In part 1, we looked at the reincarnation research of Dr. Ian Stevenson. In part 2, I advocated for the view of panpsychism—that consciousness is both fundamental and universal, behind all matter.
In this final part, we radically shift our epistemology—our way of knowing—from quantum mechanics to the “deep reaching inward” of regressive hypnosis, which I believe is equally valid. We review the findings of pioneers in this field, while later obtaining feedback from those I’ve talked to personally who have been regressed to another life. We spend less time talking about a universal consciousness and more on a subjective consciousness—the soul.
I regard the soul as fundamental consciousness that is fragmented from the Source into a self-aware subject, independent of matter, and has an option to incarnate physically. The soul is the transcendent observer behind every pair of eyes, and is at some level, at one with the whole of the universe.
Although the panpsychist view still holds—there is a form of consciousness behind every atom—the soul is greater than the sum of bodily constituents. When the body dies, the organized atomic consciousness still remains, but there is a greater part of us that leaves our eyes.
Now excuse me while I take off these damn glasses, because here comes the fun (and final) part!
To Bring Without
“So it seems as though this part of us that is living a life on Earth is only a small piece or splinter of a much larger us. That we are many rather than one, or rather pieces of a more complex whole. We are only able to focus on the splinter we perceive as our totality. That is a good thing, because if we were aware of the complexity of it we would not be able to function in this world or reality.
“We are only able to see the facade that masks a much larger picture. Only now are we being allowed to peek behind the veil.”
-Dolores Cannon, pioneer in past life regression, The Convoluted Universe (2001)
A common criticism of reincarnation is that, at least anecdotally, there are many people who claim to have been rich and famous in their past lives—even royalty! Whether or not said jokingly, these boastful claims damage the validity of the field, and can make the whole idea of past lives seem silly and absurd. This is exactly what PhD psychologist and hypnotherapist Helen Wambach believed, who beginning in the mid-1960s set out on a decade-long journey to finally debunk the foolish notion of reincarnation altogether.
The study did not go according to plan, however, as she was soon forced to challenge her preconceived beliefs. While under deep trance, all 1088 Californian subjects successfully regressed to former lives, experiencing them as if they were in an immersive movie, often with extreme emotion. They heard ancient languages, wore foreign clothing, and ate exotic food, confidently responding to the specific questions of Wambach when asked. In all but 11 cases (1%), the hypnotherapist found the detailed descriptions of historical settings to be entirely accurate, verified by obscure experts.
A converted skeptic, Dr. Wambach published Reliving Past Lives: The Evidence Under Hypnosis in 1978, containing comprehensive reports of the groundbreaking research. Taken as a whole, her results were stunning:
- 50.6% of past lives were male compared to 49.4% female, in accordance with basic biology.
- The reported class ratio was incredibly consistent with the estimates of historians during the respective period. The subjects were not claiming to be kings and queens. Not Napoleon or Cleopatra or Joan of Ark. They were largely peasants. Farmers. Living in poverty. None reported being a famous figure, and only around 10% were upper class—but even then, many seemed unsatisfied with their lives.
- Dr. Wambach routinely found that recall of food, clothing, tools, and even languages was “better than that in popular history books,” in contact with several specialists who invariably validated the findings. For example, all 140 subjects who documented a past life as an Aztec detailed a similar diet of beans and veggies, along with the applicable cooking utensils.
- Although most subjects were white Americans, they reported a number of different ethnicities, sometimes regressing back several lifetimes and thousands of years, demonstrating a soul memory transcendent of time. Only 20% of lives reported around 2000 BC were of Caucasian background, widely dispersed throughout the Earth. (One supposed inconsistency was five subjects who reported being blonde in Central Asia between 1000 and 2000 BC. However, recent discoveries of mummified corpses along ancient spice routes have verified that this was indeed the case.)
- 62% of the subjects died of old age and illness, 18% violently during war, and the remaining 20% from accidents. Many reported dying during the two major world wars, or from historically verified civil wars throughout Asia. If one dies a violent or sudden death, it was found they often reincarnate shortly afterwards.
As much as skeptics wish to dismiss this as miraculous hallucination, among her (eventually over 10,000!) patients, the purported claims during regression were remarkably coherent, reliving these perceptions with vivid clarity, as if they were deeply repressed memory.
This led Dr. Wambach to go against everything she was taught, ultimately concluding: “I don’t believe in reincarnation—I know it!”
Although you are free to interpret her findings as you wish, to me personally, they do not sound like imagination, nor some wild fantasy. From a scientific standpoint, it would be downright irrational to ignore such evidence in favor of preconceived dogma—either by conflicting religion, or by religious materialism.
In the words of Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Sir John Eccles, “the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. . . . we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world.”
Unfortunately, in today’s uptight academic culture—one more concerned with self-image than human progress—it is still considered strange to lend credence to such boundary-stretching investigations, based on the startling harmony of experiential insight. These studies, along with many others of phenomena strongly suggestive of the non-locality of consciousness, are continually and conveniently ignored.
What must be concluded, however, is that this is not religion, nor some unfounded philosophy. This is science.
“Fantasy and genetic memory could not account for the patterns that emerged in the results. With the exception of 11 subjects, all descriptions of clothing, footwear, and utensils were consistent with historical records.
“. . . I don’t believe in reincarnation—I know it!”
-Dr. Helen Wambach, Reliving Past Lives: The Evidence Under Hypnosis (1978)
In later studies, Dr. Wambach put forth a contentious finding from patients under trance: that we as human beings have some degree of choice in our current lives, before we are even born, with 89% of subjects claiming their disembodied consciousness did not become a part of the fetus until after six months of gestation, coming with this an onslaught of intense physical sensations.
“The soul usually enters the body near birth, and has a choice of which fetus to enter,” Wambach alleges. “If one fetus is aborted, it is possible to choose another.”
Apparently, souls exist in a much different environment in between lives, and to enter a physical body is to purposefully choose the challenge of being alone and unconnected in a strange world, forgetful of our higher self.
This past year, I picked up the mesmerizing Journey of Souls by PhD psychologist Michael Newton, a detailed collection of question and answer sessions with hypnotically regressed patients, along with notes by Newton himself. The book was a winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award, called by Publishers Weekly “a rich volume, chock-full of interviews and fascinating first-person narratives.”
Also a former skeptic, Newton discovered that he could regress adult patients to even before they were born, expertly guiding them through the death of a past life and into the timeless dimension of “life between lives,” defined by unity and serenity. “It’s an interesting and exciting time for the client,” says Newton, “because it’s at this point they begin to really see their soul.” And although souls do have a choice to linger for a bit in the physical, beside their dead body, this peaceful plane between lives is affectionately portrayed as our true home to which we all must return.
The late psychologist has since regressed over 7000 subjects, who have invariably described this same environment to some degree, with uncanny uniformity. Namely, an organized system of souls arranged into unique groups, led by guides, reviewing the trials of former incarnations and planning for growth through coming lives.
Although the pure form of these souls is discarnate energy, they communicate in a very intimate, telepathic manner, projecting thought forms to one another or even taking on appearances of previous lives. At this level, there is no hiding, hypocrisy, or judgement—thoughts are not restricted locally, and everything is known.
“Once back in the spirit world, souls have misgivings about even temporarily leaving a world of self-understanding, comradeship, and compassion to go to a planetary environment of uncertainty and fear brought about by aggressive, competing humans. Despite having family and friends on Earth, many incarnated souls feel lonely and anonymous among large impersonal populations.
“I hope my cases show the opposite is true in the spirit world, where our souls are involved in the most intimate sharing on an everlasting basis. Our spiritual identity is known and appreciated by a multitude of other entities, whose support is never ending.”
-Dr. Michael Newton, Journey of Souls (1994)
From this transcendent dimension, it is also possible to project mental images or emotions to those on Earth, although they are much more easily received in meditative or dream states.
Alternatively, some souls overly attached to their bodies may have recurring “nightmares” of a traumatic death on Earth, thereby manifesting metaphysical forms into Earth environments—a phenomenon that could possibly explain sightings of “restless spirits.” These souls often linger about their bodies after an untimely end, yet often wish to reincarnate quickly if they feel they had unfinished business.
Most subjects, however, do not seem too concerned about their past life bodies, nor the mode of their death. Instead, they view the body as a transient vessel, and their life on Earth an exercise in role-playing; to them, they are nothing more than actors in an enormous, collaborative cosmic drama. And with humor being an apparent hallmark of the “spirit world,” it is common to poke fun at how seriously they take their lives on Earth, overly-identifying with the body, thinking erroneously that it is all they have.
“We rib each other about how dramatic it all is down there on Earth and how seriously we all take our lives,” one client quipped. “Earth is one big stage play—we all know that.”
Under deep trance, the subconscious mind routinely explains the process of life selection, in which “souls consider when and where they want to go on Earth before making a decision on who they will be in their new life.” The selection of available bodies (assisted by guides and advanced souls) is very much like a “dress rehearsal,” perceiving probable future selves carrying out various roles in a theater-like setting.
Similarly, the choices of parents and environments are carefully considered, each one assessed for the potential for future growth in particular areas. “Souls returning from the place of life selection must not only sort out the best choice of who they are going to be in their next life, but coordinate this decision with other players in the coming drama,” writes Newton. “After souls have completed their consultations with guides and peers about the many physical and psychological ramifications of a new life and body choice, the decision to incarnate is made.”
For those who are there for you in your current life, as friends and family, do not appear by cosmic accident, but are part of blueprints made in advance by groups of souls. Indeed, each soul invariably arrives to Earth with a specific plan for themselves, one that is consciously—and deliberately—forgotten after a certain age. Affirms one of Newton’s case studies, “There is one main course of life we choose in advance, but alternatives always exist and we learn from them too.”
“Case 13 demonstrated how amnesia is imposed upon us when we come into a current life, so that past life experiences will not inhibit self-discovery in the present. The same condition holds true for souls examining future lives. Without knowing why, most people believe their life has a plan. Of course, they are right.
“Although amnesia does prevent having full conscious knowledge of this plan, the unconscious mind holds the key to spiritual memories of a general blueprint of each life. The vehicle of life selection provides a kind of time machine for souls, where they see some alternative routes to the main road. Although these paths are not fully exposed to us as souls, we carry some of the road map to Earth.”
-Dr. Michael Newton, Journey of Souls (1994)
Souls may dwell in between worlds until the time comes to connect with the fetus, in which “the immortal soul becomes the seat the seat of perception for the developing human ego.” This connection may begin at different stages, yet “even those souls who join the baby early seem to do a lot of traveling outside the mother’s womb.” If the fetus is aborted, although they cannot enter that vessel anymore, the soul never dies. And if they are killed as a baby—often in pre-planned tragic events—they often return as their own unborn sibling.
“The lesson [in grief] was for my parents, not me,” one patient said of a life ending after only a few days, “and that’s why I elected to come back for them as a filler life.” Likewise, in an unsettling find by Dr. Newton, “souls essentially volunteer in advance” for bodies inflicted with a sudden illness, or who will come to an abrupt, tragic end.
Although the purpose of reincarnation is an exercise in free will—we are not locked into spiritual determinism—there is often a higher-dimensional motive behind events in our lives through choices made before birth of the body! A hard life is seen not as a punishment, but rather as an opportunity.
“Case 27 demonstrates how the hard tasks we set for ourselves often begin in childhood. This is why considerable weight is given to family selection by the soul. The idea that each of us voluntarily agreed to be the children of a given set of parents before we came into this life is a difficult concept for some people to accept. Although the average person has experienced love from his or her parents, many of us have unresolved, hurtful memories of those near to us who should have offered protection and did not.
“We grow up thinking of ourselves as victims of biological parents and family members whom we inherited without any choice in the matter. This assumption is wrong. . . . There is usually some karmic purpose for receiving pain or pleasure from someone close to us. . . . Surviving such trials on Earth places us into a heightened state of perception with each new life and enhances our identity as souls.”
-Dr. Michael Newton, Journey of Souls (1994)
Furthermore, Earth is considered a difficult “school,” for there exist both physical and mental challenges to overcome, as opposed to some other systems of life where there is only one of either. Instead of chasing after pure bliss, Newton found souls preparing (often severe) restraints before birth in order to grow, essentially rewiring different areas in their hardware to either restrict or emphasize in their coming life.
Rebirth itself is “a profound experience, the last chance for souls to enjoy the omniscience of knowing just who they are before they must adapt to a new body. . . . [as] a spiritual force which is the heritage of infinite consciousness.” Yet even while physically incarnate, there is always a portion of our soul energy remaining in the spiritual realm, watching and guiding us through all of our endeavors.
This part of us, often called the super-conscious or “higher self,” perceives life from a more enlightened awareness, understanding of our purpose. Though equipped with incessant amnesia on Earth, it is all too easy to deceive ourselves as victims of a callous universe, forgetful to the fact that it is a role we chose to play.
The soul of a woman, for example, who spent several incarnations as physically imposing (yet emotionally lacking) men, claimed to have chosen a crippled girl named Ashley in her most recent past life to “even-out development” and gain intellectual concentration, explaining: “Being unable to walk made me read and study more. I developed my mind . . . and listened to my mind. I chose this family because they needed the intensity of love with someone totally dependent upon them all their lives.”
“It wasn’t an accident,” the soul then revealed to Dr. Newton, of her crippling carriage accident. “It was supposed to happen.”
“Many handicapped people think if it were not for a genetic mistake, or being the victim of an accidental injury which damaged their body, their lives would be more fulfilled. As heartless as this may sound, my cases show few real accidents involving body damage which don’t fall under the free will of souls.
“As souls, we choose our bodies for a reason. . . . The case histories of my clients convince me that the effort necessary to overcome a body impediment does accelerate advancement. Those of us whom society deems less-than-perfect suffer discrimination which makes the burden even heavier. Overcoming the obstacles of physical ailments and hurt makes us stronger for the ordeal.”
-Dr. Michael Newton, Journey of Souls (1994)
The patient continued that if she hadn’t chose Ashley, leaving her body to a separate soul entity, another timeline could have transpired in which the girl grew up strong and healthy. “But that course would not have worked well for either of us,” she concluded. “I was the best soul for her.”
Said another one of Newton’s patients, while describing a past life as a Native American boy designed to die at only seven years, “I was looking for a short-burst lesson in humility, and this life as a mistreated starving half-breed was enough.”
This is because life and all of its hardships are viewed from a transcendent perspective, with a greater sense of purpose, and a direct understanding of the unity of the soul—every new one arising out of a greater wholeness.
Through this system of reincarnational growth, souls can progress to become teachers and creators, incarnating on different worlds or to entirely foreign systems of energy within this multidimensional reality. Yet older souls incarnate less frequently, and among the ever-increasing number of distinct (though fundamentally connected) human souls on Earth, the vast majority are considered young and immature. This in turn leads to an enormous amount of egocentric bigotry, oppression, and projection of one’s own problems onto others.
It’s no wonder then that life on Earth is especially challenging, thrown into a strangely divided, over-populated world like a recon mission with no memory. Stripped of identity, the success of our mission may vary, yet we all must ultimately return to our guides to either fondly reflect, or explain what went wrong.
“You know, if it weren’t for Earth’s beauty—the birds, flowers, trees—I would never go back. It’s too much trouble.”
-Patient under deep hypnosis, from Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls (1994)
In 2002, Dr. Newton and a few of his colleagues founded the Society for Spiritual Regression, dedicated to researching and assembling a working model of the spiritual realm through the eyes of thousands of souls. This later evolved into The Newton Institute, which has since trained hundreds across the globe to become regular practitioners of life between lives hypnotherapy; by the time of writing this article, there are now TNI-certified hypnotherapists in a whopping 43 countries!
Certainly, this field of past life regression has been steadily growing among open-minded psychologists, with more and more former skeptics discovering first-hand that there just might be something to this—something that can change lives. Absolutely, the late Newton maintained that his larger mission was to “combat the fear of death by offering people understanding about the nature of their souls and their spiritual home.”
“[This] information about the existence of souls after physical death represents the most meaningful explanation I have found in my life as to why we are here,” concluded the distinguished hypnotherapist, who was formerly a strict atheist, in his Journey of Souls. “All my years of searching to discover the purpose of life hardly prepared me for that moment when a subject in hypnosis finally opened the door to an eternal world.”
Indeed, this spiritual understanding does not come from Newton and his colleagues, but from the subjects themselves. The therapists are meant only as facilitators, assisting others for a deep reaching inward. This is similar to Plato’s idea of “Anamnesis,” alleging humanity already possesses incredible knowledge from previous incarnations—a sort of collective memory—and that learning consists of rediscovering that knowledge within, along with our true identity.
This identity is what Descartes called the independent mind, what Leibniz referred to as “monads” of Universal expression, but what thinkers since Pythagoras ascribed through a mere four-character symbol: the soul.
“You are not your body, you are consciousness. Your consciousness is non-physical. You have a non-physical part of you. People in religion have for years called that ‘soul.’ That this non-physical part doesn’t die—the body dies. Because you have a mission here to grow up, and it’s a difficult thing, you can’t do it in just one ‘game.’
“So when the physical body dies, the consciousness will find another avatar to play another game, because he’s going to have to play lots of games before he gets it and grows up.”
-Thomas Campbell, PhD Nuclear Physicist, “Life Between Lives as Consciousness” (2012)
Critics of past life regression claim that these “memories” are only imagination, triggered by therapist suggestion. In some cases, this certainly may be possible, especially if the subject is “faking” deep trance (to experienced therapists, this should be easy to tell). But in other, more significant cases, this explanation seems highly improbable, if not impossible altogether.
For example, there is the case of Harold Jaworski, a young American who underwent several past life regression sessions with the late Joel Whitton, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto Medical School. In one such session, Harold vividly described a tough incarnation as a male Viking. When Dr. Whitton instructed Harold to record dialogue from these memories, while in the midst of trance, his soul was able to extract 22 words and phrases of which he had no understanding in waking consciousness.
Incredibly, after Dr. Whitton submitted Harold’s notes to Dr. Thor Jakobsson, an expert in Icelandic and Norwegian languages, 10 of the words were conclusively identified as belonging to old Norse, a Viking language that hadn’t been spoken for over 700 years! Most phrases—such as “storm” or “iceberg”—were associated with the sea. And though several others were traced to Russian or Slavic origins, according to Jakobsson this only added to the validity of the account, as the nomadic Vikings roamed to the far corners of Europe during their violent conquests.
Certainly, this anomaly of consciousness cannot be explained by any materialist means.
“I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity.
“This belief must be classed as a superstition . . . we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.”
-Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist, Evolution of the Brain: Creation of the Self (1989)
And that is not the only life that Harold recalled, providing Dr. Whitton with a detailed summary of his experience as a Mesopotamian man named “Xando.” Yet again, he wrote down words for common concepts in his native tongue such as “brother” or “house,” humorously recalling upon coming out of hypnosis: “When I looked at what I had done, all I could see was a bunch of squiggles . . . I thought it was pure garbage.”
Nevertheless, Dr. Whitton presented the mysterious Arabic-style script to Dr. Ibrahim Pourhadi, a Linguist at the Near Eastern section of the Library of Congress, one of the few people in the modern world able to translate it in ordinary awareness.
After close examination, Dr. Pourhadi maintained that the script was an authentic representation of the long-extinct language Sassanid Pahlavi, used in Mesopotamia between the 3rd and 7th centuries CE, and bearing no close similarity to any modern Semitic language. In fact, the only living example of this language is on coins in a museum in Baghdad, and with what little is known, Harold accurately transcribed the correct phrases requested by Dr. Whitton.
The young American certainly did not possess an expertise in extinct Iranian languages that only a handful of linguistic specialists alive could claim—at least not consciously.
This case of “xenoglossy” may be exceptional, but it is far from an isolated incident; there are several other authentic accounts on record from those under hypnosis, recovering from traumatic accidents, or from young toddlers who reportedly remember their incarnations with no need for any regression, as examined by Dr. Ian Stevenson. Unfortunately, the rigid physicalist paradigm of mainstream science leaves us with barely any leeway to investigate these anomalies.
For a metaphysical explanation to this phenomenon, we must again go back to Plato: We must open our minds to the idea that the soul of Harold actually lived during the times these languages were spoken, learned them within those lives, and accessed that unbounded intelligence from his subconscious under hypnosis. Because just like the countless children who speak of their past lives as if it’s common knowledge, there is no way for these subjects to know this information otherwise.
“While there have been many frauds in the history of parapsychology, I believe that this field of study has been unfairly stigmatized. If some experimental psychologists want to spend their days studying telepathy, or the effects of prayer, I will be interested to know what they find out.
“And if it is true that toddlers occasionally start speaking in ancient languages (as Ian Stevenson alleges), I would like to know about it.”
-Sam Harris, PhD neuroscientist & atheist figurehead, Samharris.org (2005)
Similarly, there is no way that thousands of human beings can experience the same spiritual fantasy with such consistent historical accuracy!
Especially adamant about this proof through statistical incredulity is Dolores Cannon, a pioneer in past life therapy who up until her recent death successfully regressed thousands of subjects over half a century of research. So it is only logical that there is a reality to this phenomenon due to the incredible uniformity of souls’ memories—as recounted to a wide range of independent therapists—especially when conveying the qualities of this transcendent, spiritual dimension.
“If I get the same answers through hundreds and hundreds of clients—the same stories—I think that should add validity and be considered a valid scientific experiment,” Cannon states of this simple rationale. “And I got tons of information to back this up.”
To this day, the same holds true with hundreds of other certified past life and life between lives hypnotherapists from all over the world, who more or less hear the exact same thing from patients under trance—something indeed remarkable in itself.
This is why The Newton Institute was able to successfully assemble a working model of the metaphysical realm! For this is our true home that we are all aware of at some level, etched into a soul mind operating at a resonance beyond that of the biological brain.
It is apparent to me that to be pre-determinedly dismissive of this combined evidence is in no way scientific; it is displaying blind arrogance, afraid to think differently.
“I know these things because I’m now having so many people that are going back to their beginnings, they’re going back to the Source, and they all describe it the same way—which is amazing in itself. They say in a scientific experiment, if it’s repeated enough and they get the same result they consider it to be accurate science. What’s the difference between that and what I’m doing?
“If I get the same answers through hundreds and hundreds of clients—the same stories—I think that should add validity and be considered a valid scientific experiment. That’s what I think. And I got tons of information to back this up.”
-Dolores Cannon, pioneer in past life regression, “Restoring Lost Knowledge to New Earth” (2017)
Alternatively, there are many out there who are unwilling to accept a system of spiritual growth that has nothing to do with reward and punishment. No spot in Heaven for the pure and righteous; no condemnation to Hell for the depraved and sinful. Because as Cannon declared of her thousands of patients, “there is no condemnation, there is never any judgment. That is only this world that does those kind of things.”
And to be quite frank, concepts of an eternal Heaven and Hell remind me of children playing in a sandbox, sentenced to a life of agony for not sharing their toys. Now think about it: How is this in any way beneficial? How will this in any way help us to grow? And why would a God of love create us with so many unique personalities and perspectives if we are simply to be punished for it? By what arbitrary measure?
Another absurd paradox: Do we even have free will then, or are some of us just predestined for eternal punishment?
The Haunting Delusion
“I suspect that much of the belief in reincarnation among Christians comes from first-hand experience, either of remembered having past lives or from knowing children of other who have. There are many famous people who have believed in reincarnation because, they say, it makes so much more sense than the idea that we only live one life and then die, being judged eternally on the basis of one life.
“. . . It is a haunting delusion, indeed, based on the belief that God creates each soul for the first time in each body, puts that person into social and economic circumstances they did not choose and then judges them on the basis of that one, unchosen life, condemning them to Hell if they were ‘evil’ and to Heaven if they were good.”
– Dr. Bruce Fraser MacDonald, The Prayer of Silence: A Complete Course in Spiritual Transformation (2011)
Sadly, in an afterlife system without reincarnation, we live only one unchosen life—one single ego—whether we’re male or female, rich or poor, American or North Korean, born to a loving or abusive family, dead at ninety or at three, and get judged for it. Eternally punished or rewarded for this single life we live, in whatever place or time, through whatever vessel of being, and chosen through some unfathomable means. Now this to me is what is “weird” . . .
Okay—not only weird, but truly insane! Some just might have the audacity to call it Christian, but it is not very Christ-like at all, if you ask me. With only a shred of analytical or empathetic thought, the entire foundation on which these concepts are built proves hollow and hypocritical.
I am by no means condemning the countless kindhearted Christians, who are able to see the good in every being; there is much wisdom to be found in these core metaphors. Only those vocal minority (see above) who interpret them in such a harmful way. Certainly, God does not “hate” anybody, and it is no wonder more and more young people are being turned off by organized religion—especially when it comes to that dreaded ‘G’ word.
“That word has been misused,” one of Newton’s more “advanced” patients responded when asked about God. “By too much personalizing, which makes the source less than it is. It takes the liberty of making the source too . . . human, although we are all part of its oneness . . . the source is endless. As souls we will never die—we know that, somehow.”
“What is absurd and revolting in this dogma is . . . ‘creation out of nothing,’ and the really foolish and paradoxical denial of the doctrine of metempsychosis [reincarnation], a doctrine that is natural to a certain extent, self-evident, and, with the exception of the Jews, accepted by nearly the whole human race at all times.
“Were an Asiatic to ask me for a definition of Europe, I should be forced to answer him: It is that part of the world which is haunted by the incredible delusion that man was created out of nothing, and that his present birth is his first entrance into life.”
-Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher, as quoted in Reincarnation: A Study In Human Evolution (Pascal, 1910)
Thus, the first step towards living a more expansive, mature, and meaningful spiritual life is realizing that the true nature of “God” transcends the projection of human flaws and prejudice. An angry, vindictive God is a naive and even dangerous concept. In our feeble attempts to make sense of this mysterious Universe, it is we who have fashioned God in our image, not the other way around—even if there is a spiritual basis above it all.
Luckily, there are several intelligent, empathetic people working in religion, well aware of the political distortion of Christ’s teachings, as well as the quite obvious reasons why concepts such as the Devil, an extrinsic, anthropomorphic God, and an eternal Heaven and Hell were invented in the first place . . .
“I happen to believe in life after death, but I don’t think it’s got a thing to do with reward and punishment,” Bishop John Shelby Spong admits. “The Church doesn’t like the people to grow up, because you can’t control grown ups.” Rather, they would prefer their children to stay in the sandbox, imprisoned only by their own fear, afraid to see beyond the curtain and into the eyes of those men arbitrarily pushing on us what is “sin”—all too human.
Now in a theoretical sense, perhaps there is a “Devil” out there, endowed with its own proto-consciousness, but only in the way that we ourselves collectively create! He is merely a dream character, who holds no power over us—as long as we see lucidly—for the mass consciousness of mankind is an extremely powerful co-creative entity.
“Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one consciousness, the consciousness of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (167 AD)
Consequently, perhaps there is actually a Heaven and Hell we can experience to some degree, albeit temporarily, before realizing that much like life, death too is but a dream, and our beliefs and expectations color it in any way we desire.
In other words, we accept the love we think we deserve; the only “punishment” we will receive is from our own magnificent mind. On the contrary, if we believe there is nothingness after death, then we might indeed experience a form of nothingness—or close to it—until we open our incorporeal eyes.
True spirituality should not be about fear, guilt and subjugation, as what has been pushed upon us. True spirituality should not be about those who arrogantly (and perhaps wishfully) condemn their brethren to Hell for thinking differently. Fools like these give spirituality a bad name!
You know why? Because these are not spiritual people. Quite the opposite. They are fear-mongers, plain and simple, who refuse to see the essential unison of all humanity, as much as they prefer to bask in selfish delusion. And please forgive me if I am quick to judge. Please forgive me if I wholeheartedly agree with some of these religious atheists, for I know this is sin . . .
“Religion has been a powerful weapon in the hands of governments, in the hands of priests, in the hands of kings who have used it as a weapon to keep down the populace.
“It is a wonderful way of disciplining people and making them do what you want, to tell them that if they don’t do what you want they will, for example, go to Hell.”
-Richard Dawkins, prophet of new atheism, The God Delusion (2006)
Just imagine if we were as obsessed with loving each other as putting each other down, buoyed by a media endorsing kindness rather than fear and division. Because as we ourselves may discover by turning inward, this is our true nature, accompanied by understanding and compassion. It is our “environment of uncertainty and fear brought about by aggressive, competing humans” that is strange and unnatural!
Wiped of memory, we war between barriers for control of this tiny planet, in the name of false divinity, in pursuit of fake treasures to fill the ostensible emptiness of meaning during lives too short. The true nature of our being and its co-creative power is (perhaps purposefully) hidden; in this sense, it can be used against us, with every negative story shown on TV—as well as every fear-based ideology spread by false prophets—planting a seed of separation. Negative begets negative, and the cycle repeats itself.
But if the validity of past life regression is to be believed, then humanity possesses a whole lot of knowledge within us, not only of past incarnations, but to the meaning of life and mysteries of creation! We are not here to be judged; we are here to grow, to experience, and “to help the creator create,” thereby adding to the collective intelligence of every soul. Then in a sense, every being is endowed with an inner divinity, part of a greater entity or cosmic whole. As each man knows within himself that his conscious life is dependent upon a higher dimension of actuality.
“The results of modern natural sciences only make sense if we assume an inner, uniform, transcendent reality that is based on all external data and facts. The very depth of human consciousness is one of them.”
-David Bohm, PhD Theoretical Physicist, “Scientists Find Hints for the Immortality of the Soul,” HuffPost (2014)
Accordingly, each man possesses the ability to connect with this higher being, and free his mind, for we are each entwined with that of what some would call God, and can collectively create whatever reality our hearts desire.
Unfortunately, this idea does not work very well for institutions in the business of profit and power. Surely, as Richard Dawkins and other atheists love to elucidate, organized religion has historically been very adept at taking simple spiritual concepts, distorting them in the hands of the elite, and using them as weapons of control—by telling us that if we don’t do what they want, we will burn in eternal Hell.
But if you really examine the original Biblical terms, you’ll find the concept of Hell to have come from the word Gehenna, which more authentically represents a sort of karmic cleanse through “burning off” the impurities of the soul. This cleansing or purging, symbolized through fire, had to be performed in order for the soul to reach a state of purity, thus ascending to higher spiritual realms.
Similarly, even the word that was interpreted as eternity, Aion, originally meant an indeterminate cycle—not until the end of time! So in a strange sense, the Biblical terms for what came to be known as “eternal Hell” may be more accurately transcribed as “cycle of karma.”
And you have to wonder if Jesus was really talking about reincarnational growth, instead of the heavily and deliberately distorted idea of eternal punishment (it is well known that the Roman Church chose to eradicate reincarnation from early Christianity, burning the Gnostics—the original Christians—at the stake for their beliefs).
As beings with free will, this does not mean we’re not held accountable for “evil” deeds, just in a different manner. It is more a mode of growth and reflection than any punishment or judgment. Moreover, as Dr. Newton observed, those who committed particularly heinous acts were separated from their soul group, often with a guide, given time to rework their energy in a form of “spiritual isolation.”
For the higher self does not desire the “punishment” of others, this shallow construct of the ego; it desires the deep healing of its own being.
“‘You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.’ I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. ‘Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold.’
“. . . ‘So what’s the point of it all?’
“I looked you in the eye. ‘The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.’
“‘Just me? What about everyone else?’
“‘There is no one else,’ I said. ‘In this universe, there’s just you and me.’
“You stared blankly at me. ‘But all the people on earth. . .’
“‘All you. Different incarnations of you.’
“‘. . . Every time you victimized someone,’ I said, ‘you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.'”
-Andy Weir, “The Egg” (2009)
There exists a true empathy in this dimension, for we all know in a sense that we all are each other, and have experienced through an abundance of eyes on either side of apparent duality. We are to gain wisdom from these experiences, instead of being judged by a vindictive God.
If you continue to comeback only as a man, for example, you will learn nothing, and may even feel “trapped” in the body of another gender when a balance is finally endeavored. As explained by the great Dolores Cannon, “You have to be male and female many many times. Then you have to live on every continent in the world. Every country in the world. You have to be every race in the world. And every religion in the world. See what that would do with prejudice, if people would only understand that.”
Hence those who have been oppressors in a previous incarnation often choose to come back as those they have oppressed, perhaps at the urging of their guide, as a show of understanding. Likewise, if you choose to harbor resentment and do ill onto others, although you may not be “punished,” you will be held personally accountable, possibly entering into a karmic connection with those you’ve hurt which must be purged through lifetimes of experience.
This also pertains to suicide victims, who usually have to explain to a disappointed guide why they decided to leave so early, only to go back to a difficult life to “do it all over again”—literally entering into a situation of equal suffering while having to make the wiser choice to grow through it (although there is a greater understanding of suicide victims who lived a life of inescapable misery). From one of Newton’s patients who killed himself in the late 19th century, when asked about punishment:
“There is no such thing here as punishment—that’s an Earth condition. [My guide] will be disappointed that I bailed out early and didn’t have the courage to face my difficulties. By choosing to die as I did means I have to come back later and deal with the same thing all over again in a different life. I just wasted a lot of time by checking out early.”
Through this timeless dimension, we are afforded ample opportunity to review our past lives, even seeing from behind the eyes of others, experiencing firsthand the way our actions affected those around us. “Our karma of past deeds towards humanity and our mistakes and achievements [will be] evaluated,” writes Dr. Newton, “with an eye toward the best course of future endeavors.” In this regard, if you continue to repeat the same mistakes without gaining new insight, you will be stuck lifetime after lifetime until you get the lesson.
There is nothing the church or any others can do to “save” you from yourself. The only way to ascend this cycle of karma—this purging of Gehenna—is through personal experience, profound understanding, and a true forgiveness of yourself and others; only then will the soul be purified and freed of attachment.
There is no anger or judgment, but a strong wish to see yourself and others grow, along with a “spiritual sorrow” if this is not fulfilled. For at this level there is a much greater understanding of the primordial connection between us all, as the soul of humanity is united transcendentally through this infinitely recycled energy—just as soul exists in all other sentient life, albeit in other forms. No living being lives in vain and dies without reason, always taking small steps in the progression of spiritual evolution.
This reincarnational cycle involves collaborating with others in our soul group who will be there for us in our coming lives—as friends, family, lovers and even enemies—staging specific Earth scenarios to aid us intimately through all of life’s toughest obstacles.
“I have heard many heartfelt accounts of close spiritual beings who journeyed across time and space to find each other as physical beings at a particular geographic spot on Earth at a certain moment,” Newton affirms. “Such descriptions as chance, happenstance, or impulse aren’t applicable to crucial contacts.”
Souls can decide to live continuously simple lives, without much struggle, but there is often not much to get out of it. If we have just come off an easy life, making little individual progress, “our soul might want to choose a person in the next time cycle who will face heartache and perhaps tragedy.” Throughout a multitude of transient egos, the spirit must advance!
The Cosmic Game
“There is another version [of reality] that we first tell the young children. We tell them the simpler version in the form of a story. We say that in the beginning all there was was just this light. No shadows or anything, just this light. But there were also spirits. And the spirits got together and said, ‘This light is very pretty, but nothing ever happens. We are bored. We want some changes. Let us see what will happen if we make some changes.’ And they said, ‘We will make this in the form of a game so that we can learn more about each other and develop and have fun.’
“. . . So each round of the game is when you are alive here on Earth. Your spirit is here playing the game. Then when you die that is the end of that particular round. If you decide you want to play another round, then you are born again. Or if you want to drop out for a round or two, then you do.”
-Young woman under hypnosis, while describing a past life within an ancient Shamanic tribe, in Dolores Cannon’s The Legend of Starcrash (1994)
An analogy that I love is espoused by Dr. Thomas Campbell, a nuclear physicist who has worked for NASA and the Department of Defense. Openly inspired by the universal models of such celebrated physicists as David Bohm and John Wheeler, Campbell has developed his own My Big TOE (Theory of Everything) that compares the nature of reality very much to that of a video game—a simulated illusion—with independently existing objects instead replaced by probability distributions, coming to concrete physicality once they are observed.
But this is not any material-based matrix made to keep us enslaved by vindictive machines! Rather, it is a collective hologram constructed through information, emanating from a higher dimension or “larger consciousness system” from which we are all intimately entangled. Thus, we are not “trapped” in this reality; we are the creators of this reality—at least at some level—programmed deliberately in order to evolve through an array of personal avatars.
“You are consciousness and you’d like to get in on this virtual reality experience game,” Campbell describes metaphorically, of the process of life selection. “Well you can look at all the various potentials out there that suit you. You have a certain genetic set that are going to give you some limitations, but within those limitations, there’s lots of probability and chance, so you look at the potential of it to suit your next incarnation.” In this regard, your personal avatar can only hold a tiny fraction of who or what you really are.
“The fear of death goes away because there is no death,” continues the physicist, “once you stop identifying with the avatar and start identifying with consciousness.”
So from that metaphysical movie inside of your head, I invite you now to stare out at your open palms, and ask yourself the name of the game you are playing—obscuring your true identity—and if it is one you may have chosen from a transcendent reality?
This might sound like a far out analogy, but judging by the incredible findings of past life hypnotherapy, it is a much more accurate way of describing reality than any materialist worldview. Furthermore, several revered physicists—Bohm and Wheeler included—have explicitly compared this existence to a consciousness simulation based on anomalies of quantum physics that defy an objectivist explanation (including entanglement, tunneling, superposition, and a time-transcendent observer effect).
Surely, as examined in part 2, this mind-based model could explain the still-mystifying double slit: “If a player has information of a particle, then there’s a particle in that game and it will travel in a straight line and pile up behind the slit,” surmises Campbell. “Every other player has to see that particle too. But if there is no information in any of the players’ data streams, then there’s really nothing that could be added [or actualized]. Because the virtual reality exists only in the minds of the players.”
The logical question to then ask is what is the purpose of this reality?
“What [these quantum experiments] mean is that people don’t live in a materialist reality, they do have free will, they are not a body—they are consciousness. They have a purpose; their purpose is to lower the entropy of their consciousness, that’s how a consciousness evolves.
“And what that means—and it’s a very logical process that derives this—is they need to become love. They need to become more caring, more about others and not so much about themselves. That is the direction of consciousness evolution.”
-Thomas Campbell, PhD Nuclear Physicist, “ANU Physics Experiment and the Implications for Everyone” (2015)
Absolutely, as we begin to dispose the distortions of fear and negativity, thus lowering the mind’s entropy, we begin to tune into the larger system of cosmic consciousness, which some may call God. We begin to align ourselves with love.
In special cases, advanced sages or guides can choose to join in on the cosmic game, incarnating as human beings for the benefit of others, carrying with them an abundance of intuition and inner wisdom—though they need no longer to be chained to this cycle of rebirth. According to Dr. Newton, the mark of an advanced soul is one “who has patience with society, exceptional insight, and has extraordinary coping skills.” They are generally extremely selfless, understanding, and frequently seen in helping professions or combating injustice.
Accordingly, mature souls are often found in remarkably simple socioeconomic circumstances, seeing past the fake treasures of this world, not being motivated by greed or self-interest.
From this viewpoint, a kindhearted peasant is looked upon as more successful in life, and certainly more spiritually evolved, than a ruthless billionaire basking in greed. This is not some feel-good rhetoric, but a universal truth solely distorted by the sickness of our culture. No amount of temporary, abstract currency—endowed with an intrinsic worthlessness—could possibly equate to the infinite value of the underlying soul.
“Souls both give and receive mental gifts in life through a symbiosis of human brain cells and intelligent energy. . . . A person may be highly intelligent and yet have a closed attitude about adjusting to new situations, with little curiosity about the world. This indicates a beginner soul to me.
“If I see someone with an evenness of mood, whose interests and abilities are solidly in focus and directed toward helping human progress, I suspect an advanced soul at work. These are souls who seek personal truths beyond the demands of ego.
“It does seem a heavy burden that in every new life a soul must search all over again to find its true self in a different body. However, some light is allowed through the blackout of amnesia by spiritual masters who are not indifferent to our plight.”
-Dr. Michael Newton, Journey of Souls (1994)
This is not to say that people with money are evil; we are made to experience from all these unique perspectives! Extremes of polarity only add to the soul’s intelligence, further emboldening our identity. Yet at some point, those living as kings must peer through the eyes of a beggar, in order to grow.
For what is the point of this game if there are not challenges to overcome?
With a memory transcendent of space and time, some souls can be regressed back thousands of years of incarnations, reliving prehistoric versions of humanity equipped with early variations of the physical brain (yet with a much lower population, Earth incarnations were significantly less frequent than they are now). Although an infinite array of timelines and planetary evolutions exist both past and future, these souls have exercised free will to take a definitive course of action, imprinting their choices firmly upon metaphysical memory.
Our spiritual progression of evolution does not conflict in any way with the Darwinian model; it only suggests that there is a greater identity, a higher spiritual reality, behind the slim shadow we call the 3D physical. Genetics surely play a role in our potentialities on Earth, but they are merely the hardware. Without any non-physical intelligence activating this “avatar,” consciously choosing it from a transcendent dimension, there would be no sentient life as we know it.
“Reincarnation, at least as I conceive it, does not nullify what we know about evolution and genetics. It suggests, however, that there may be two streams of evolution—the biological one and a personal one—and that during terrestrial lives these streams may interact.”
-Dr. Ian Stevenson, Children Who Remember Previous Lives (1987)
Uncannily, a small percentage of subjects are also “able to recall being in strange, non-human intelligent lifeforms on other worlds” (or even in other universes!). Indeed, according to one of Newton’s more insightful subjects under hypnosis, there are an abundance of other “schoolyards” besides Earth to which souls can be assigned, and they do not necessarily have to be Earth-like in nature.
This subject recalled living as an intelligent sea creature with a close “soulmate” on another world before both arriving to Earth, explaining: “My water world was very warm and clear because we had three suns overhead. The total lack of darkness underwater was comforting and made building our dwellings much easier.”
Earth, however, is a schoolyard with an especially large amount of conflict among the same species—something destructively rare—as well as an ever-increasing population demand for souls. “Earth’s population has outpaced its mental development,” says another one of Newton’s advanced subjects. “There is so much fear to overcome here. It is a world in conflict. . . . Other worlds have low populations with more harmony. We all know Earth is a difficult school.”
Though in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
It is this we must do on our own, for it breaks cosmic law to overly interfere in human evolution, even with wandering souls—such as the aforementioned advanced subject—increasingly incarnating to aid the Earth.
Fortunately, “for all of Earth’s quarreling and cruelty, there is passion and bravery here. I like working in crisis situations. To bring order out of disorder.” Furthermore, despite the increasing population, there is a sense of an everlasting “inventory” of souls available for reincarnation, considering our planet contains just one example of the surely astronomical amount of suitable intelligent lifeforms existing in this Universe.
Considering the immensity of the cosmos, with hundreds of billions of stars within the Milky Way alone, these statements by those under regressive hypnosis are far from implausible. The Earth is but a very small stage, in an extraordinarily vast cosmic arena, and every living creature on every one of the unimaginable amount of inhabitable schools in this universe may ultimately be a unique embodiment of our one true being.
“In truth there is no right or wrong. There is no polarity for all will be, as you would say, reconciled at some point in your dance through the mind/body/spirit complex which you amuse yourself by distorting in various ways at this time. This distortion is not in any case necessary. It is chosen by each of you as an alternative to understanding the complete unity of thought which binds all things.
“You are not speaking of similar or somewhat like entities or things. You are every thing, every being, every emotion, every event, every situation. You are unity. You are infinity. You are love/light, light/love. You are. This is the Law of One.”
-“Ra” (via Carla Rueckert), The Law of One (1981)
This is what the process of “spiritual awakening” is all about: regaining one’s awareness of the fundamental nature of reality, our mind’s creative potency, and the unity between us all. So if we go back far enough, we might all be “extraterrestrial.”
Choose to interpret this research however you wish, whether fantasy or a reality stranger than fiction; whether we are just our body, or have an underlying energetic identity transcendent of time itself, bestowed with a soul “more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than we can possibly imagine.” I personally prefer the latter, even if I am still a bit skeptical. Yet the astonishingly consistent findings of the now hundreds of past life hypnotherapists, along with similar statements made by young children, are what push me over the edge.
Moreover, there are two souls I’ve conversed with who have recently been regressed, and had nothing but positive things to say. Though their experiences were vastly different in nature, they are both an incredible testament to the potency of past life memory, as well as the paradigm-shifting potential of this research.
Love & Solitude
“To see and appreciate the soul of others with whom you are in a relationship is a higher state of awareness. To see only their outer characteristics provides a limited and incomplete perspective. Their current personality, just like their current physical body, is a temporary manifestation.
“They have had many bodies and many personalities but only one enduring soul, only one continuous spiritual essence. See this essence and you will see the real person.”
-Dr. Brian Weiss, Miracles Happen: The Transformational Healing Power of Past Life Memories (2012)
The first of these stories comes from reddit user SecretAgentMan_007 (“Sam”), an automotive engineer in his current life who after reading the books of Michael Newton, decided to schedule a hypnotic regression with one of the TNI-certified therapists in his area. Like a true scientist, Sam wished to experience firsthand what a past life regression was like, hence experientially validating or invalidating the work of Dr. Newton. He was not disappointed.
During the course of the session, Sam was slowly walked back in time to actual events in his current life, some of which he had not thought about for a very long time, if not forgotten completely. Yet even while under light trance, these memories arose in spontaneous fashion without the need for any thought. At age 16, he saw himself on a date with his first girlfriend; at age 8, he was riding a beloved bicycle in his childhood neighborhood; and eventually, after going deeper into trance, he somehow invoked the serenity of his mother’s womb.
Then he went even deeper:
“After that she has you go into the void before the womb and then you enter a tunnel. When I emerged from the tunnel and saw myself above the Earth slowly descending.
“I recognized the panhandle of Florida as I floated down. Then I hit the ground and she had me look down at my feet and describe what I was wearing. I saw brown shoes, khaki pants, a short sleeve button up shirt like an engineer would wear. I’m a mechanical engineer in this life. It looked like an older style though, like the early 70’s. When I looked around I saw I was in a park next to a small lake taking a walk. I could see buildings behind me like suburbs or a small town. When she asked for a year I got 1974. I was born in 1979 in this life.
“When she asked for my name Harold popped into my head (definitely not a name I would pick for myself). When she asked what I did for a living I saw a drafting board with a picture of the space shuttle in front of me. Cool! I had always been fascinated with planes and the space shuttle growing up, but lost interest and got more interested in cars. I actually became an automotive engineer in this life.”
As explained by Sam, he ultimately found himself as an aerospace engineer named Harold, who was working on the space shuttle down in Florida (a fact he later verified) during 1974. Although intelligent and unquestionably virtuous, Sam experienced an extreme loneliness within his former incarnation, as no one special came to mind when queried by the therapist.
He soon realized that this solitude and social introversion was a deep-rooted issue his soul only began to resolve in his current life, as a shy child enamored with the stars who came out of his shell in college.
The most emotional part of a regression, however, is undoubtedly reliving the death experience—but it also may be necessary to release deeply repressed traumas. And oddly enough, in support of the work of Ian Stevenson, Sam discovered that his prenatal lung defect when born again in 1979 was eerily correlative to the mode of Harold’s death:
“When she asked me to go to a significant event in that life I found myself in a dark alley adjacent to a restaurant or something. I saw a black and white awning over the window at the corner. I heard gun shots in the air. I went out to the street to investigate and to the left of me there was a white car parked crooked in the middle of the road near an intersection. There was a woman crouching on the ground outside the open driver’s door screaming in distress. I was scared but I went to go help her.
“On my way I heard another shot and saw myself lying on the ground bleeding from my left chest. Interestingly I had a lung birth defect on my left side in this life and had surgery at the age of 12 to correct it. I now have a scar on my left side chest.”
Later on, the therapist arranged a “sit down” between the two personalities of the same soul. Describes Sam: “The other me was very proud of me for overcoming my adversity to dealing with other people and for not being afraid to be who I truly am,” calling the regression an incredibly rewarding experience. And despite the social introversion of Harold, this previous personality died an extremely brave and noble death, while attempting to aid a woman in need.
“I was pretty blown away by the experience because I had never had any inclination or suspicion that I had lived before,” Sam admits, “but everything was so vivid and fit me so perfectly in the past life regressions.”
Along these lines, he mirrors my previous points about healthy skepticism (as opposed to religious cynicism):
“I have no proof to offer you but, this is not about getting people to believe me. I simply want to share because it was such a profound experience to have. I went into this whole thing skeptical, but open minded. I think this is important because many people close their minds and consider themselves a healthy skeptic. I think skepticism is healthy until the point where you close your mind to new information. At that point even the truth cannot get in.
“Being too open minded can be bad too because if you just blindly believe anything the truth can be lost in a sea of concepts you only want to believe in. The key is balance. Please consider this and consider having an experience for yourself.”
In a private message, Sam gave me permission to share his story, adding: “I was very happy with the hypnotherapist I saw and recommended her to a few others who also had positive experiences.” In fact, he was so inspired by the session that he became a certified hypnotherapist himself. With no incentive for profit, he only wishes to spread a message of profound inner growth: “I simply share and let them believe what they will. What matters to me is that it helped me put things in his life into a helpful perspective.”
He further revealed that as he moved on into “life between lives,” he was able to receive positive encouragement as well as specific answers to personal questions from three abstract “beings of light” (of what might be what Newton calls the “Council of Elders”). Although unable to see these beings with perfect clarity, they exuded an immense feeling of maturity and wisdom; Sam hopes to do another session soon with more questions pre-planned.
Another reddit user, who has requested to simply go by “R,” had her interest in this subject matter piqued by what she believed to be a past life fragment within a vivid dream, in which she was somebody’s mistress in the 19th century. Subsequently, R managed to find a past life therapist in her area who had trained with Dr. Brian Weiss, another respected pioneer in the field as well as a medical doctor with degrees from Yale and Columbia. Although initially quite skeptical, R says it was the emotions themselves aroused from within that felt the most incredibly real.
After some initiation techniques, she illumined the shadows of her subconscious, experiencing herself as a long brown-haired woman with a white robe, sandals, and “a huge, ugly chunky gold ring on my left hand with a flat green stone.” She then realized she was walking down a road on a bright sunny day, surrounded by stone buildings, recollecting the notion that this was Roman Pompeii around 2000 years ago. Although quite happy in that surfaced memory underneath the sun, she again felt completely alone, until she saw someone running down the road her way.
“I strongly got the impression that this was the point at which I died,” R revealed. “I didn’t see what killed me, but I felt that it was sudden, and instant. I didn’t have time to think, worry, run, or anything like that. I was just gone, and to be honest, I was kind of fine with that.” Yet at the moment the darkness washed over her, she was met by a man who held and kissed her passionately, understanding it was the presence of her husband who had passed before her:
“[The therapist] asked me if he was the one who had given me the ring, and I remember laughing, because yes, he’d given me this ugly piece of jewellery, and he thought it was so pretty and even though I thought it was kind of hideous, I loved it because it was something he would do, and it made me think of him when I was wearing it. I felt how much he loved me in that moment and I honestly missed him as if he were a real person.
“I’m pretty sure he’d passed before me. We were both young and had this good life, and it had been cut short. I don’t think I lived more than 10 years after his death. She asked me to see if he had any messages for me or if I wanted to say anything to him and I felt like I should tell him I was sorry, even though his death wasn’t my fault.
“I felt like maybe, I’d nagged him to get some kind of medical treatment and he’d died from it, or whatever had happened, I hadn’t had a chance to be there or tell him how I felt. He said he knew that it wasn’t my fault, which you know. Was nice of him.”
As explained by R, she couldn’t help but laugh when reminiscing about the ring, a gift from her lover that she secretly thought was hideous. Nevertheless, “I loved it because it was something he would do, and it made me think of him when I was wearing it. I felt how much he loved me in that moment and I honestly missed him as if he were a real person.”
Guilt was another emotion stirred up by the regression, with R sensing that she had pushed her husband to get a medical treatment from which he had died too young. This allowed him, however, to let her know that it wasn’t her fault, and that they had lived a good life together. He also assured her that he would be coming back.
“I was really kind of overwhelmed with how much I missed him,” she writes in her post. “That made me angry too, the feeling that I’d been waiting through many, many lives—maybe all the ones since then, and that he’d not come back.” Because of this, she felt she was forced into bad decisions, hence the depressing “mistress” dream fragment. She then allowed herself to cry during the session, allowing this pent-up grief she didn’t even know she carried to wash over her and release in another life.
R expands on this in a private message:
“Certainly, the emotions felt as vivid as any I’ve felt in my waking life. I grieved for that man, and for a long time afterward I missed this person who might not ever have been real. The person who did the session was very professional and highly trained. . . . I’ve had past life sessions with psychic type people and this was absolutely nothing like that. It was very overwhelming and I was much more deeply under.
“I am not sure how I feel about soulmates per se, but it is comforting to feel like I have felt that depth of love before, and even knowing I’ve gone through many lives without it is somehow a comfort too. Perhaps because there is power in knowing that we get to choose how we respond to things life throws at us. We make the choices that shape our lives and if this one doesn’t work out we can have another go if that’s what we want. The experience has shaped the way I move through this life in that I think more about my purpose, and how I react to what I experience day to day.
“. . . I should close by saying that I have a very healthy skepticism and even if all of this was the product of a very active imagination—I feel like it was a message my subconscious was very keen to share with me, and I can’t see a downside to that.”
Mourning him for a while after the session, R holds out hope that she will again wrap her past life lover in her arms, finding him (or her) once more across time and space, defying the laws of classical physics, and more uncannily, of death itself. “Whatever happens I get to choose how I respond,” she tells me, “as I’ve lived through difficult lives a thousand times before.”
Assuredly, in the words of Dolores Cannon, “It’s your play. You’re the producer, director, actor, and writer of the script. If you don’t like the way the script is written, rewrite it. That’s how easy it is to do once you understand you really control the whole situation.”
It is surely a strange interplay between free will and destiny, as the level on which our choices are made often far transcends the conscious mind, even—as Newton alluded to earlier—that of “close spiritual beings who journeyed across time and space to find each other as physical beings at a particular geographic spot on Earth at a certain moment.” From this perspective, we each have an abundance of “soulmates” in our lives, even if they only arrive to teach you a hard lesson.
Both self-proclaimed “healthy skeptics,” enthusiastic responses from those kind souls who have afforded me feedback of their sessions with Newton and Weiss-trained hypnotherapists have certainly helped ease some of my own skepticism. Although there are undoubtedly many charlatans in this field, there are also several serious scientists who are certainly deserving of a receptive audience of those willing to open their minds.
It is natural then to question how “ordinary” human beings would be able to retrieve such astounding information, but this ties back to the Platonic idea of divine insight, with each and every one of us internally connected to an infinitude of “selves” stemming back to the source of all wisdom.
As told by “The Egg” (and more recently, The Martian) writer Andy Weir, “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now. . . . a human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are.”
“No self is of itself alone. It has a long chain of intellectual ancestors. The “I” is chained to ancestry by many factors. . . . This is not mere allegory, but an eternal memory.”
-Erwin Schrödinger, Writings of July 1918, as quoted in A Life of Erwin Schrödinger (1994)
From this philosophical viewpoint, we can obtain a wealth of esoteric wisdom firsthand, without the need for any books or indirect arbiters—and we should trust what is within us more than anything, in my opinion. We should lend credence to to these deep-rooted feelings, strikingly vivid sensations, and even those emotions of overwhelming love and grief emerging from experiences before the current body.
Likewise, regarding the way these sensations are described, they do not seem like imagination, nor some wild fantasy; rather, they are expressed as spontaneous flashbacks of deeply repressed memory, arising quicker than one has even a single moment to color them in any way. Moreover, the vivid, verifiable memories of a forgotten childhood (such as 8-year-old Sam riding his bike) are relived in the exact same manner as those of a previous life.
In this sense it is beyond the intellect itself—it is tangible—it is real.
According to Dr. Newton, fulfillment of potential and complete self-actualization is a goal that every soul will eventually achieve, attaining “an ultimate state of enlightenment, where everything is possible.” Theoretically, within spiritual traditions such as the Jainist sect of India, fully perfected souls—called Siddhas—are a group of universal creators, at one once more with the source of creation.
Every soul arises out of Source, as every vibration arises out of stillness; it is to this oneness we are eternally connected, and will inevitably return.
“On Earth we use many variations of the physical brain in the course of our expansion. However, each soul is driven by its integrity. Integrity is the desire to be honest about Self and motives to such an extent that full awareness of the path to the source is possible. . . . [Souls’] experiences with physical life change them and this is intentional. By that change new ingredients are added to the collective intelligence of every soul.
“Incarnation is an important tool. Some souls are driven more than others to expand and achieve their potential, but all of us will do so in the end. Being in many physical bodies and different settings expands the nature of our real self. . . . Universes are created—to live and die—for the use of the source. . . . We came to be magnified, in the beautiful variety of creation.”
-Advanced soul under hypnosis, from Michael Newton’s Journey of Souls (1994)
We are to spend billions of years in this evolutionary process of apparent separation, knowing our Self from an infinity of angles, before building Self back to its original totality. As Newton affirms from his research: “The most significant benefit which comes from knowing we have a home of everlasting love waiting for us, is being receptive to the higher spiritual power within our minds. The awareness that we do belong somewhere is reassuring and offers us peace, not merely as a haven from conflict, but to unify ourselves with a universal mind.”
Yet even according to what scientists currently theorize in mainstream physics, everything in the Universe will eventually begin to collapse in on itself (or “crunch” together) and return to the Source—this infinite singularity of (living!) energy, before expanding once more into division and polarity.
This is not just New Age speculation; we literally stem from infinite oneness, bound to cycles of love and solitude. In this sense, all of existence’s apparent multiplicity emanates from but a single soul. What we are experiencing now is only a temporal illusion, of a holographic image mistaken for reality.
All in all, what these cases demonstrate is that we possess a transcendent “soul mind” working in conjunction with the biological brain in order to experience and grow. Spiritual and bio-genetic streams of evolution are made to interact and compliment each other, even if much unhappiness is produced by societal conditioning of an ideal bodily makeup, forgetting that we chose our “imperfections” in the first place. We are not here purely for pleasure, but to express the creator through a variety of perspectives of being, thereby adding to the collective understanding of existence itself.
Moreover, as souls become more mature, advancing closer to the supreme intelligence we may call “God,” they will begin to hold accountability for the circumstances of their own life, instead of blaming others and wishing sorrow upon them. Judging one’s soul based on outer characteristics has proved hollow and ineffective; we should strive to see the real person, behind every pair of eyes. A true empathy thus unfolds, a universal spirituality centered on love and forgiveness, and that is how humanity evolves.
“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
“Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
-Albert Einstein, Letter of Feb 1950, as quoted in The New York Times (29 March, 1972)
Not only by forgiving others, but by forgiving yourself, hence taking creative control of your own destiny and stepping into divine truth.
This does not mean that you have to change your religion, only that you must discard with the excess and live true to the Golden Rule at the heart of every spiritual doctrine: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” For the essence that makes you “you” does not arise from inert matter; it is of a fundamental psyche, part of a greater entity or cosmic whole. Accordingly, our hope for self-actualization comes not from the immortality of the body, but by the ascension of the soul.
But even if you do not lend credence to the discoveries of Wambach, Stevenson, Newton or the hundreds of others investigating this phenomenon, you have to admit that it makes a whole lot more sense intuitively than some of the appalling fear-based theology pushed upon us as wide-eyed youth, despite all the Earth and her natural beauty.
To See Beyond
“Do you see O my brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is Happiness.”
-Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” (1855)
When Carol Bowman’s son Chase was 5 years old, she noticed he had a very strong fear of booming noises, hysterically crying during the fireworks of the 4th of July. While first brushing it off as normal, in the coming months any such sound would send him into a hysteria inexplicable by anything in his short life. In addition, Chase developed severe eczema on his right wrist, scratching it until it bled whenever he was upset. Worried for her young son, Carol eventually had a hypnotherapist friend facilitate a regression.
While in hypnotic trance, Chase—a pale, freckled boy without yet an education—spoke in vivid, first-person detail about the civil war, peering out through the eyes of a black male soldier in the midst of battle. With the deafening sounds of gunshots everywhere, his former incarnation was overwhelmed with dread, crouching behind a rock and clutching his gun for dear life.
“I don’t want to look, but I have to when I shoot,” the young boy protested, with a tone of sobriety far beyond his years. “Smoke and flashes everywhere. And loud noises: yelling, screaming, loud booms. I’m not sure who I’m shooting at—there’s so much smoke, so much going on. I’m scared. I shoot at anything that moves. I really don’t want to be here and shoot other people.”
Suddenly, “Chase” was shot in the right wrist, grabbing it in panic before blacking out. But after regaining consciousness, he noticed his wrist only hastily bandaged, and was told he needed to go back into battle.
“I miss my wife and family,” then said the 5-year-old, still in trance, while seeing himself forced behind a cannon. These were the dying moments of Chase’s past incarnation, before feeling his soul floating above the battlefield, gazing down upon the horrific scene of war. The boy concluded, “I’ve left the body. I’m glad to be out of that life. It was a very difficult life.” And after checking to see that his family was okay, the soul of Chase then decided to return home.
In a later regression, Chase was able to give a more detailed account of his wife and family, his recruitment into the army, and the long march into battle as a reluctant black soldier fighting a war he didn’t choose. As a young child ostensibly untarnished by the atrocities of war, there is little room for a materialist explanation to any of these uncanny memories.
Remarkably, his fear of loud noises ceased, while his eczema began to heal. The hypnotherapist presumed that part of his consciousness was still clinging to that life, as he never had the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to his wife and family. By talking through it, the boy was finally able to let it go.
Carol Bowman was so impressed that she trained in past life hypnotherapy herself, and for the past twenty-five years has been helping hundreds of other children to consciously process past life traumas, thus able to emotionally release. She explains: “I found that there is a real need in our culture to talk about these memories, to normalize it, and to let parents know that this can be a healing opportunity for the soul of the child.”
Furthermore, once our society becomes more open to the idea of a greater, multi-dimensional entity—as opposed to an egocentric bodily identity—narrow-minded views of race and gender would almost certainly be undermined. For although each of us are wired with unique hardware, in a fundamental sense, we are all tuned to the same celestial internet of awareness: The Universal Mind!
“It is not possible that this unity of knowledge, feeling and choice which you call your own should have sprung into being from nothingness at a given moment not so long ago; rather this knowledge, feeling, and choice are essentially eternal and unchangeable . . . you are a part, a piece, of an eternal, infinite being, an aspect or modification of it.
“. . . This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole . . . Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”
-Erwin Schrödinger, “The Mystic Vision,” as translated in Quantum Questions: Mystical Writings of the World’s Great Physicists (1984)
Hence, as Erwin Schrödinger—a firm believer in reincarnation himself—maintained in his mystic musings, “The ego or its separation is an illusion,” and at the highest level, “there is only one mind” to our Universe.
This supposes a thought simultaneously beautiful and terrifying: that this “observer” behind every pair of eyes is of the same entity, experiencing itself subjectively, emanating from the soul of the cosmos. We are but fragments of a single being with an infinity of personalities! From this spiritual point of view, all bodily differences seem trivial. And you may say that you have a universe within you.
But even if you do not believe in soul, or reincarnation, or any type of God, if you are kind to other people, and ground your decisions on love and acceptance—then you are a spiritual person! Much more spiritual than many of the ignorant hypocrites who dare to call themselves devoutly religious, devoting their lives to sinful delusion, somehow believing they’re doing any sort of justice for a discriminatory God.
Because at the end of it all, love is the only form of true spirituality; I realized this since I was seven years old. Everything else is secondary.
“The important question regarding spirituality is not which God you follow but are you true to your soul? Are you living a spiritual life? Are you a kind person here on earth, getting joy from your existence, causing no harm, and doing good to others?
“Spiritual beings should think and behave like spiritual beings; that is our nature and ultimate destiny. . . . For truly we are all angels temporarily hiding as humans.”
-Dr. Brian Weiss, Same Soul, Many Bodies (2004)
God is not angry; vengeful; bearded and Caucasian. God should be Love. And Love is a lack of judgment! True spirituality should not be about reward and punishment, but a progressive evolution through experience and reflection. We are here for the ecstasy of individuality, gaining invaluable insight through subjective perception.
We are here for experiences of separation, revelations of unity, and remembrances of true identity. We are here to simply forget; only to find ourselves again and again through the eyes of others.
But then again—maybe we’re not supposed to, just as a director would never interrupt their play mid-screening to shout: “You are just a damn actor! Stop taking your character so seriously!!” As perhaps we are meant to focus solely on this life, even if there are other parts of our being waiting in the wings, watching attentively, taking notes of how quickly we learn, how well we improvise, and how tactful we delve off script.
“Throughout your reincarnational existences you expand your consciousness, your ideas, your perceptions, your values. You break away from self-adapted restrictions, and you grow spiritually as you learn to step aside from limiting conceptions and dogmas.
“Your rate of learning depends entirely upon you, however. Limited, dogmatic, or rigid concepts of good and evil can hold you back. To narrow ideas of the nature of existence can follow you through several lives if you do not choose to be spiritually and psychically flexible. These rigid ideas can indeed act as leashes, so that you are forced to circle like a tied puppy dog about a very small radius.”
-“Seth” (via Jane Roberts), Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul (1972)
Indeed, as much as I would like to exude an inner knowing, I am inevitably bound to this narrow human leash, despite stretching and pulling with all my might. There is in me no memory I can consciously recall of a life before lived, with those I have loved, and how I have passed behind my current eyes.
Alas, I simply cannot say what will happen once the light flies out of them.
And that’s okay! That’s the beautiful thing about being human, after all, together in this bizarre reality not knowing why exactly we’re alive.
I don’t think any human has the right to say with 100% certainty, with their all-knowing five senses, of what will happen after death. And perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps there is reason why we are so forgetful, because according to researchers such as Cannon, “if we were aware of the complexity of it, we would not be able to function in this world or reality.”
“What we consider the here and now, this world, it is actually just the material level that is comprehensible. The beyond is an infinite reality that is much bigger, which this world is rooted in. In this way, our lives in this plane of existence are encompassed, surrounded, by the afterworld already.
“Then I could say that when I die, I do not lose this information, this consciousness. The body dies but the spiritual quantum field continues. In this way, I am immortal.”
-Dr. Hans-Peter Dürr, late executive director of the Max Planck Institute for Physics, “Scientists Find Hints for the Immortality of the Soul,” HuffPost (2014)
Consequently, we mustn’t be afraid to look within, and express who we truly are and what we truly feel, no matter how weird these views may seem to others. And if after reading this, you have a different view than I do, there is no judgment. The last thing I want is to become wrapped up in my own ego, turning into what I criticize, telling people what they must and must not believe.
For we all have different perspectives on life and beyond, inexplicably born into different environments, at different times, to different parents, and made to interact in a variety of unique roles on this cosmic stage. In this sense, everybody on Earth is an Oscar-winning celebrity! Even while thrown into this world of subjugation and strange separation, along with a mystifying amnesia.
Like a dog without a bone, an actor out alone, we must ride this wave. And we’ll live and we’ll die and we’re born again, deathly afraid. For through all the laughs, the tears, the highs and the lows, we are simply left wondering: When love is gone, where does it go?
Naturally, we are all going to face this ostensibly unknown variable, but coming with this is another realization, a miracle so great it denies explanation:
Coming out from this Universe like a wave from the ocean. Somehow, there is not nothing, and despite the illusion of time—with it the certainty of our death—still here we are, in this very moment, etched into eternity. And isn’t it strange? For in a sense we are already dead, yet we live nonetheless.
A paradox indeed; that is, unless we reject a certain premise.
“Now [my friend] has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us . . . know that the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
-Albert Einstein, Letter to Michele Besso’s family (1955)
In this regard there really is nothing to fear, and nothing to doubt. Because personally, although I cannot comment with complete hubris, I am around 90% certain that death, much like time, is merely an illusion, and that reincarnation on this planet is a specific option afterwards.
In a scientific sense, the combined evidence for reincarnation is simply too overwhelming.
And even in an intuitive sense, there is an ever-present notion lying within that we are part of a greater entity, flowing on harmoniously with a Universe that washes us along in its eternal tide, once our bodies can no longer bear the beating waves of existence.
“The individual himself is a fallacy. . . . We are buds on a single tree—what do we know about what can become of us from the interests of the tree! But we have a consciousness as though we would and should be everything, a phantasy of ‘I’ and all ‘not I.’
“Stop feeling oneself as this phantastic ego! Learn gradually to discard the supposed individual! Discover the fallacies of the ego! Recognize egoism as fallacy! The opposite is not to be understood as altruism! This would be love of other supposed individuals! No! Get beyond ‘myself’ and ‘yourself’! Experience cosmically!”
-Friedrich Nietzsche, as quoted in Nietzsche and Zen: Self Overcoming Without a Self (van der Braak, 2011)
Finally, when seeking infinity, there is no sense in emphasizing the ego! Rather, look for this inner identity more towards the Universe as a whole, embedded with consciousness, brimming with everlasting life.
In this regard we already live forever—as much as we are made to fret over the feeble length of an individual life, overly identifying with a fragile body and four-character name, erroneously thinking this is all there is.
We are brought up in a society designed to do everything in its power to divide us with distractions, chasing after treasures with no intrinsic value, turning our heads from the one common theme that unites us all:
“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.”
-Charles Bukowski, The Captain Is Out to Lunch and the Sailors Have Taken Over the Ship (1998)
And yet none of this is real—Only death. Only life. Only love. But who am I to say, really? For I too am going to die, as I have perhaps a thousand times over.
Surely, I am fated to someday find out for myself if this is correct, or if my stubborn heart and active imagination have simply caused confusion (in which case I guess I won’t find out, or do much of anything, for that matter). Even if you are of the view that we only live one life—an accident of awareness on a spinning rock—this is no less fantastical!
For now, however, there is no need to fear, no matter what your position. Attempt to see beyond yourself, then you may find peace of mind is waiting there.
Finally, despite this inner God, never stop looking up, and trying to make sense out of this incredible existence, here together as human beings beyond all probability, blessed on a beautiful planet within an extraordinary galaxy of 100 billion stars.
We are the ones who decided to be here.
So just be in the moment, play your part to the best of your ability, and put on a most heartfelt smile—but don’t dare to break character! At least not yet.
For only afterwards, with the audience in tears, and the critics saying “wow!”, can we all finally come back to ourselves, and take a collective bow.