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| Regression Experiences
Transpersonal Therapy as Spiritual Therapy:
An Example of an Emergence
© Rich Stammler, 2008
This is a case of spiritual emergence. It highlights one of the powerful potential outcomes of transpersonal therapy and the life changing insight that can come with it. Joe Campbell says,
If you want the whole thing,
the gods will give it to you.
But you must be ready for it.1
Ryan came to me early in my regression training and was eager to participate in the procedure “to see what it was like.” I was happy to demonstrate for him but I suggested, “Since we are exploring let’s work on something.”
He thought for a moment and said, “OK, let’s figure out why I smoke.”
During past life regression, typically there is a question that drives the search for experiences. In this case the question was, “What is the root cause of Ryan’s smoking.”
During my discussions with Ryan I found out that he had recently retired from the military in which he was a part of the Special Forces. Furthermore, he is the archetypal warrior and on his own found a Genghis Khan type character in his past (in his dreams). The result is that he is fearless and has absolute loyalty to his subordinates. His integrity is unusual but his loyalty to superiors is present only if they also live with integrity. If not, he can rub authority the wrong way, and he has.
On the domestic front, his life was not consistent and he was on his fourth marriage which, he confided, was also in danger of dissolution.
During regression a hallway containing doors is one of the metaphors that is sometimes used to symbolically represent the so called Akashic records which hold all past and future lives is. By asking the regression question prior to traveling into the unconscious for the answers, the doors that show up in the hallway reflect the past lives that have a bearing on the problem, the more doors the more lives. This is done in a relaxed state which some call hypnosis. As the participant approaches the door, it often morphs into an aspect, sometimes symbolic, of the life on the other side.
The first door was an old wooden door with peeling white paint. As he passed through the door, he told me he was barefoot and wore raggedy jeans. He was somewhere in the American South. The eight year old boy had just come back from the cotton field to catch the master sexually abusing his mother. Compelled to defend his mother he attacked the white master. The master held him at bay while he lit a cigar, which he then used to burn the boy. After that the white master picked him up, threw him against a fence killing the boy. Further exploration revealed that the connection in that life was that smoking symbolized power.
The second door led to a GI somewhere in Japan during World War II. He had just finished training and this was his first taste of combat. The enemy had overrun the American position and they were chasing him. Ryan’s comment to this life was, “He’s a coward.”
The GI was soon captured and tortured by the Japanese. After some time the torture stopped and he was offered a cigarette. Then, suddenly, Ryan jumped up from his reclined position and looked at me with surprise stating, “Why did you shock me?” I replied, “I didn’t shock you, the Japanese just electrocuted you. Lie back down and we’ll finish this properly.” Ryan continued the regression and we discovered that in this life smoking meant the cessation of pain. This experience was so unsettling that I asked him if he wanted to go through the third door or continue another time. He elected to terminate the session.
Now, Ryan is very unusual. During the next week he conducted a regression on his own and passed through the third door. He told me about it later.
“I found myself in Europe during the dark ages and I was a middle-aged female named Jennifer. It was during the black plague and I used my psychic powers to heal children afflicted by the plague. I could only heal so many before I had to recharge because I took on the negative energy.”
He continued, “Having come near a large city I came upon a mother with two children suffering from the plague, a boy and a girl. Because I had already conducted healing for many hours during that day, I only had enough energy left to heal one of the children. The mother was mad that I didn’t heal the other one. As Jennifer I found out later that she told authorities that she was practicing witchcraft and shortly thereafter they arrested me. After days of torture they brought me to a stake surrounded with wood and proceeded to burn me at the stake. As I died, a flash of brilliant light came out of my body . Terrified, the villagers ran away from me and some fell down on their knees to pray.”
Ryan understood that in regression the therapist may ask for the dying thought. This is the energy that is often carried forward karmicly. He asked me, “Do you know what her dying thought was?”
In anticipation I asked, “What was it?”
“It was all worth it,” Ryan remarked quietly.
The very interesting lesson here is that when a true warrior becomes a spiritual warrior, then that is an awesome life indeed. But one thing puzzled me and I should have figured it out on my own. What did this life have to do with the smoking? It was my mentor that explained it to me. If you are burned at the stake, smoke is your friend. The quicker you die from smoke inhalation the faster you remove yourself from the pain.
That was it. From his past life regression experiences, he certainly had plenty of reasons to smoke. I used powerful techniques I had learned to alter the impact of those lives that resulted in the smoking.
The sessions were concluded with one more regression to get some additional information from the Jennifer life, and Ryan also experienced a mystical life from the future.
In the weeks after this regression work the smoking continued. He didn’t smoke all that much but he did smoke. But some other very interesting things began to happen. When desired he could dialogue with Jennifer during normal consciousness. One day much to his surprise, she told him that he was selfish. Surprised, he asked her about it and as a result he made changes in his life.
As mentioned earlier his marriage was strained and this disharmony disappeared virtually overnight. His wife had failed to conceive even though they had been trying for some time to have a child. Soon, as the relationship improved his wife became pregnant and they had a wonderful baby girl.
His experience in the work place changed also. During the time of the regressions, he supervised no one, which quickly changed when he obtained a new position in which he supervised 18 people resulting in a 40 percent increase in salary. So every major phase of his life began this great transformation. It is possible to come up with reasons for these changes that have nothing to do with the regression experience. However, this kind of transformation after regression is not uncommon. But, you may ask, what about the smoking?
Two years after these regression experiences I had occasion to meet him for lunch. After some discussion he proudly announced, “I quit smoking.”
I congratulated him but stated that so much time had passed that I didn’t see how we could credit the regression work for this change. To this he replied, “I don’t know. Wait until I tell you how it happened.”
So I listened intently as he related his relationship with his infant daughter. Although she was not yet speaking, he felt that they could communicate with each other. I have a son who early in his life communicated only in unintelligible sounds. I didn’t understand what the sounds meant but his siblings certainly did and when he voiced a complaint I asked his sister to explain what he had said. She then translated easily telling me that he wanted this cup or that spoon or didn’t want to eat something.
This isn’t the kind of communication Ryan was talking about. He felt that he and his daughter communicated telepathically. He told me, “one day she was looking at me with large sad eyes when I asked her, “What is the matter?” This question was formed only in his mind. He got her reply the same way, and, he hasn’t smoked since.
1Osborn, D. K. (Ed.). (1991). The Joseph Campbell Companion. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
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