I Cried, Shivered And Shook! The Physical, Emotional And Psychological Impact Of A Successful Past-Life Regression
by Bob Olson
If you’re like me, you either don’t believe in past-life regression or you simply don’t believe that you can do it. Three years ago, I would have fallen under the category of full-blown nonbeliever. Today, after researching spiritual phenomenon for three years, I have no doubts that other people can achieve hypnotic regression to a past life; I just don’t believe I can do it. At least that was my story until recently, after experiencing a successful past-life regression of my own.
It has been a few weeks since my hypnotic regression, yet I am still pondering the psychological, emotional and even physical reactions that have resulted from it. Since I continue to cling to my skepticism of all things new age or supernatural until I have proven them for myself, the impact of a successful experience often slams me into a new reality. It then takes weeks for me to fully adjust to my new awakening. Now that I have finally processed the influence of my regression experience, I am excited to share my story with you.
Like many people, I read Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian Weiss in 1996. Weiss, a graduate of Columbia University and Yale Medical School, was also a bit skeptical when his psychotherapy patient, Catherine, began spewing the details of her past-life traumas. These past-life reviews, however, set Catherine free from the anxiety and nightmares that led her to Weiss’ treatment in the first place. Weiss was then hooked on hypnotic regression as a tool for treatment, and the world became hypnotized by his best-selling books on the subject. Still, it was a gigantic leap for me to go from believing that Weiss’ patients regressed into a past-life to believing that I, too, could have such an experience.
I have never had any success with meditation or psychic abilities. In fact, I fall asleep during meditation. I even lose focus while praying. And I’m so dysfunctional psychically that I couldn’t predict which color will come next at a traffic light. So I was pretty sure my chances of reaching a meditative state deep enough for a past-life regression were slim-to-none. But then the opportunity presented itself one day, so I said, “What the heck. Why not give it a shot?”
After making an appointment with clinical hypnotherapist, Nancy Canning, I had a couple weeks to think about hypnosis before my appointment. I recalled two incidents in my lifetime where I had been introduced to hypnosis on a smaller scale. The first was in my youth, around age 17, when I had seen a psychologist to help me cope with my father’s alcoholism. The psychologist decided to teach me self-hypnosis as a relaxation technique. He relaxed me using some guided visualization, telling me to relax the muscles in my body beginning in my feet and working my way up to my head. By the time he finished, I was in a deeply relaxed state-of-mind—a hypnotic trance. When it was over, I remember how surprised the psychologist was that it worked. I’m not sure he had ever tried it before. After leaving his office, I sat in my car in the dank city parking garage for twenty minutes before driving home just to soak in the immense tranquility I was feeling. The psychologist never used hypnosis with me again and I never tried it on my own.
The second incident occurred about eleven years later. I took a hypnosis course in Boston. I was disappointed with the course but came away with one interesting experience. The instructor used guided visualization to induce me into a relaxed state. As I sat comfortably in a leather recliner, I wore headphones that filled my ears with the sound of a Native American flute playing background music to my instructor’s voice. After about twenty minutes, the sound of the music and my instructor’s voice fell into the distance and I felt as if I were swinging on a swing. I then realized that I had mental control over how high and how fast I could swing. I was just beginning to enjoy swinging forward, backward and even from side-to-side when the instructor stopped talking and clicked off the music. I was jolted into an awakened state and reluctantly opened my eyes knowing the half-hour session was over.
With ten more years behind me since that incident, I drove three hours from Maine to Cape Cod hoping Nancy Canning could guide me to a new level of hypnotic relaxation far beyond my previous experiences. Yet I knew it was an enormous jump to go from swinging on a swing to having a past-life experience. With my trusty skepticism still in check, I wondered if I was wasting my time and tire tread. But as the sun rose from the early morning darkness, my optimism increased. Before I knew it, I left the coastal waters of Maine, drove through Boston without a traffic jam and soon past Quintal’s Restaurant, a signpost from my boyhood memories that I was entering Cape Cod. It felt like a good day for a distant journey, not just from Maine to the Cape, but also from the present to the past.
The first forty minutes of my hypnotic induction were everything I expected. Nancy relaxed me with guided imagery. She walked me through fields, across valleys, past oceans and individually relaxed every muscle and calmed my busy mind until I lay in a semi-comatose state as if my body and mind were one tingling deeply-relaxed mass of flesh, bones and organs. My breathing became shallow. My heart rate slowed. My intellect stood to the side. It was as if my busy little mind agreed to not interfere, yet kept a protective watch in case it was needed.
My resistance to the experience was minimized by my excitement, although not entirely free of skepticism and doubt. Nancy brought me down a spiraled stairway—thirty-eight stairs to represent my thirty-eight years of life. At certain ages, she asked me to step off and tell her what I experienced. For the most part, I thought I was experiencing nothing. I expected movies of my childhood to appear in my mind’s eye, but what I saw was a blank screen. A couple thoughts popped into my head as Nancy asked questions about the childhood moment I had stepped into, but I was waiting for the movie and didn’t give these thoughts much consideration. Sensing that I was having trouble, Nancy continued down the stairway.
Nancy guided me to the bottom of the spiraled stairway, the moment of my birth. Again, no movie, but I now paid attention to the thoughts I had been ignoring. It occurred to me that my parents were arguing. My mother seemed sad and upset. I don’t know how I knew this, I just did. When I told Nancy about it, she told me to just go with it and then brought me backward in time to experience myself in the womb. Only now, I felt as if I were starving for nutrition. Again, my mother seemed depressed. Nancy told me to sit with this scene for a moment, but nothing more came to me. I was still disappointed that I wasn’t seeing anything, so I figured I was failing at the regression. Nancy decided to move into a past life.
After further deepening my hypnotic state, which is really just an intensely relaxed state of mind, Nancy guided me into deeper realms of subconscious knowing that led me to a door. Behind the door was a white light, and apparently a previous lifetime. While I was still hopeful, my inability to see the movie-like visions of my childhood had added to my doubt that this would be a successful regression. Still, I was able to envision the door she suggested and the white light behind it. So I persisted. Finally, at Nancy’s suggestion, I opened the door to discover where I was.
[Partial transcript of my hypnotic regression, recorded on tape.]
Nancy: “Is it daytime or nighttime.”
Bob: “I guess it’s daytime; I don’t know if I’m there.” [I still seriously doubted my ability to do this, and I was sure I wasn’t doing it correctly.]
Nancy: “Yah, just trust it; it becomes more and more vivid as you go along.”
Nancy: “Are you inside or outside?”
Bob: “Outside.” [Again, I wasn’t sure how I knew this, I just did.]
Nancy: “Now I want you to simply look down at your feet and tell me what is covering your feet.”
Bob: [There was a long pause. I knew what I saw, but I didn’t trust it. It wasn’t like it was something I viewed as if in a picture or a movie. It was more of a knowing of what was on my feet. But I hesitated because it seemed so cliché—I was wearing sandals.] “I just want to say sandals, I guess.”
Nancy: “That’s fine. It may not be that you see it. It may just be a knowing. Trust whatever way the information comes. And know that as you continue, it absolutely becomes more vivid and clear. And so now that you look at your life, look down and tell me what is covering your legs?”
Bob: [long pause] “I don’t think anything.” [The truth was that I saw myself wearing a skirt, or kilt, but I wasn’t going to say that out loud. So I told Nancy the truth.] ”There isn’t anything covering my legs.”
Nancy: “Okay, what is covering your chest or torso?”
Bob: [Another long pause] “It sounds silly. I think it’s some kind of armor.”
Nancy: “Uh huh, just go with it. And what is over your head? Do you have anything on your head?”
Bob: “I don’t know.” [I saw an armored helmet with two bones or tusk-like things sticking out of it, but, again, I felt silly saying it. “I don’t know,” is all I could say.]
Nancy: “Let your logical and judging mind step aside and let whatever impressions come to mind, let it come.”
Bob: “I guess it’s a helmet.” [I also knew that this wasn’t a battle helmet, but rather a costume or some type of formal wear. Again, not trusting my thoughts, I just let it slide without telling Nancy.]
Nancy: “And about how old are you?”
Bob: “Forties.” [I got the number 43, but told Nancy forties for some reason, still not trusting what I was getting.]
Nancy: “And at the count of three, the year is going to pop into your mind. Just trust yourself to know it. One, two, three… what year is it?”
Bob: “1643.” [It came quickly and matter-of-factly. I was surprised.]
Nancy: And at the count of three, you are going to know the country or geographical location. One, two, three… where are you?”
Bob: “It seems like some Celtic place. I don’t know the country.”
Nancy: “And now at the count of three, you are going to know your name. What do people call you? One, two, three…”
Bob: “George.” [Now if I were making this up, I would have chosen Clint or Dirk or something. I was actually a little disappointed with the name George. There isn’t anything wrong with that name; I just don’t have a good association with it in reference to people I know. So the fact that “George” popped into my head gave me a little more confidence that I was actually doing this hypnotic regression thing correctly.]
Nancy: “George. Great. Thank you, George, for being here. Tell me, George, why are dressed in armor? What is happening today?”
Bob: “I guess it’s a celebration of some sort.” [At this point I didn’t feel like George, but rather Bob sensing myself as George, so I thought it awkward that Nancy was speaking directly to George. But I understood what she was doing, so I just answered her questions without correcting her on whom she was speaking to. If you could hear the tape, you would hear my voice as soft and slow. My answers were brief. Normally, I’m fast to respond, more articulate than I was during this regression, and brevity is not my forte.]
Nancy: “George, what kind of a celebration is it?”
Bob: “It’s a parade.”
Nancy: “What’s the celebration about? What’s happened?”
Bob: “We won a battle.”
Nancy: “Who have you been fighting, George? Who is the enemy?”
Bob: “The English.”
Nancy; “So that is a good reason to celebrate, winning a battle against those English, huh? Tell me, George, what have you been fighting over? What is the battle about?”
Nancy: “George, what do you do for a living?”
Nancy: “Yah, you’re a farmer. Do you have a large farm or a small one?”
Bob: “It’s a small farm.”
Nancy: “And what do you raise?”
Bob: [pause] “Sheep, I guess.”
Nancy: “Tell me, George, are you married?”
Nancy: “And what is your wife’s name?”
Nancy: “And how long have you been married to Linda?”
Bob: “Twenty-three years.”
Nancy: “And do you have children?”
Nancy: “And what is your child’s name?”
Bob: [long pause] “Jeffrey.” [That sounded to me like a really unlikely name for someone of Celtic descent, but what do I know? Maybe Jeffrey is a Celtic name.]
Nancy: “And how old is Jeffrey?”
Nancy: “Hm hmm, Jeffery is nine. Tell me, what kind of life do you have? Are you happy, content, sad, disappointed? What is your life like as you look at it?”
Bob: “I’m happy… proud.”
Nancy: “And what are you proud of?”
Bob: “My heritage.”
Nancy: “Yah. And what kind of a husband are you?”
Bob: “I’m a good husband.”
Nancy: “And what kind of a father; do you spend time with your son?”
Bob: “Yes. When I’m around.”
Nancy: “Are you gone much?”
Bob: “Only when we are fighting.”
Nancy: “And how do you feel about fighting?”
Bob: “Ah, I’m proud to fight. They are trying to take our land.”
Nancy: “Yah, they are trying to take something from you; that’s wrong. Are you ethical? Do you go by what’s right?”
Nancy: “And do you train your son that same thing?”
Nancy: “As you look at your life and the celebration, are you a friendly person or are you kind of quiet? What is your personality like?”
Bob: “I’m friendly, popular. It’s a small town. Everyone is friendly.” [I could actually feel George’s joyful and friendly nature. I felt as if I were inside his body and feeling his enthusiasm for life and pride for who he is—or was.]
Nancy: “Well tell me George, this is a significant day, is it?”
Nancy: “What makes this a special day?”
Bob: “We won some battle.”
Nancy: “Yup. Well I want you to move forward now at the count of three to a significant event in that day. Moving forward now, one, two, three… what happened?”
Bob: [long silence, shock] “We were attacked. We were attacked during the parade.”
Nancy: “You weren’t expecting that, were you?”
Nancy: “What happened.’
Bob: “A lot of people were killed.”
Nancy: “What about your wife and child?”
Bob: “No, they’re okay.”
Nancy: “What happens with you? Allow that to unfold.”
Bob: [long pause, heavy breathing, becoming emotional] “I’m fighting, I can’t… I can’t save everyone.”
Nancy: “Yes, a lot of fighting. But move forward and tell me what happens to you?”
Bob: “I live but I have to live with that I couldn’t save everyone.”
Nancy: “And what was that like for you?”
Bob: [emotional] “It was sad.”
Nancy: “You took it hard, did you?”
Bob: “I felt like it was my fault.”
Nancy: “How come it was your fault.”
Bob: “Because I was their leader.” [sobbing]
Nancy: “Let yourself feel what that was like. People in the town died. And you lived but you have to live with that. How much longer did you live? I want you to move through that and move on with your life now. On that last day of your life when it is your turn to pass over, how old are you on that day?”
Bob: [heavy emotion, breathing] “Sixty-three.”
Nancy: “So you live another twenty years, huh? And what are those twenty years like for you?”
Bob: “They, um, they are… I’m trying to think of the word…”
Nancy: “Do you continue to hold it against yourself that those people died?”
Nancy: “And what happens, does it affect your relationships with your wife, your son, your friends, yourself?”
Bob: “I’m not happy anymore.” [I’m still emotionally in despair as Nancy questions me.]
Nancy: “So you hold it against you forever?”
Nancy: “Is that something you decide?”
Bob: “I can’t forgive myself.” [My voice is cracking.]
Nancy: “So you are not happy anymore.”
Bob: [long period of deep emotion, soft crying, shaking]
Nancy: “Notice how that affects your relationship with your wife, your son, your friends and yourself. Then moving on to the last day of your life, are you ill or healthy or what is the condition?”
Bob: “Just old and defeated. I want to die.” [I’m still shaking, now filled with shivers and an inner cold that filled me to the core of my being.]
Nancy: “Yah, you are done, huh? Move to that time now. You are old and defeated and ready to go. Are you alone or is someone with you?
Bob: “My wife is with me.” [I could see her kneeling at my side as I lay down waiting to die. I could not see anything else around us, not field or ground, no furniture or shelter, everything was blank except for my wife kneeling beside my dying body.]
Nancy: “And how is she doing with you? Does she still love you or has it been a difficult time?
Bob: “No, she loves me. She is strong.”
Nancy: “I want you to move now past that time. At the count of three just move beyond it. One, two, three… Do you see yourself floating away from your body?”
Bob: “Yah.” [I could see the scene, myself (George) and my wife slowly getting smaller as if I were moving upwards into the sky. The scene slowly disappeared, but the emotions and connection to the pain and despair I felt during those last twenty years, and on the day of my death, continued to stay within me.]
The session lasted almost another hour, but what you just read is the experience that ruptured my disbelief that past-life regression was for other people, not me. What surprised me most was my physical reaction to the ambush during the parade. It was as if I relived the horror of the moment. I was crying and I felt the dread and despair that George must have felt upon seeing his dear friends slaughtered. I suffered the sense of anguish and self-loathing that George felt for being their leader and not being able to save them. My body shook and shivered, and I froze from the very core of my being up through to the very top layer of my skin. Upon my request, Nancy kept covering me with blankets—five blankets in all. She also cranked up her heater for my benefit and sweltered in the hot room as she continued the regression. Finally, since the blankets and heater had no effect on me, she instructed me to warm myself from the inside out using hypnotic suggestion. This worked quickly and we moved forward in the session.
You may notice in the partial transcription above that Nancy seemed to know my answers before she asked the questions, or she responded to my answers as if I had got the question right. This is no accident, as Nancy is also clairvoyant. She is not just guiding the regression; she is also following along with her clients. From my perspective, Nancy’s intuitive insight gives her an advantage in this work that assisted me in having a successful experience. This clairvoyant gift, however, also depletes Nancy’s energy so that she can only do one three-hour regression in a day.
According to Nancy, many people’s experiences are different then mine—many people actually “see” the movie-like scenes I was expecting. Perhaps I, too, will have that experience one day. Or, maybe because I’m not a visual person—and I couldn’t tell you what my wife has been wearing all day even as she sits in the next room—experiencing past lives as a knowing is the best I can ever expect. If that’s true, I’ll take it. My past-life experience with Nancy held everlasting benefits. It was a gift that is irreplaceable.
The greatest benefit I received from reliving my life as George came from the second part of that session. It is also what makes Nancy Canning unique as a regression hypnotherapist. After learning about my life as George, I then went into the spirit world after my death. I know this part will be a little too much for some people to swallow, but bear with me. While in the spirit world following George’s lifetime, I was able to review that life and learn the spiritual lessons that resulted from it. Each lifetime brings new lessons. In my life as George, what I learned will forever be engrained within me because of this experience in the spirit world.
I learned that even as leaders, as long as we are doing all that we can to help others, no person is responsible for the lives of other people. I learned that we do not have the right to feel in control of such a Divine responsibility. That is, we must trust that there is a bigger plan to which we may not be privy. My lesson was that I did everything I could to save my fellow townspeople that day. If it was meant to be that they be killed during this ambush, I should not second-guess God on that outcome.
I also learned a lesson about forgiveness, especially self-forgiveness. My failure to forgive myself for my friends’ deaths ruined the rest of my life and my family and friends’ lives in relation to me. For instance, my wife and son lost their husband and father that day because I lived the rest of my life in depression and self-punishment. How ironic that my choice to not forgive myself then negatively affected the lives of those who survived that tragic event. I missed out on twenty years where I could have brought greater joy and prosperity to those survivors as well as myself. Instead I bathed in my sorrow and self-blame.
Finally, I learned a lesson about living in the moment. George was a happy man who lived a simple life before the parade tragedy. When I first became aware of George, I felt his intense bliss for life. I could feel that he was full of joy, laughter and love. Yet he squandered it all away by living in the past and focusing his thoughts on that one heartbreaking day. If he had stopped thinking about the past and began living in the moment as he did for the first forty years of his life, both he and everyone around him would have benefited dearly. As Nancy guided me into the spirit world after George’s death and brought me through his life review, I sensed the immense pain of regret that engulfed his soul as he relived that experience from a higher level. As difficult as that was for me because I began shaking and sobbing once again, it was a gift because I will not make the same unfortunate choices in this life that I made in my life as George. These lessons—this knowing that reached me on a cellular level—will forever be mine.
I am so grateful that I overlooked my skepticism, kept an open-mind and discovered this invaluable experience. I share my story with you so that you, too, may open doors and learn lessons that can only be obtained if we allow such miracles into our life. If it calls you, don’t resist it. I was wrong about past-life regressions; I CAN do it! Now it’s your turn. Take a leap.
Bob Olson, OfSpirit.com Editor
Call Nancy Canning at (508) 743-9545. Some work can be done by phone, so if you live anywhere in the country or the world, call Nancy to discuss the possibilities. She also uses hypnotherapy to transform negative belief systems that may be limiting you.
Nancy Canning is a certified clinical hypnotherapist with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. She has over 22 years experience with belief systems, regression, intuition and healing. She is also an experienced and trained clairvoyant. She practices hypnotherapy at the Barnstable Holistic Center and teaches classes on belief systems and intuition at the Sandwich Community School. For more information on the incredible “Spiritual Regression” work mentioned by OfSpirit.com editor, Bob Olson, visitwww.SpiritualRegression.com. For more information on Nancy’s use of hypnotherapy to transform negative beliefs, visit www.TransformBeliefs.com. Nancy can be emailed at:email@example.com or call her at (508) 743-9545.