Sure, you’ve heard of past life regression. But what about future life progression? Dr. Bruce Goldberg makes an unexpected and captivating case that this may not only be possible but that we can do it ourselves using his new book Past Lives, Future Lives. Then Linda Howe with a surprising report on back-engineering of ET technology.
Past life regression is a technique that uses hypnosis to recover what practitioners believe are memories of past lives or incarnations. Past life regression is typically undertaken either in pursuit of a spiritual experience, or in a psychotherapeutic setting. Most advocates loosely adhere to beliefs about reincarnation, though religious traditions that incorporate reincarnation generally do not include the idea of repressed memories of past lives.
The technique used during past life regression involves the subject answering a series of questions while hypnotized to reveal identity and events of alleged past lives, a method similar to that used in recovered memory therapy and one that similarly misrepresents memory as a faithful recording of previous events rather than a constructed set of recollections. The use of hypnosis and suggestive questions makes the subject particularly likely to hold distorted or false memories. The source of the memories is more likely cryptomnesia and confabulations that combine experiences, knowledge, imagination and suggestion or guidance from the hypnotist than recall of a previous existence. Once created, the memories are indistinguishable from memories based on events that occurred during the subject’s life. Memories reported during past life regression have been investigated, and revealed historical inaccuracies that are easily explained through a basic knowledge of history, elements of popular culture or books that discuss historical events. Experiments with subjects undergoing past life regression indicate that a belief in reincarnation and suggestions by the hypnotist are the two most important factors regarding the contents of memories reported.
In ancient Indian literature, the Upanishads mention past-life regression, but the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali discuss the concept in greater detail. Writing during the 2nd century BC, the Hindu scholar Patañjali discussed the idea of the soul becoming burdened with an accumulation of impressions as part of the karma from previous lives. Patañjali called the process of past-life regression prati-prasav (literally “reverse birthing”), and saw it as addressing current problems through memories of past lives. Some types of yoga continue to use prati-prasav as a practice.
In the religious mythology of China the deity Meng Po, also known as the “Lady of Forgetfullness”, prevents souls from remembering their past lives: she gives them a bittersweet drink that erases all memories before they climb the wheel of reincarnation.
In the modern era, it was the works of Madame Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, which brought it a new found popularity, especially in the West. French educator Allan Kardec also researched into past life regression in The Spirits Book and Heaven and Hell. Past life regression therapy has been developed since the 1950s by psychologists, psychiatrists and mediums. The belief gained credibility because some of the advocates possess legitimate credentials, though these credentials were in areas unrelated to religion, psychotherapy or other domains dealing with past lives and mental health. Interest in the phenomenon started due to American housewife Virginia Tighe reporting and recounting the alleged memories of a 19th-century Irish woman named Bridey Murphy; later investigation failed to support the existence of such a woman and the memories were attributed to Tighe’s childhood during which she spent time living next to an Irish immigrant.
In the West, past-life regression practitioners use hypnosis and suggestion to promote recall in their patients, using a series of questions designed to elicit statements and memories about the past life’s history and identity. Some practitioners also use bridging techniques from a client’s current-life problem to bring “past-life stories” to conscious awareness. Practitioners believe that unresolved issues from alleged past lives may be the cause of their patients’ problems. The technique is not taught as part of any medical internships. Luis Cordón states that this can be problematic as it creates delusions under the guise of therapy. Memories can vary from harmless to actually increasing suffering in the patient or their families. The memories are experienced as vivid as those based on events experienced in one’s life, impossible to differentiate from true memories of actual events, and accordingly any damage can be difficult to undo. .