What Is Past-Life Exploration?

Over the last two months I’ve done another half-dozen Past-Life Explorations for clients, and it would seem that no matter how many I Imagedo, I’m still as mystified as the clients are at how these sessions seamlessly unfold for them.  The extensive range of our life experiences throughout eons of time is both unfathomable and yet readily accessible. How is that possible?

It’s possible because consciousness, in its many forms, is infinite and immortal.

For those who haven’t yet had the experience, please don’t misunderstand what I’m offering with Past-Life Exploration: I don’t offer this service as entertainment. It’s just the opposite. I offer it to clients as an exploratory route for self-empowerment and true-self actualization. It is one aspect of the many “healing services” that I’ve been trained to provide clients to help them resolve core health issues and deeper “life” problems.

Well, what if you don’t believe in that kind of thing, or you don’t see the value in it?

It isn’t really a question of beliefs other than believing yourself to be more than simply a flesh-and-blood creature that walks the earth for a short time, then that’s the end of everything. Your body may perish, that’s true, but your spiritual essence or your consciousness, transcends death.

And you don’t have to “buy into” anything to have a past-life exploration. I don’t try to hard-sell any aspect of this. It isn’t necessary to do so. There is simply too much evidence documented by others already in the field to discount the likelihood of our having past-lives.

Therapists have long been doing hypnotic “regression–to-cause” for some hidden mental or emotional issues that they might run across with clients during a therapy session. In fact, that is how the evidence began to mount that those deeper, tougher problems often originated in a different time and place than this life.

Brian Weiss, M.D., noted Psychotherapist and graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, popularized that practice to investigate his clients’ root-cause heath issues. He has written many books on the subject.

Weiss often found that his client’s stubborn present-day issues were actually unresolved left-overs from a previous life where they had first occurred. Then each life thereafter began the subconscious dance of trying to heal those wounded past-life emotions and energy imprints without the conscious knowledge of what was creating them. It was hard for the therapist to determine how to remedy the problem situation in the client’s life when it had no actual creation in this lifetime.

The key difference between what I do in a past-life exploration and what a psychotherapist might do, is in the intention and the focus.  I’m NOT a therapist, so I won’t interpret or analyze what you experience, or judge it in any way.

I take a more Spiritual route instead by focusing on the energy transcendence aspect.

ImageWithout my even needing to know the issues that you wish to explore, I simply help you to relax into meeting your Higher Self, and then we turn those present-life questions that you want more information on, over to your Higher Self.  Your Higher Self then provides the lives that you will be shown to explore those personal issues.

I’m not your destination planner—your Higher Self is. I just go along as a tour guide to ask you important questions that help to immerse you into that past life, and to help clarify your descriptive statements for accuracy. I also record your descriptions of all that you do experience while there, for your later review.

The other thing I do, is that because I am an energy worker (REIKI) and this, in its purest sense, is energy work, I can help heal those unhealed energy imprints and bring Divine Light to your emotional wounds (which are also unhealed energy imprints) existing there at that time. This is the spiritual healing aspect of the process.

The deeper healing comes from within yourself as you realize how intertwined your past-lives were to your present life in some important ways; and that once you understand what still needs to be addressed in this life that had been left over from a previous life, you can see more clearly how to do so.

I only suggest that you take some quiet time and do lots of journaling after a session, as you will continue to make realizations long after the session ends; for days, weeks, and even months afterward. These sessions are THAT affecting and powerful, because they are so EMPOWERING to you, as you can NOW see the bigger picture behind much of those seemingly-random happenings throughout your life.

Most clients come out of a past-life exploration session with eyes nearly popping out of their sockets and jaws dropped to their chests at having had the personal experience of seeing, hearing, and feeling another time period complete with an entirely different cast of characters around them—interacting with them—all while sitting in the soft recliner in my little room with me at their side.

Some are initially too speechless to even talk afterwards, and to them I simply say: “I know….. mind-blowing, isn’t it?”

They just nod.

The Hypnotic Power of Metaphor and Storytelling

From the beginning of my hypnosis training, I’ve been a fan of Dr. Milton Erickson, often best known for his prolific use of metaphors and casual storytelling to seamlessly integrate hypnotic suggestions past a client’s more resistant conscious awareness. Those Ericksonian “Secret Ops” techniques were skillfully employed as needed at the time.

In other situations with less-resistant hypnosis clients, Erickson was direct and specific about the requested changes to be made, but fewer people remember him for protocol shock-inductions of pretending to shake a new person’s hand and instead momentarily confusing the client with a quick arm-lift movement followed by commands to drop him into a deep-trance state.

That was more the stage show aspect of his practice. It revealed his total mastery of the medium and wowed his audiences every time. That’s not the aspect of Erickson that I admire.

While it often produced positive results for clients, to me it also violated a basic trust between the client and the hypnotist. You don’t pretend to do one thing and instead shock them into a confused state to easier access their subconscious mind. That’s not my style of hypnosis.

I don’t care for that kind of deception. I find it unethical and unacceptable. So as much as I admire Erickson’s many storytelling techniques, I will not jerk your hands or arms around to “put you under,” as it was then called, but I will talk a lot and do a lot of guided imagery in a hypnosis session because I want clients to feel comfortable and safe in my office, and to naturally relax into their requested life changes, while I simply clear the obstacles from their path to reach them.

Some of you might have even noticed, that most my blog posts are very Ericksonian: full of metaphors and suggestions—some indirect, some direct. But I never try to deceive a reader, because I personally feel that if you once violate someone’s trust in you, that person will never completely trust you again.Image

And if you wrote something with the intention of deception, then how can you even trust yourself?

This alludes back to my previous post of “Baby the Rain Must Fall” on the two NLP books premise about incongruent behavior being a leading cause of disharmony and dissatisfaction in many lives. When our behaviors don’t match our values, we end up fighting with ourselves, and that is not a battle anyone can win.

So, I’ll conclude this tribute to Dr. Milton Erickson post with Shakespearian prose from Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)  :

Juliet:  “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” … and an Ericksonian metaphor: “A rose by its very sweetness smells.”

Shifting Sands and Shifting Energies

I’m sure many have noticed the unstable energies lately: both locally and around the world. Astrologers are heralding the Grand Cross of April 23rd, 2014, as the primary culprit. The four cardinal signs of Astrology come into 90-degree relationship to each other on that day and mark a time of tremendous upheaval and change.

Or, …another perspective might be that somebody is seriously shaking the rug while we’re still on it.

It isn’t doom and gloom related—that’s not the point at all. It is simply bringing the heavy stuff (energies) to the surface for release and clearing. Many have felt it personally in their own lives and in their relationships, and for certain the news is full of it now.

What does this mean to you and me?

It means we are being given the opportunity to more closely examine our own shadow issues (often ego-related stuff), and provided the conscious awareness to release that which no longer serves us; to deeply heal all levels of our being.

Have you ever noticed that when you walk on the beach, the sands beneath your feet just seem to give way, and you feel like you have to try harder to maintain your balance and momentum? That’s what is happening energetically right now. Energies are shifting back and forth between extreme high frequencies and extreme low frequencies, and we are right in the middle of it all, trying to maintain our own equilibrium in every aspect of our lives throughout this process.

An example being: I’m an Aries Fire-sign, and I haven’t been immune to challenges to my own temper, besides noticing some fiery-energy expansion within me that makes the implausible possibility of running a marathon seem do-able to me—which it isn’t.

But I also recognize the choice to ground this excess energy down and be more physically active, trying to better balance explosive emotions and rational decision making. That’s what is happening on a global scale right now. That is why there is so much unrest and so many power shifts unfolding.

This is a time of the “old ways of doing things” being reassessed and discarded for the new perspective—the new focus—the new mode of operation.

It is a natural “death and rebirth cycle.”

It’s that darn vulture or buzzard energy that I mentioned in a previous post. It’s all about intense transformation: of us, of our lives, of our world. We’ve been crawling about on our bellies long enough. It’s time to enter the cocoon for the big changes to come. And to do that, requires us to do some serious introspection of our lives: to determine who we truly are, what we want from life, and to assess what we value in this life so we can better define our sense of purpose for being here, and better align to our intended future direction.

No doubt about it, this is heavy stuff right now. But we CAN get through it.

ImageThat’s what butterflies do. They spend some quality time in the cocoon first before testing out those magnificent wings.

Try to get out in nature more and simply enjoy your cocoon time. Earth Day is April 22nd, the day before the Grand Cross on the 23rd, so take a walk, hug a tree, sit on a river bank and just watch the current flowing on by you. Let the energies of the Earth help to stabilize those wild and crazy energies within you, and when your wings are ready to unfold, …you’ll know.

“Baby the Rain Must Fall”

It’s a good 60’s song—slightly dated, but still lyrically solid with a catchy tune. Sung at the time by Glenn Yarborough, the repeating chorus is: “Baby, the rain must fall. Baby, the wind must blow. Wherever my heart leads me, ….baby, I must go, …baby, I must go.”Image

That was an anthem of the sixties generation: Wherever my heart leads me, …baby, I must go. Funny to think that many of those free-spirited, idealistic, make-love-not-war, folks of the mid-sixties have now become the established autocrats running the world.

How could that ever be? Did their hearts lead them into international banking industries and global exploitation? How do you turn the free-love-hippies generation into world domineering power-brokers? Was it magic, …or just greed? Was that song refrain actually: “Wherever money leads me, …baby, I must go”?

In reality, sometimes our inner values take a hit to external demands. Somewhere, at sometime, our “heart” leading us may concede that direction over to our “head” that prefers living a more comfortable and secure lifestyle. We may cave on our values— pushing aside our ideals for the promise of something more lucrative and predictable.

Sometimes we justify what we do for whatever reason best fits the moment; and we might tell ourselves that we aren’t really giving up our dreams of simplicity and non-conformance—we are just maximizing our present potential to create the best possible future for ourselves and for our loved ones. Now who hasn’t said that same thing?

Why I mention this at all is that I was just reading a couple hypnosis/NLP books on incongruent behavior being a leading cause of why people can’t find a viable solution to their problems: with relationships, in careers, and in feeling that they have no sense of purpose to their lives. Both books’ premise was that these problems occur when people find their behaviors in conflict with their values.

Whenever we pit ourselves against ourselves, even unknowingly, we invite dysfunction and failure into our lives. We set ourselves up for dissatisfaction and unhappiness by failing to be true to who we are and what we believe about life in general.

The books suggested that people should “be true to their values and follow their hearts” to lead more satisfying and successful lives. Sounds like a familiar song, doesn’t it?

But what happens when the rain is falling and the wind is blowing, and your pockets are empty? Are you following your heart to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter?

That is part of the problem with being true to our values: we don’t live in an ideal world that applauds that sort of thing. So we make choices in the moment. One choice leads to options in one direction, and one choice may lead in the other direction.

It’s that Robert Frost “Two roads diverged in a yellow woods…” dilemma. Which road do you take?

I think that is an important decision we all must make at some time in our lives, but hopefully we at least make it in full awareness of whether our hearts or our heads are leading the way.

However, that also means we must KNOW who we truly are and what we truly want from our lives to be able to recognize the difference between those two choices.

My suggestion: meditate, journal, and spend some quality time just getting to know yourself so you can determine what you DO truly value in your life.

Belonging and Acceptance

The only thing I can figure is that I must do a lot of work in my sleep when I wake way too early with statements or slogans going through my mind, such as this title. Sometimes it is the endless looping of a song phrase sung in a vaguely recognizable voice that drives me nuts trying to remember the rest of the song while I stumble to the coffee pot.

Sleep habits aside, I instantly recognize the significance of the sentence fragment as an important behavior motivator that means: Over the course of our lives, we often search for a deep sense of belonging, where we are accepted for simply being who we are.

Like many others, throughout my life I’ve searched long and hard, tried this group and that, for a sense of feeling at peace and at ease with exactly who I am, and for feeling appreciated for what I offered the group and the world in general. Because of that process I experienced these integral life questions: What did I have to do (how contorted did I have to twist myself) to feel accepted by the group? And what role did I play in that group association (dominant, supplicant, equal)?

Group associations can be pivotal motiImagevating factors for us, especially in early adolescence behavior; but that importance can also extend into adulthood.

This sense of not really knowing who you are or what you are supposed to be doing, can be a powerful driver to seekers of truth and higher purpose for living. As seekers, many of us simply aren’t satisfied with the standard rhetoric from any authority figure trying to convince us of their “truth” version, and many of us feel the importance of personal, direct connection for answers to those deepest life questions.

Discomfort or dissatisfaction with the norm, is a strong motivator of change in our lives.

This is not to discount that some people may have always felt comfortable in whatever home situation or group of friends that they found themselves. But some of us have always felt that there was something we were missing or not quite grasping “out there” beyond our fingertips—beyond our immediate environment, and we were determined to find out what it was and where it might lead. I know that’s been the story of my life, and I assume there must be a bunch of us out there who have felt the same thing, or there would not be so many philosophers in “blog-dom.”

The advantage of having a little age behind you is the “look-back” factor for reassessment, where you now have that distance perspective to reevaluate those older associations for the values and lessons-learned aspects.

Of course, in reassessment conclusions, there would be changes made back then because of your advanced knowledge now on all aspects of friends and how they view you in relation to how you best fit into their lives; but there would also be a deeper appreciation for yourself in all your imperfections and neediness at the time to bend and twist yourself for others, while you were still discovering who you were and what you wanted from your life.

These are the standard life lessons we all share.

We all need to feel that we “belong” somewhere doing something that feels “right” to us. And we need to know that the person we are at the core of our being, is an honorable, loving person—perfect in our present imperfections, and continually evolving into our fullest potential for greatness.

That is the essence of self-love, and the necessity for self-acceptance.

On Wings of Transformation

During this Iowa spring-weather changeover, while driving to and from work lately, I’ve noticed that there are fewer eagles flying overhead and that the turkey buzzards have replaced them in their fly-zones. Not sure how that goes up in the skies—who decides to vacate when and who else instantly takes their place, but it seems well choreographed to not miss a beat sailing through the clouds.

From a more shamanic viewpoint, vulture or buzzard when considered as a power animal, can represent death and rebirth, purification, and intense transformation. They are not the most pleasant-looking flying fortresses that ride the air currents, but they are amazing aeronautical acrobats that can change directions with a simple dip of a wingtip. They make gliding in 30 mph winds look way too easy, and I can respect their presence in the skies and their deeper symbolism, even as I miss seeing the wintering eagles.

That being said, transformation as a personal process is a bit like having your mother tell you to eat that liver on your plate because it will make you grow up to be big and strong, while you are finding it pretty hard to believe that something so awful tasting can do what she claims that it can. You are just not buying it—no way, no how. But yet, …you do grow up to be that person she claimed you would be—big and strong, and one who still hates liver despite your present knowledge of its beneficial iron content.Image

Transformation also implies that an original state is in process of becoming something else: like the metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly. Did the slow-inching caterpillar ever dream that flying was even possible for it? Probably not. Change of that magnitude is hard to  consider possible in a dream-state, let alone in reality, …but yet, year by year, it frequently happens.

Again, I will state that I am not a psychologist, nor a clinical therapist—that’s not my function, but when clients come to me for some issue, much of what I do with REIKI or hypnosis involves helping the client to transform in some way, from what was, to what might be, and ultimately to what IS, in their lives. And much of that transformation is self-initiated, self-directed, and self-realized. So what is it that I do in their processes?

I think one of the most beneficial things I can do for clients is to show them what can be. I don’t have to point at liver and say to them, “See…this will make you big and strong.” But I can show them that caterpillars can magically become butterflies, even if they weren’t aware of the possibility existing for them. I can ask them to define a future more to their liking, and possibly through hypnosis, show them and help them feel what it would be like, to BE in that future possibility—to metaphorically fly like the butterfly.

Personal transformation doesn’t have to be a grueling, distasteful process, but it might require a little time in the change-cocoon before you wing your way to the upper air currents like the eagles and the buzzards.

The possibility for personal change always exists. It is simply up to each person to consider it, to desire it, and then to realize it.

Paying the Bills

Here we are, the first of the month (April 1st—no fooling) so with a handful of bills in one hand and my checkbook in the other, I give a long sigh saying, “Goodbye money—hope to see more of you again soon.”

That’s the contract we make with those who provide us goods and services: we promise to pay up when the bill arrives.

In a sense, that was also the contract we made before coming into this life experience: For whatever we did during our time here, we knew that there would be a reciprocating result—a payback in some way for any good or harm done to others.

But instead of signing the check for our “bills owed,” we usually pay in direct experience—the “you get what you give” payback. We just refer to it by a different name.

We often call it Karma.

In physics, it’s like Newton’s 3rd law of motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Karma is the supposed payback for all human thought and behavior—both good and bad.

In spiritual terms, karma is thought to operate on the principal of causality, where a person’s intentions and deeds determine a future of blessings (good karma) or suffering (bad karma). Although I’m not certain that this is the true model for karma in its purest intent.

A softer, more lenient view of karma is that of lessons mastered (free of paybacks and life dramas) and lessons still yet to master (still on that life/death samsaric wheel of continued learning).

Most of us are in the latter category. That’s why we are still plugging away here on Earth. We are still writing those monthly checks because we have all those bills yet to pay; and sometimes those bills are holdovers from other lives.

ImageWhen we acknowledge that we have made past mistakes, ask for forgiveness from those we have harmed—even if it was by harming ourselves, and make heart-felt restitution to be better people for those previous transgressions, then we start paying down the bill’s principal.

If we talk the talk about being a better person, but don’t actually walk it, we only pay the interest, and the bill continues to accrue month to month. No loan company will get you out from under unpaid karma. It’s a debt you simply have to work out on your own.

But how we approach those lessons yet to be learned, such as being kinder to others, or more acceptant of others, or more responsive to others, or more generous with time and treasure, and forgiving of the faults and misdeeds of those who have harmed us; these actions can sway how quickly karma releases us from past transgressions and allows us more freedom from suffering. In other words, when we finally learn how to be more loving people, we are provided the opportunities to demonstrate it.

If we believe that ignorance (yet to be learned) is universal and that we are all learning from each and every interaction with each other; we develop greater compassion for those who strike out and seek to harm us in some way.

When we can see our own actions in the actions of another and say, “Yes, I’ve been there. I’ve done that same thing or thought that same way” then we see how similar we are with others, rather than how different.

But even when the actions of others are beyond the remedial stage, we can wish them well on their continued journey, and provide them seclusion from others until their journey ends when they return to the “Head Teller” to work out their accumulated debt. Sometimes removing a seriously harmful offender from the rest of us is necessary. Those repercussive lessons are the hardest to grasp for the rest of us, and often the hardest to personally forgive.

As for MY own definition of Karma, I’m still processing it, but a gentle friend once said to me, “I believe Karma may simply mean the opportunity to try again—a different setting, a different time, a different life.”

I guess I like her definition best of all; knowing that we all long for the day that we no longer need that checkbook.