"Mama, sometimes when babies are in your tummy, sometimes when they're not strong, they’ll fall out!” declared my four-year-old daughter abruptly, when I was putting her to bed one day. This happened in early 2012. “Really?” “I was in your tummy and I fell out,” she replied matter-of-factly. I started to feel uneasy. In 2001, I had miscarried a set of twins at eleven weeks. None of my daughters knew about it. “Why would the babies not be strong, sweetie?” “Because babies have small muscles. The Mamas have to eat, so they grow!” During my first pregnancy, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of morning sickness requiring medical treatment. I threw up everything I ate and drank, and lost a massive amount of weight in no time. In fact, I did not realize I was carrying twins then, which made the situation even more precarious. "Where did you go after that?" "To the doctors who tell if I’m in the tummy." She was right again. I had to see two doctors within hours to confirm the miscarriage. "I wonder why you came to me again?" "I said I can be with you all and that's how I do it. First, I pick the big people like Mama and Papa, and then Sister." "Have you ever been in another body before this?" My little daughter put her hands on her hips, peered at me indignantly and said, “Mama, I used to live on that planet where you can have everything! If you want chips, you think about it, and it'll be there.” Her statement tickled me because 'that planet' sounded like the golden sphere I had seen during my out-of-body experience in 2005—a place where you can have anything you can possibly imagine. “And why did you leave that planet?” "Because a lot of people come to our place. Now, I’m looking for my friends here again," she replied sadly. I asked for more details, but it upset her to talk about her friends and so I left it at that. On and off, I would ask her about the planet she was from. Her answers were always the same and she always spoke of her friends with deep yearning. That odd but earnest conversation with my little one revived a few questions that had been bugging me for a long time. Do we truly have immortal souls? Is death painful? Did I make the twins suffer? Until the time I started with the hypnosis course, I had no firm opinion on the concept of past lives. Even though I was brought up as Hindu, I was also fascinated by Buddhist teachings. Either way, I was aware of the concept of reincarnation and karma, but beyond that they were not the driving force in my life. That all changed during the hypnosis course.
A small diversion During the hypnosis training course, a group session was held for the participants to familiarise themselves with the trance experience. Our trainer read out a hypnosis script guiding us through the various landscapes found on a beautiful uninhabited island. The goal of the session was to relax. Halfway through the script, I heard the trainer asking us to imagine strolling along a deserted beach. Then she asked us to go walk up to the water’s edge to dip our toes in the cool seawater. In trance, as I shifted my attention from looking at my feet to the vast sea in front of me, I became agitated. Instead of a calming sea view, I saw a huge wall of water falling over and squeezing the life out of me! Then, from a somewhat higher perspective, I witnessed my physical body being sucked away by the undercurrents, as another part of me floated upwards towards the sky. I was flabbergasted, because I had read through that script beforehand and there was absolutely no mention of killer waves in it! My trainer—noticing I had drifted off course—quickly helped me to get an overview of the situation I was in before bringing me out of trance. To say I was feeling perplexed would have been an understatement. During the drowning scene, I felt myself rolling inside deep waves of water, even though in reality I was lying flat on a mattress, in a room, on dry land. Yet, I could clearly sense the intense force and the extreme cold temperature of the seawater on my body. I even became aware of gritty sand in my eyes, nose and throat, causing me to choke for real. Along with the physical sensations, I picked up strong feelings of sadness and futility connected with whatever body I was in then. Most strange of all, I wondered how it was possible to view one event from a few different perspectives simultaneously. I thought about putting that experience down to super-vivid imagination but the intensity of what I felt was too real to dismiss, or deny. Plus, I could not find one logical explanation why I would self-sabotage a nice relaxing walk on a beautiful beach, even if it was an imaginary one! As a matter of fact, I am afraid of deep waters and big waves because I can hardly swim. So why would I have myself be crushed by a five-storey high Tsunami wave on purpose? The other participants had experienced a relaxing hypnosis session, while the same script had triggered a different reaction in me. I knew deep down the person I was during the Tsunami scene was not the same me from this life. In fact, I had not been alone on that beach. A storyline had formed intuitively while I was tumbling inside the waves. In my mind's eye, I was part of a group of worshippers who had gathered to perform a ceremony by the sea. The village I lived in had been affected by a series of hurricanes and landslides, and the villagers were trying to pacify the Pagan Gods by offering prayers and sacrifice. Unfortunately, we were doing it in the wrong place at the wrong time. After that baffling episode, I started looking for proof on past lives and came across the case studies compiled by Professor Dr. Ian Stevenson (1918-2007), an American psychiatrist renowned for his research into reincarnation. Since the 1960’s, he had documented more than 2800 cases of children who experienced spontaneous past life recall. The children, many aged between two and five, recounted their past lives without being prompted or going under hypnosis. They gave verifiable information about their past life identities, and even causes of their previous deaths. Some cases involved children born with birthmarks and deformities. In these cases, Dr. Stevenson established corresponding links between the existing birthmarks and deformities, and the position of the fatal wounds suffered by the persons the children claimed to be in their previous lives. Pondering over Dr. Stevenson's proposition, I became convinced the Tsunami incident I experienced had nothing to do with my current life. Logically speaking, even if I wanted to imagine something happening to me on that beach while in trance, it would definitely be something pleasant! Dressed in a scratchy robe, swinging incense burners and praying to the gods of the sea in nasty weather, is not something I would consider doing to relax. Maybe something about the beach scene triggered a distant memory. Perhaps, it was the universe giving me another nudge. For whatever reason it happened, that unplanned glimpse into an ancient life piqued my interest in regression therapy, and I signed up for the training that started in February 2012. The bedtime conversation with my daughter happened a few weeks afterwards but as weird as it was, it also gave me the closure I needed. She and I had accessed memories of existences before our current ones, and I could even confirm one of hers. I do not know what caused my spontaneous diversion into a Pagan life but this much I gathered through that experience—I did not really lose the twins. They had lived on in some form. I just did not know how and where to look for them back then.
Regression Therapy The aim of regression therapy is to help individuals tie up loose ends from the past and that is still impacting them in the present—to encourage deep energetic healing. Regression therapy goes beyond just viewing past lives, to transforming challenging moments and integrating the lessons learned from the past into the client’s current life. As Andy Tomlinson states in his regression therapy handbook, during a regression session, “A client is guided back and encouraged to relive and resolve the conflicts from the past that have often been inaccessible to their conscious mind, yet have been influencing their mental and emotional stability.” For example, if someone has a phobia, they can be regressed to find out at which point in time the fear crystallized. That phobia-triggering event, be it from the past or current life, can be re-examined to bring about understanding and eventual healing. Essentially, with the help of a therapist to guide them through their inner journeys, clients use the power of their subconscious mind to find creative solutions to their problems. But, does one need to believe in the concept of past lives itself to do regression therapy? To satisfy my own curiosity, I once collaborated with five very sceptical clients. All did not believe in reincarnation. In the end, out of five, four found the causes to their problems in current life childhood days and in 'past lives'. One candidate could not be hypnotized at all. I did not follow any scientific protocol but here's an interesting fact—the four who regressed gave similar feedback when they woke up. They said whatever they experienced may have come from things they have read, seen or heard from books, movies or other information sources. But when asked about the emotions they exhibited during the session, they stated they did not make it up and were unsure how it came to be. In the same vein, they were unable to figure out how some of the 'past life characters' resembled some of their present life acquaintances, friends or family members. All suggested it was down to their imagination.
Yes, imagine that! Joseph Joubert, a French moralist and essayist, once said, "Imagination is the eye of the soul." In regression therapy, imagination or creative visualization is part and parcel of the healing process. Imagination lets us translate our hidden thoughts and inner observations into concepts that can be comprehended by another. To clients who wonder how clearly they can experience past life characters, I tell them it feels similar to imagining someone who is not physically present in front of you. Take your best friend, for example. The moment you start thinking of your best friend, you would be able to assign a specific feeling or thought to him or her. Even though that person is physically absent, you know immediately what he or she means to you on an energetic level. These impressions carry unique charges enabling you to differentiate between two of your best friends, or between two events that you have experienced with just one of your best friend. When you travel into a past life and meet the significant characters and re-live major moments there, they too carry their own energetic identification traits, and some of them might even match some people or events from your current life. The question then arises who or what is facilitating all the sensing and searching for information during hypnotic trance? The answer lies in the concept of the higher self. The higher self is the part of your soul energy that is presumed to remain in the light realm, while the rest of it reincarnates into a physical body on Earth (lower self). Your higher self is somewhat like a library for all the information you have collected and retained from the beginning of your time as an individual soul. During hypnosis, the lower self and the higher self merge and mingle. Thus, from the omniscient perspective of your higher self, seeking out information from any of your lives, be it past, present or future life becomes possible. Impressions in the form of images, sounds, words, events or a combination thereof can emerge from the depths of your mind—some of which you may not know about or even think of concocting during normal waking moments. To be frank, I was sceptical about past lives until a Tsunami came crashing down on me. In retrospect, that tidal wave and the tumultuous ocean beyond, in all probability, represented the dynamics and depth of my own subconscious mind—one that I had to experience up close, in order to believe. Thus, imagined, or not, we retrieve our memories in the way we have stored them away. But how will retrieving old memories help us now in the present? What if the past life story is ridiculous, mundane, or simply horrible?
Case in point While I found the topic of past lives fascinating, to professionally cross over into alternative therapy from the familiar legal field required more commitment, discipline and faith, than I thought it would. It was like jumping across a ravine with no safety measures whatsoever. The learning curve was steep and I was in doubt if regression therapy was my calling. Then, in a moment of massive frustration, an epiphany! Why not use the method I was learning to get insights into my own issues? A fellow course-mate agreed to regress me. My aim was to find out if I was cut out for regression therapy work. Under hypnotic trance, I ended up in ancient Egypt. In the first scene, I saw myself as a ship builder who designed ships and boats in various sizes and dimensions to test their durability at sea. When a ship managed to return home from its test voyage, we would reproduce the same design with improvements and in bigger quantities. In the next scene, I saw myself walking along a beach on a moonlit night and fretting over the fate of the ships that never returned. I then come across an elderly man, who was busy staring at the star-studded night sky and jotting down notes on parchments of paper. Being curious, I asked him what he was up to. The old gentleman took me by the hand, showed me the map he was making and started pointing out certain star formations. Looking deeply into my eyes, he said a bunch of things in an unfamiliar language. I felt transfixed by his piercing gaze and enthusiasm, as he invited me to sit down on the sandy bank and continued to tutor me for some time about the movement of the stars. The next thing I know, he simply vanished into thin air! I watched in amazement as his body disappeared and the dark blue velvety cape he had on slowly disintegrated into the sand. It was a magic show at its absolute best, but what was the point of it all? The therapist asked me to look for information that could help me clarify my current issues. Looking at the Egyptian life, I was captivated by the time period I found myself in, my enviable station in life, the army of labourers I had under my command, and even with my fine attire. Yet, despite the comfort and power, I was under enormous stress and scrutiny from my superiors to deliver efficient ships. At this point, correlating it to my current life, the past life story seemed to reflect some of the impatience and anxiety I was experiencing from sending off case studies for approval to my course supervisors. The encounter with the elderly foreigner was fascinating, but I did not understand a word he said. I was impressed he was able to look at millions of stars and create some kind of order out of it, but I was uncertain how that was of any use to me. My job then was to build ships that could go fast without breaking up into pieces during voyage. How was a random jumble of sparkly dots in the night sky supposed to help me? With guidance from the therapist, through a combined transformation and integration process, I found the answers. She enabled me to see beyond the facade of the ancient Egyptian life and in the process, my view towards regression therapy shifted and I gathered valuable tips for conducting sessions. Here are the little gems of wisdom I gleaned from that Egyptian past life: that I should practice my skills on as many people as possible (the numerous ships) and experiment with new or modified techniques where needed (various ship designs). While I could look for guidance from above when troubled (the stars), I had to set limits to what I will do or not do during a session (the constellations). Further, I should seek out the experienced and learn from them (the elderly man), even if the area of expertise may seem unrelated at first (switching from legal field to alternative therapy). Finally, on a lighter note, to never stop believing in magic (the vanishing act)! Immediately after the session, I started searching on the Internet for information on Egyptian shipbuilding. The type of ships or boats I saw in trance did once exist. My conscious mind, however, fully back in action by now, responded with the thought that I could have seen them in a documentary on Egypt. The tug of war between my logical and intuitive sides continued until I chanced upon an artist’s rendition that matched the features and attire of the elderly stargazer. It was uncannily alike. He was a Roman citizen who had once lived in Egypt. It was Claudius Ptolemy. And the more I looked at the sketch, the more I recalled his energetic presence—knowledgeable, kind, generous and real. Ptolemy or not, that chance encounter left an indelible mark on me. It made me believe in the power of intention, in interconnectedness, and in the potential of the universe that exists inside every one of us. I also learned the easiest way for me to connect with the mystical side was to feel it—without judgment, expectations or over-thinking it.
Benefits of re-experiencing past lives If we did indeed carry memories of the lives we have had before, it must surely be there for a reason. Dr. Linda Backman, a licensed psychologist and regression therapist, calls those by-gone impressions the soul memory code and goes on to interpret it as "...an energetic repository you carry that is imprinted with the experiences of each of your past lives..." She further states, "...unresolved elements of one or more past lives that are imbedded in your soul memory code can lead to anxiety, avoidance, physical symptoms, and more." In other words, the soul memory code carries valuable information on the state of your soul. Yet, over time, it is possible some of that information may have become outdated, unbeneficial or downright damaging to you. While not every challenging issue or symptoms you have now is attributable to past life causes, often the ones you keep struggling with may well benefit from regression therapy. Through regression therapy, a client has the opportunity to re-enact any of his or her unresolved issues from the past to a satisfying end. When a client can freely express his unsettled issues and find new ways to untie the emotional knots, it will have a curative value, regardless in which time period the incident took place, or if the experience can be empirically proven or not. In my case, the anxiety I was experiencing in the current life about my new career choice was traced back to a life in ancient Egypt. It did sound far-fetched at first, but once I recognized the pattern in both lives at the emotional level and understood the lessons behind it, my self-confidence literally moved up a notch, in the present. Regression therapy is not only helpful for resolving traumas and distress but when we so intend, we can also bring back useful knowledge and abilities from a positive past life. For example, a client downloaded healing and channelling skills he once possessed as a medicine man in ancient Mayan times after he had successfully worked through issues relating to his self-worth. That same client is now putting his innate skills to positive use by helping many others connect to their divine aspects. Here's another benefit—through regression therapy we can engage with those of other dimensions to absorb their wisdom and benevolent energy. Whether one calls them angels, spirit guides, power animals, Wise Ones, the Elders, or simply loved ones, I have witnessed clients of varying faith and beliefs speak about the special beings who guide and advise them during sessions. While I myself started off feeling sceptical about these ethereal figures, over the years I have experienced too many co-incidences and weird happenings to say they do not exist at all. In essence, regression therapy helps to make sense of our internal chaos through assisted self-introspection. Going into a past life enables the client to put their persistent challenges into context; while the transformation and integration phases of regression therapy promote clarity and deep healing within. Like Ptolemy who scrutinized the movement of the stars to understand astronomical phenomena, a regression therapist helps a client to look inside their mind to encourage inner clarity, release blocked emotions, and find creative solutions to life challenges. All one needs to do is relax, connect to the sacred space within, and let their heart and soul work its magic.
Footnotes  I felt like I was watching a movie and experiencing some of the actions like one would in a 4-D cinema—I was the observer and the participant at the same time.
 Ian Stevenson, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1997).
 Additional notes on regression therapy can be found on pp.247-252 in this book.
Andy Tomlinson, Healing the Eternal Soul (O Books, 2006), 19. The book contains comprehensive information on regression therapy techniques for practitioners.
 During trance, we can perceive information by feeling, hearing or seeing it with our mind’s eye. Some simply have a sense of knowing. Often times, the information will be received in a combination of ways through all our senses.
 Dr. Linda Backman, The Evolving Soul (Llewellyn Publications, 2014), 230. Higher self: Soul or divine self
 Ian Lawton & Andy Tomlinson, The Wisdom of the Soul, (Rational Spirituality Press, 2007), 157. Definition of Light realm - “...true home of all soul energies, and the plane most closely connected with Source itself.”
 Ptolemy (AD90 - AD168) was a Greco-Egyptian astrologer, mathematician, astronomer and geographer. He was born in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt.
 Dr. Linda Backman, The Evolving Soul, (Llewellyn Publications, 2014), 16-17.