Understanding Past Lives

How A World View that Embraces Past Lives Can Help You Live More Consciously Today

By Ann C. Barham, LMFT, CRT

It may seem like an oxymoron, but approaching yourself as just one of the many human personalities in which your soul has expressed across a series of lifetimes actually helps you to live more consciously in your current life. A perspective on human existence that embraces the realities of past lifetimes can help you be more fully present in the world, even as you are connected to the eternal knowledge that you are not of the world. Let me explain.

One of the key aspects of my work with past life therapy clients over the past twenty years is to take them through a life review after their death in a prior lifetime. We look at life themes and important lessons learned or missed. We identify talents and strengths of the prior personality. We appreciate the connections with other individuals that may be in their lives once again in the present. We find guidance related to the current life path and purpose. With these insights and understandings, it brings a whole new focus and meaning to the client’s current life.

In fact, this is similar to the life review that many NDE (near-death experience) survivors describe and find transformative. Here is how you can do some of this work for yourself even without going through a past life regression or NDE yourself, to help raise your own awareness and live more consciously and fully in your current personality. Take a few quiet moments to engage in a review of your life as of now, assessing the following aspects:

Talents and Gifts. What are your key talents and gifts, the things you do so well or so naturally that you hardly recognize that they’re special? It might be in your work, such as an ability to manage a complex project, to write or speak publicly, or to handle finances. Or it might be in your personal life: you’re the one friends seek out when they’re troubled; you have a wonderful artistic flair in decorating; or you’re involved in the special Olympics. Very often these talents, skills, and interests reflect mastery brought forward from prior lifetimes. So take a look at these talents from a higher perspective.

How is it that others benefit from this talent or gift of yours? Are you using this talent to your full ability? Recognize that these gifts have been instilled in your current personality for a reason (by your soul, or by God, depending on your beliefs). What might that reason be? Do these talents relate to a higher mission or purpose? What can you do in each day to put these talents to greater service? Make a commitment to raise your awareness of your unique gifts and the daily opportunities you have to consciously use them.

Let me share an example from my own life. Although I had worked as a counselor and past life therapist for many years, I kept my work rather private and under the radar as many therapists do. However, I kept thinking my clients’ past life stories were so interesting and inspiring, they ought to be shared with a bigger audience. Since I had written professionally on other topics in the past, I began to realize that I had been given this combination of talents – both to help others evoke their past life memories for healing and spiritual growth, and to write in engaging yet informative ways – so I could help raise the general awareness of the eternal realities in a practical, down-to- earth, yet entertaining way. As a result, I launched on the path a couple of years ago to become a published author and speaker, because to not do so was to leave part of my mission undone, a mission which I now more consciously embody in a larger arena.

Life Lessons. What would you say are the themes or lessons in your life so far? What is it that you are meant to learn from your experiences? Are there things you keep bumping into because there’s a particularly difficult lesson you keep skirting around? What beliefs have you formed as a result of your life experiences? Are these lessons and beliefs things that serve you or are they getting in your way, and perhaps you need some course correction? Begin to look at every event in your life, be it joyful or challenging, as an opportunity to learn and grow, to master human life. Identify what the lesson is that you are working with at each juncture.

One of my key life lessons has been to hang in there with difficult people and situations rather than cut and run. I was born into a family that had just suffered a suicide (3 weeks before my birth) – the ultimate opt out. It was important for me to experience the serious damaging effects on myself and on family members, to really get it that suicide was not an option (having taken that route in prior lifetimes myself.) I learned by living through some serious depressions in my younger life, ultimately realizing that though challenging, my feelings were not life-threatening. I also faced some very challenging relationships that helped me find a balance between hanging in there through the tough times, knowing when it truly was time to leave, and knowing that the ultimate relationships I rely upon are with myself and with Spirit.

It helps me live more consciously every day as I take the perspective that this is an important life lesson for me that my soul intended for me to master. The fact that my work focuses on helping others work through their own emotional and relationship challenges continues to reinforce these lessons.

Significant Others. Who are the people that play significant roles in your personal drama — those with whom you have strong connections, and those with whom you struggle? In past life work we find that these key figures are typically people we have been with across more than one lifetime. How would that understanding change how you approach these relationships? Could it be that the difficult people are actually doing you a service by helping you with a particular life lesson? What if you were relating to these people, soul essence to soul essence? Can you bring that awareness into your daily interactions and make your relationships more conscious? Can you bring more soulfulness into even your casual daily interactions?

A fun example from some years ago, I used to meet every month or so with a couple friends to discuss our lives and our spiritual quest. There were occasions when we would deeply connect with a sense that our soul essences were delighting and smiling at our human selves and our ability to share so openly. We would experience what we came to call a “spiritual orgasm,” an intense sense of love and connection in the moment that transcended time. What a joyful way to bring more consciousness to relationship!

As I summarize in my new book, The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes:

“Understanding that we are eternal beings, manifesting on the physical plane over and over again in different human bodies and personalities, brings such enrichment to our current lifetimes. It expands our vision of life and what it means to be human. It enhances our understanding of what our purpose is here on the planet. It certainly has eliminated the fear of death for many, many clients. It assuages our feeling of loss when we see how we have been with loved ones before and will be with them again. And it richly magnifies our relationships with the people in our lives, particularly when we see the chains of love and connection that have endured across lifetimes.” (P.213-14)

Taking the past life perspective can assist you in bringing a more conscious approach to the people, events and circumstances of your current life.

Resources. Here are some resources I mention in my book that can further your exploration in these areas: For your own individualized past life session with a qualified therapist, check with the International Board of Regression Therapy (IBRT). The Board maintains a directory of practitioners who have met rigorous criteria to be certified as a regression therapist. I strongly suggest that you select someone who has counseling in addition to hypnosis credentials, so if traumatic material comes up you are guided by someone who is trained in these matters. A number of us now offer sessions over Skype so distance need not be a barrier.

Regression work—especially the portion that deals with the spiritual experiences between lifetimes—overlaps with the topic of Near Death Experiences. The International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS) puts on an annual conference with many wonderful speakers and is open to non-NDE survivors as well as NDE’ers. Check out the website for many fascinating and
inspiriting NDE stories and future events planned by IANDS. Membership in the association is quite reasonable and you can stay abreast of the latest research via their newsletter.

The Transpersonal Consultation Group maintains an extensive library of material channeled by my dear friend and teacher, Dr. Ron Scolastico. This is a tremendous resource if you are looking for spiritual inspiration, meditation instruction and an understanding of the big picture of our earth adventure. Ron’s wife, Susan Scolastico, is carrying on Ron’s work after his death.

In the book (Appendix A, P 225-227), I mention the use of tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in some client stories. This is a wonderful tool that you can apply for yourself to help work through a variety of issues. EFT was recently catapulted into popular attention by Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution, but it has been around for a number of years. I particularly like the work of Lindsay Kenney, EFT Master at Progressive EFT; she works with what she calls “reversals,” those limiting, unconscious beliefs that are standing in the way of our achieving our goals.


AnnBarham_origABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ann C. Barham is the author of The Past Life Perspective: Discovering Your True Nature Across Multiple Lifetimes by Enliven/Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. A licensed marriage and family therapist and a certified regression therapist, she has training in transpersonal psychology, hypnosis, therapeutic imagery, and trauma release modalities. Throughout her nearly twenty year career, she has evolved her practice to merge her interest in spirituality with her counseling work, now focusing almost exclusively on past life regression therapy, which she believes has the greatest healing impact for her clients in the shortest amount of time. She lives in California.








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