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Posted March 1, 2001

Past Lives: 101
Part 1

Linda-Ann Stewart

Reviewing your past lives can be very helpful in understanding negative patterns in your current life, and learning how to release them. I've guided many people through their past life recall. When a client comes to me to assist them in exploring their past lives, they have a lot of questions about the process and don't know what to expect. I can understand that, having been in their position.

A little over twenty years ago, I experienced my first past life regression. Although I'd believed in reincarnation since my mid-teens, this was the first time I'd had a chance to experiment with it to see for myself. I attended a group at a YWCA that was led by a couple of women trained to guide us into three of our past lives.

First, they directed us to relax and showed us how hypnosis and visualizing would feel. Then, they hypnotized us again, and this time instructed us to recall the bare details of the past lives that our subconscious chose for us, one at a time. The leaders asked questions about where we were in each lifetime, what our name was, what the year was, what were we doing, how were we dressed. In two of the lives, my conscious mind complained, "This can't be right," about my clothing and what I was doing. But no matter how I tried to change the particulars, they stayed the same.

Afterwards, I talked to a friend with an extensive background in history, and he verified the details I'd doubted in both lifetimes. They were right on. Over the next couple of years, I read all I could about past life regression, and explored it with friends and myself. Then, in 1989, I became a certified hypnotherapist and have guided many, many people through a recall of their past lives.

One misconception that people have about exploring past lives is that it's like reliving it or watching it clearly, like on a movie screen. This is very rare. Most people experience it as they would remembering something that happened last year. At first, the recollections may be hazy, and when I ask questions, they might say "I don't know," or "I don't see anything." I then either re-phrase the question, or ask a different one. Mainly, I'm helping them to orient themselves in a different time and place.

The main thing that a person needs to have is trust in their perceptions. Sometimes, I've asked a question, been answered, "I don't know," and after the session my client has said, "You know, when you asked who else was there, I sensed another man." They hadn't told me at the time because they didn't trust their own awareness. Interestingly, as a person learns to trust their insights in the recall process, they also begin to trust their discernment in other areas of their life.

Everything that has ever happened to you, in this lifetime and all of your past lives, is stored in the memory banks of your subconscious mind. Some people cannot remember things that happened to them early in their present life. It's there, they just don't remember. Generally, the subconscious clouds their recollection in an attempt to protect them.

I think the reason we don't immediately remember our past lives is also an attempt to protect us. For the most part, we need to focus on this life, and learn its lessons. If we recalled everything that happened to us in all of our past lives, we'd be overwhelmed, not to mention confused. It would be difficult to keep all of the characters straight.

Think of how you feel when you recall something nasty that happened to you in your current life. Imagine that feeling multiplied by over a thousand such incidents. And now consider the feeling when you've done something that you don't like. Again, multiply that. Now you might understand why the subconscious keeps your past life experiences hidden in its murky depths. It's so you can function in your present life. Only when you're ready will your subconscious allow these memories to surface. Generally, a person is able to handle it when they become interested in past lives and are willing to take responsibility for their actions. Understanding your past history is simply another step on the path of learning to accept responsibility for yourself.

Part 2


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