Consider The Possibilities

When he came out of hypnosis, he was clear about the ‘message’ of the experience and he said that the validation was helpful

Continued from Digging Deep

“Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.” – George Carlin

There was no doubt, none, zip, nada … that the person looking back at me was one in the same as my current day brother Pat. It’s another of those unexplainable ‘knowing’ things that don’t fit any logic or rationale. It doesn’t fit into the paradigm of what we can see, hear, or touch but I knew it as strongly as I know my feet are on the ground… and it was weird, comforting, nonsensical and intuitive all at once. I didn’t want to leave that scene. There was so much solace in that room and I wanted to be there longer, to know more. The hypnotist was bringing me out of a trance, misreading my tears apparently and as I came grew into awareness, I was dumbfounded to realize that he had been traveling with me – through time. It made perfect sense to me now.

Along with the concept of reincarnation is the postulation that we reincarnate within ‘soul families’. Depending on who you read, there are different methods of explaining this and various ideas of what constitutes a ‘family’. The best description I’ve heard is that of a LEAF. I don’t recall who first stated this but its description highlights the basic premise well. As a soul, we are like a leaf on a tree – and on that tree, the leaves on the twig with us are the closest although we are also intimately connected to the other leaves on the branch and of course, the tree in general. We may even have some connection, if only in proximity, to other leaves on the surrounding trees but we can’t possibly be connected to leaves on the other side of the forest…

I believe that Pat is a leaf on my twig. We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone where the connection is immediate and easy. It may be your best friend, your partner, a work colleague, or a school buddy… most of us know the sensation of ‘I feel like I’ve known you forever’ thing. It may be because your soul recognizes that person’s soul… perhaps because you’ve been traveling through time for millenniums.

Dr. Weiss shared stories with us about patients and their discoveries and the book Only Love Is Real describes the most bizarre and amazing experience when he realized that two of his patients were portraying the exact same regression – people who didn’t know each other!!

By week’s end, I was relaxed, in awe, and conversing freely with most anyone who looked my direction. I had ‘woken up’. I don’t know if I should attribute it to the cleaning of my chakra, the consequence of being surrounded by so much love, or a realization that I was wasting my ‘moments’ by not being present. In any regard, I was sitting in a common area on the last night there when Michael and a group of others from our seminar walked in. I got up and went over to their table, asking to join them. I had grown some courage in a weeks’ time, or perhaps just gotten to know them well enough to take down my shield. The conversation moved toward parapsychology and people were sharing stories about mediums and clairvoyants. Michael (the guy I sat next to all week) looked directly at me and said “I’ve been wanting to tell you that you’re going to meet a man soon. There is something about Christmas coming through, so maybe around that time.”  All I wanted to know is if he was going to be tall, so I asked… “tall I hope?” “Tall and blonde” he said.

Hmm… my roommate had just predicted that I would meet someone around the holidays. She wasn’t here anymore – I don’t think they’ve met since she was in a different workshop… was it possible that they were picking up on something? The temptation to give in to the anticipation was overwhelming but there were more exciting, more present things to be excited about and I stayed focused on the work we had been doing all week.

I was one of the few people there who was still a student. I knew I had much more to learn and I was genuinely excited to begin studying counseling; how to help people regardless and potentially those who may be affected by past life experiences. It was time to consider grad schools.

On the way home from the mountain, I wanted to call and tell everyone I knew about how mindbending my week was. It’s a hard discussion, though. In order to discuss the impact of past lives, you have to be open to the idea of have had one – or at least that I did. Even if it isn’t a ‘real thing’, there is a need to be open to the lesson or message – even if it is only from your own voice. I didn’t know many people in that arena. I did call Pat, though… he was on the same page and I knew he would buy into my enthusiasm. I didn’t tell him about my regression, though… I wanted to regress him and find out if he might see or remember the same time. I told him only enough that he was eager to go under.

I made a decision about Grad school too. As chance (?) would have it – I received a phone call on that drive home from one of the schools I had been considering. They sold me hard and I agreed – on that phone call – to go ahead and register. The only problem was that they hadn’t yet received their CACREP accreditation… it was in process they said. There was a slight risk by enrolling in a program that was new but I believed in the details to student success that they were purporting. I would start in just three weeks time.

I felt as if I was on fire. I was excited and charged, eager to practice the skills I acquired during my week on the mountain. I let everyone know that I was ‘open for business’ so to speak; that I was offering regression – free of charge – in exchange for the practice. A few people took me up on it immediately.

One of those people was a man in my family – remaining nameless – who, under regression, found himself in a cave, alone and afraid. He was an Indian who had been sent out on a maturing mission, a rite of passage. He was trapped, though. In a shallow cave being monitored by a mountain lion and he knew that he would never leave that cave alive. He was emotional and recounting the experience as if he was describing a football game… he was detached and yet he summarizing the situation clearly and acutely. When he came out of hypnosis, he was clear about the ‘message’ of the experience and he said that the validation was helpful. Validation for the fact that sometimes in ‘this’ life, he feels alone even though he knows he is not… now he knows where this ‘energy’ belongs and can stop second guessing. He expressed a sense of relief.

It was amazing and I stayed excited, reading everything I could find about reincarnation – especially academic material that had science behind it – if only a little bit. Since Hindu’s believe in reincarnation, much of the academic work centers there and there are more… amazing stories. I encourage anyone with an interest to investigate Dr. Ian Stephenson from the University of Virginia. His entire career was dedicated to paranormal research and is meticulously researched with incredible evidence.

Open yourself up to possibilities!

Trancendent Study

I hear enough critique in my own mind, in the real world, and I didn’t need it to come from the afterlife too.

Continued from Such Diffidence

“Learning the lessons of life can be so simple if you believe in immortality.” – Brian Weiss

There is a phenomenon of picking the same seats, day after day in college classrooms. It is a psychological mystery. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t just happen in college and it was apparent there, in the conference center at Omega, full of adults ranging in age from 25 to 80 – that we were also subject to this tendency. The good part was that I could ask that guy next to me – eventually known as Michael – about his regression yesterday.

The resolve I had started the day with, the resolve that quickly waned as I went relatively unnoticed at breakfast, had not walked into that room with me. I sat there, silently, as Dr. Weiss asked us all if today was in any way special. I wanted to say “It’s my birthday” in hopes that he would use me to demonstrate a regression; something I had fantasized about ever since I began reading his books. It was a simple gesture to just raise my hand and make that factual announcement but something heavy and solid inside of me prevented my arm from lifting away from my side and the day got started. I sat there, of course, interested in the unfolding of what I could learn but also disappointed in myself again for not being willing to take the risk, for not allowing myself to be vulnerable. I was still not convinced that my voice, my energy, my input – was worth hearing.

We broke off into groups of two or three several times that day, offering me an opportunity to talk with people and yet even then, I waited for people to come to me or I waited to see ‘who was left’… it was a self-fulfilling continuation of those many times in grade school where I was the ‘last pick’… relegating myself to the benchmark of my youth. There was a woman behind me who appeared as quiet and as low profile as me, she became my go to… my escape when it was time to pick partners. If I chose her, I didn’t feel unchosen. It was a good compromise. What I really wanted was to choose Michael but he had already formed a ‘group’, the popular people… the ones who were bold and confident. I didn’t belong to that group no matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t find the moxie to wedge myself in there. It was one of those adult moments that seemed as though we (or at least I) had transported back to middle school for a short time and who in their right mind would do that?

This woman who had become my serendipitous partner was so ‘in tune’ with the Universe that when it came time to practice listening to our souls, she read me like a book. We had the task of taking an item from our partner and holding it – concentrating deeply on the story of the item, it’s history and then share any insight with the owner. I handed her a ring that I had been given from my Grandmother’s estate. It wasn’t old fashioned looking, in fact, I’m not sure it was old, only that it had been hers. She gave me a bookmark. Dr. Weiss directed us through a process whereby we were to consider the object and its energy. I felt way, way out of my league at this point. I was still an infant on the regression thing and reading energy was for Spiritual Masters, wasn’t it? I tried to concentrate on his voice, on the direction but my feelings of inadequacy were too strong. They overruled almost everything that came through my mind. The only thing that I could say I ‘felt’ was God. That is the word that kept coming to me.

When the challenge was finished, we shared with our partner the information we had received about the item we had been holding. I told this lady that I wasn’t very good at this yet, that the only thing I sensed was “God”. She smiled softly and informed me it was the bookmark from her bible and pulled it out of her backpack. It was a worn, King James version that appeared to be well read. As she slipped the bookmark back into the pages, I felt a shiver run up my spine. ‘Whoa’, I thought. Next, it was her turn. She informed me that the ring had belonged to an old woman, perhaps my grandmother – she asked with a question mark. I nodded in agreement. She said that my grandmother had come to her and spoke about all the sadness in our family, that there had been too much loss but that they were all together – the shivers intensified dramatically. And then, she said, “your grandmother said to forgive your sister.”

I sat there stunned and silent. Why would I always have to face this? Can’t Abee just be a non-issue for a while? “Wow, that’s amazing,” I said. “Thank You”. I wasn’t sure I liked the idea that people could talk to me from the grave. I didn’t want to hear what they had to say, actually. Isn’t it odd, perhaps misfortunate, that we only want to hear the things that are supportive and validating?? I hear enough critique in my own mind, in the real world, and I didn’t need it to come from the afterlife too.

We spent a fair amount of time hearing more from Dr. Weiss, details from his sessions with Catherine, in the early regression years. She had channeled some spirit masters who spoke about love, learning, and the ultimate goal of serenity. Those masters indicated that sometimes, we stay in soul form so that we can be guides for people we’ve left or for future generations. Other times, we reincarnate into the same family to continue working on growing in an environment we know is ripe for us. He led us into a regression where we were to connect with our spirit guides, asking them to come to us in an identifiable form. I saw a picture frame on the wall with three ‘windows’ – room for three photos – but they were blank. The more I focused on the frame, I came to realize that there were forms in the squares but they were blurry. I stayed with it. One of the frames became clear and I saw a face. It wasn’t a face that I knew completely but it appeared to resemble my oldest daughter. When I looked closer, I experienced a distinct knowing that it was indeed her. There was something about the eyes that make it obvious and believable. I was a bit confused because she was here… in my life, not just existing in the spirit world somewhere. Was it possible she had come into this world to guide me? I was pleasantly surprised at the prospect.

We watched a couple more regressions that day and by the end of the afternoon, I was tired. I ate a quick dinner and headed back to my room where my roommate, was resting. I tried to be quiet but of course, she woke as I came and unpacked my bag. She was from Pakistan and spoke very broken English but we made it through conversation pretty well. It turns out she was known, in her country, as a medium and was there training with someone renowned in the US. When she discovered it was my birthday she offered to ‘read’ me. She used only my date of birth and jotted down several things. The one I specifically remember is that I would meet a man sometime between holidays, before Christmas; I took that to mean after Thanksgiving. It was still only July so I didn’t get too excited but it was fun to have something to look forward to – maybe.

I had to drive off the mountain in order to talk with the girls who had been waiting all day for me to call so they could wish me a happy birthday. For a few minutes, as I sat by the river in a park across the bridge from Poughkeepsie, I missed them terribly. I considered just leaving, going home to my kiddos and forgetting all this transcendent stuff but I continued to be pulled toward the things I could not rationalize. The week had just begun.

Such Diffidence

I backed away and threw on my invisibility cloak, walked back to my room and spent my night alone.

Continued from Going to the Mountain

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are
not.” ~Denis Waitley

The experience seeing one’s self, intrinsically knowing it is ‘you’, but not because you look like what you do in the mirror, but because there is a sense of familiarity that only comes from seeing your reflection, is surreal. There was no doubt in my mind that I was experiencing this vision in the first person. I sensed that the hands I was looking at were mine even though they were smaller and denser than the ones I was used to seeing. I was dark skinned, the color my mother would turn after a summer by the pool, a rich brown color. I was standing in the sand, outside, and the air was warm. I was wearing something rough in fiber but I couldn’t really identify what it was. There were small round buildings in the background with thatched looking roofs. In the distance, I could see a tall, dark-haired man and he was walking toward me. Again, I felt a sense of recognition, a realization that the large hunk walking toward me was my husband, my mate. He didn’t get close enough for me to look in his eyes but I knew that he protected me, that he loved me. I felt it. And then it was over.

In a group, large-scale regression you don’t get much more than short blips before the hypnotherapist is bringing everyone back to current time, to reality. There isn’t an opportunity to investigate the memory, only to experience it. It was the second time I had been regressed and I was absolutely amazed at the explicit cognizance it evoked. The vision in my mind was as genuinely real as the memory of what I had for dinner the night before. And yet, there was a part of me that was skeptical; a small part of my psyche that wondered about its validity. I stayed true to my self-promise that I remain open to all possibilities and allowed the doubting thought to pass by.

Dr. Weiss taught us that it wasn’t necessarily important whether or not our memories related to literal events, but to be open to what the memories were representative of… what insight they offered about our life here, now. Since we simply cannot prove their authenticity – or lack thereof – it is important to contemplate their relevance. I considered the short recollection I experienced and what was most dominant in that memory was how at peace I was. There was an overwhelming sentiment of comfort and of being loved. Why did that matter to me now? I couldn’t help but wonder and it set the stage for the rest of my week-long foray into regression work.

As I allude to in one of my very early posts Sand Castles, I grew up with relatively low self-esteem. It was masked by my need to please and my theatrical character, the one that believed it much safer to be in the world as someone else… pretending to embody the girl detective character Trixie Belden, the teen heroine of my favorite series of books when I was young. It was a huge oxymoron – I put myself ‘out there’ as confident and outgoing but inside my own mind, I was – always – fearful of judgment, of not being accepted, or more concisely… of being rejected. If I was the one to rule the room, then I could determine who I had eye contact with, who I paid attention to and when I should leave, and under what conditions. If I wasn’t ‘in charge’ or the focal point, then it was possible to be diminished or to be rebuked and that was my biggest fear. If I was leading the conversation or presenting, it appeared as if I could command the room but if I was just there – just present – then my preference was to blend in and go unnoticed. In that way, I could observe and find a safety net; perhaps a corner or a like-minded person, or a connection with the person in command. It is the one thing that most people truly don’t understand, believe, or know about me as I’ve spent fifty years now attempting to hide that insecurity. I am a wallflower inside. This feature about me was validated years ago by an Astrologist; my birth (sun) sign is a Leo (describes my ego) but my moon sign is Cancer (how I feel inside) and my rising sign is Libra (how others see me).  If you have any interest or knowledge in Astrology, and you know me – this will make sense.

With this information, it won’t come as a surprise that the minute we were released for lunch, I bolted out of the auditorium for the safety of open space and anonymity. I kept my eyes down and walked quickly whenever people were around although I do always smile and say hello when I occasionally meet someone’s eyes. The family style dining room was daring me to break through my shy – or avoidant – shell. I made my way quietly through the buffet line with Vegan options (way before I even knew what a Vegan was) searching futilely for something fried and greasy as I also quickly scanned the room for the least populated table. I was cornered into eating healthy or starve. And just so I’m clear… if the choice was tofu or starve… I would meditate through the hunger.

People were nice and I am not ignorant or rude, so if someone sat next to me or if someone was already at the table, then I would at least say hello. I, of course, would be happy to answer questions and keep a conversation going but I wasn’t going to be the originator. It just wasn’t in me and as soon as I finished eating, I’d smile, encourage them to enjoy the day, and leave to find a bench in the sun where I could daydream or read. If only they had served wine with meals…

The rest of that first day was Dr. Weiss taking volunteers and demonstrating full blown regressions. We watched two or three experiences that were completely debriefed afterward and I was almost spellbound. It was captivating and immensely interesting and I just wanted to know more and more. One of the volunteers was a guy that had sat next to me all day. I discovered that he was there for the second time, having attended a year ago. He was a therapist with an interest in using regression therapy in his practice. He seemed like a nice guy, tall and attractive, but wearing a gold wedding band. Oh well. After his demonstration, I was anxious to ask him a few questions but as soon as we broke, he was bombarded by other people. I was just one of a dozen who wanted to know more. Instead of standing my ground and listening as the ‘group’ formed, I backed away and threw on my invisibility cloak, walked back to my room and spent my night alone.

I reflected all evening on how absurd it was for me to be there, in the company of so many kindred spirits and not take full advantage of their curiosities and knowledge. I woke up Monday morning – my birthday – resolved to do something about this quirky ‘shyness’ that I was embodying. I began to be annoyed by it. With renewed commitment, I attended breakfast and asked to sit at a full table with only one open seat. “Is this seat taken?” I asked as I pulled out a chair… it seemed that everyone was involved in conversation intently enough that I was barely noticed. Ok, “it’s ok”, I said to myself. I looked up and kept a smile on my face attempting to make eye contact with people close enough in which to spark a conversation but no one else turned or acknowledged my presence. This wasn’t going to be easy.