Sunday, 16 January 2011

Pictures from the past

“As you understand your true nature and your true purpose, your life will be permanently transformed, and then you can begin to transform the world.”      –Brian Weiss
“I think you have an old soul,” said the beautiful Bermudan man who lived down the hall from me when I was 21 years old. I lived in a fantastic apartment overlooking Dows Lake with my friend and roommate Sarah during our final year of school together in Ottawa, back when rent was much lower than it is now.

Reuben became a good friend of ours. He baked a mean cornbread, introduced us to sushi, was into martial arts, was a very kind and gentle person, and was also very spiritual. The three of us talked into the wee hours about things I never really thought about before, including the notion of reincarnation.

Sarah later became an expert on the subject in her own rite, producing a mini-series on past lives, which drew international attention. She gave me a copy of the book Many Lives, Many Masters, which I read while on my honeymoon in Southeast Asia.

In the book, Brian Weiss talks about how he unintentionally stumbled on past life regression while treating a patient through hypnosis in 1980. That event changed his life forever and as a result, he has spent the last 30 years helping others let go of their deepest fears and discover their greatest life lessons through past-life therapy.

When an opportunity came up to participate in a full-day workshop with him, I jumped at the opportunity.

In a conference room of 400 people, I heard inspiring stories from Brian’s amazing spiritual journey. He spoke of his belief that our bodies are a vehicle for continuous learning and growth; that our learning coincides with others, who may appear in our different lives again and again; and that our achievement of the ultimate life lessons of compassion, love, non-violence, non-judgment, non-prejudice, and patience facilitate our continual re-birth.

He then led the group through a series of exercises to experience various states of consciousness – most notably, a past-life regression. Brian guided us into a hypnotic state by asking us to visualize ourselves descending a long staircase, which eventually led into a garden. Through his instruction, we were led through a doorway, which provided access to our past life memories. He told us to note any images, colours, smells, or feelings we had, to determine the story, geography and time in history. As I slipped deeper into the regression, I could feel myself letting go of my logical mind and allowing my senses to take over.

During our debrief, some people described their experience as incredibly visual, like watching a movie. My experience wasn’t that fluid – more like a series of photographs flashing before my eyes. Some of the images I saw included: a woman by the water in an African village with large rings around her neck that stretched from her chin to her collarbone; Egyptian symbols and statues; animals in a jungle, including tigers and monkeys; Hindu statues; and a bald, barefoot Indian man wearing the gold cloth of a Buddhist monk.

I wasn’t sure what to make of these images, but it was a powerful experience that has deepened my interest in the topic ever since.

As I left the workshop, I thought about all the choices I’ve made, the people in my life, and the lessons I’ve learned so far in this lifetime. I realized that if all the events of my life are leading me to one ultimate lesson, then everything is an extension of that, and everything is a gift. I find that idea very humbling. It allows me to understand that we are all on our own path, each learning what we need to, in our own time.

What lessons have you learned?


  1. Another beautifully reflective post, Kristen, and I love the image you selected to go along with it!

  2. Thank you Lisa! The pictures are always one of my favourite parts...

  3. I discovered Brian Weiss from a friend recently too. That book, "Many Lives, Many Masters" really changed my life. I've really rethought about many aspects of my life. I have bought his meditation CDs and when the time is right I will lead myself in guided meditation. I'm happy to hear that you saw pictures :)

  4. City Wiccan - That book had an incredible impact on me too - as well as my husband who read it right after me. What an amazing person he is. I also have one of his CDs, although haven't used it at home yet. I'm sure the perfect time will come.

  5. It's something I've accepted as a natural thing since 25 years ago, and it always makes me wonder why people want to limit their span of existence to one life; I read Weiss' book and was glad to hear it was something mainstream in western countries. Living in India, it's no biggie, this reincarnation gig :)

  6. Braja - thank you for your comment. Although I'm still very much a beginner to these kinds of ideas myself, I find it interesting that they are considered "New Age" when so much of the world's population has held these beliefs for thousands of years...

  7. I very much enjoyed your post. What a gift to get to work with Brian Weiss! I worked with a woman who studied with him and thought you might be interested in my blog post about the experience. Quite similar.

    Anyway, always happy to stumble on a fellow Canadian blogger.

  8. Abby - thank you for your comment and for stopping by! I just looked at you blog briefly and it is amazing and very inspiring. I look forward to reading your post.