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Greater Boston Hypnosis
For an appointment call 617-964-4800
A past life regression, like all forms of hypnotic regression, uses hypnosis to help someone retrieve forgotten memories. For example, regressions are often used to help a client remember a traumatic past event which remains unresolved in the subconscious mind and results in anxieties or phobias which seem to have no apparent cause. When the forgotten memory is made conscious and brought to the level of understanding the phobia or anxiety often disappears. In the case of past life regressions it is held that memories which precede the current life but belong to a common soul can be retrieved. It is also believed that most if not all souls are reincarnated in multiple lives and that memories of these many lives can be restored through hypnosis much in the manner that hypnotic regressions can restore the memories of a present life. How can past life regressions be possible? Are they real or fantasy?

Hypnotic past life regressions have been made popular in recent decades by practitioners and writers such as Richard Sutphen, Brian Weiss and others, and also through the growing interest in near death experiences (re. Raymond A. Moody's Life After Life) and paranormal phenomena in general. But the history of past life regressions begins early in the twentieth century, and Albert de Rochas may have been the first to use hypnosis for the purpose of inducing past life regressions. However, "PLR dates back to the 4th century BC when Patanjali, the ancient Indian philosopher who codified yoga, instructed how past lives can be recalled through meditation." (ref. Anupama Bhattacharya, at
http://www.lifepositive.com/Mind/personal-growth/past-life-
therapy/past-life.asp).

The argument that past life memories are--at least in some cases--more than mere fantasies ought not be casually dismissed. This is not only because great spiritual, religious, and philosophical traditions (e.g.. Hinduism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, Pythagoreanism) have posited the reality of reincarnation, but also because the circumstantial evidence is sometimes not easily discounted or refuted. In fact, arguments which dismiss incredible incidents of past life memory and/or transmission of knowledge can appear at least as improbable as the argument that the past life memory is in fact real. How does one explain past life memories which can be documented by meticulous historical research so arcane that it is unreasonable to suppose that they could have been available to the person "remembering" particular events or persons. Or how do young children suddenly begin speaking foreign languages or languages that are no longer spoken? Situations such as these have been documented and it would require a dogmatic positivism to reject them out of hand.

If past life memories are real, we can engage in metaphysical speculation about their specific nature. Discussions of past lives generally are cast in terms of reincarnation and the life of the soul after death. However, this may be only one of a number of alternative explanations for past life memories. One possibility is that souls can simultaneously occupy different persons so that the soul's education is accelerated. This could perhaps account for the psychic connections between certain persons. Another possibility, and one that I am at times drawn to, is that past life memories are actually memory fragments of collective conscious experience. This notion ties into the belief in the Akashic Records, a concept that is generally thought of in terms of reincarnation but in my view does not necessarily require the postulation of souls and their continued existence after death. The speculation that a universal "library" of consciousness and of past lives does not necessarily require the existence of the soul. But as is the case with all metaphysics, these thoughts are only speculations and it is important that they be put into the context of what is meaningful to living persons.

While the outright rejection of the possibility of past lives reflects scientific dogma, it strikes me as equally dogmatic to take a completely non-skeptical approach to this subject such as, for example, the belief that every past life regression taps into the memories of the past lives of actual persons. The subconscious mind has long been thought of as being the seat of creativity and imagination as well as the link to spiritual and psychic dimensions (e.g.. Thomson Jay Hudson, The Law of Psychic Phenomena, 1892.) If the subconscious does in fact have this dual role then it would not be unreasonable to suppose that creative imagery and past life memories might at times become confused or intertwined. It is possible that past life regressions may reflect information about both actual past lives and creative solutions to difficulties and challenges of the current life. Having made this distinction, however, it can be argued that in most cases it really does not matter whether the past life "memory" is real or only creative fantasy. In either case, information is being discovered which has profound importance to the hypnotic subject who is experiencing a past life regression. Past life regressions and the images of our souls in terms of different lives even if these images are imaginary can be the ultimate life reframing experience. They show patterns of behavior, challenges, anxieties, problems and successes which shine light on present day life. If reincarnation is concerned with the working out of karmic tensions, then past life regressions are part of that process regardless whether the memories are accurate or imaginative. In this sense, past life regressions are highly consistent with what is the primary goal of much of hypnotherapy: the uncovering of persistent patterns which obstruct or even sabotage personal growth and self-realization.

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Integral Hypnosis is conveniently located in Newton, MA near the Mass Pike and Route 128 and is within a 1/2 hour drive of the following Greater Boston, MetroWest, North Shore and South Shore communities:
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Arthur D. Schwartz
Professional Hypnotist
Hypnotherapy and Philosophical Counseling
717 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02460
(In Newtonville near Newton Corner and Watertown Square)
Tel: 617-964-4800

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