Can Past Life Regression Heal a Christian?

I was visiting with Marieta in her cozy cottage on an island off the coast of Maine. We were curled up by the fire, sipping a cup of ginger tea and talking about our relationship to the church. I told her that ten years earlier I had been ordained in the United Church of Christ. I’d worked in refugee resettlement and tried out a year of interim ministry. I’d even sent out my profile and interviewed at several churches, but I felt conflicted about my call to ministry. As much as I loved the church, I wasn’t sure that I believed some of its most basic tenets. And as a former high school history teacher, I was painfully aware of the abuses it had inflicted over the centuries.

Marieta listened attentively until I was finished and responded, “I sense that your issues with the church are older than just this lifetime.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I think an unhealed past life is coloring your relationship to the church,” she replied. “I know a wise therapist here in Maine who will do past life regressions if she thinks it’s necessary. You should give her a call.”

My head began to spin. I couldn’t see how reincarnation and unhealed past lives could fit into my Christian theology, but her words rang true. Both my love for the church and my agonized conflicts with its theology somehow seemed older than I am.

When I shared my hesitations, Marieta gave me a book to read, Other Lives, Other Selves by Roger Woolger. I went home and devoured it. Woolger was a Jungian psychiatrist who reluctantly came to the conclusion that several of his clients were carrying heavy burdens that had no known origins in this life. He found that even when clients didn’t believe in reincarnation, they could through hypnosis remember past lives and trauma with uncanny detail and in the remembering, experience profound healing

I called the wise therapist and set up an appointment. After only ten minutes she concluded that a past life regression might be helpful. I reclined on a zero gravity chair and we did some deep breathing. With just a short guided meditation I saw a young girl lying on a beach where she was being raped by many bearded soldiers. Her village was burning and her disemboweled baby brother was lying by her side. When the men were through, one of them strangled her and left her for dead. An old villager who had survived the attack found the girl and carried her to a local monastery.

I named this girl Ella. Over the next six weeks I explored her life through the process of mandala journaling. I drew a sacred circle, asked to learn more of Ella’s story, meditated, drew what came to me, and then journaled with the image. I came to know a medieval Celtic girl who had been deeply wounded and looked to the church for salvation. What she found instead was both emotional and sexual abuse. Her faith withered and she died a bitter old woman.

During the following year, Ella was often in my mind and heart. I especially sensed her presence in church. She sat next to me when I prayed and her voice united with my own as we chanted in Taize services. I dared to believe that her longing for God might be finding a safe haven and my own discomfort with the church began to resolve as well.

For a while I obsessed about Ella. Where had her story come from? How could I know whether it was actually a past life or if I had just made it up? I finally concluded that the origins didn’t matter. Roger Woolger had suggested three possible explanations for the phenomenon of past life experience. One is that the experience is a projection of our own psyche, taken from images we have seen or read about. Another is that it taps into the broad collective unconscious, the plane described by psychologist Carl Jung through which we are connected with one another and all that is. And the last possibility is that reincarnation actually occurs, that we pass through many earthly lives on our way home to God. Whatever the origin, my experience had been one of profound healing. The Buddha retained a “Noble Silence” on questions regarding the afterlife and Jesus promised that in our Father’s house there are many rooms. I don’t need to know more than this.

Source by Linda Carleton

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