Samuel Pisar, a Polish-American lawyer, author, and a Holocaust survivor. survived Auschwitz as a boy to become a successful lawyer, an adviser to Presidents and much more during his lifetime. He once wrote,
” We may not live in the past but the past lives in us”. A chilling statement considering the context it comes from.
Time Constructs – The Past, Present & Future
So what exactly is the PAST?
We all learned as grammar students about the three main tenses that govern our day to day life – the Past ,the Present and the Future. Certain important constructs of the Human Mind that thread these three tenses are the Human Memory and Human Imagination. It is these two facets of the Human Mind that enable us individuals to go through Reflections/ Broodings of the Past, Fulfilling Moments from the Present and Planning and Designing of Objectives and Goals for the Future. Though it is only the present that is palpable and truly exists as a current experience, it is remarkable when the Human Mind uses Memory as a tool to delve into the past for better or worse and Imagination as a magic wand to create that perfect visualised future.
Two very important ideas addressed in Psychology have a well meaning connection with this Time Concept.
- Time Perspective – It is the ability to navigate time constructs focusing on past, present and the future with none of the time zones affecting the normalcy of life. This comes from Philip Zimbardo’s Time Perspective questionnaire that effectively measures the above tendency. A Balanced Time Perspective in an individual facilitates adaptability and learnings by switching between the past, present and the future automatically.
- Temporal Meta Cognition: It is defined as the ability to consciously self regulate personal focus on the three time zones. Maciej Stolarski and Joanna Witowska from Warsaw University formulated the idea of temporal metacognition and postulated three very important aspects to it, that can be explained as follows:
- The ability to be resilient in the face of a maladaptive time perspective and switch to the other.
- Eg: thinking about an unpleasant past experience and being able to pull oneself out of that time frame into the constructive present or hopeful future like:
- A student brooding over his/her failure in the past
- A lover pining for his lost love from some years back
- The ability to view the past (was), present (is) and future (will be) as a tool to create the most beneficial and purposeful decision for the self.Eg: Applying all the learnings and putting them to use in a constructive manner for self betterment like:
- The student takes cues from the past, present and a possible achievable future to create a sustainable change in his choices.
- The lover understands all the lessons he has learned from all the times of his life to establish a new value for himself.
- Role of the Conscious & the Subconscious Mind: We are aware that the Human Mind consists of both the Conscious and the Subconscious Mind. The Conscious Mind, as the name suggests, is in charge of all our day-to-day conscious activities like eating, sleeping, talking , exercising, driving, watching TV, etc., and comprises only 12% of the Human Mind.
The Subconscious Mind is the seat of all the thoughts, emotions, desires, fears, aspirations, dreams and all kinds of suppressed and repressed thoughts and emotions that exist inside us – some of which we may be absolutely unaware about and comprises 88% of the Mind space.
There are times when one encounters recurring patterns influenced by time constructs in thoughts, emotions and behaviours that occur in a recurring mode in our life. It could be a happy pattern or it could be a troubling one. None of us are complaining or disturbed or intrigued by the good that happens to us, however it is the troubling patterns that generate a sense of “ WHY ME ?” kind of a curiosity that extends far beyond the normal inquisitiveness.These bothersome patterns may be a repetitive fear, a recurring dream, career hurdles, relationship issues, relapses and addictions and many more on these lines that come from the subconscious part of the mind.
Deja Vu’ & Past Life:
Picture this ! one is on a vacation and there is this strange sense of having visited the place earlier though not in conscious recollection, just having met a stranger is actually seeming to be downright comfortable and at home as if there is a relationship that already exists, recollecting certain dates/times/places/people out of the blue that currently don’t seem to be related in any which way, a natural inclination and innate proficiency for a specific music instrument / sport/ culture, unexplainable fears like fear of water,etc – all these are instances that evoke curiosity.
Recurrent patterns may generate a Deja’Vu kind of a feeling that seems to be like a familiar blur in the mind. The classic definition of Deja Vu is when you feel like you,ve seen or done something before, feeling as if you are witnessing a dream as if life itself is a movie. It is believed by some that the cause of this familiarity is memories from the past (life/ lives) buried deep within the subconscious mind of the person.
The curiosity to navigate the truth about past lives usually emerges out of a sense of seeking answers to certain questions in the current life. These questions can either emanate from a spiritual perspective or from a solution seeking endeavour, each one looking for a closure to their present state of confusion.
Regression Therapy & Its Kinds :
As the name suggests, it means regressing or going backward in time covering the lifetime that has passed.
Regression or going backwards in time is a therapeutic intervention employed by practitioners /therapists to uncover hidden, repressed or suppressed thoughts, emotions and behaviours. The aim of Regression Therapy is to unearth the real reason for the current unresolvable challenges that one may be facing in their life. These recurring problems could be anything ranging from fears, phobias, relationship issues, professional struggles, relationships with the self and much more. Regression uses tools of HYPNOTHERAPY & PSYCHOANALYSIS to unlock past memories and traumas that are manifesting in different forms of struggle in the present life. Resolving the knot of stored trauma the therapist seeks to understand the effect of these repressed emotions on the psyche of the individual.
There are essentially three types of regression therapy where the use of Hypnosis is a constant underlying principle.
- Hypnotic Regression: Here the subconscious mind of the concerned individual is accessed, to unravel and resolve stored experiences in the present time constructs.
- Age Regression:Through Hypnosis, going backwards in age is facilitated, reaching a particular age in childhood to unlock stored trauma.
- Past Life Regression: This is characterised by the individual regressing through the subconscious and stumbling upon certain images, experiences and emotions that may not be directly related to them in the current life but resonates very well with their current challenges – like finding a key to a lock.
More On Past Life Regression:
Principle of PLR:
Past Life Regression is considered to be a controversial practice because as it suggests it is supposedly getting the individual connected to their past life(s).
This is based on the acceptance of the theory of Reincarnation which states that after death, the soul takes a rebirth in another form or place or among varied settings and all along the subconscious keeps storing experiences, emotions, thoughts as it progresses from one lifetime to another.
It is the presence of an unresolved trauma along this journey of multiple lifetimes that the subconscious keeps bringing back this unresolved trauma to the fore through obstacles and challenges in the individual’s current life, as if vying for attention!
Do all practitioners believe in Past Life:
It will be unfair to think that all practitioners of this therapy believe in the theory of reincarnation and past life.
Many practitioners feel that the output obtained from the subject could be a product of various things in their environment that they may not be consciously aware of like films, books, some incidences heard about, suggestions from the therapist or maybe even an effective involuntary role play that maybe unfolding in their subconscious as closure to their issue.
All these narratives may be created by their subconscious using their imagination, some forgotten information and suggestions from the therapist and are categorised as CRYPTOMNESIA.
The biggest give away is the belief system of the client undergoing Past Life Regression. The believers are automatically steered into their past life(s) whereas the non believers offer enough resistance not to get swayed.
Why Is Past Life Regression Followed Despite Controversies:
From the therapeutic point of view, the resolution of the trauma is the Prime Objective.
If the practitioner along with the subject’s permission feels the need to explore the subconscious system with the confidence of unravelling the source of the current challenge and enabling a solution creating a sustainable change, then this form of regression therapy completely fulfils the objective.
It is due to this reason that Past Life Regression is a much sought after therapeutic method both by the clients as well as the practitioners, subject to its suitability.
BENEFITS OF PAST LIFE REGRESSION:
- Hypnosis creates a safe space for the client to explore the deeper layers of his subconscious unbridled and without any reservations.
- The session is essentially client centric and the entire account is their narrative and not the practitioner’s thus making it completely client centric.
- Helps resolve several physiological – psychological challenges being experienced by the client like psychosomatic issues, fears,relationship issues, failures,etc.
PLACE IN HISTORY, RELIGION, SPIRITUALITY, PHILOSPOHY, SCIENCE
Past Life Regression has been undertaken since early times in different ways under the banner it has been associated with.
It has been an essential part of soul(self) discovery through the realms of Religion, Spirituality and Science.
In Hinduism it has been practised through a specific Patanjali yoga practise called ‘Prati-Prasav’, in Jainism through a practise called ‘Jati Smaran’, Seances to communicate with the dead spirits in Spiritualism, Akashic Records in Occultism and much more.
While both eastern as well as western spiritualism have used suggestions under Hypnosis to facilitate Past Life Regression, there also has been a large section of psychiatrists have also supported the validity of this form of therapy towards resolutions of trauma leading to lifelong sustainable transformational learnings , for example: Dr. Brian Weiss, evident from his book, ’Many Lives Many Masters’.