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Do I Know You?

Past life experiences hav a significant potential for health and healing. Daneeta Loretta Saft regresses - and feels better for it

Photos by Mitchell Coster
Kevin Turner
Kevin Turner
Lisa Mowrey
Lisa Mowrey

I' running through a forest
I'm dressed in a long skirt and I keep tripping
   on it
I have long, curly, hair the color of autumn
   leaves someone is chasing me I see a horse,
   run to it, jump on and start riding as fast as
   I can
something hits me in the back and I fall off the
   horse I hit my head and there's blood
   pouring out of my nose
I'm choking on it suddenly there's a man
   above me his knees are pressing into my
   chest making it more difficult
for me to breathe he's yelling something at
   me in a language I don't understand he
   slaps me in the face, and
yells at me again like I'm supposed to answer
   then he puts his hands around my throat and
   squeezes I can't
breathe I'm choking I pass out.


This isn't a dream. This really happened to me - in Italy, 200 years ago, in a past life.

OK, before you fall off your chair laughing, I should tell you that my goal is NOT to convince you that you were here before. You have to go that one alone. What I do want to discuss, this being a column about health, is how past life regression can be used therapeutically - as a vehicle for healing.

"The goal of any therapy is to release fear and get us to a point of healing," says Kevin Turner, a Tokyo psychotherapist who also does past life regression. Lisa Mowrey, another Tokyo psychotherapist with past life regression experience, says "It doesn't matter if you believe or not. It's the dynamic between the therapist and the patient that leads to healing."

Both Turner and Mowrey say that they only do past life regression therapy at the client's request. Says Mowrey: "I don't use it as a technique with every client because it can serve as an avoidance of present problems. Having said that, if the root cause of the psychological problem cannot be found in this life, it is useful to explore past lives."

Past life regression therapy certainly falls under the category of alternative treatments; however, it is slowly becoming more of an accepted healing method. The practice is similar to traditional regression therapy in that the therapist regresses the client back to an emotionally disturbing event. The difference is that the event has taken place in a past life. The client then relives the event under hypnosis. A major part of the healing process happens when the therapist helps the client to transform her pain and then let it go. This entire process is no cakewalk since the client is actually experiencing the event again with all of the trauma associated with it.

Here's how it works. First, the therapist puts you into a deep state of relaxation. "All it is, is an altered state," says Mowrey. "But let me be clear: most of us are in altered states most of the time. Have you ever totally shut down on the train? That's an altered state." The therapist acts as a guide through the four states of regression.

The first is identification: "Hey, I'm a 12-year-old slave boy in ancient Egypt."

The next step is to recognize important events that are carried into this life from your previous ones. Turner calls this psychic residue. "Oh my God, I am helping to build the pyramids and the guards have just beaten my father to death and I have to keep working or they are going to beat me to death."

Step three is to re-experience or re-live the traumatic event or events. The fourth step is transformation. This is where a trained psychotherapist is vital. Turner says that any Tom, Dick or Sally can regress someone back to a past life. But only a trained psychotherapist can help someone to process the information and transform it into a healing experience. Dr. Roger Woolger, author of "Other Lives, Other Selves," writes that traumatic events "reenacted cathartically can lead to substantial relief and often to rapid recovery."

Mowrey warns about expectations, however. She says that reading books about past life regressions can set us up for disappointment as they tend to focus on the most cathartic of releases and the most dramatic healing - it's what sells books. "Don't underestimate the importance of the small stuff. You don't have to be kicking and screaming on the couch to transform the experience into a healing one.

Recognition of what?
Well, for one, there's the fact that you probably were not a nice person in some of your past lives. Who do you think was doing all that raping and pillaging in the Middle Ages? Talk about major psychic residue. And for some of you egomaniacs out there, there's the shock that instead of being Caesar, you were his slave. Turner says that in all of his experience with regressions, he has never met anyone famous. Finally, there's the fact that you've known the people around you for longer than you think. All of the literature I've read and the people I've interviewed agree - we reincarnate in groups. That could explain a lot of angst.

Mowrey believes that there are no coincidences. "When we experience recognition of a person or a place, we should not take this lightly. It could be past life stuff or not. But when there is the sense of strong recognition, something is happening on a deeper level, and we have to deal with it."

Woolger believes that most psychological issues including depression, phobias, guilt complexes, eating disorders, family struggles, sexual difficulties and abuse, marital difficulties, chronic physical ailments and others will respond to past life regression therapy. Processing the experience is the key. In therapy, one processes through recognizing one's own suffering, and then letting it go.

Past life regression for me was sort of a lark. I did it because one of my friends did it, and she said it was pretty cool. In my first regression, I relived four past lives where I died from suffocation, strangulation, emphysema, and crushed lungs in a car accident. Now, was this just my imagination running wild with fear grown out of childhood asthma? I don't know, but it seemed to jibe with years of inexplicable panic attacks manifested by breathing difficulty. What I know is this: Since doing the regression, some pretty freaky cool stuff has been happening to me. I'd still be embarrassed to walk up to someone and say, "I feel we are connected on a deeper level, and I'd like to explore that." But I am learning to be more comfortable with synchronicity and the fact that there are no coincidences.

Resources
Kevin Turner, psychotherapist (03-3478-1137 or email kevin.turner@pobox.com). Two-hour sessions are JY20,000.

Lisa Mowrey, psychotherapist (03-3429-4676 or email lmowrey@gol.com). Two-hour sessions are JY20,000.

Books
"Other Lives, Other Selves," Roger J. Woolger, Ph.D., Bantam New Age Books

"The Case for Reincarnation," Joe Fisher, Somerville House Paperbacks

"Many Lives, Many Masters," Brian L. Weiss, M.D., Simon and Schuster

"Conversations with God," Neale Donald Walsch, G.P. Putnam & Sons

Websites
There were tens of websites on reincarnation. Unfortunately, many of them, except for the one below, were just a little too new agey for me. Searching Yahoo will turn them up.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, www.lib.virginia.edu/exhibits/dead

Daneeta Saft is a Tokyo-based writer and health and fitness acolyte. For further info on this and other health and fitness stuff check out her website at www.healthy-bytes.com


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