Articles and Interviews
Past Life Integration… Can Be Subtle
from Dream Network Journal
Vol. 25 No. 1
The integration of inner figures and emerging new data from the unconscious depth is a psychologist’s daily bread. The word “to integrate” comes from Latin “integrare”, meaning “to restore, to reunite.” Everything that surfaces from the unconscious must be reunited with the conscious self before it can be transformed into self-knowledge. The ego’s role is crucial here. It has to be strong and flexible enough to assimilate the incoming information without becoming overwhelmed by it or identified with it.
Past life material differs from other unconscious material in significant ways. Contrary to archetypes and other figures of the unconscious, past life selves are personalized, have a life story of their own, and exist within a historical context. Before they can be integrated, the trauma and guilt that they carry must be resolved, since both these conditions make it more difficult for the ego to accept and emotionally digest the past life material. Yet the extent of past life trauma and guilt can only be accurately assessed within the geographical and historical context in which they occurred. This makes the integration of past life material a multifaceted operation consisting of trauma resolution, spiritual counseling, and historical background research – They all have a part to play in this process.
Regarding trauma, the unconscious will sometimes set a spontaneous dream trauma healing process into motion. Dream trauma healing processes have been observed by psychologists who treated British shell-shock sufferers after the Second World War and American veterans after the Vietnam War. I experienced a dream healing process myself in response to a devastating past life trauma, which must have been accompanied by soul loss. I had been informedby a highly accurate past life readerin Zurich that in a 16th century life in London I had been an upper class prostitute who was wrongly accused of theft. Without a trial, I was thrown into a dungeon on the bottom of the Tower of London where I had languished for what seemed like an eternity before I went insane and was eaten alive by rats. For three months after that, I fought with a rat in my dreams, gradually gaining the upper hand in the struggle until I managed to kill it.
Unfortunately, not everyone’s trauma is healed by an act of grace in the dream state. If left untreated most trauma victims get stuck with the repetitive, never-changingnightmares that are typical of the PTSD syndrome. Psychologists have tried to explain why some people are luckier than others in this regard. According to them, it is repeated trauma which prevents the dream trauma healing process from occurring. In other words, if you were traumatized before the new traumatizing event no spontaneous self healing in the dream statewill occur. Although re-traumatizationmay be one of the determining factors in the equation, it certainly is not the only one. I am a living proof of that. I have been traumatized over and overin this life AND in other lives, andI still received the full benefit of the dream trauma healing process, even after a car accident I had a few years ago. I personally believe that all self healing processes depend on the strength of the healer archetype in the psyche, which in turn depends on how many lifetimes a person has spent in the healing professions. There are now a number of different trauma resolution therapies in existence, with Peter Levine's somatic experiencing being perhaps the most well known and most effective one. Personally, I work with the Photron on past life trauma. This is a strobic color light instrument, which is equipped with a small computer box, that allows me to induce and monitor altered brainwave states by means of entrainment. After regressing my clients to the moment of traumatization I use the combined healing power of color and light to help them through re-empowerment to resolve it.
Trauma is easier dealt with than guilt, in my experience. Guilt seems to be more damaging to the soul than trauma, if only because of the negative karma it carries. A few years ago I was informed in a download the dream state that I had been a Lord Chancellor of England during the War of the Roses who had condemnedpolitical prisoners to uncommonly cruel torture procedures. I was deeply shocked by this revelation, because I like to think of myself as a compassionate person. On the other hand, I could not deny that my position as a law giver in that life dovetailed with the rest of my past life history: I have a prominent male bloodline in both law and governance that goes all the way back to the Roman Republic. Yet my soul ancestor in Ancient Rome was known as a pillar of rectitude. So how did I end up in this depraved state, abusing the legal system for political or selfish ends? I read all the historical plays of Shakespeare again in order to understand the social climate and the political pressures under which such monstrosities could grow and thrive. Thanks to my backgroundreading, it did not take me years to forgive myself for these old transgressions. Besides, when I looked at my lives in chronological order it became instantly clear that I had paid for the Lord Chancellor’s evil deeds in two subsequent incarnations by becoming a victim of miscarriedjustice myself. The forgiveness of guilt is an act of compassion that we owe to ourselves as much as to others. No secular or ecclesiastic authority has the power to absolve us from our sins, unless we absolve ourselves.
My story demonstrates the crucial role that historical background research plays in the integration work. I always encourage those of my clients who have past life dreams to read biographies, historical overviews, and cultural and ethnological studies about the personality, century and country they have been dreaming about. Apart from deepening the dreamer’s understanding of a particular lifetime, it stimulates the unconscious to produce more dreams about it. Thus inner and outer sources of information can work together to bring the past life back to life. In this re-vitalized state it can be more easily integrated.
Once a past life is fully integrated, the talents, knowledge, and life experience of the past life personality areat our conscious disposal. Using simple techniques, such as the Jungian active imagination, we can dialogue with him or her and even ask for advice. For example: during the 19th century I was a prominent Jewish banker, a world class businessman and a philanthropist. Unfortunately, none of his expertise and experience in the mysterious world of finance has been handed down to me. This time around, I am the opposite: a mathematical analphabet and a number dyslexic. But just before the stock market crashed in 2001 I started to worry about minor savingsI had invested in the stock market. Instinctively distrustful of my financialadvisor’sargumentthat I was “in it for the long haul”, I turned to the Jewish banker in me for advice. “Get out of the stock market at once!” he ordered. Sensinghis exasperation, I immediately closed my account. Thanks to his highly developed business instincts, I came away with only a few scrapes.
Past life dream processes take time, but it is time well spent. I have always been impressed by the fact that no matter how dark and disturbing the past life material may be, people always feel wonderfully enriched by it once it has been integrated; they have looked into their own soul and have discovered a depth there they had never known before. A perceptive colleague after working with me on her past life dreams for over a year once said: “integration can be subtle”. This puts the nature of this work in a nutshell. Because past life integration is subtle, things can go wrong in the course of it . As we are trying to assimilate ego-dystonic material along with good or bad karma created in another lifetime we may end up with a positive or negative inflation which can be difficult to break. On the positive side of the inflation people may use the fame of a soul ancestor to prop up their egos and compensate for poor performance, lack of success or social insignificance in their present lives. These people only rarely find their way into a therapist's office because the positive inflation makes them feel important. They are much more likely to meet on the internet with other aspirantsfor past life fame and will be posting photos of themselves side by side with those of their past life look-alikes. A negative inflation, whichblows one's feelings of worthlessness out of proportion can be the result of discovering a depraved or psychopathic past life in one's soul history. To deal with a problem of this magnitude requires patience, but it can be resolved through past life integration work. Over the years I have worked with two individuals who were suffering from a negative past life inflation. Both of them had incarnations in Nazi Germany as active members of the party. The first case of a male client is described in great detail in my book in the chapter entitled "In the Shadows of Dachau." It took five years of therapy and 47 dreams before this poor man could allow himself to be in a loving relationship with another human being.