Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Past Lives: The Meaning of Life, Part II.

I'm having second thoughts about my assessment that karma doesn't exist, and that the purpose of life is to feel.

You see, I still believe that past, present and future all happen simultaneously, and that the brain somehow creates our perception of time. However, even if we know this to be true, we cannot somehow escape the effects of time on this earthly plane; we are still bound to it, just as we are bound to the laws of gravity. Therefore, perhaps we can experience the cause and effect of karma, as at least this life is lived in a linear succession of events.

The other idea I'm questioning is that we are here only to experience things which cannot be experienced on the other side, e.g. pain, difficulty, unhappiness, hatred, etc. The whole world is geared toward suffering: nature's red in tooth and claw. The lowest common denominator of life is pain, as it preserves survival on this plane; on the other side, all existence is unfathomable joy, love and happiness. Our lives on earth are a counterbalance to endless (and presumably, after many thousands of years, boring) beauty and peace. How else to explain that our world is the complete opposite of theirs, and that bad things happen to everyone and everything?

But what if suffering and hatred were the building blocks of something bigger: love. What if -- like T4, selenium and iodine are necessary to make the T3 your body runs on -- we actually need bad emotions to create good, or to make the good more meaningful? Now the first problem I can see with this idea is, Why does a trilobite need love? Love is an emotion that only certain animals feel, and not even the vast majority of animals do feel it -- only a small percentage.

Photo by Kevinzim on Flickr.

But if everything happens according to a plan, maybe that plan called for a slow development of species, or vehicles in which to house our souls. What if the plan called for trilobites to build up their emotions and experiences slowly, making their way up to more complicated life forms capable of molding those unhappy emotions into something greater?

I do not in any way believe humans are better than animals. Everything has a right to life. We are not the pinnacle of all existence. But what if our appearance on the scene, after many millions of years of dinosaurs, horseshoe crabs and worms, was planned? For a purpose? To create love, perhaps. To make something meaningful out of adversity. To learn the lessons Karma teaches. To feel, yes; but in the more complex animals, to feel love and compassion instead of the mindless fear of insects and invertebrates.

These are all thoughts off the top of my head, thoughts which I'm sure will change tomorrow yet again, and I'll be back to believing in a life without lessons or Karma. As always, I reserve the right to change my mind!

If you want to recall a past life as a trilobite (well, not really, but it would be interesting if you could!), please see my instructions for remembering a past life.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Past Lives: My Third Self-Regression

View from Taplow Court by Rachel Andrew

Past-Life Self-hypnotism Session #3, August of 1987:

I start getting images that at first seem to be my mind making things up. Then I accept as "seeing," and I take on feelings along with the images, e.g. someone standing by a large window in a lavender jacket, I think it is him. I look closer at the image and decide if it were him, I'd feel more for this person. Suddenly I'm standing at the window. I look outside, and I know I'm in England, see the trees with leaves boiling in the wind with gray skies beyond, and I can smell it is going to rain, feel the cold in the room, see the dusty floor (hardwood). I get a sense of my entire lifestyle in this cold, English place, though I can't see anything particular; I can suddenly feel the lifetime's particular essence. Then – flash – I am dancing in a memory of some kind, or just an image: dancing with him? Although I can't see his face, I can see his hands, and feel them, feel his cheek against me. Then another image, this one kind of conjured because I was desperate to see him better: of him walking toward me. He still seems short, and when I try to see his face, all I see are blue, blue eyes.

Thomas Carter was short. And he did have blue eyes, or at the very least, light colored eyes (as it's hard to tell eye color in the painting by Thomas Hickey). The rest of this session was unfortunately lacking detail, so the exact location of this memory cannot be pinned down, but I believe the unhappiness felt in this scene occurred at Taplow Court when Mary was taking music lessons from Thomas. I think she was in love with Thomas long before he fell for her, and she suffered in his presence when she didn't receive his attentions in return. This would've been whilst Thomas was living with the Earl of Inchiquin at Taplow, possibly before Thomas left for India. As for the dancing... I'm pretty sure no one in the eighteenth century danced cheek to cheek.

If you want to try remembering your own past lives, try my instructions for self-regression and self-hypnotism.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Past Lives: Karma and Why I Believe It Doesn't Exist

The more I look into the reasons for our existence, the more I am convinced there is no such thing as Karma. Sounds positively blasphemous, doesn't it? Especially since I'm such a huge proponent of past-life investigation, you would think I'd be a believer in Karma and all its implications. But I'm not. Let me tell you why.

The concept of Karma goes back thousands of years, and in its simplest terms, means "deed" or "act." It is a universal law somewhat like cause and effect, or action and reaction. Karma is not a punishment, but a consequence; dropping a watermelon from a rooftop causes it to shatter on impact with the pavement below, and this is neither right nor wrong, but a consequence of gravity, much like being murdered in this life is a consequence of your murdering someone else in a previous life. To put it another way, you reap what you sow. You make choices, and the universe conspires to put you in a position to feel the consequences of your choices. If you spread love everywhere you go, at some point that love will come back to you. If you reap hatred, that hatred will catch up to you, if not in this life, then the next.

I have several problems with this "reap what you sow" scenario. The first is the concept of free will. Studies have been done which seem to suggest we do not consciously make decisions, but instead all decisions originate in the subconscious; then, to make us feel better, our conscious mind plays catch up and "decides," as if the choice was made deliberately when in fact it was not. Our subconscious is also, it seems, privy to information about what will happen five seconds into our future. At least two experiments have been performed in which subjects were shown a randomly selected photo, and the subjects' physical responses were measured in reaction to that photo. Most subjects had an emotional, physiological response five seconds before unpleasant photos were randomly selected and shown to the subjects.

Five seconds. That doesn't seem like much, but in fact, if most of us can see five seconds into the future, then why not five years? People like Christopher Robinson (a UK resident who has had several accurate premonitions) become much more believable when one considers the results of these experiments. And if we can see into the future, doesn't this imply that our choices have already been made? Or that the probabilities are so strong, we cannot deviate from the path laid out before us? In which case, what role would Karma play? And could we really be held accountable for choices originating within our subconscious?

The second issue I have with Karma is how it relates to the concept of linear time. If time is linear and constantly moving forward, an effect cannot occur before its cause. If precognition has been proven real, a reaction could occur before its corresponding action (e.g. a person dreams about the World Trade Center's collapse before the first terrorist boards an airplane), and this violates our understanding of time and causes a paradox.

According to Irish aeronautical engineer J.W. Dunne (1875-1949), time is an illusion. In reality, past, present and future are all occurring simultaneously, and consciousness somehow experiences this simultaneity in a linear fashion. A good analogy might be a paperback book. You know the entire book exists, all of it, with its many chapters and pages. Yet you are only physically capable of reading one word at a time. The rest of the book, while existing simultaneously with the words you are reading, is outside your consciousness. If it were possible to read the entire volume at once, then you’d be closer to an approximation of how time really operates. We are conscious of only one moment in time, while the past and future lie outside our awareness...or at least that’s how the theory goes.

If time does not really exist, then lives aren’t lived in succession, making the concept of reaping what you sow null and void. Karma doesn't make sense in a world without time.

The third issue I have with Karma is how this law relates to animals. Unless human souls only came to this earth recently and began attaching themselves to animals in order to feel, then all laws of physical existence must apply to all animals, in all eras of our earth's history. Karma must then apply to both dinosaurs and trilobites, slugs and human beings.

To say that animals progress upwards (by exhausting bad Karma) into human form is to say that people are better than animals, which we are not – just different. This seems to me to be some left-over Imperialist, Victorian, white-man’s view, only the Imperialism is lording over animals instead of Indians or Blacks – such people can only aspire to be like us. The reality is, we are all equal in the eyes of the universe. We are all just animals, some of us with more complex social systems than others.

Slugs do not make moral choices; therefore they cannot reap what they sow. A slug might make a choice to preserve its own life -- diverting its course away from a beer bottle, for instance -- but this could hardly be considered an action worthy of reaction, unless you count keeping the slug alive at that moment.

In a world where time does not really exist, where free will is an illusion, and any laws of cause and effect would have to apply to the lowest of creatures, Karma does not make sense. Our object on this earth is to feel. And that's it. There is no other reason to be here. Love, hate, fear, pleasure, anxiety, compassion...the list goes on. The more complicated the social life of the animal, the more capable it is to feel all the emotions.

Just what we do with these emotions is the million dollar question. They obviously benefit our own souls, but how? Is it specific, in that we feel, so we raise our vibration level and enlarge or strengthen our souls? Or is it simply that we long to pass eternity doing something other than sitting around in the exquisite beauty of the other side, surrounded by love, having no cares or worries in the world?

I welcome your comments.

And as always, if you are interested in learning how to regress yourself to a prior life (prior being a term I shouldn't use, as I don't believe in the concept of linear time), please visit my page about past-life self-hypnotism.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Past Lives: Do You Remember Them?

If you have alighted at this page, then you probably believe in reincarnation at least a little bit already. But do you remember any past lives of your own? Please comment below and let me know how many, if any, past lives you can recall at this time. I remember four different past lives, although they all seem to be interrelated; for instance, I remember two lives in England, and two lives had something to do with sailing ships. I also have had two lives -- including this one -- that are anchored in the Pacific Northwest. Confusing, I know, but the point is this: we remember the lives most that have resonance with this one.

How many past lives have you uncovered? If the answer is none (yet!), don't worry. I've got directions on my blog for how to remember a past-life via self-regression, and soon you'll be recalling your own past life.

Past Lives: Steps for Self-Hypnotism and Self-Regression

Sit or recline in a quiet, dark place. Choose a time when you are alert and not sleepy, hungry, or distracted.

Lie on your bed, or wherever you’ve chosen to conduct your self-hypnosis, and relax for a few minutes. Close your eyes. Make sure you are comfortable. Lying on one’s back usually works best. Keeping your hands at your sides seems to help, too, simply for the fact you won’t feel your limbs rising and falling with each breath, creating a distraction. Pay attention to room temperature, and plan for staying either warm enough or cool enough during the next half-hour – you don’t want to find yourself shivering just when you’re beginning to see something spectacular!

Protect yourself from harm: While you’re lying there in your comfortable, inanimate, warm position, imagine a white enveloping light all around you. See it in your mind’s eye, shining on your feet, your legs, your knees, your thighs, your torso and arms, your neck, your face, your head. This white light is protecting you from all negative influences. It represents love and warmth and enlightenment in a dazzling mistiness all around you, cocooning you in its brilliance, protecting you from anything bad. See it in your mind. Feel it. Invite it to wash over you. All the while, as you envision these things, say to yourself over and over, "White protective light, keep me safe...White protective light, keep me safe..." Or whatever works for you. Take the next color that comes to mind, and repeat.

Imagine yourself in a long hallway, with a big door at the end. See this hallway in as much detail as you can, whatever comes to mind. Your hallway may be all gold and filigree, or gothic like a cathedral, or entirely constructed from gemstones. It doesn’t matter. Make something up, and use the same visualization each time you try to remember a past life. Imagine this hallway with the expectation that when you get to the end, when you reach the big door and turn the knob, you will see something about a past life. Take each step down that hallway with purpose. See your feet touch the worn, smooth flagstones, and visualize every aspect of your journey as you approach the large door. When you finally reach the end – when you feel you are ready and not a moment before – take hold of the doorknob. See yourself doing it. See the brass knob turning. Give the door a gentle push...

Accept the very first thing you see on the other side of that door as something from a past life. It might be something as abstract as the color yellow, or as clear and vivid as a much-loved child nestled in your arms. Your job is to take whatever you see and expound upon it. Conjur it up. The color yellow? If you hold the imagery in your mind and open up to it, accepting anything that pops into your head, you might find that yellow becomes a carpet. With a little more prodding, you might see sunshine spilling onto that carpet. You might suddenly realize that yellow carpet is in a London house...and so on. You may doubt yourself at this point, but be reassured; you are remembering a past life.

If you see nothing, try thinking about something you've always enjoyed, a favorite hobby, skill, or travel destination. Ask yourself, "Why do I like this? Can this be past-life related?" If you still get nothing, try the shoe method: Look down at your feet, and go with the first pair of shoes you see yourself wearing. Expound upon that. You might see sandals, and then realize you’re wearing a tunic. You might see little pointy shoes, and realize you’re wearing a big silk gown.

Once you’ve remembered something - even if it's just a pair of shoes - and if you’re pretty certain there’s a grain of truth to it, you can start your next meditation from there. Always begin each session with something you’ve already seen. Always work from the known to the unknown.

Accept what you see. It will seem like you are inventing these images. Sometimes you are, and you must accept that as part of the process of trying to remember a past life. But these visions almost always have a shred of truth at their core. You will only know for certain when you’ve done a significant number of past-life meditations, and you begin to see patterns and details repeated over and over again. In the meantime, you must choose to believe that what you see is genuine; if you don’t, you will never get anywhere. Your analytical mind will simply shoot down every image as a product of your overeager imagination.

Unless you’ve had to remove yourself from an unpleasant memory, usually what will happen is that you will simply run out of steam. You will find the images have stopped coming, or your analytical mind has been inadvertently triggered by something you’ve seen...and then you’re done. You have no choice but to open your eyes. If this doesn’t happen, simply imagine that doorway where you began. Open the door. Return down the length of that gemstone hallway – or whatever you visualized – and tell yourself that when you reach the start point, you will be refreshed, and you will remember your past life in perfect detail and clarity.

When you open your eyes, resist the temptation to lie there, ruminating over all you’ve experienced. Get up, find a pen, and start writing down everything you saw. Be sure to note the date and time.

If you have recalled something as a result of these instructions, I would LOVE to hear from you. Please leave me a comment or drop me a line!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Past Lives: Reasons Your Regression Might Not Be Completely Accurate

Jean Millay, who wrote a fabulous book about ESP and remote viewing called Multidimensional Mind: Remote Viewing and the Evolution of Intelligence, has made a list of things which can detract from your ability to remember accurate images. My images, I've found, are almost always somewhat tainted by this life, yet they retain a kernel of truth within. For instance, Thomas Carter does not exactly look like my description or drawings, but there is a similarity:

Here are some of the things Jean Millay says can alter the past-life visions you receive and make them less than accurate (which I've put my own spin on, by the way, since she wasn't talking about regression in her book, but instead ESP and sending/receiving target pictures -- but the mechanism is the same):

1) Things in your immediate environment; a dog barking in the neighbor's yard may cause you to come up with an image of a dog in your past life that really wasn't there.
2) Your own self-confidence; you might not have enough faith in your own abilities to trust that what you are seeing is real, and you then dismiss the image or feeling.
3) Anything you think about often in this life can influence what you see in a past-life regression and taint it.
4) Sleepiness, which inhibits reception of any ESP-type phenomena.
5) Resonance with the sender, and an emotional relationship between you, is crucial to receiving ESP; so, too, you must have resonance between this life and the past-life you are trying to remember.
6) Your mood can influence the mood of the past-life visions you see and taint them.
7) Memories in this lifetime can taint your self-regression images, and pop up instead of past-life material.
8) Dream-like symbolism that has to be interpreted, and is not taken literally, can confuse your self-regression.

It's important to remember that, although many past-life memories are primarily visual, those same visual elements can be tainted by passing through the filter of your current personality. Almost nothing gets through without being contaminated at least somewhat by your current concerns, likes, and thoughts, yet there is nearly always some core truth to these memories. Practice can help weed out the false information, and bring the true past-life visions into focus. If you're looking for a method for regressing yourself and remembering who you were, check out my page about past-life self-hypnotism and self-regression.

Past Lives: Why Do Bad Things Happen?

I got into a fight with one of my best friends the other day. She was, I believe, my sister Salisbury in my life as Mary Carter, and she and I have been friends in this life since 2002. That's a considerable time for a friendship -- not as long as my other best friend Samantha, whom I've known since I was four, but still eight years is nothing to sniff at. This friend, whom I will call Joy, is the most precious person I've ever met. She's outgoing, engaging, funny, insightful, and loyal. Still, she has some bad habits, and these habits had hurt me a time or two in our nearly nine-year relationship. I usually let these things roll over me, and I say very little about what she's done that's hurt me. Last Saturday, I didn't. Like Chinese water torture, I had endured the very final drip that pushed me over the edge, and I said something. I said a lot. Very nicely, mind you, and couched in the reassurance of how much I loved her, and how I was only telling her what she'd done to be truthful, as all relationships should be founded on truth. After all, I'd want someone to tell me if I were inadvertently hurting someone over and over again.

Let's say her response was less than favorable. Let's say she was downright hostile. She no longer wants to be friends now, because of the things I very nicely and gently tried to point out to her -- things that, if she listened, would make her happier in the long run as well as me.

Now, friendless, I ask myself: Why did this happen? I could have chosen not to tell her these things, and could have continued to endure her thoughtless actions again and again. But I really do think there was no other choice. There is a school of thought that says we do not make choices, that everything is already decided based upon what has come before. When we look back on our decisions, with hindsight, there really was only one choice to make. Joy's last insult was the final straw, and I could take no more. It was all laid out beforehand, and there's a reason this is happening now, right before Christmas, right when she is at her weakest, and she's lost her job, and she's leaving her husband. There is a reason for everything, and I am following a plan that we all agreed to before we were even born -- or a plan that we are all privy to because we are all interconnected by God, M Theory, or what have you.

Did I mean to ruin her Christmas? No, most definitely not. Do I want her back as a friend? Absolutely. But there's a reason this is happening, and I have a feeling that I'm only its tool. When bad things happen in groups, as if your luck has gone horribly awry and the universe is against you, there must be a bigger reason. Since I do not believe we have choices, and subsequently I do not believe in Karma (and the lessons that seem to be implied by Karma), I am of the belief that the reason things happen -- especially bad things -- is to feel. We are put on this earth to feel what we cannot on the other side. And how do I know what it's like on the other side? Well, that's a story for another day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Past Lives: My Second Self-Regression

The Burnham Beeches, Buckinghamshire

My second self-regression didn’t take place until February 16th, 1987:

He is sitting in a high-backed, light-colored chair, turns to me, says, "What is it that you want?" Appearance similar to drawing, slightly more fragile looking. Gets up from the chair, walks across the room in a measured, dignified manner, takes something from a wooden box on a table, stands before a white marble fireplace and talks to me all the while in a measured, dignified way – snobbish, smug. Looks glancingly above the mantle at a picture above. Fireplace has carving on either side, room is light, and outside it is perhaps ten or so in the morning. Windows are tall, and to the right of where I'm standing, outside there are views of rolling green hills. Door is on the left side of the room, room is approximately twenty-five feet high, large room. Piano is in the left-hand corner behind me. It appears more brownish now than black, with flowers. As he stands looking above the mantle, his coat is silken (brocade?) and there are white stockings, and his hair is light brown and long, straight, but curled slightly at the ends. Sleeves are decked in lace, as well as having gloves, maybe? I was mad at him a bit, but patient, and patience about to run out. Also I had the desire for him to play the piano. Ceiling painted, I think, with a big picture. (Steve Perry of Journey with cheekbones and blue eyes.)

Riding in a stand of thick, small trees – cottonwood or vine maple or something. Path overgrown, horse galloping out of control, hands before my face, shielding from branches whipping past me, shouting, "Wait! Wait!" Wearing a long dress, riding a Palomino or light brown or white horse. Ribbons in my hair. He falls back suddenly beside me (after much panic), horses trot, and I yell at him. He's smiling. Day is overcast but warm.

In a white barn – this is a row of long, low-ceilinged stables open to the air. Dirt and straw piled in the walkway. People are distant. He's unlacing my corset and I'm resisting a bit. His face seems more rounded with hollow cheeks, olive skin, his hair dark brown but with the same loose, straight quality, and it smells of memories of him.

In the dark, possibly still the barn – maybe same incident, maybe different. I feel an incredible agony and melancholy as in love, and love for him, as if we weren't supposed to be making love, as if I'd been without him for a while, months or years, and he was cheating on his wife or something for me, and this one moment of total love for him as all my life was accompanied by the agony of having been without him and knowing I could probably never have him again. He wore a white, loose shirt, unbuttoned, his body small and of small frame and delicate. He was of strong temperament, sometimes arrogant and mercenary, sometimes decent and civil, sometimes passionate but demanding. His touch was soft. I felt what it must be like to love someone totally whom you already love of mind anyway, but haven't been able to have.

Verification of my memories:
In the first months of 1992, trying to find an Irish musician who matched my memories, I discovered Thomas Carter in a book at the Public Library, "Anglo-Irish music, 1780-1830" by Ita Margaret Hogan. This musician matched what I knew at that point:

CARTER, Thomas (b. Dublin 1769, d. London 1800) Chorister of Cloyne Cathedral. Patronized by the Earl of Inchiquin. Travelled in Italy, eventually reaching Naples where he was under the protection of Sir William and Lady Hamilton. In 1788 he went to India, and became musical director of the theatre in Calcutta, but the climate affected his health and he was forced to return to England. In 1793 he married a daughter of the Rev. Mr. Wells of Cookham, Berkshire, and had two children. He was a member of several musical societies in London, and was 'justly regarded as the choicest feather of their wing.' He wrote some songs and music for the theatre which achieved considerable success, but died prematurely of a disease contracted in India.

Once Thomas Carter's name was found, eventually I was able to verify several things from the above recorded memory:

That Thomas and his wife Mary spent their courting years in Cookham, an area (the Burnham Beeches nearby) famous for its beech forests (verified 1992).

That Thomas left for India (verified 1992) in the spring of 1786 and did not return until July 9th of 1789 (verified 05/05/2002). Having been aboard the Lord Camden for over a year and half, naturally he would've been quite suntanned when he arrived back in the Cookham neighborhood.

That Thomas was small (verified 05/05/2002), as described by William Hickey in his memoirs (edited by Mark Argent): "Upon going in the tavern, I saw in the large hall, amongst many strangers, an uncommonly vulgar-looking little body, whose face I thought I had seen before." (By vulgar, Hickey means common, like a farm laborer instead of an aristocratic gentleman.) Also, Hickey refers to him as "little fellow," "my little Irish guest," and "Little Carter." Edmund Burke also calls him "Little Carter" in a letter to a friend (verified 12/06/2001).

A Stag at Bay, Scene Near Taplow, by Thomas Rowlandson c1795-1801

If you're looking for help in remembering your past lives, please see my page demonstrating the steps for self-regression and hypnotism for past-life recall.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Past Lives: Ideas About the Meaning of Life

Apparently nearly everyone has the ability to see into the future, begging the question, Does time exist at all? And, Is everything predetermined? Do we have free will, or is this just an illusion? And how does remembering past lives fit into all of this?

Here is a really good article explaining scientific experiments that seem to suggest we all have the power to see our own immediate futures.

My own conclusions are: Time does not really exist. Time is an illusion fostered by the brain, which is a computer designed to funnel consciousness into time (as evidenced by those with temporal lobe epilepsy who experience déjà vu, and who also can experience episodes where time speeds up or slows down at a measurable rate -- see HERE). Therefore, if those with epilepsy can predict what people will say or do because of a distortion in time, and if most people can sense five seconds ahead whether they will be shown a disturbing or happy picture, the future is either predetermined, or it’s following the strongest probability, which we can access and compute somehow. Maybe on some level, we are able to compute the likelihood of an earthquake or airplane crash based on probabilities; maybe we sign up for a certain life before we are born based on probability.

If everything is somehow predetermined, and if all decisions are made in the subconscious (as shown in THIS article) and we have no free will and no choices of right or wrong to make, then Karma does not exist -- which explains the lack of moral choices presented to mollusks and fish and whatnot. Whatever rules apply must also work in a world before human beings, and Karma would seemingly be meaningless amongst dinosaurs or trilobites.

If Karma is not the reason for life, then something else must be. That, simply put, is to feel: pain, fear, pleasure, and for the higher animals, empathy, compassion and love. Since our fates are written and our choices are made, we are only here to experience what can't be experienced on the other side (where all is placidity, happiness and oneness with God, and there is no adversity, save for those who are stuck on a lower plane). All life on earth experiences two things: the need to preserve one's existence, and pain (which helps to preserve life). These are the lowest common denominators, and when combined with the need to sleep which is universal in some fashion amongst almost all animals, it seems that our purpose is to feel, and to feed back that feeling and experience to the soul during sleep.

At least, these are my current theories on the subject. As usual, I'm sure I'll have a different theory tomorrow! (I reserve my right to change my mind.)

Past Lives: The Reason We Don't Remember Them

There is a reason that paranormal things are not able to be proven: the same reason that ghosts always make noise in the next room (but not the room you're in), and ghost boxes and psychics don’t tell you the lottery numbers. We cannot, as humans, know empirically that life exists after death, because to do so would ruin the whole reason we came here: to forget about the millions of lives that came before, to forget that death is not to be feared, and to experience emotions on the physical plane that will feed and grow our souls. We can get hints of the truth in paranormal things, and we can believe in them, but we cannot know them scientifically and absolutely. To do so would mean people leaping to their deaths in droves, which would go against everything we came here to do.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Past Lives: A Convincing Case of Reincarnation

I found this video earlier in the year, and I was astounded. Here is someone with a story very much like my own: Robert Snow is hypnotized and recalls details from a past life which he then goes on to match to a real person, a painter who died in 1917.

What's astonishing about this case is the way Mr. Snow found the key piece of evidence identifying his former life. His wife just "happened" to want to visit New Orleans; they just "happened" to visit a certain art gallery, where a painting by his former self just "happened" to be on display for the first time in seventy-five years, and it just "happened" to be the very one he saw in his past-life regression. I can't help wondering what this means: Are we all truly linked to everything in every time, and we all have supernatural knowledge? One could say Mr. Snow was led there by an angel or spirit guide, but really, what's the difference between us and them? Very little. Spirits are on the other side, but we have access to the very same world they inhabit, if we try.

There is no question that Mr. Snow was meant to find evidence of his past life; I've had the same thing happen to me, where I have stumbled upon things seemingly against all odds. But the question for me is, How did the knowledge of that painting find its way to Robert Snow? How do we have access to such seemingly unrelated information? Thought provoking indeed. And the other question I have is, What is the purpose of remembering these lives? Now that I know I was once Mary Carter, what good is that to me? Or to anyone? Other to confirm in yet another way that there is no such thing as death?

I only wish I knew the answer.

Past Lives: Murrough O'Brien, 5th Earl of Inchiquin

Murrough O'Brien, 1st Marquis of Thomond, 1808, print by Samuel William Reynolds after John Hoppner, © Trustees of the British Museum.

Murrough O'Brien was a friendly guy. Just about everyone who met him liked him, although some said he talked too much. Fanny Burney called him ugly; but then, she'd never actually been in Murrough's presence when she reported on his attractiveness or lack thereof. Polite, cheerful and amiable were words used to describe the Irishman. He was reputed to be a big drinker, and a great friend of the King's. He also knew the Prince of Wales, who once came to visit Murrough and stayed until two in the morning, at which point he left for his mistress's house. Murrough had many friends, foremost of whom was Edmund Burke the great Irish statesman. Other friends included the Duke of Portland, John Cox Hippisley, Joseph Farington, Dr. Charles Burney, and Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose niece Murrough ended up marrying after the death of his first wife.

Murrough owned the famous house of Cliveden in Buckinghamshire near Windsor. He also owned the neighboring estate of Taplow Court, as well as Rostellan Castle in Cork, Ireland, and assorted smaller properties in England including Bradwell Grove, Broadwell, Baylis House, and houses in Albemarle Street and Leicester Fields, in North Parade at Bath, and in Phoenix Park and Grafton Street in Dublin (although some of these town houses he may have leased). In short, Murrough was a very rich man, although he tended to have trouble with his money, and married Reynolds' niece both from mutual friendship and from financial difficulties which her large inheritance immediately quelled.

Murrough was extremely generous with his money when it came to his illegitimate son, Thomas Carter. First he brought Thomas to England in 1780, telling all his friends how he'd agreed to take Thomas off the hands of his tenants in Cork who had too many children to support; Thomas was thirteen years old when this occurred, so one imagines this is a bit late to have done the family much good. One of Thomas's friends mentions this story of Thomas's origins in his memoirs, and he also says it was widely believed that Thomas was Murrough's bastard son. Murrough paid for Thomas to study music in Italy, and also to sail to India, where he pursued a musical career in the Calcutta Theater. When Thomas returned from the Indies, he loaned all his money (several thousand pounds) to Murrough in aid of his financial troubles; he lived with Murrough at Taplow Court until his marriage in 1793, when Murrough repaid him all the money loaned to him in order for Thomas to set himself up in the coal business to support his new family.

Murrough married first his cousin, Mary, Lady Orkney. He married secondly Mary Palmer, the niece of Sir Joshua Reynolds. This match caused quite a stir in the neighborhood apparently. Edmund Burke writes of the Aston sisters -- lifelong friends of Murrough's -- as being extremely upset that one of them was not chosen as the new bride. Of course Mary Palmer was in her forties, while Abigail Aston and her sister, Salisbury Haviland, were Murrough's age and entirely without fortune. Abigail was probably Thomas Carter's mother, given her especially devastated attitude about the marriage, and Burke even goes so far as to call the sisters "abandoned lovers." Yet they all remained friends, and the spurned Aston sisters eventually welcomed Mary Palmer and called her a friend, too.

Mary O'Brien, Countess of Inchiquin, by Thomas Lawrence c1797.

Murrough and Mary sold all of the paintings inherited from Sir Joshua Reynolds, and from this they gleaned many thousands of pounds, enough to support them in the style to which they were accustomed. Joseph Farington advised them on the sale, and while he was staying with them at Cliveden, a picture was painted -- maybe by Farington, maybe by John Hoppner or Benjamin West -- showing Murrough, Mary and Thomas fishing on the Thames with Farington and possibly Benjamin West.

Murrough went on to become elevated at last in the English peerage in 1801; he became Baron Thomond of Taplow Court, and was the Marquis of Thomond in Ireland. He lived another seven years, and died in a horrible accident in 1808. He was riding in Grosvenor Square when his horse slipped on the ice. Murrough fell onto the pavement, right in front of an approaching cart, which ran over him and killed him almost instantly. He was in his early eighties.

If you would like to try recalling details of your own past lives, follow these steps to hypnotize yourself and recall your own case of reincarnation.

Past Lives: Thomas Sings at Drury Lane

It is often mentioned in biographical entries for Thomas Carter that he performed just once in a London theater: On March 3rd, 1786, when he sang a vocal part in Handel's Messiah at Drury Lane. This statement isn't exactly true. I have found two further advertisements for his participation in events at Drury Lane, all in 1786 and all right before he boarded a ship for the six-month passage to India. He performed in The Prodigal Son on March 8th:

And he sang at a second performance of Messiah on March 24th:

After this, he disappears from the London scene during his stay in Calcutta, where he was in charge of the musical department for the theater. He didn't return to London until 1789.

If you're interested in remembering your own past lives, see my page about self-regression technique.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Past Lives: How to Recall a Past Life

If you would like to begin remembering your own past lives, it's very simple to do. It doesn't cost any money. It doesn't take any special talent. You just need a quiet place to lie down, a reasonable assurance you won't be interrupted, and an open mind. That's it, really. It helps if you only perform these meditations when you are not sleepy, distracted or in a bad mood, but actually I've remembered things in all three of these conditions, so it's not a necessity. An attitude of acceptance, and willingness to suspend disbelief, is crucial, however. If you are the kind of person who must have absolute proof, who doesn't believe in any sort of religion or myth or otherwise mysterious event or object, reincarnation probably isn't for you -- but then, you wouldn't be reading this blog if you were narrow-minded, huh?

If you don't happen to have any meditation or physic phenomena-type books lying around, then this video is an easy and free way to get started with remembering your past life:

This video (and #2 or #3 of the series) isn't mine, by the way. I merely found it on youtube, and thought it was a pretty fair approximation of the process I go through when trying to recall a past life. I do it a bit differently, in that I go down a corridor instead of a staircase, and I don't enter a garden. Instead, I tell myself that I will see something the instant I step out of that corridor into the light beyond; I will go with the very first thought that enters my mind, and expound upon it, and let it unfold in my thoughts without judgment. After the memory, I write down everything I can recall, trying to be as detailed as possible about positions, colors, backgrounds, just...everything. You never know what detail will prove important later on.

For more about how to perform a self-regression, see my page about my own methods for self-hypnotism to recall a past life.

Past Lives: My Very First Self-Regression

The first time I actually succeeded in regressing myself was on December 20th, 1986. I had a few books on psychic phenomena, and in one of these, there were listed the steps to self-hypnotism and meditation in general. I followed the steps, not knowing what would happen. It was an exciting time in my life, being just twenty years old. I was at that stage when one is just starting to form opinions about things like religion and politics -- you know, that age where you are just starting to figure out who you are and what you're about? I had a mentor, an open-minded aunt-of-a-friend who had suggested to me the possibility of reincarnation; she and I had talked about my trip to England, and she had given me some of those psychic books. It was largely because of her that I was investigating the idea of past lives, and after a trip to a professional hypnotist (suggested by her) had failed to produce any evidence of a former life in London, I took my friend's aunt's advice and tried self-hypnotism.

Flash-forward twenty-four years: I now know that I did live in London in a past life, and that everything I suspected on my first trip there turned out to be true.

The steps one follows to self-regress are basic meditation techniques: Relaxation, concentration on the inner self so one blocks out all external stimuli, and most of all, visualization and paying attention to stray thoughts are key. I saw myself walking down a long corridor, visualized every step, surrounded myself with protective white light, and "went with" the first stray thought that entered my head when I reached the end of that imaginary corridor. Upon coming out of the experience I wrote down the results. It's full of problems, mostly because at that point I didn't know anything about English history, and so didn't have the words to describe what I was seeing. Yet the kernal of truth was there, even from that very first session:

A medieval castle in the late 1600s to 1800s, judging from the baroque trim of his coat as he sat behind the piano, immersed in turbulent music. I interrupted his playing as I walked into the room, but I didn't walk, I was just there, and then he looked up, and his hair was an ash-brown-blonde and styled in the manner of an English or French gentleman of the time, straight and slightly more than shoulder length, cut with short bangs in the front. He looked maybe a trifle upset at being disturbed, and his face was full of a serene quality, although his eyes seemed full of intensity. His features were decidedly masculine, but his eyes were still beautiful, John Taylor-ish of Duran Duran. His hands were masculine, too, and his silk coat was of a sky blue and patterned, in the style of a long coat and knickers, white stockings, and buckled shoes. I was a woman dressed in white and I had wanted to see him, had to see him. I stood at his side at the piano, and when he stopped playing, there was a silence and tension between us.

This man was Thomas Carter. The painting I have of him doesn't show bangs in his hair, and his tresses are more red than brown; it's still him. I drew a picture, too, which was heavily influenced by my association with someone else in my life at that time, but again, it's still Carter: the chin is strong, the nose small, the eyes well-formed and handsome.

He bears a strong resemblance to Johnny Depp in The Libertine, a movie that came out a good twenty years after my initial past-life memory.

The portrait I have of Thomas Carter was painted in his youth; I am willing to bet that, when I finally find a picture of him in later life, he will be wearing the bangs of my memories and bear a much closer resemblance to Mr. Depp than the portrait by Thomas Hickey shows. Bangs were very popular in the late eighteenth century; just look at this portrait by John Singleton Copley of the Western boys from 1783:

Past Lives: The Earl's Little Secret, or How Thomas Carter was Born

Thomas Carter by Thomas Hickey, 1787.

In 1766, Murrough O'Brien lived at Rostellan Castle with his deaf wife, Mary, who was also his cousin. Rostellan was owned by her father, the 4th Earl of Inchiquin; this man had no sons of his own, and so he set up his nephew to marry his otherwise unmarriageable and hearing-impaired daughter. Thus Mary would be provided for when Murrough inherited the earldom from his uncle and became the 5th Earl of Inchiquin in 1776. And Murrough did provide...but he also cheated on his wife.

He and Mary did succeed in having one child, a daughter, also named Mary; she would go on to become the Countess of Orkney in her own right, the title for which she eventually inherited from her deaf mother. But in 1766, Mary was their only child, and one suspects the relationship between Murrough and his wife was not very close. Toward the end of his life, Murrough would boast he had "lived with [his wife] in a manner so proper that he can reflect upon it with satisfaction." Did this mean he treated his wife with respect and did not force himself upon her? If so, he must have channeled his affections somewhere.

That somewhere was Abigail Aston.

You see, Murrough had a neighbor in Cork, the Earl of Shannon. Lord Shannon's son, Henry Boyle, had a tutor, and this tutor was Abigail Aston's relative. Just how Abigail ended up visiting at Castle Martyr is not known, but she clearly did, and Murrough apparently took a shine to her in 1766. In 1767, a boy named Thomas Carter was born -- no record survives of that birth, so we don't know who was listed in the register as his parents -- and this boy spent the rest of his life being treated as a psuedo-son by Murrough O'Brien.

Thomas Carter was supposed to have been born to Murrough's poor tenants in Cork -- this was the official story circulated when Thomas was brought to England in 1780. At some point, Abigail Aston also ended up living near Murrough in Buckinghamshire, as did her sisters, who were also lifelong friends of his. When Murrough died, he left Abigail money. When she died, she left her portrait of Murrough to his widowed second wife. Thus Thomas grew up with both his parents watching over him, and his education and travels to Italy and India were financed by Murrough under the guise of charity. Thomas was living in Murrough's home when he met the daughter of a neighborhood reverend and fell in love.

That daughter was Mary Wells.

To learn more about your own past lives, try my method for reincarnation self-regression.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Past Lives: Who I Was Back Then, or Yet Another Girl is Born to the Reverend

Photo courtesy of Rich B-S on Flickr.

Mary Wells was born in 1765 to the rather tedious Reverend Richard Wells, rector of Ellesborough, and his wife Elizabeth Lee, the daughter of a clock maker. The reverend already had three children, so a fourth must have made him feel quite the family man in the backwater village he called home. This was in Ellesborough, the same village where today the Prime Minister's country home of Chequers can be found; the reverend lived at the manor house, just a stone's throw from the church and the picturesque Cymbaline's Mount, and being the village was primarily a farming community and the manor house quite small, the reverend's growing family seemed very quiet indeed.

No one would ever know that the reverend's son and heir, Joseph Wells, was probably illegitimate.

Because Mary Wells's siblings were all girls, you see, except her brother Joseph, natch. Although the reverend was clearly in charge of entering births in the parish registers, no entry was ever made for Joseph, and none ever traced in Cookham, either, where the family resided half the time. Mary's mother was from Cookham, and the reverend owned property there, which he leased from 1769 to 1789 -- yet no entry in the Cookham registers was made for Joseph's birth. Who was he? I suspect he was the son of some secret union between the reverend's brother, John Wells, and someone John Wells ought not have been sleeping with; there is a birth entry for Cheltenham which matches this scenario. And the reverend, eventually with four girls (five if you count one that didn't live long), was probably glad he took in his nephew and named him his own, for how to pass on his church position with four girls?

Mary's sisters were opinionated, boisterous, and respectable women, so one can imagine Mary was, too. Her sister Elizabeth never married, and went on to live out her old age in Cookham, across from the church gates, and with Lady Young in Great Russell Street in London. She had an ongoing fight with the vicar of Cookham, and was accused of cutting down bushes with a pocket knife and just generally being a crotchedy old lady.

Her sister Susannah married an attorney in Buckingham, and since his business prospered, and he was on good terms with folks like the Marquis of Buckingham (and later the Duke), Susannah's life was comfortable and respectable. Too bad her husband was kind of a jerk. She combated this by spending inordinate amounts of time at her parents' home, and at the homes of her sisters and brother.

Salisbury was the youngest of the Wells children. She was described as a "bouncing wench" by Susannah's husband, whom she fought with in later life over religion of all things. Feisty as she was, she did not marry until very, very late in life -- and then to a major in the Bucks Militia.

Mary herself -- namely, ME, the writer of this blog -- was said to be a good looking girl, and smart (isn't it nice to receive compliments? William Hickey the diarist said this about Mary, and it still makes me smile when I think about it, especially given that I'm rather the opposite of smart and good-looking today!). Mary grew up in Ellesborough, and moved to Cookham in 1789...where she met Thomas Carter.

The rest, as they say, is history. (Literally.)

To try your luck at recalling your own past lives, have a look at my "Steps to Past-Life Self-Regression" page and give it a try for yourself.