By Rhonda Leifheit
Emotions can color our lives or cloud our happiness. They can be exhilarating or debilitating. Powerful emotions leave an imprint on the Akashic Records. When painful emotions are unresolved in one lifetime, they will carry-over into another life in order to be healed. In this article we will explore the impact past lives can have on our present emotional life.
For Jenny Cockell the emotional impact of a recent past life began with childhood dreams of a previous existence. She would awaken sobbing, riddled with guilt over abandoning her eight children, and fearful of what had happened to them. In her book, Across Time and Death: A Mother’s Search for Her Past Life Children, she wrote, “I knew that I had to try to find the children ‘of yesterday’ or my life would always be shadowed by memories of the past, of grief, anger and loss” (vi).
It wasn’t until she was in her 40’s that she had enough information, gleaned through regressions, to journey from her home in England to her past life home in Ireland. Eventually, she not only found the small house in which she had raised her family, she found some of the eight children still living—now in their 80’s! As she shared the details of her past life memories with them, they eventually came to accept that their mother had, indeed, returned to them. The reunion brought comfort and healing to all.
This second example of a mother’s grief was experienced as a vague, nagging fear—until she understood the past life cause. Ellie requested that I do a Crossing of Paths Reading between her and her young son. The only details she gave me beforehand were their full names. The past life revealed a connection in WWI where she was again his mother. He was killed in the war. Though grief-stricken, she suppressed her feelings in order to be strong for others. After the reading, she explained how fearful she had been of losing him in this life. The reading helped her relegate her fear to the past, rather than project it onto the future. When I saw her again, she told me that, arriving home after the reading, she was finally able to release the deep sadness—and fears—she had been carrying from the past.
Sharon wanted to understand why she continuously felt she was “drowning in guilt”. She had pursued various avenues—traditional and non-traditional—for healing. Although she had gained many insights, she kept feeling that the roots of her guilt might be traced to a past life. She came in for a regression, desiring to see for herself if another lifetime was causing her present distress.
Before we began the actual regression, Sharon described a singular incident in her present childhood that greatly influenced her self-esteem. When she was 5 years old, Sharon brought home a drawing from school. Excited and proud, she showed her artwork to her mother. Her mother, who Sharon described as an emotionally repressed woman, “didn't get" what her daughter had drawn and responded apathetically. This enraged the 5-year-old who screamed, “I could kill you!" Her mother passively lay back on the couch and said, “Fine, go ahead". In her rage, the child feared she actually could kill her mother and the thought terrified her. In that moment she felt distanced from herself, detached, or disassociated. From that point on, she only felt safe with her father, trusting him to protect her from her own emotions.
In her past life regression, Sharon saw herself as a big, burly man—who had always felt emasculated by his overbearing mother. With no one else to care for her, he felt trapped by and responsible for this woman he never liked. The mother slowly grew old and weak. Eventually the son “was so sick of it he couldn't wait anymore" and choked her to death! " He thought he'd be free, now he just feels guilt. He stays there to do penance and won't leave." Bound by guilt, he lived out his years alone in the dreary house where he was born.
As she released that life, she moved to a higher level to observe the lessons for her soul. “He could have chosen to leave. He didn't follow what was in his heart." She also realized he (she) could have chosen to take on that responsibility with joy. “For this guy responsibility meant no joy...he's got responsibility associated with misery and pain." From the perspective of her higher self, Sharon realized, “Any of our responsibilities can be joyful if we let them."
From this higher perspective, Sharon became aware of circumstances in her present life that mirrored the past life conflict between responsibility and following one's heart. The regression also explained the feelings of guilt she had carried since childhood. This higher understanding created the space for Sharon to develop compassion for her mother and forgiveness for herself.
The healing that can come from past life awareness has several components. Any or all of the following elements may be part of the healing process.
Awareness: For some individuals, insights gained from past life events are sufficient to bring a shift in their perspective and help release long-held emotions. With expanded understanding, they reframe past events with new meaning.
Immersion & Integration: Other individuals have a greater need to delve deeply into their past lives. This could mean exploring past life trauma in a safe setting which allows them to face their shadow emotions like fear, hate, rage or guilt. They may be able to desensitize from painful events and associated emotions, thus integrating parts of themselves that had been buried. This is often how information about a past life can help in healing phobias.
Detachment with Compassion: One of the keys to past life healing is that it can provide detachment from ego and its tendency to judge self and others. This detachment might be facilitated through regressions, dreams, readings, or meditation. When past life events are viewed from a higher perspective, the soul’s struggle to learn can be viewed with greater compassion.
Accountability: The Law of Karma is the principle whereby the soul learns responsibility for its actions. If we have sown the seeds of fear or anger, we will somehow reap the results (which might simply mean that fear and anger continue into the next life). All spiritual traditions provide ways of correcting the many ways our soul can get “off course” from its purpose of spiritual wholeness. Some of the ways include: meditation and prayer, chanting, ritual, service to others, as well as cultivating qualities of integrity, honesty, and forgiveness.
Transcendence and Transformation: This might be regarded as the highest purpose for past life exploration. When one can align with the soul’s true identity, the grip of the ego softens, dissolving fear, hostility, grief, inadequacy and other limiting emotions. These feelings have not been the enemy, but our messengers—prompting us to do that which is necessary to heal old wounds, correct misunderstandings, integrate parts of self that have been rejected or neglected, and to love ourselves wholly.
Each step, however small, leading us in the direction of greater self-understanding, is significant. Each effort towards higher emotional expression—by cultivating kindness, patience, compassion, humor and respect—is important to our peace of mind and soul growth. Each step, however small, takes us in the direction of greater inner peace.
Cockell, Jenny. Across Time and Death: A Mother’s Search for Her Past Life Children. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.
Note: Client names have been changed to protect their privacy
First published in Pathfinder News 2006
© 2006 Rhonda Leifheit – All Rights Reserved