A few years ago, I had the strangest dream. My husband and I were together and according to the clothes we wore, the time period was around the 1800’s.
In the dream, it was a beautiful sunny day and we were lying outside on a grassy lawn. The setting appeared to be a well-maintained college campus or institution of higher learning. There were people walking around, sitting on benches, relaxing on the grass, eating, talking and going about their business in an enthusiastic yet settled manner.
My husband was dressed in 19th century attire which included: a white Victorian dress shirt with a high stand collar and puff tie, a black jacquard vest, and grey trousers with a frock coat. He was a college professor, an educator of some kind and held a highly regarded intellectual position.
I was dressed in an off white Lucille Walking Suit with a lace collar that came all the way up to my neck, with tightly fitted full bell sleeves and a hoop underskirt. My hair was black and neatly pulled back into a bun.
It was apparent that as a couple we were well-groomed, young and wealthy.
As we relaxed on the grass in the campus quad, I lie on my stomach with my husband lying closely beside me. He watched me as he lie on his side facing me. I knew that he adored me.
There was an instant knowing that I had Multiple Sclerosis but had been symptom free and healthy for some time. I also knew that my husband was taking care of me financially and emotionally. I felt that I was the love of his life, as he was mine.
While outside, I explained to him that I was worried, and felt concerned my symptoms might return and I would fall ill again.
The love emanating from him was immense. And in my dream, I felt exactly how much he loves me now, in our current life.
When I awoke, I knew it wasn’t merely a dream. I told my husband about it and searched my mind for a way to describe what it could have been. What I’ve settled on is, it must have been a glimpse into another life.
That was four years ago and I remember it as if it were yesterday.
In an in-depth interview with Dr. Ann C. Barham, LMFT, Certified Past Life Therapist and author of The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes, we discuss how past life information can surface in our dreams.
Dr. Barham also explains the many ways past life issues can be reactivated by events in our current lifetime and how past life regression therapy can be a viable option for resolving long-standing issues.
BJB: What is past life regression, and how does it relate to reincarnation?
AB: The concept of reincarnation is that we are eternal souls that have the opportunity to be on the human plane across a variety of bodies and personalities over the ages. We’re here to learn, and we’re here over and over again with more than one opportunity to learn the lessons.
The way that past life regression relates to the concept of reincarnation is that we are going back into an individual’s memories from one, or many prior lifetimes, that are influencing them now. It’s a direct link in that the past life that we’re going into fits with the concept of reincarnation. The interesting thing about past life therapy is that it also works for people who aren’t sure that they believe in reincarnation.
I’ve had a number of clients that just wanted to try it out and ended up having an incredible session, which usually shifts their perception quite a bit. Even if you don’t see the stories that come up as true past life stories, the approach still works extremely quickly and effectively. We could even look at it as a powerful and therapeutic metaphor that when we work with it, it releases long standing issues and problems that people have not been able to resolve by conventional means.
BJB: How can trauma and issues from the past be reactivated by events in our current lifetime without our conscious awareness?
AB: A lot of things that happened in early childhood that we are not aware of are impacting us very strongly. All that we’re doing when look at a past life is extending the timeline back, and saying things that happened in our prior lifetimes are impacting us now too.
Just as something from our current childhood might get reactivated when an event happens to us as an adult, the same thing is happening when a past life issue gets reactivated.
For instance, I had a client who was in car accident and sustained injury to her neck. She was in a lot of pain. Two years later, the doctors had done a procedure called radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which kills the nerves. She should not have felt pain after this procedure.
They did this procedure on her twice and she was still having pain. She did not have problems with her neck prior to this car accident.
We did a past life session about the neck pain. We went into a lifetime in the 1940’s in Hollywood where she was a woman married to a well-known actor who was unfaithful to her. She was driving them somewhere on a dark night, missed a turn and crashed into a tree and ended up paralyzed from the neck down. She eventually passed away. The trauma from the current life car accident, linked back to that trauma from the prior lifetime.
Right after the session, she told me the pain in her neck was reduced by about 80%. She had her current husband look at her neck after the session and the two inches of swelling she had for the past two years was almost gone.
Her body was physically carrying the trauma.
When we went back to the original trauma, I did a variety of work to clear it out and to see what were the emotions and the energy that carries the trauma, and we were able to release it now in the current life. In the session we do release work and healing work, and just like in conventional therapy one of the key things that helps victims of trauma is being able to tell their story. One of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress is that the individual needs to tell their story over and over again to help them process it.
With regression, the prior personality is able to tell their story. We bear witness to it and acknowledge the feeling that couldn’t get fully expressed, to see what the unfinished business is and how it manifests in your current life.
The reason is manifests in our current life is to give us the opportunity to heal it.
BJB: In the book you write, “It seems that the physical body can hold onto trauma in some representative manner, a little like birthmarks…” Are all birthmarks related to, or indications of a past life experience?
AB: I’ve certainly seen this with a lot of clients. They don’t necessarily come into my office asking about the birthmark, but in the midst of working through some other issue they will find that they have a serious injury to a particular part of their body in the prior lifetime. Afterwards, the clients will say, “I have a birthmark in the exact place where the injury took place.”
Usually the reason the body is carrying a physical symptom is because that symptom is actually linked to unfinished emotional or relationship oriented stuff. Generally what I’ve noticed is the physical symptom is the marker that there’s something here that isn’t done.
BJB: Who can benefit from a past life regression?
AB: I think everyone. However, who is a good candidate is probably the better question.
If there’s an issue that is really enduring and resistant to change after you’ve taken many steps to deal with it, and have at least tried to deal with these issues in the current life to no avail, that is a good indication of a pattern from a past life that could be resolved through past life therapy.
You also need to be a person who can relax. You don’t have to believe in reincarnation, but the approach requires that you be able to get into a relaxed state and be open minded. Other good candidates are people who are interested in spiritual exploration or wanting to know about life purpose.
There are so many areas for which you could seek help such as: physical, emotional, financial, relationships, limiting beliefs and attitude.
One example is, I’ve had a number of people seek my help because they feel like no matter what they do, they can’t get ahead financially or can’t get a job. Very often if it’s a financial issue we may go to a life where they were a slave or indentured servant where they weren’t paid for their work. Or, perhaps we could go to a lifetime where they were wealthy, greedy and never helped people in a position who were less fortunate. They could be getting the flip side of the experience to learn the lesson. If you figure it out in the lifetime and really try to correct somethings, you won’t necessarily have to come back on the other side of the experience.
BJB: Do memories from past lives enter dreams? If so, what are the indications of a past life memory in the dream state?
AB: In the book I have exercises at the end of the chapters where people can do work on their own exploring past life memories, and dreams is one of the big places where past life material can come through.
These dreams have a different feel to them. They can be very vibrant, recurring or feel really intense. The material can come through in dreams if your psyche still needs to process something or make peace. It can also be a message or information the prior personality is trying to give you.
BJB: We’re living in a pivotal time. Can you talk about the significance of reincarnating in specific soul groups for collective and individual growth?
AB: We tend to travel with other souls that we like working with, have strong love connections with, or have a mutual purpose. The idea is that we do have choice on a soul level as to when we come back, in picking aspects of our personality and the situations of our birth.
We do this because we have a particular purpose in mind of what it is we want to work on, or be involved in. We will also choose to be with certain people that will advance our purpose so we can work together.
This comes from a much higher level which is why it’s sometimes hard to fathom on a human plane. If you’re able to see it from a much higher perspective, there are often really important things that are being accomplished, learned or to help someone else learn a lesson.
My understanding and belief is that it is all orchestrated for the highest good.
The lesson in all of this suggests that “there is a spiritual piece in each of us that unites us” and that there “is a physical world that arises out of a conscious world.”
However, “Perhaps the question of what happens to us when we die was never meant to be answered but merely explored, for it is in seeking — not necessarily finding — the answer that growth can take place.”
For more information on Dr. Ann C. Barham, problems that can be addressed with past life therapy and new areas of exploration with past life regression therapy, log onto pastlives.org.