NY Times article has a unique spin on reincarnation and karma

This article by Michelle Alexander is the first mention of politics on this blog but is worthwhile because of its unique approach to the issue:

“The prospect of being reborn as a poor person in a world ravaged by climate change could lead us to very different political decisions.”


In other words, if you assume you’re coming back for another incarnation in a physical body on this planet, consider how we are treating this planet that we are coming back to, and that we may return as someone of a different sex, race or social status. Michelle addresses whether we switch from perpetrator to victim in succeeding lives:

“Would we fail to respond with care and compassion to the immigrant at the border today if we thought we might find ourselves homeless, fleeing war and poverty, in the next life?”

I haven’t talked about climate change and social issues here because I’m taking the broader, more spiritual perspective. But Michelle Alexander beautifully focuses on the personal intersecting with the political in examine the ideas of John Rawls and his idea of the “veil of ignorance”-

In his landmark 1971 book, “A Theory of Justice,” the political philosopher John Rawls urged his audience to imagine a wild scene: A group of people gathered to design their own future society behind “a veil of ignorance.” No one knows his or her place in society, class position or social status, “nor does he know his fortune in the distribution of natural assets and abilities, his intelligence and strength and the like.” As Rawls put it, “If a man knew that he was wealthy, he might find it rational to advance the principle that various taxes for welfare measures be counted unjust; if he knew he was poor, he would most likely propose the contrary principle.” If denied basic information about one’s circumstances, Rawls predicted that important social goods, such as rights and liberties, power and opportunities, income and wealth, and conditions for self-respect would be “distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any or all of these values is to everyone’s advantage…

Rawls was right: True morality becomes possible only when we step outside the box of our perceived self-interest and care for others as much as we care for ourselves. But rather than imagining a scenario in which we’re entirely ignorant of what the future holds, perhaps we ought to imagine that we, personally, will be born again into the world that we are creating today through our collective and individual choices.

Yes, if we are going to be born again into this physical world, and that’s a big IF, consider the shape of the world that you left behind and how you might want to be treated the next time around.

Pew Research data on new age belief


According to this recent survey, 33% of Americans express belief in reincarnation. That breaks down to 39% of women and only 27% of men, with the highest % of belief in the youngest.

(Which would explain why there are more women in my MeetUps and in my practice than men.)

Michael Talbot's Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook

I am familiar with writer/researcher Michael Talbot because of his incredible book “The Holographic Universe” but did not know until today that he was an avid past lives researcher. In 1987 he published “Past Lives: A Reincarnation Handbook” and I can’t think of anything else in this format of a how-to book for past lives work. Talbot has obviously done a lot of his own past lives explorations, and is one of those lucky enough to remember their previous incarnations well into his childhood. This book covers keeping a past lives journal and explores a wide variety of techniques including dreaming, meditation and self-hypnosis, guided meditations (including the Christos technique, more on that below), Active Imagination, and exploring with a past life therapist or psychic. He even has his own technique called the Resonance Method and this quote from Yogananda sums up Talbot’s Resonance Method:

“Through analysis of your present strong tendencies you can pretty accurately surmise what kind of life you led before.”

Paramahansa Yogananda, Man’s Eternal Quest

Talbot describes this as:

“a special draw that you feel toward some things and not others when there is no logical reason in this life for you to feel the way you do.”

“One of the easiest ways for you to begin to decipher your past lives is simply to analyze your current psychological makeup. Many past-life researchers believe that past-life origins can be found not only for current emotional and physical problems, moods, habits, talents, and ways of relating with people, but even for food preferences, clothing tastes, nuances of personality, facial expressions, and body language. By determining which of these various pieces of yourself are holdovers from other lives, you can begin to formulate certain pictures of who and what you've been before. This is what the Resonance Method will help you do… As you use the Resonance Method, remember one cardinal rule: No single piece of information means anything. Pieces of information only start to mean something when they fit together into larger pictures.”

Interestingly, he references the Christos Technique as one of the best methods for 2 person explorations, and even mentions “a Massachusetts couple named Diane and William Swygard” as the originators. But in a pre-internet age, with William Swygard’s death in 1981 and the books out of print, Talbot had no way of knowing that the Christos Technique was Swygard’s technique, using the same instructions that the Swygard’s mailed from their Miami, Florida home in the previous years. At the very least Talbot says in print what I have been saying in my presentations: “Whatever its origins, the Christos Technique has become an established part of the past-life-recall repertoire, and variations of it can now be found in numerous sources”. More on Christos in a future post.

Going deeper into the book, Talbot offers this excellent advice on the method of working with a psychic:

“Just as a talent to play the piano in itself tells you nothing about the integrity or wisdom of the person playing the piano, a talent for paranormal functioning does not necessarily imply an equal gift in the areas of compassion, ethics, or spiritual wisdom…(N)o matter how talented a sensitive is, the information he channels will always be at least slightly colored and distorted by the mere fact that it is passed through him.”

Then Talbot writes one of the rare criticisms of Edgar Cayce for his “tendency to tell a statistically preponderant number of the people who came to him for past-life readings that they had had a lifetime in which they had known and talked with Christ.” Boom!

Which leads to this advice on discernment:

“(I)f you see an image of Marilyn Monroe, do not automatically assume that you have some sort of past-life association with Marilyn Monroe. Instead, ask yourself what Marilyn Monroe represents to you on an archetypal or symbolic level, and see if that image helps you unravel the message your unconscious is giving you.”

Talbot was obviously influenced by the work of various channels who deliver wisdom from beyond the mortal perspective and speaks highly of Jane Roberts’ Seth. He seems to have been in communication with what he calls a “trance entity” named James who was channeled by Jane Roberts’ longtime editor Tam Mossman. I was unfamiliar with “James” but an internet search revealed that Mossman published his own book, Answers from a Grander Self, in 1990 which I will add to the ever growing list of books I need to read. “James” has some interesting ideas on time and suggests that instead of past lives they be referred to as adjacent lives. That’s a rabbit hole I’ll be exploring in the future.

Talbot, who passed away in 1992, has written an excellent guide to past lives explorations. This out-of-print book is an awesome addition to my ever expanding library and is highly recommended.

Your Past Lives - A Reincarnation Handbook, 1987

Lyme Disease and a Past Lives Perspective

I have not yet written about my own personal Lyme disease journey and healing crisis due to a tick bite I received back in 2005 (while playing at the Poconos blues festival!!!) but maybe its time to address this. I shouldn’t have been surprised while was reading this article* about Lyme disease to find a reference to past lives. The author, Scott Forsgren from the better health guy blog and website (betterhealthguy.com), is in recovery from Lyme and the article promotes “casting a wide net” in the healing journey. What got my interest was the first item on his list is :

Reducing the impact of negative thought patterns and past emotional traumas and conflicts

“Emotional traumas and conflicts do not necessarily have to be personally experienced; they may be inherited from our ancestors or even past lives (if one believes in this possibility).”

Among his recommendations are::

“Family constellation therapy, applied psycho-neurobiology (APN), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), BodyTalk, the Emotion Code, EFT, and related techniques may be very helpful in exploring this realm.”

I am glad to see EFT included along with EMDR to deal with what he calls “a PTSD-like condition” that results from being sick, very wise advice. I am pursuing a past lives perspective on my personal healing crisis and highly recommend it to anyone dealing with this and related illnesses. More on this as it develops. Check out the article:


Nerd's Eye View: Bi-Lateral Alternating Tactile Stimulation as an alternative to EFT tapping

Digging deeper into this fascinating process that George Duisman introduced me to with CTT, I felt the need to nerd-out, to dig deeper and research how the simple act of tapping on alternate sides of the body can move stuck energy so effectively. This led me to EMDR, which is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing;

“It was discovered accidentally by Francine Shapiro Phd as she was walking in a park in the late 1980’s. As she was walking… she noticed that some distressing feelings she was having about a particular situation suddenly ceased. When she reflected back on what happened, she remembered that she had experienced some spontaneous saccadic eye movements (kind of rapid blinking). This led her to experiment further and the discovery that when a person deliberately focuses on a distressing memory, and then concentrates on bilateral stimulation, their distress is reduced. ”*

Further research by EMDR practitioners discovered that it wasn’t only eye movements that brought about these shifts:

“Bilateral stimulation is stimuli (visual, auditory or tactile) which occur in a rhythmic left-right pattern. For example, visual bilateral stimulation could involve watching a hand or moving light alternating from left to right and back again. Auditory bilateral stimulation could involve listening to tones that alternate between the left and right sides of the head.”*

So the focus shifted from eye movements to any stimuli which occurred in a rhythmic left-right pattern.  This resulted in a number of products ranging from audio recordings of tones which shifted from left to right channels, to devices looking like twin wrist watches that deliver a vibration to alternating wrists. The effects are similar to what has been shown with EFT tapping:

“These effects are experienced as a ‘bottom-up’ cascade of changes meaning that they are experienced in the lower areas of the brain first, as a physiological response (ie; decreased tension) then travel ‘up’ the brain leading to mental changes (eg; decreased worry). Because this order works with how the brain normally processes information, the effects are often experienced more quickly and easily than with say top-down strategies such as insight and conscious introspection.”*

Which brings us to what George Duisman explored with CTT (Consciousness Transformation Technique). Using EFT as a jumping off point, Duisman started from a cross-armed position, tapping with alternating hands on the upper arms. I have found this to be surprisingly effective. I will be going forward on a dual track: I am using Duisman’s bi-lateral alternating tapping form on my clients who are not familiar with EFT.  But as many of my clients already know the EFT procedure and the tapping points, that is more comfortable for them and doesn’t require further explanation. I am in the process of getting my certification in EFT to deepen and enhance my use of this amazing healing technology. I believe that the combination of EFT tapping with the Swygards’ Awareness Techniques is a major breakthrough in moving energy and processing traumas. Try it, it works!

* (https://anxietyreleaseapp.com/what-is-bilateral-stimulation/

Great Quincy Jones/Count Basie quotation

You can always count on the greatest of musicians to come up with the greatest of quotes. Here’s one from the new Netflix documentary “Quincy” about composer/arranger Quincy Jones. In the doc, Quincy Jones refers to bandleader Count Basie as like a father to him and who gave him this advice:

“Learn to deal with the valleys, the hills will take care of themselves.”

Beautifully stated, especially in light of adding EFT and CTT tapping to my sessions to deal with the valleys.

CTT: The Powerful Combination of Past Lives & EFT

My intention in pursuing past lives explorations was always to find what is next for this field. I believe that the most significant advance in the field is the combination of EFT tapping with past lives explorations. Synchronistically in August 2018 I started an EFT tapping MeetUp here in Asheville. I had been doing EFT and working with some of its energy psychology offshoots like TAT for 10 years and never thought of tapping in conjunction with my past lives work, but George Duisman has been doing just that with his online community for years.

I was researching the work of Dolores Cannon and QHHT (Quantum Healing Hypnosis Technique) which has an interesting induction using visualizations of objects and colors. Cannon, who passed away in 2014, had insisted her trainees only work in person so after her death an offshoot called BQH (Beyond Quantum Hypnosis) emerged that was designed to take advantage of the internet resources like Skype and Zoom. It was on a website for BQH practitioners that I connected with George Duisman whose innovative technique is called CTT (for Consciousness Transformation Technique). I have added tapping to my sessions since I learned about this and its extremely powerful. What’s even more interesting about CTT is that George uses a modified form of tapping which is much less complicated than classic EFT but just as effective. I connected with George Duisman for an interview last week to find out more about his process. (For the word-weary, scroll down to the end of this article for the audio interview.)

GD was one of the earliest adopters of personal computers and programming, building one of the first PC golf games. Always interested in spirituality, he was drawn to the early teachings of J. Z. Knight’s Ramtha and also investigated EFT in its early days. Duisman’s curiosity brought him to two innovative uses  of EFT, which are tapping for insights and a simplified cross armed form of tapping. Inspired by the bilateral movements of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Duisman’s method involves crossing the arms over the chest and tapping with alternate hands on the upper arms. This allows the tapper to remain in a self-hugging position and doesn’t require guidance to change positions. Its simplicity took some getting used to but it has proved effective with my clients who are not familiar with the EFT tapping points. (I’ll post a “nerd’s eye view” of Bi-Lateral Alternating Tactile Stimulation, and yes, that’s a mouthful, to examine the background on this method.) But that is only the first of many innovations in CTT. I have been researching various methods of inductions, both hypnotic and non-hypnotic, for the past year, and CTT dispenses with the induction altogether. Instead, it poses the question (which I love) “What is the Optimum Negative Belief that is blocking your joyful empowerment?” Followed with “What is the first clue?” The clue being whatever image, word, sound, feeling or emotion that arises in response to the question. (Once again, the almighty trusting of the first image that is central to past lives work and shamanic journeying.) This allows even the most subtle impression to be drawn out to a full experience.

In one of the CTT sessions I did, my first impression was of an orange, just a single piece of fruit. Further questioning uncovered an incredible life as the very wealthy but unhappy and unfulfilled 2nd generation owner of an empire based on acres of orange groves in Spain. Money, a big house and a beautiful young 2nd wife couldn’t soothe my heartache over my failed career as an artist and I succumbed to alcohol and overwork, just like my father whose lifestyle I was determined to avoid. All of this emerged from that image of a single orange, which expanded into the groves of the family business and the emotional turmoil behind this dynasty. There were multiple episodes in this life where I connected to his heartache and tapped on the pain: he was a wanna-be artist, I was a wanna-be rock star, there were echoes of that experience in my life and I experienced shifts when we were tapping.

I am currently incorporating Duisman’s CTT tapping and some of his wording into my past lives work with clients with great success. Lots of energies being moved, lots of clearings and insights being received. I believe that the combination of some form of EFT tapping with the groundbreaking work of the Swygards’ Awareness Techniques is not just the next step in Past Lives Therapy but a giant leap forward.

Book Review: Past-Life Therapy in Action by Dick Sutphen

I hadn't read any of Dick Sutphen's books so when the shelf elves delivered this one to me, I was intrigued. Sutphen is one of the original New Age personalities who helped to put Sedona on the map, and he has one of the earliest mass market books on reincarnation with "You Were Born to Be Together", published in 1978. The timing of reading this book is interesting as Sutphen is an advocate of what hypnotists call "regression to cause," going immediately to the source of the trauma. His style is very "in your face", challenging people's belief systems with the confidence of someone who has years of experience. He even jokes in one chapter that he tells people "I wish you a miserable past-life regression." His reasoning is:

"If your regression experience is vivid and real enough for you to get upset, then I guarantee you this past-life incident is still in your present life. It is programming that is still under the surface, festering and manifesting as problems. By getting in touch with the cause in regression, you can totally experience it, possibly resolving your problem... Everything you feel, every attitude, hang-up, fear, and phobia is rooted in your past. There is a past event or series of events that is causing you to experience the present undesirable effect."

That sums up Sutphen's philosophy and methodology better than I could. Sutphen is an advocate of the belief that “you create everything, that you are totally responsible for everything that happens to you.” Luckily, he also stresses that “wisdom erases karma:”

“Can you make it all right with yourself to release and rise above the past, the past of being a victim and the past of being the bad guy? Can you let go of all the past situations you’ve lived and suffered? If you are ready to truly forgive yourself, you can release all the undesirable effects right now. You can wipe the slate clean and move forward into your present life; clear, focused, in balance and harmony. The choice is yours.”

I have recently been working with this very intense practice, doing this past lives version of shadow work. This is being willing to look at the events and choices that lead to you being “the bad guy.” And its surprising to find that for all the times I’ve seen myself as the victim, further digging uncovered a life where I was the perpetrator, sometimes with the same people involved! It is extremely powerful and I am in agreement with Sutphen that it is necessary. In fact Sutphen goes further:

“If my subject has a severe physical problem which is also associated with depression or emotional troubles, experience has taught me not to be satisfied with a ‘cause’ that does not include guilt.”

The only aspect that dates this work from 1983 is that the old model was to access the trauma but full back from feeling it, working from a "detached, all-knowing level of awareness." Sutphen’s induction includes the command:

"I want you to be an observer of your own experience. Detached, without any emotion or pain." 

Now I understand that this book is based on transcripts from workshops where he was doing group work. It must have been an intense experience for participants to open themselves to exposing their issues and confronting them in a public format. But its an interesting sync that this book shows up just after I connected with George Druisman and started experimenting with his CTT method. This consists of aiming directly to the source of the trauma, not detaching but acknowledging the level of distress, then tapping on it using his unique innovative form of EFT. (More on CTT in my next post.) 

These words from Dick Sutphen will be my quote of the month in the newsletter:

Nobody punishes us but ourselves. And nobody rewards us but ourselves.

Past-Life Therapy in Action by Dick Sutphen and Lauren Leigh Taylor, Valley of the Sun Publishing, 1983

Nerd’s Eye View: 240 times a minute

Just after posting my drum nerd/shamaninc journey story, this item found me and the number 240 jumped out.

"(Two) studies — one on humans by a team at the University of California Berkeley, and another on macaques done by scientists at Princeton University — sought to pin down how many times the human brain oscillates in and out of focus per minute. Four times every second, explains Princeton Neuroscience Institute Ian Fiebelkorn, Ph.D., to Inverse, the brain stops focusing on the task at hand. That’s about 240 times a minute.

'The brain is wired to be somewhat distractible,' he says. 'We focus in bursts, and between those bursts we have these periods of distractibility, that’s when the brain seems to check in on the rest of the environment outside to see if there’s something important going on elsewhere. These rhythms are affecting our behavior all the time.'”


Just as I focus on the magic number of 240 beats per minute this study mentions '240 times a minute", the equivalent, as how often our brains check in and out of the object of our attention. The reason this is a good thing is that our ancestors who were open to signals from their environment when focusing on picking a piece of fruit or hunting survived more often than those that were so focused on the task at hand that they became the hunted. I understand that moving attention to the environment 240 times a minute is not a frequency, but I'm not grasping how NOT focusing 240 times a minute relates to being in the zone while hunting or gathering; these seem contradictory. But I offer this information to you, let me know if you have any insights. 


A drum nerd's take on the shamanic journeying experience (and the Bee Gees)


It seems appropriate to address this topic just after examining how psychedelic research can give insight into the workings of the human brain and how alterations to the brain, whether chemical, energetic, or spiritual, affect consciousness. So how does performing CPR to the beat of the BeeGees “Stayin’ Alive” link with the drum beat used during a shamanic journeying session, which connects with EFT tapping on meridians on the body, which, as all things in my universe, leads to past life explorations? Start with this video: here’s a rare funny public service advertisement that describes how to perform CPR properly while waiting for the EMT’s to arrive-


 I apologize for the fact that you'll be hearing that song for the rest of the day. The takeaway is that this iconic BeeGees song that most people are familiar with from being used to choreograph John Travolta’s walk down a Brooklyn street (which happens to be Bay Ridge, where I lived for 7 years before moving to Asheville) just happens to be approximately 100 beats per minute (BPM for short). So if you need to restart and maintain a heartbeat for someone who’s had a heart attack, pushing hard on the center of the chest rhythmically at 100 BPM is ideal. As a former drummer and current drum nerd, recognizing beats per minute is something my brain attuned to at an early age. “Stayin’ Alive” was so ubiquitous in the 1970’s (the first time disco music put live musicians out of work) that everyone knows it, so its easy to sing or hum the song in your head while performing CPR. Also the song is called Staying Alive, which extends the metaphor.


This alerted me to the power that a simple drum beat can have on the body and made me wonder how drum beats could affect consciousness. So when this drum nerd attended a shamanic journeying session, I heard the drummer playing a simple steady rhythm on a single drum and couldn’t believe how powerful it was. Since I’ve been trained to remember tempos since I was 14, when I left the session I took out the metronome app on my phone (ProMetronome by EUMLabs in the Apple store) and tapped in the beat. It was 255 beats per minute, which is just over 4 beats per second (4 beats per second times 60 seconds = 240 beats per minute), which translates to slightly more than 4 Hertz*, which, in terms of brainwaves, is theta. 

In theta (3-8 Hz or 180-480 beats per second), our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within…In theta we are in a dream; vivid imagery, intuition and information beyond our normal conscious awareness.” **(https://brainworksneurotherapy.com/what-are-brainwaves)

That simple repetitive drum beat was integral to setting and maintaining the brain in theta, which gives our brain access to the vivid imagery that is the hallmark of a good shamanic journey. I heard a recording of the famous shamanic practitioner Sandra Ingerman and, again with my metronome app, determined that she was drumming at 230 BPM, which is just under 4 Hz (which would be 240 BPM) but still in theta range (180-320 beats per minute). I went looking for a popular song in that range and the closest I found was “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, which is 118 BPM. Why is that important to a drum nerd? Because once you know how a song sounds you can tap along with it. When I began drumming at my weekly shamanic journeying group here in Asheville, I could  “hear” Billie Jean in my head and tap on all 4 beats which doubles that 118 BPM to 236 beats per minute, which is solidly in Theta. I could establish a tempo in-between Sandra Ingerman’s and the previous drummer at my session and move the group towards theta. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my other enthusiasms is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) which is tapping on meridian points on the body for emotional relief. I listened to a recording of a session where the tapping sounds were audible, compared them to the tempo that I was tapping at, and measured them on my trusty metronome app. Incredibly, the tempo was in the range of 240 beats per minute, actually a bit faster @250 BPM, but once again, THETA! One of the characteristics of EFT tapping is how it calms the body and helps you to tune in to your emotional state. Recall the quote above: “In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within.” So instinctively the tapping tends towards a tempo that induces the calm focus of theta. 

Since everything in my worldview angles back to past lives explorations, I have been experimenting with inducing theta by both rhythmic tapping and drumming in the 240 beats per minute range. But the goal isn’t getting to theta or any other brainwave state, it is directing consciousness to a previous body in a past life and seeing through those eyes and hearing through those ears. I'm avoiding making a "Staying Alive" pun here to wrap this up, you can thank me later. 


*Beats per minute (BPM) is a unit typically used as either a measure of tempo in music, or a measure of one's heart rate. A rate of 60 bpm means that one beat will occur every second. One bpm is equal to 1/60 Hz. -https://www.convertworld.com/en/frequency/beats-per-minute/bpm-to-hz.html

** Some sites put theta at 4 - 8 Hertz, but I have found the range to be more like 3.5 - 8, which includes Sandra Ingerman's slightly slower beat (230 beats per minute) which is very effective, widely used and is @3.8 Hertz.

Further (Drug-Free) Psychedelic Adventures & a Book Review

I previously referenced Michael Pollan's book "How to Change Your Mind" back in May when articles began appearing before the book's publication. One quote jumped out for me:

"...a mystical experience can permanently shift a person's perspective and priorities."

Pollan's book examines the work of researchers using state of the art technology to study what happens in the brain under the influence of psychedelics. One of his surprise discoveries is how the psychedelic-ized brain matches up with the brains of experienced meditators. I wonder how the brain of someone on a past life journey would appear on an fMRI. Even more so, the brain of someone exploring the NPE (Non-Physical Experience) between lives, where consciousness is navigating untethered to a physical body, present or past.

Pollan refers to an un-named psychedelic experiencer as a "psychonaut", that is, someone who is using psychedelics for consciousness expansion, and his deep observation:

"If it were possible to temporarily experience another person's mental state, my guess is that it would feel more like a psychedelic state than a 'normal' state, because of its massive disparity with whatever mental state is habitual with you." 

A very trippy thought because in the context of past lives explorations, that is only the starting point. Some of the best past life journeys can be likened to mystical experiences because we have set our conscious intention to "temporarily experience another person's mental state", with the added layer of knowing that we ARE the person inhabiting that mental state, are aware of its back story and its justifications for its behaviors. Like the psychonaut's inner adventure, the past life journey requires some unpacking afterwards. There is the disparity between the behaviors of our present and our past life selves (especially when the previous incarnation making those decisions is acting in a way that is either evil, an asshole, or both), combined with the resonance from that past life state that is echoing into our present life. That "echoing" is the reason we are drawn to examine that previous life. Pollan's take on this-

"The long-term fate of the novel connections formed during the psychedelic experience—whether they prove durable or evanescent—might depend on whether we recall and, in effect, exercise them after the experience ends. (This could be as simple as recollecting what we experienced, reinforcing it during the integration process, or using meditation to reenact the altered state of consciousness.) Franz Vollenweider has suggested that the psychedelic experience may facilitate “neuroplasticity.”

All aspects that I believe also apply to the past and between lives journey.  In fact, except for set and setting, most of the requirements for a successful psychedelic journey apply to past and between lives work:

-setting an intention

-having a good, experienced guide

-discussing and journaling the experience afterwards to fully integrate it

Set and setting, so important to the trip experience, are of significantly less importance. Some of my most powerful sessions were online connecting with people in their living rooms.

After a particularly intense past life journey, I have often thought (and heard brave participants say) "Wow, what a trip!" That concept of a trip has been altered after reading this book. But, and this is significant, I am not entirely trusting of psychedelics as a consciousness expanding device. In fact, this book about research into psychedelics has reaffirmed my belief in the power of past and between lives exploration for the purpose of expanding consciousness. With this powerful tool, we have the ability to inhabit, with full consciousness, both another mental state and another physical state of a different race, culture, environment, and, for the ultimate contrast with our present life, another sex. That's the journey that can shift a person's perspective and priorities. 

I don't recall Pollan mentioning past lives even once, and I still highly recommend this book:

Michael Pollan- "How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence" 

Clearing energies with tapping

I have referred to my way of acknowledging my intuition as "following the bread crumbs" that appear in my path. So when I was inspired to start an EFT* MeetUp I initiated the Asheville EFT Borrowing Benefits** MeetUp which begins this week. For those unfamiliar, EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique is Gary Craig's incredibly powerful but simple method of healing by tapping on meridians on the body while either setting an intention or accessing a troubling emotional state.(Links to more information at the bottom of this post.)

Synchronistically (or just following the breadcrumbs that lead me forward) while doing research to prepare for the EFT MeetUp I discovered the work of George Duisman. George lives in the US Pacific Northwest and works exclusively online with people from all over the world using his own form of EFT that he calls CTT (Consciousness Transformation Technique). I have been using EFT for 10 years now on my own issues and never thought of applying it to past lives work but this is Druisman's innovation. We talked and are now collaborating on blending my past life work using the Awareness Techniques with his CTT method of resolving trauma. Stay tuned for updates. I've done 2 sessions and hope to do more as I acquaint myself with this new technique and I'm looking forward to applying this with my own sessions. 

When compiling this post I found this quote from Maggie Munn that I'd saved. She was not referring to energy medicine; Munn is more concerned with removing entities which I am open to but have not had any dealings with in my own personal work. But she mentions past lives and clearing so it caught my attention:


"A person who has cleared more of their dense/negative energy from their negative emotional traumas from childhood, past lives and the generational curses (traumas/karma/sins) of their forefathers will have a better intuition than the average person. While everyone has the same amount of LifeForce energy coming into them, their negative energy re-qualifies it once it enters the body thus cutting them off from the knowledge that is inherent in the LifeForce/God. "

“Dense Energy Entities: The Cause Of Our Suffering” - Maggie Munn (maggiemunn@gmail.com)



**Borrowing Benefits is, according to the emofree.com website, "the discovery that simply watching someone else do EFT on their issues, while tapping along with them, can help you reduce the emotional intensity of your own issues."

General George Patton and Reincarnation Video Clip

Pivoting to video with this addition, I saw this on the Book of Faces and thought it was interesting. Its a clip from the movie "Patton", and in a stellar performance George C. Scott absolutely channels the World War 2 warrior General George Patton. Apparently Patton was a poet as well as a student of warfare who wrote a powerful poem in 1922 titled "Through a Glass, Darkly." An brief excerpt of the poem was included in the film, further stanzas are included below, plus a link to the complete poem. 

What is interesting to me about this is not that a powerful historical figure believed in reincarnation; the film clip captures his sense of himself as more than his present physical being. What is striking is his spiritual fatigue at repeating the same battles, literal battles, over and over, from both sides of the conflict: being the commander, being the foot soldier, being the attacker and the defender. 

Through the travail of the ages
Midst the pomp and toil of war
Have I fought and strove and perished
Countless times upon this star.
In the form of many people
In all panoplies of time
Have I seen the luring vision
Of the Victory Maid, sublime.
I have sinned and I have suffered
Played the hero and the knave
Fought for belly, shame or country
And for each have found a grave.
I cannot name my battles
For the visions are not clear,
Yet, I see the twisted faces
And I feel the rending spear.
Perhaps I stabbed our Savior
In His sacred helpless side.
Yet, I've called His name in blessing
When after times I died.
So as through a glass and darkly
The age long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names - but always me.
So forever in the future
Shall I battle as of yore,
Dying to be born a fighter
But to die again once more. 

More info about Patton’s belief’s in reincarnation here and the entire poem-




"We must bear in mind that what was mystical a thousand years ago is no longer so, and what is mysterious now may become lawfully intelligible a hundred years hence. It is the Infinite, the Ocean of Power, that is at the back of all manifestations.”

–Sri Ananda Mohan Lahiri, grandson of Lahiri Mahasaya (Paramahansa Yogananda's guru)


Spell Check Spookiness

Sometimes our computer overlords seem to be looking over our shoulder while we are working. I had the creepiest moment the other day while working on the review for Many Mansions. Since the book was first written in 1950, some of the language seems so archaic that it makes you realize how much we have changed since the middle of the last century. At one point the author, Gina Cermonara, refers to Edgar Cayce as a "Reincarnationist" and it made me laugh out loud. I had never heard that phrase and it sounded so charmingly old-fashioned, like the way psychiatrists were once called 'alienists'. I thought, "I have to get new business cards printed that say 'Bobby Baranowski - Reincarnationist." So I opened Pages, the word processing application on my iPad to make a note of it. Pages has a spell check function that offers 3 different spelling possibilities in a bar above the text, with the middle one being the most likely. As I typed R-E-I-N-C-A-R, I was stunned to see the word "REINCARNATIONIST" appear in the most likely position above my typing. Now I'd never even seen or heard this word used before but my iPad suggested it. (I just tried to again to see if I was hallucinating and it again offer it but in the 3rd, less likely slot.) It felt eerily like my mind had just been read by the Artificial Intelligence monitoring my spelling. I know that's not the case, well, its probably not the case, but it felt... invasive in my thought processes. We don't yet have a word or phrase that describes this, like we how "the uncanny valley" poetically captures the creepy feeling toward things that appear human but aren't quite right. I'm working on it. Any suggestions?

Book Review - Many Mansions by Gina Cerminara

At my local library I found a copy of "Many Mansions - The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation", a 1991 paperback reissue of the 1950 book. It has historical significance to my research since its the earliest mass market book on reincarnation that I've found. Unfortunately, it reads like it was written in 1900; this book has not aged well. For those not familiar, Edgar Cayce was a photographer who was cured of the loss of his voice through hypnosis. He discovered the ability to put himself into a trance state that allowed him to answer questions and give advice that brought him worldwide attention and the nickname "The Sleeping Prophet." Many cures were attributed to his advice and some of his recommendations, like osteopathic adjustments, colonics and castor oil packs were very much outside the mainstream for the time. In his later years, and in conflict with his Bible training, he started giving advice based on past lives and this is the material on which "Many Mansions" is based. 

Cerminara on Reincarnation:

"The soul is like an actor who takes on different roles and wears different costumes on different nights; or like a hand, that puts on the glove of a material body for a little while, and when the glove is threadbare, slips out and later dons another glove."(Another awesome costume reference!)

 Cayce did find the cause of many illnesses and impediments in previous incarnations but I was very surprised to discover that much of the advice he gives in speaking from his channeled source (and using the royal "we") sounds exactly like the man doing the channeling: a Sunday school teacher who for his entire life read the Bible once a year. The problem may be that the author, Gina Cerminara, quotes Scripture to reinforce advice given in the readings. Plus I should have recognized that the title references a Bible verse: "in my Father's house there are many mansions."  But I did not realize that Cayce relied so heavily on Scripture in his readings such as :

Cayce - "Did the Master heal all people alike? Didn't he use mechanical applications with some? Didn't He tell others to pass the word along? Didn't He simply use the spoken word in others? Remember this basis, this first principle: "The Lord thy God is one.'"

The problem may be that many people approached Cayce seeking advice beyond matters of health, asking about work, romance, and family matters, including questions like "Who should I marry?" While his channeled information tells of past lives in many eras, the advice sounds more like Cayce than an enlightened Other. 

This points to the issue of getting your information second hand, through someone else's filter. When you run a past life, ideally you are in the body, seeing though the eyes and hearing through the ears, and we provide our own filter. But when someone else is accessing your personal history for you, it is imperative to be conscious that your history is being filtered through a belief system. It can matter greatly when that filter is a Bible reading Sunday school teacher. *

Maybe it shouldn't have been surprising to me that when Cayce ventured into giving counsel based on past lives, his responses were so traditional. Less New Age and more old school, his advice tends to be, to use a phrase that leapt out of the book,  "theologically platitudinous." (That's the part of the book that hasn't aged well, along with some ideas about women in society that sounds very 19th century.)

Cerminara- "The use of affirmations, meditation, and prayer, the study of scripture, the practice of the virtues, and the rendering of service to one's fellow men are methods often recommended by the readings for the attainment of changed consciousness." 

That's good old fashioned mid-century Middle American advice; its just not as revolutionary as some of Cayce's advice on health and healing. Cayce does deliver some excellent advice very much influenced by the New Thought movement of the early 1900's and its emphasis on Mind as the Builder:

“Note that in whatever state you find yourself – of mind, body, of physical condition – that is what you have built, and is necessary for your unfoldment...Know that in whatever state you find yourself, that, at the moment, is best for you. Do not look back upon what might have been. Rather lift up, look up, now, where you are.

Know first that no urge, no influence, is greater than the will of the self to do what it determines to accomplish in any direction – whether physically, mentally, or spiritually. Know that no urge – astrologically, numerologically, symbiotically – surpasses the will of the entity in any experience."

Read this book with the warning that you may have to wade through Scripture to get to the fountain of new age wisdom. 


*From my past lives perspective, if you are taking advice from a Scripture-quoting Sunday school teacher who claims contact with a higher source, ask yourself whether that person's filter needs to be cleaned.


Quotation of the Month

Christopher Bache mentioned the work of David Cliness of Youngstown State University in his book "LifeCycles." It is fascinating research that may not have been published, I haven't found anything online except this mention in Bache's book:

"Cliness’ understanding of the dynamics of reincarnation is that our present life represents a composite of issues, abilities, foibles, and tasks drawn from not one but numerous former lives, assuming that we are dealing with someone who has had a few. He likens the process to playing cards. The deck includes 52 cards from which we are dealt a considerably smaller hand. The cards we are dealt are those lives that the Oversoul is now moving forward for work. Their issues are collected and organized into a new hand, and we are that hand. We are born into existence not free but deeply programmed from lives that, in one sense, we never knew.

...Each lifecycle is a reshuffling of the deck, bringing to the surface issues (and relationships) from different centuries and different lifetimes.

I love how Cliness brings the enormity of our experience and all our past lives that got us to where we are now to a finite graspable concept - a few cards representing our history, held in our hands. 

Running a past life by yourself

Something that came up at this month's MeetUp needs to be addressed here. I was describing my running experience that I'd had a few hours before, so it was very fresh in my mind. I was telling of my life as a ruler, and a pompous ass of one, in the Middle Ages, who pushed his people too far pursuing his own appetites but was not providing for his people. They overthrew me, and I found myself in a stone walled prison cell awaiting execution. This was a wake-up moment for me; I realized the error of my ways and made a deal to get my wife and daughter out safely. (The bishop knew where the money was hidden, and he was my go-between.) Once they were safe, I surrendered to my fate. When I asked, "What happens next?" I received the answer verbally: "You're going to be beheaded." 

I am so glad I told this story, as it opened my running process to examination as I tried to describe my experience. Someone asked if it was a male or female voice that I heard, and whether it was my own voice? Someone else noticed that I used the 2nd person: "You're going to be beheaded" not "I'm going to be beheaded." What was interesting was that I couldn't answer the questions about my process from outside the process; it wasn't until the next day when I re-visited the experience that I was able to recognize that it wasn't a voice the I "heard." I described it in my notes as more of a verbal prompt, and that it was male but not my own voice. I never would have investigated my own running had I not tried to explain it, and in trying to explain it, uncover aspects of my running that might assist others who are new to this past lives work. One more example where the group moves the work forward, and another reason for me to be grateful for everyone's participation.