Unexpected truth behind past life regressions: from an ex past life healer.
Past Life regressions blew up last summer and were all over TikTok for over a month. We saw people experiencing so many different versions of the past, that at some point it stopped making sense. Because we had about 50 Marilyn Monroe’s and no one could provide any evidence of the fact. And moreover, these new Marylin’s ignored criticism of any kind.
Around the same time, I joined a group of people who were specialising in past life healing. And at first, my little naïve brain didn’t notice anything. No red flags. (Yes, there were many). But you know things happened, mistakes were made. This post is not about my life in conspiritual world. For that, you can subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on Instagram, I share a lot there.
What is a past life regression?
Past life regression is a method that uses hypnosis to recover what practitioners believe are memories of past lives or incarnations.
The only correction I will use here is the hypnosis part. There are various modalities that exist now, which don’t use hypnosis. They leave the power to control the process with the client. That includes asking/answering questions.
Here is a wonderful thing about past lives: we won’t know, at least right now. Science didn’t advance enough to confirm the re-incarnation. And spirituality of any kind doesn’t have any empirical evidence. So we will end up wondering and theorising until one of the sides finally finds proof that we need. But, let’s talk about the regressions. I want to share a story of someone who was working as a past life regressionist. I have worked with enough people to be able to notice patterns. Which is exactly why I changed my perception of past lives.
I used to do healing through past lives. I believed that we have things rolling over from past lives that may keep us stuck in certain areas of life now. I won’t go into how problematic this is just yet. So every time, I would sit down with a client, go over some general energy work and the dive into the regression. Like I have mentioned before my modality back then did not use hypnosis, so people pretty much only had their feelings at play.
We trusted all the claires that we are familiar with, decoded these feelings or images by theorising a possible past life and depending on the events that this person “experienced” we could heal it. By working through soul contracts and retrieving soul fragments. (spoiler: our Souls aren’t actually fragmented).
You see, what I didn’t take into the account while I was deep into the sparkly conspirituality, is science. We know how much the New Age community denies scientific knowledge, thus I have fallen for it. Everything was a fact, no matter how realistic something sounded. And even when I tried to look into my past lives, I have seen myself as either historical or mythological characters or I have seen events that one way or another reflected traumas from my current life.
That is the pattern that became obvious to me, the more I worked with various people. Almost everything we have seen during regressions was mirroring their current life, current mindset, experience and knowledge. The crazier something felt or looked, the clearer it became that things that people call regressions are metaphors for our own psyche.
And then we can look into what scientists say about past life regressions, we realise that they have been telling this for a very long time. According to Luis A Cordon, the process of past life memory recall is a combination of cryptomnesia and confabulation. Now, let’s look into these things.
Cryptomnesia occurs when a forgotten memory returns without it being recognized as such by the subject, who believes it is something new and original. Applying this to any past life memory recall, we can understand that a lot of times, what we perceive as a past life is only a generated memory that we acknowledge as new. Even though we probably used many sources to create this memory: childhood, news, media, movies, books and anything else.
Confabulation is a term used in psychology to describe a memory error defined as the production of fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world.
You see where I am going with this?
After analysing and reflecting on my own personal past life regressions and looking into what I have experienced, I realised that all it was a powerful work of my mind. And in my understanding now, I have never actually seen a past life of mine. I even think it doesn’t matter if we remember them all. But let’s stay consistent here for a minute.
Past life regressions are still a big part of the spiritual community. You will see a multitude of healers working in this modality, or people using meditations on Youtube to recall past life memories. This idea is so deeply integrated into the community that writing it off completely will be harder that we might think.
So before I continue talking about how to gain from this type of session, I want to mention the issues that it brings up.
I have seen many comments on various platforms that excused people’s behaviour because of what they have seen as a past life. The brightest example I can give you is a white person claiming that they have access to closed practices such as root work or any indigenous practice, because they were a POC in a past life. If this is not a solid flag for racism I don’t know what is. Even if we take this possible past life as a fact and proven truth — it still can’t work as an excuse for ignorance. And in this case this enables people to stay with their racist behaviours, because well… they are now automatically allowed to.
Another issue is seeing themselves being a famous historical person. This also works as an enabling tactic, but this time for the ego, that will refuse to go through shadow work. Which will make the person act the same way as the famous person, regardless of any problematic behaviour. And I won’t even mention the possibility of developing a messiah complex, if the famous person was somehow connected to any religion (cue incarnations of Jesus).
If you have had a past life regression session or you want to have one, here is how you may use this for benefit, instead of falling into a delusion.
Remember to stay grounded with what you see and apply the visions or feelings onto your current life. Question that you might ask yourself here is: What is my mind trying to tell me about myself?
For example, I have seen myself as Thomas Edison at the time when I was suffering from a strong imposter syndrome. Of course with the mindset that I have had back then, I assumed I actually was him. But the reason why I have actually seen that is in his life story and connection with my imposter syndrome. I knew that Edison was criticised for stealing patents for inventions and that got flagged in my memory as I was investigating the reason for my imposter syndrome. Was I actually Edison? Probably not. Did I heal my imposter syndrome by fixing a relationship between Edison and Tesla? Definitely not. First of all, historical records didn’t change. Their story is still known as a failed collaboration of 2 geniuses. Secondly, I had to battle with my imposter syndrome later through exploring my current life traumas. By healing my relationship with my parents, recognising that I still was affected by some things from high school times and many other aspects of my life.
But, seeing Edison did help me. Through comparing myself to him, I realised that my imposter syndrome is just that — a trauma response. Because I don’t actually steal my ideas, I don’t lie about my knowledge and I am generally honest with my work and skills. It helped me to find the confidence and to find the trauma in current life that caused the imposter syndrome. Only through a grounded approach did I manage to gain from that “memory recall”.
The scientific community has a lot of discussions about the regressions. Whether they are real, beneficial, can be used as a method of therapy and how ethical they are. I will leave a few links and PDFs here for your own education on this topic.
With the obsession over past lives that people seem to have right now (or ever), I also want to talk about the importance of regressions. Are they at all such a necessary step in spiritual path or practice? Truthfully, I don’t know and I won’t speak for everybody. Especially knowing that there are so many religions and beliefs that incorporate past life work as part of their culture and I don’t know enough.
But, my current perspective on this is simple. It’s not necessary. Just like I have said in the beginning, I don’t believe that this practice is essential to healing and essential for the spiritual path in general. Reason being is that the actual healing and answers that we are seeking, as well as the actions that are required from us, aren’t in the past. They are here. Now. And focusing on the past life healing too much will end up transforming into a form of bypassing, as we will spend more time in the “memories” (that aren’t even a 100% real), than in the present moment doing what is required from us.
The last note that I will leave here is that, with the scientific field finding an ethical way to use past life regressions within therapy in possible future, there is a chance that we will be able to find them a lot more useful. A lot of people with phobias, worries and fears, end up healing from them after a past life regression because of associating this fear with something from the past.
And this type of relief is common in people who benefited from and who defend past life regressions. But are they messages from the past? No. They are probably metaphors for the present.
Confessions of an ex past life healer.
We can now have a look at the whole picture. Past lives aren’t something worth obsessing over. A lot of cultures and religions that believe in reincarnation don’t mention repressed memories and don’t mention the importance of knowing who you were in the past life. What has always been important is the present moment, how we act, what we do right this moment.
Experiences of regressions that are either talked about or documented usually show a lot of historical inaccuracies, and are based on films, books and other media (anything that we consumed during this life). And then our wonderful mind creates something that we persecute as memories. All this falls under confabulation and cryptomnesia. But of course with the New Age community denying science in general, it’s easy to say that “they are hiding history from us”, “historians don’t know anything”. Rooted in science denial, New Agers prefer the escapism of PLR, rather than the sometimes painful reality that we live in. But this is the story for the next time.
After all it’s your choice whether to do this or not. Some people defend PLR because they have healed phobias or found answers. But after all, remember to stay grounded and sceptical.
I still believe in reincarnation. I still know and believe that past lives are a thing. But I don’t think these memories are accessible to us right now and I don’t believe it’s an essential and very important step on the path. What’s more important is what we choose to do in this life as humans. So be human. There is nothing more spiritual than that.
Cordón LA (2005). Popular psychology: an encyclopedia. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press. pp. 183–5
[PDF download] Search for the truth of past life regression by Dr. James Paul Pandarakalam.