A Typical Past Life Regression

Excerpt from Chapter 2 of Children's Past Lives

This excerpt picks up Carol's story after she had a serious illness that induced visions of a man dying of consumption. Sarah and Chase are her young children. 

The Screen of His Impressive Talent

I didn't die that winter. From the time I had the startling vision of the dying man, my health began to improve. Of course, it could have been the medication and the bed rest that reversed my illness. I didn't know. As the coughing subsided, I was able to sleep for longer periods of time--blessed, uninterrupted sleep. I regained my energy day by day.

I knew I was getting better when my thoughts began to shift to more mundane matters, such as getting the house cleaned, catching up on the laundry, and getting in shape to keep up with Chase. A few weeks later when Steve returned from the airport with Chase and Sarah, I hugged them tight and long, thinking back to the dark days when I thought I might never see them again. I was so happy and so thankful.

By the time the daffodils appeared in our yard, I had returned to full health. I couldn't remember a more joyous or beautiful spring. Asheville was gloriously vibrant with the pink, purple, and red azaleas, and white dogwood blossoms floated like constellations of stars in the woods. I appreciated the sunny warmth more deeply than I ever had before, and I thanked God with every painless breath I took. As the spring and my good health blossomed, my fear of illness and death faded like a bad dream. But when fall came, and the nights turned colder and the flowers began to go to seed in my garden, I again worried about my health, not knowing if I could survive another winter like the last one. I thought back to my vision and hoped that the morbid scenes and the premonition of death had dissolved forever, though deep down I knew they hadn't. I sensed that something still had to be resolved, but I didn't know what or how. I prayed for understanding, and for health.

In October our close friend Rosario, to whom I had confided my sickbed vision, called me with exciting news. He had just met a hypnotherapist from Florida, who was staying in Asheville doing past life regressions. Perhaps this man could help me understand my vision and break my cycle of illness. Without hesitating, and not really knowing what past life regression was, I called the hypnotherapist, Norman Inge.

On the appointed morning-a crackling clear fall day with the sweetgums and maples in full color-Norman Inge appeared at my front door. I was immediately fascinated by his impish smile, sparkling eyes, and tinseled silvery hair. We chatted, and Norman explained his unusual background. He told me that he was a native Hawaiian and descended from a long line of kahunas--spiritual healers of the Hawaiian islands. In the tradition of the kahuna, Norman had learned the native wisdom of his people from his father and grandfather. He combined this traditional wisdom with training in hypnotherapy and neurolinguistic programming, expanding his virtuosity for healing. I was so intrigued by what Norman was telling me that I forgot about the butterflies in my stomach.

Norman began my session with a simple relaxation exercise. While I reclined on my couch with eyes closed and listened to a tape of soothing music, he instructed me to focus on my breathing and consciously relax each part of my body. Soon I was totally relaxed. Then Norman led me on a brief visionary journey through a peaceful landscape, followed by a descent down an imaginary stairway. He suggested that when I reached the bottom of the stairs, I would find myself in another lifetime.

Faint images immediately came into my mind--images of the same frail man I had seen months earlier when I was sick in bed. Norman coached, "Describe what you see-bring the images into sharper focus." As I followed Norman's suggestion, the pictures changed from fuzzy impressions to clear and colorful, full-bodied images. Sometimes the scenes moved along in succession, like a movie. Other times the frame froze as I directed my attention to my feelings in that scene.

As Norman guided me along, the images changed from the dying man to a scene from his early childhood. "I see myself as a baby. I'm wearing a gown and sitting in a high chair. My mother is feeding me porridge. I see my family eating around the table, my father and my sisters." I described to Norman how it felt to be a baby bathed in love, content and nurtured.

The skeptical voice in my mind interrupted, chiding, "You're just making this up."  But the compelling energy of the images and emotions was stronger than my doubting mind. This skeptical voice soon quieted and disappeared as I was pulled deeper into the experience with Norman's words: "What are you experiencing? What are you feeling?"

After a few minutes of this focusing, I wasn't just watching a movie in my head; I was the main character in the story, engaged in a full sensory experience. I could "see" through this man's eyes, I could "hear" through his ears, I could feel love swelling in his heart, and I knew what he was thinking. Even more amazing, I could easily shift my perspective from that of an observer, to being in the body of the character I saw-or be in both places at once. I could jump out of my body and observe myself from any angle of the room. In this altered state I possessed a surreal omniscience. I had access to everything this man knew, understood, and remembered, plus I enjoyed a broader overview, an understanding of the patterns in his life beyond what even he knew.

At the same time that I was engrossed in the visions, I was still aware that I was in the room with Norman, lying on my couch. I could hear my telephone ringing in the background, but the ringing sounded far away and had no significance. It was as if I were fully awake while dreaming, consciously directing my attention to the dream. I was in a sensory paradox, straddling two realities.

The scene in my mind progressed, and I saw myself as a boy of ten. I was in a room with an arched ceiling and tall windows. A glissando of sunlight fell from the window onto the grand piano in the center of the room. Next to me stood an older gentleman who laid his hand on my shoulder. I knew that this kindly man was my beloved piano teacher. Warmth filled my body as I looked at him and as I thought about my family and my music. My life was a fusion of love and music. I was happy.

"Then what happens?" asked Norman, breaking the enchantment of my reverie.

"A decision has been made that I should go away to a city some distance from my home to study music. I am honored to go." I felt a tightening in my chest and tears coming to my eyes as I saw myself saying good-bye to my family and my piano teacher.

"Move ahead to a later time," encouraged Norman.

I saw myself, in my late twenties or early thirties, standing next to a piano in a large, square room with heavily draped French doors and crowded with well-dressed people. The room felt hot and stuffy and smelled (all of a sudden I could smell) musty. I stood next to the piano chatting with a circle of admiring women. As the women pressed close, I could smell traces of their perfume, and I was aware of the scent of my own talcum powder.

I smiled as I saw another scene in which I was walking down a broad carpeted staircase with an elegantly dressed woman on each arm. I saw rich colors in the long, full dresses on the women and in the sparkling crystals of a chandelier hanging over the curving staircase. The scene had a velvety texture of elegance and civility. I held my shoulders back with the pride of an admired performer as I glided gracefully through the chattering crowd.

But this pride was undermined by sadness and an unbearable longing. "I feel torn. I enjoy their admiration, but they never see who I really am. They can't see beyond my talent. They can't see me." I could feel the emptiness in my stomach as I longed for the nurturing and love I had left behind with my family. "I have many friends," I continued. "They love the music I play. But I have no one who really loves me deeply." I felt myself getting weak, and I curled into a fetal position on the couch.

Then I was back to the scene of this man on his deathbed, coughing, barely able to breathe, exhausted-the same scene I had seen months before, when I myself lay sick. A woman, who I sensed was my sister, sat next to my bed, lovingly attending to my needs. I could feel in my own body his exhaustion and the pain in his lungs, as I recalled my own illness of the previous winter. At this point Norman sensed the opportunity and asked, "What are the emotional reasons for your illness? What is it that you need?" Without thinking, I replied, "This is the only way I can get the attention and nurturing that I need. My life is out of balance." Although I was answering from the point of view of this man, I sensed that what I was saying was significant to my present life as well. But I wasn't sure how.

Norman saw it, though. While I was still in a trance, he helped me understand that my present life was almost the inverse of my past life as this man. As a musician, he could express his creativity fully through his music, but he lacked the loving relationships he needed to be a complete and balanced person. The screen of his impressive talent made it almost impossible for people to see the real person, or get close to him. His illness was an extreme expression of his need for love and nurturing.

My life, on the other hand, was rich with a loving, lively family and good friends. However, as the mother of two small children, all of my time and energy were spent taking care of the kids and the house. I felt suffocated. I had no medium for expressing my creativity, no higher purpose beyond loving my family. I had no time to feed the explorer, the artist, and the teacher in me that I had totally neglected since getting married and having children. In that moment, with the paradox of my past spread before me, I understood that I needed to bring creativity and purpose into my life in order to be balanced and complete--and healthy.

Norman then guided me through this man's death. I could see the sister sitting at his bedside when he finally died. I watched the scene as an observer in the room. I saw a look of relief come over his gaunt face as he died and left his sick, drained body behind. At the same moment I felt a tingling lightness in my own body.

Then my perspective shifted from being at the deathbed scene to a vantage point above the funeral procession-the same view I had seen months before when I was sick. I felt myself as the disembodied spirit of that man floating above the crowd, watching the mourners below, witnessing my own funeral. I was deeply moved by the assembly of friends who honored me at my death. Suddenly my vision zoomed in on my sister standing among the mourners, holding a handkerchief to her face, crying. I felt sad for her; I wanted her to know that I no longer suffered and that I was grateful for her loving care. At Norman's suggestion I said good-bye to her and thanked her for her love.

Broken Dreams and Vanished Years

The images of that man's life faded. Without pausing, Norman suggested that I go to another lifetime. I immediately saw the image of a young girl, about eleven or twelve, playing a grand piano before a small audience. She wore a blue-gray dress, white stockings, and a floppy white bow in her shoulder-length hair. She was playing in a recital. I knew that her performance pleased her parents and other stiffly dressed adults in the room. Norman's voice flowed into my awareness: "What are you experiencing?"

"I am playing for these people so they can determine whether I should go on to the Conservatory. I know I play well. It's easy for me. It is decided that I should go on with my studies. It's a great honor to go to the Conservatory. I'm sad about leaving my family-I'll be far away and I'll miss them. But I do look forward to my studies, my music.

"I see my father, mother, and younger brother at a train station. Everything is dark brown or sooty gray. My father leans over and kisses me, my mother cries, my little brother looks lost. I have one brown square suitcase that I take with me."

"Where are you, and where are you going?"

"I'm leaving Poland to study in Vienna." This information leaped into my mind, startling me.

I next saw myself in my late teens walking down a corridor in a building. The ceilings were very high with hanging lights and glass windows above the doors. "This is where I study music. I have many friends here, and I'm happy. This is now my home."

The images progressed to the next scene, and at the same time my mood changed-my happiness melted into fear. "I see myself in a narrow apartment-I am in my mid- to late twenties, with two small children. A grand piano fills one corner of the room. The door opens, and a young man wearing a beret walks in. I know he is my husband. He looks worried. The words 'It's too late' come to mind. I know that whatever he tells me has something to do with our being Jewish. My husband, who is a teacher at the university, speaks out against German policies. From the fear in his eyes, I know we're in trouble. I don't want to see what happens next."

Norman said, "Go on."

I curled up on the couch and held my knees; my stomach felt queasy, and I had to push out every word to describe what I saw next. "I see my two children, a little girl of about two and a boy about six. I'm holding their hands as we stand on a cobblestone street with many other people. I am wearing a maroon coat. There is a high stone wall behind us. My husband is gone-I don't know where he is. They've taken him somewhere. The Germans are rounding us up. I'm scared for me and for my children."

I began to cry as I told Norman what I was seeing. Waves of sorrow swept through me. I shivered from cold as my plight got worse.

"We're beside a train. Soldiers and dogs-German shepherds. I'm holding my little one on my hip and my son is gripping tight my free hand. Shouts and confusion, lines of people. No one really knows what's going on."

I sensed that something terrible was happening beyond anything the images showed. I began to moan and cry, but Norman gently urged me again, "Go on." I cried more deeply as I lay there on my couch, unable to speak. I had enough presence of mind, though, to ask Norman for Kleenex to blow my nose and dry my eyes.

My body was seized with dread and I resisted looking at the next scene. After waiting a long time for me to cry it out, Norman again pressed me to continue.

"I'm in a camp. Everything is gray. I walk around numb. I don't know what's going on anymore. I don't know what happened to my children or my husband. My family is gone, my music is gone. My spirit feels dead. I don't want to live anymore. Then I'm floating. I look down on an icy room with concrete walls. I see myself lying in a pile of twisted bodies. I've been gassed."

As I describe these last cold images, my voice is flat and emotionless. Then the images fade. "What a waste" is all I can add. "What a waste."

Norman saw that I had had enough and ended the session with the suggestion that I come back to the present time, remembering everything I had experienced. After he was satisfied that I was fully back in my body and had calmed down, we talked briefly. Then he left.

I lay on the couch for a few minutes, barely able to think, totally drained from all the emotion and crying. I was moved in indescribable ways by these memories, especially by the woman who died with her family in the Holocaust. I now realized that I had been carrying the shadow of this woman's grief with me my whole life. What a relief to finally let it go! I felt lighter and clearer.

I walked outside and sat on the front stoop. About three hours had passed since Norman arrived, and the day was peaking in full glory, the sun high in the sky and warm, the October air refreshing and cool. I thought about my regression and the lives stretching behind me and the lives yet to come. I realized how glad I was to be in this life, in this body, in this moment on Earth.

In the days that followed, as I absorbed the lessons of the regression, I could feel how the past life memories added a new dimension to my life. It had given me health and new purpose. The vapors of past images that had trailed me all my life had now congealed into solid conscious memories. My notion that there was more to me than just my experience in this life was confirmed. I was certain now that a part of me had survived death and would again.

Copyright 1997, Carol and Steve Bowman. All rights reserved.

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