Powerful energies steer our path through life - sometimes even
against our will; we are unknowing hosts to profound sentiments
of unmeasured depths.
The complex needs of our developing emotions are only slowly becoming
understood, through our research and learning and the scientific
curiosity that characterises our questing age. We now recognise
that the damage to an emotionally deprived child lays open the sufferer
to a lifetime of stress, with all the attendant symptoms which typify
the experiences of psychological neurosis.
A doctor in America was working with a young student. The student
was telling of the emotional neglect of his childhood when suddenly
he uttered a great wailing cry, the soulful voice of a tortured
mind, the primal scream of mankind. Both doctor and patient were
silenced at this unexpected and involuntary outburst, which neither
immediately understood. Subsequently the young man's neuroses abated,
as if purged, and the doctor, Arthur Janov, spent the next 20 years
investigating the powerful, unseen and unconscious emotions which
had caused this vociferous phenomenon. Janov's book "Primal Scream"
and his associated 'primal therapy' have become a benchmark in the
study of emotional development in humans, and the dark dangers of
Our early experience of life, both before and after birth, is
crucial to our emotional development. A neglected child, unwelcomed
in the womb, unbonded to its mother at birth, unloved by an absent
father, untouched, uncherished, unindulged, will miss the only opportunity
it has for balanced emotional development, and spend the rest of
his or her life suffering the resulting trauma, whether consciously
acknowledged or not.
'Despair' - a sculpture that voices the
silent cry of spiritual
Trauma is a killer; unhappiness is the grim face of neurosis, and
neurosis is the trigger initiating almost every human condition.
We encounter illness because we are already ill, sick with the neurosis
born of emotional deprivation. And we are deprived because our parents
were deprived, or our siblings, or our elders, through ignorance,
through circumstance, through neglect.
We must uncover and disarm the nature of our emotional wounds,
quantify our stunted development and strive to understand the complex
nature of our psychological inheritance. If we fail, then we fail
not just ourselves but our children and our successors in this world;
we suffer and spread emotional trauma, which feeds the neuroses
that upset the balance of our human destiny; and pain, illness and
grief are the contagion of ignorance.
This is not a religious or a spiritual matter; it is a matter of
social and psychological development, and I believe we are all jointly
responsible for our societies' emotional growth and social health.
Our prisons are full of people with emotional wounds, drawing attention
to their crisis in the only way they know how, through violence,
outrage and disorders of every kind. We blame drugs; but narcotics
are the refuge of neurotics, and we are fast running out of prisons....
In an unrelated incident recently, Mary, a young woman in her
early twenties, closed her eyes and directed her unconscious mind
to take her back, under hypnotic regression, to encounter the vivid
mysteries of past life recall.
As she recalled a traumatic past in which she was betrayed, tortured
and killed, her weeping turned to anger and her real feelings emerged
for the first time; her fists clenched, her shoulders hunched and
she filled her lungs with a great choking gulp. Then she uttered
forth such a scream as could hardly belong to this slight, passive
woman, or indeed to any creature. The pitch was inhuman, the volume
shattering. The scream welled from deep within her inner being,
a violent eruption of outrage degenerating into the desolate wail
of a soul lost in time. I was one of several shocked observers to
witness this event. We shuddered visibly and froze in silence, and
for an eternity time stood still. As the scream reverberated and
died away, an eerie silence descended.
No one, not even Mary, could have envisioned that explosive energy
and outrage locked into her body. The power and depth of our emotions,
be it from this experience of life or another, shocks and surprises
anyone who encounters it. Yet we all possess this profound and unstoppable
quality whose voice can be heard across the boundaries of space
and time, and speaks of the fathomless nature of our spiritual being.
This is the spirit of eternity whose realm is gut-reaction, not
the ego-packaged lie that we are tempted to live in today's confused,
competitive and conforming world.
It is easy to imagine the damage we do to ourselves while we host
the kind of supercharged emotions held by Mary. These violent and
unexpressed tensions cause arthritis, paralysis, cancer, muscular
contractions, back conditions and a host of related ailments; such
is the nature of psychosomatic illness. Mary's outburst had occurred
in the early part of a five day workshop in Regression conducted
by the inspired and very grounded teacher Dr Roger Woolger. His
book 'Other Lives, Other Selves' (see bibliography) reveals some
of the undeniable and unquestionable facts of past-life recall,
be they our soul's personal memories or our ability to tune into
By the end of the seminar many of the participants had had similar
experiences; without doubt our body remembers something that is
far removed from our civilised, controlled persona. No one who witnesses
the power and energy of a regressand can deny this, as they thrash
and shout an involuntary tirade of pent up emotion that can only
belong to another experience of life, another world. These are everyday
people of diverse, mature and unemotional disposition; writers,
therapists, professional people who will surprise themselves and
others with the gripping reality of these unsavoured experiences
racking their bodies.
This is no sham act contrived for curious observers, no day dream
of an unbridled imagination; the cold sweat, the convulsive tears,
the anger, the exhaustion - all belong to the rich reality of experiences
gained on our long spiritual journey through the ages. Time and
again a regressand will recall some powerful event or experience,
and be able to recognise the source of their unexplained and unsolicited
phobias which govern their current life. Phobias like guilt complex,
persecution mania, insecurity, eating disorders, sexual disorientation,
claustrophobia. All may have arisen through past life experiences
which include, respectively, interrogation, starvation, rape, violation,
incarceration: powerful experiences which are not healed by death
alone. It is easy to see the connection.
Relationships of physical events to human conditions
|| Anorexia, bulimia
Past life recalls are real stories, not dreams, and as such are
visually descriptive and clearly stated. A woman called Joan had
suffered chronic backache all her life and recalled, under regression,
her death under the wheels of a cart at an earlier time. Bringing
this event to consciousness cured her ailment completely and permanently.
Such events are commonplace in Dr Woolger's work.
Past life regression is not for the merely curious but for those
seekers who have suffered the pains of spiritual desolation and
visited despair. And in common with most new age disciplines, people
must find their own way, unprompted, to these searchings. There
are many paths to the inner self and psychic regression may be just
one of them.
THE SHADOW AND EVIL
Regression raises another more delicate issue, that in the distressing
events recalled in past lives we are at one time the victims of,
say, rape, and at the next, the perpetrator - the rapist. Or we
are prisoner and inquisitor, or aggressor and aggrieved; true to
karmic teaching we appear to experience every event from both perspectives;
for every positive act we also experience the negative counterpart;
for every tyrannical victory we are also victims.
Memories of our spiritual past belong in the past, and Dr Woolger
works to defuse and disarm those experiences still locked in our
bodies and minds. But we could do well to acknowledge our shadow
and our potential for evil, which exists in all of us and is an
indisputable part of our psychic entirety. We spring from a lengthy
inheritance; mankind has been wrestling with its worldly fate for
half a million years, and yet we are only just becoming conscious
of our spirituality in this century. We must accept these uncomfortable
thoughts, accept our potential for evil as we accept our potential
for good, not with denial but with humility and self-forgiveness.
These experiences belong to the soul's rich history of perfecting,
purifying and learning, and there is no judge but us.
It is easy to turn from the responsibilities of self-discovery
- but to do so would ensure a self-perpetuating hell of emotional
ignorance and social disorder. What we fail to learn in life we
are unable to teach, and the children of our generation, as well
as us, will suffer the consequences.
Arab boys on globe