continued to fascinate me.  I mean, even if she was just remembering and mimicking, she did a pretty impressive job.  Besides, I’ve had enough odd encounters of my own to know better than to jump to judgment.   I choose to keep an open mind when it comes to inexplicable unknowns.
That’s probably what made the past life regression process so easy for me to undergo.  It really didn’t matter to me if I was really in the past or if the images and feelings were coming from some inner source.  I went into the session with what Buddhists call “beginners mind.” I had no preconceived notions about what I would experience and no need to be convinced that I would actually be time traveling. I just wanted to see what it was all about.

“Past life regression works as a therapeutic tool whether you believe in reincarnation or not,” the hypnotist explained. “In Jungian terms you can look at it as information that you already possess; part of the collective unconscious that you needed to see at this time.  However, it’s hard to describe the amount of research and the number of remarkable examples that in my own belief system prove reincarnation.”

The benefit of participating in past life regressions for most of us, she said, is that it can give one perspective on the issues faced in this lifetime.

“If you can get outside what you’re caught in now and learn from the lessons of previous lives, you can bring the underlying patterns to the surface.  Some people learn that illnesses follow them from lifetime to lifetime or that psychological trauma originated in a previous life.  One man who suffered from claustrophobia learned that he had died aboard a submarine.  Others have discovered that were abandoned not just in this life but before. Once it’s identified, then we can begin to look at what keeps pulling that into our lives,” she explained.
At the end of the session in which I participated, before emerging from the hypnotic suggestion, the hypnotist asked if we could meet with the former self and ask what lesson that person had to teach us. 
I was able to embrace Mrs. Hobson, the doctor’s widow, and ask her that question.  She replied, “There can be a connection with another person that is transcendent and lasts even beyond death, but the price is very high.”

I find that I turn this message around in my mind, trying to fit it in, wondering exactly what it means. Fascinated. Intrigued by how little we know about the powers of the mind and the mysteries of the universe.