PAST LIVES, PRESENT DREAMS by Denise Linn

28 03 2014

Past Lives Present Dreams coverDenise Linn was one of the first to popularise the whole modern (and I suppose by that I mean Western) approach to reincarnation: learning how to recall one’s past lives and perhaps also undergoing past-life therapy either by oneself or with the help of a professional past-life therapist. She is a writer and lecturer to whom many (if not all) more recent writers on this topic are indebted.

This does not mean that I, or any other student of reincarnation, is going to agree with everything she says. Personally, I take issue with her on several points.

Let’s start though, as she does, with her being knocked off her motorbike by a man in a car who then got out of his car, aimed a gun at her, and shot her. Miraculously, she survived. But the Near Death Experience she describes in detail changed her life, and led directly to her subsequent studies with teachers and gurus as diverse as Zen Buddhist monks, a Hawaian shaman, a Japanese Grand Master of Reiki, and a wise old Native American named Dancing Feather.

The best part of the book is perhaps the chapter on How to Recall a Past Life, which includes a section of Past Life Clues under eighteen different heads ranging from Childhood Games to Food Preferences to Books and Movies, and of course including Déjà Vu Experiences, Personality Traits, Fears and Phobias, and Dreams (as in the title). (If it had been me writing, I would have at least mentioned aptitude for particular foreign languages, which I consider one of the most significant clues.) In the same chapter there is a section on Visualization Technique with a whole series of “different methods that can help you make a successful transition”. Of these, I particularly like the “time tunnel”, the “river of time” and the ‘room of doors”; the method she calls the “mists of time” was new to me as she sets it out but I have tried it and it works – rather more abruptly and completely than the others, so it should be approached with caution (don’t do it alone first time!). This is followed by an actual script you can either record and play back or get someone to read to you while you set about making the transition.

All this is fine, and as I say, indispensable reading even if much of it has been copied and repeated by other authors.

Where I have trouble is with Denise Linn’s concept of changing the past, a form of past-life therapy she seems to particularly favour. Something that happened in a past life is having a traumatic effect on your current life? Then change it. You weren’t drowned, you survived – you didn’t have an abusive step-father, you had a very kind and loving one – and so on. “I believe that you can actually change the past,” she says, but continues “if this is too much for you to accept, then imagine that you are changing the images that are stored in your brain …”

And then there is the problem of Future Lives. Predestination, and its corollary, possible foreknowledge of the future, is a subject on which the great philosophers of the past have disagreed and modern philosophers still do disagree. I obviously cannot begin to go into it here. I would just like to quote one more line from this book and then leave you to read the whole thing for yourself and make up your own mind.

“The future,” she says, “is as malleable as the past.” Surely it should be much more so? No one has any trouble with the concept of planning the future, it is the concept of planning the past which is difficult to grasp – or to swallow.





HOW TO UNCOVER YOUR PAST LIVES by Ted Andrews

17 10 2010

I believe absolutely in reincarnation, that I have lived on earth before  in other bodies, and will again. I have known since I was a kid in London that I used to live in India, used to be Indian. Everything about India seemed familiar to me, drew me towards it. And there I went, as soon as I was old enough to travel.

But more of that another time.

As it says, this is a “how to” book. Each chapter contains not one but a whole series of exercises all aimed at awakening awareness of, memories of, past lives. In the introduction, Understanding Reincarnation, under the famous Yin-yang symbol, he says:

In this ancient eastern symbol, we can see the mysteries of reincarnation. The black side is that half of the developmental cycle we spend in the physical, and the white side is the half we spend in the spiritual. Together they make one cycle of growth. Because it is a circle, though, it never ends. One cycle always becomes another. Our growing and unfolding never ends.

I like that. I never thought about the yin-yang symbol that way before. And I found especially interesting the use of the unfettered imagination (letting yourself write a story set in another time and place without any interference from the conscious mind – almost like automatic writing!), and, in meditation, along with Qabala and the Tree of Life, and the Tarot Wheel of Fortune, a kind of self-hypnosis (also fascinating) and (something I had been aware of but never practised before) the use of a dowsing pendulum to get answers, establish places and dates, and so on. Also what he says about the  use of particular fragrances to stimulate past life meditation, for instance sage, which has always been a favourite of mine, and of which he says here that it awakens a sense of immortality and the realization that the life of the soul extends far beyond one physical incarnation …


If you have any interest at all in your own past lives, work through the exercises in this book. For me it was nothing less than a revelation.








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