Way back in the 1950's, when religion (of the Judeo-Christian persuasion) had much more of a grip on our society than it does today, there was another best-seller in this vein: "The Search for Bridey Murphy". If you can get your hands on a copy of it, you might find it interesting. Like the book you describe, in "Bridey" a hypnotist regressed her to at least one past life.
Past lives research has been a fascinating subject for years, and one in which the public often takes a major interest.
I've never read Bridey Murphy- but I'm aware of it as a "classic" text. I should probably try and find myself a copy.
Well, that's not really proof, is it? It's people telling stories. It's as anecdotal as Jesus or Mormonism. To prove this kind of thing beyond any measure of doubt would require control measures from birth for the person being hypno-therapized, and even then the possibility of suggestion and fraud is still massive.
I'm sure you know this, though. Right?
As for coming from Love and going back to Love, well, it all sounds a bit soft. Buddhism, really- as I understand it. But that doesn't make any sense. What lesson are we sent to learn? And why would there be cracks in this facade through which we'd be able to peek into past lives? Sounds like an imperfect, even flawed, system to me.
Not proof- just evidence. There are a lot of hypnotherapists out there- all getting comparable results. I don't suppose proof is possible.
I don't understand the learning thing either- not really. Why can't we just be created knowing it all? But maybe that wouldn't be any fun- or something. I don't know. I'm just reporting what the hypnotic subjects say.
2009-02-26 02:49 pm (UTC)
Just wondering - would you believe in a theory to the same extent if it said that we came from hate and went back to hate, and after we leave this life our bodies rot and our soul is erased? Or is it because it is such a comforting theory that you are more prepared to believe it?
Because love is all flowers and walks in the park and ease, right? Love is a discipline, and I have endured far more hardships in it than I ever have while indulging in hatred.
Hatred is easy.
2009-02-26 05:24 pm (UTC)
I didn't say love is easy, but it is more appealing. You may endure hardships trying to attain love, but that's because it's worth having. Hate is easier but who wants it?
I haven't seen it posed in quite that way before.
The answer is, no, I would resist that theory. I am predisposed to want my life to have some sort of meaning.
2009-02-27 02:22 pm (UTC)
If religion offers some hope of a better life after you die, then people are likely to be more contented and less likely to make radical changes in order to better their present lives. I believe Marx called religion the opiate of the masses.
I believe it too.
There was a study done in Canada - I think U of Toronto did it, and they featured it in a television series - on past lives. They hypnotized some skeptics and studied the past lives with the most detail. They then took these people, one to India and one to the British Isles (Ireland???) where they confirmed their visions, even having information they wouldn't have had otherwise. It was fascinating. I'd like to see more episodes.
I think I may pick up that book, I've been thinking about these ideas lately.
I'd like to see that research.
Weiss doesn't seem to check up on his patients' past lives- but then why should he? He's primarily a doctor, a healer. For him it's enough that his work has therapeutic value.
I can't seem to find it atm. I'll keep an eye out and let you know.
I think perhaps we find convincing what
we find personally attractive. Or most
easily do so.
I do not find reincarnation attractive,
though it works nicely for me in a ghost
story by russell kirk or two included in
a fine anthology 'watchers at the strait gate'.
I do not find it attractive and perhaps for
that reason find it exceedingly unconvincing.
I recall reading in colin wilson's 'mysteries"
and enthusiastic discussion of a set of cases
in india collected by a mr stevenson was it?
and it sounded in some way interesting although
mr wilson is only critical as among occultists
rather than by a general stanard of scholarship
a bit after that I found a study of these cases
published by Penguin which completely demolished
every instance(I am forgetting on what grounds
etc but very solidly it seemed).
past life regression in its results would also
seem to be amenable to more than one line of
explanation... and certainly in its cases that
I have seen often is the most absurd fantasy
although again I have not looked into this
deeply at all and it can also be on the grounds
of finding the idea unattractive.
But I do think again that what one easily accepts
as evidential is what one is drawn to perhaps.
I entirely agree. We are drawn to the ideas- the theologies- we find attractive.
I think you're right about the Indian researcher being called Stevenson. In India- where the idea of reincarnation is mainstream- there are many cases of very young children remembering "past lives". Like you, I've read some of this material- also the sceptical response.
Some regressions are clearly fantastical. There are far too many ancient Egyptian priestesses out there.
Weiss's subject- Catherine- mainly remembers lives of servitude- nothing very glamorous or exciting. Whatever else may be going on in her case, I believe we can rule out wishful thinking.
I recall having somehow a book
or perhaps it was in a magazine by
a gnostic bishop of some sort and he
was giving his autobiography, yes it
comes back it was a series in him
magazine,called flight of an eagle,
the first event he remembered
was at the time of Jesus when he was he
jewish girl about to be raped by a roman
soldier but an angel came down and stood
between them telling the roman he could
not do that. I think a bit later in the
episode he was present albeir as a
supernumeray at the Last Supper.
2009-02-26 08:39 pm (UTC)
Re: flight of an eagle
Yes, as soon as I learn that the reincarnated soul was present at the Crucixifion- or some other world-historical event- I switch off.
2009-02-26 09:04 pm (UTC)
where I accept in some sense reincarnation
here is what I believe
1) that one can speak of the whole human
race from beginning to end as the journey
of 'The Adam'(plural in hebrew. in J document
including eve no doubt).
2. that as the Pope is the presence
of the Fisherman whose ring he wears
and who watches by the river...
so the Dalai Lama is a single continuous
It seems that just as there are of course
some Christians who believe, finding it
attractive, in a more literal transmigration
so there are Buddhists who do not...
My friend Lex Hixon who walked at once multiple
paths being a sunni sheikh and an advaita
teacher and zen practioner and eastern orthodox
and buried by the dalai lama did not believe in it...
his wife in india recently met the supposed
reincarnation of lex but does not herself take
it literally just as a nice compliment.
2009-02-27 11:44 am (UTC)
Re: where I accept in some sense reincarnation
I like that idea of all humankind being Adam and every Pope being Peter. It's poetic. But reincarnation as I accept it proposes- as a fact- that the soul of a pope might turn up next time in the body of a Mumbai slumdog. This is poetic too- when you come to think of it.
Your friend Lex is an inspiration to me. Here am I wrestling with the problem of being an Anglican and a Pagan and an irreligious sceptic- and he managed to master all those different religious disciplines. I wonder how he coped?
well he came from a california background
the hippie culture etc and to Christianity
rather later after a number of other things
I think he had the sort of mind that can
accept a 'clouded moon' as beautiful
also he was perhaps a little 'rich' rather
than poor in the sense of having money but
also having a great many experiences and
so on collected...a bit of a collector also
also he said he was 'a lover of the lovers of
God' and for him an intense sense of the
centrality of God was perhaps also the
I do think that something like this is important
although obviously in terms of each psychology
and spiritual way because otherwise it becomes
simply a construct we must attempt rather than
an acceptance of the guidance of God through
all the bits and pieces we have assembled and
shored up against our ruin etc.
Oh dear. Be careful where you go with this. People of a disposition to believe can remember just about anything, depnding on their wishes and anxieties--past lives, future lives, appearances of aliens and elves and Satanists, a hypnotist's inventions--and they have remembered with impassioned certainty. It all feels true. This is in the nature of human memory.
All of which is mostly harmless, except when someone has an inoffensive childminder jailed for unspeakable atrocities, or writes a false memoir of his childhood in Auschwitz.
Memories of other lives (or lives lived otherwise) make fine poetry, but rotten law and worse science.
Reincarnation--like the existence of a soul or gods--is a matter of belief not evidence. Or so I think.
Oh, yes, indeed. It's a minefield.
I remember a book I read in my teens- written by some elderly spiritualist- in which he told us how he had run into the ghost of Anne Boleyn, and she had conscripted him and his band of doughty psychical researchers in a scheme to save the lost soul of Henry VIII and get him to move into the light. They finally found him stumping along the Embankment, muttering to himself about how it was all Cromwell's fault. Terribly thrilling, totally preposterous- and the poor man believed every word.
As St Paul once said, it is imperative that we "test the spirits"
Wasn't there some controversy recently about a guy who was a Holocaust survivor but made a whole load of extra stuff up to sell a book. And another one of a well-off white American woman faking a biography of herself as a poor, black woman who had grown up in the hood and survived abuse, or something like that?
My sense is that Herman Rosenblat's Angel at the Fence is a reworking of his life which began as some sort of private fairy tale for him and which rapidly spun out of control. He was not unwilling to be celebrated, at least for a time. And I think he knew all along that he was lying.
Margaret Seltzer's Love and Consequences strikes me as pure cynical manipulation.
Yeah I think she hurt a lot of people with her thoughtlessness. And probably enraged her publisher.
I want to tell you--my sister Cindy (who I think is mildly psychic, or even more than mildly--she is the one who watched my grandmother's painting fall off the wall when she remembered her death, and she has lived in a haunted house, truly) dreamed about my mother:
She said: I see Mother and am surprised--"Oh! You're back!" Mother says yes, matter-of-factly. I ask her if she sees Dad, and she says, all the time, and what about your mother? She says, sometimes.
She is distracted. She says she must go, she has things she does.
You mean you WORK? I say, surprised.
She says, Things I like to do.
That entirely conforms to what I believe.
I like that distinction your mother makes between "work" and "things I like to do."
I wish I knew what "things" she likes to do.
Just before she died, she said, I want a tour of the solar system, the universe! I hope she got it-it is my hope that she can tour wherever and whenever she likes, and that her consciousness understands fully what she does.