Hypnosis and Past Life Regression: Myths and Misconceptions
By far, my most frequently asked question is “what is a past life regression”? Simply stated, a past life regression is the act of visiting the subconscious mind for the purpose of uncovering memories from a previous incarnation. Or, put even simpler, it is a technique that allows you to remember your past lives. But, how can we do this? How do we visit the subconscious, and how do we find these memories?
We actually converse with our subconscious all the time, and it is an ever present part of our daily lives. Most of us know that our dreams contain material directly from the subconscious, but we also can attribute it to behavior and attitudes that are an inherent part of our personality. Our subconscious is actually right there, just under the surface and in order to visit it we need only to relax enough to let go of our active, busy conscious minds. This is where hypnosis comes in.
Hypnosis is the process of this relaxing. That’s all it is. Despite all of the myths and misconceptions about it, hypnosis is actually just a state of relaxed, focused concentration. Many people think that they will be “going to sleep” or that hypnosis will feel like being “knocked out”, but it is actually just closing your eyes, breathing deeply and allowing your mind to go a bit beyond its’ normal limits and leave the confines of our everyday existence as we perceive it.
There is no “mind control” involved in hypnosis, as you can never give yourself over to someone else’s control against your will. It is a fact that those who choose to participate in what we call “stage hypnosis” have indeed elected to quack like a duck or bark like a dog, even if it was only subconsciously. There is a trust involved with hypnosis, as you cannot let go and relax around someone that you have not chosen to give your trust to. In my opinion, having someone make a spectacle of themselves or cause them any public embarrassment is a violation of this trust, but the fact that they volunteered in the first place meant that they willingly chose to participate in being the entertainment.
For the purposes of a past life regression, hypnosis works in exactly this same way. Someone cannot hypnotize you unless you have decided to trust that person and have allowed them to guide you into your subconscious mind, and we all know that it is nearly impossible to relax fully in a situation in which we feel uncomfortable in any way. You also cannot do something that goes against your desires or your morals while under hypnosis, unless you allow this to happen.
It is true, unfortunately, that there are some unscrupulous and untrustworthy people out there who are hypnotists, as in any profession. The important thing to remember here is to always use your intuition as your guide. Always analyze the individuals with whom you trust with any aspect of your spiritual seeking or deep personal and psychological work for trustworthiness, just like you would scrutinize anyone seeking entry into a privileged place of confidence in your life.
And, this is also where it gets tricky. Any time we are doing any kind of “seeking”, we inevitably do become somewhat vulnerable. It is possible to be coerced into adopting someone else’s belief system if they manage to convince us that they are an authority somehow because they know something that we don’t, or have had experiences that we have not. This phenomenon happens all the time, especially on the quest for a spiritual path, either by friends, family, colleagues, gurus, yogis, shamans, counselors, psychiatrists, religious figures, etc.
No one has all of the answers, and although there are many enlightened and wise teachers out there, these people are meant to represent those who are a bit farther along on their spiritual path than we are. Just make sure that the evidence of this is clear in how they choose to live their lives, as a true “spiritual person” is honest, forthright, kind, compassionate, and has an integrity that will be obvious to all those who meet and come in contact with them.
A past life regression can be an incredible and even life changing experience. Hypnosis is one of several ways that we can discover this part of our inner selves, and to visit our subconscious minds. But, when you do choose to embark on this amazing journey, remember that the process of seeking is always a solitary one. Any companion you may encounter on your spiritual path is only a signpost, pointing this way or that. But, the direction you choose is inevitably entirely up to you.