Past Life Regression is based on the idea that our past experiences affect our current lives. I went to a well-known therapist in the field, Norton Berkowitz Ph.D., to find out more about my own past lives in the hopes of healing from various physical and emotional pains. What you are about to read is the story of a life I once led.
Maybe it's because I've had vivid, mysterious nightmares for most of my life. Maybe it's the constant sense of deja vu ... but I've always been interested in the idea of past life regression. Before I went to see Dr. Berkowitz, however, I'd never actually been hypnotized -- and had my doubts as to whether or not it would actually work.
It definitely worked! But it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I was completely aware of my surroundings the entire time and could answer every question Dr. Berkowitz asked me. I also remembered everything.
And I doubt I'll ever forget again ...
The process of being hypnotized is kind of like accelerated meditation: Deep relaxation, guided visualization techniques. Once I was "under," Dr. Berkowitz asked me what I saw.
"Darkness," I answered. He asked me what the ground was like -- was I sitting or standing? Was it a soft or hard surface?
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It was a hard, cold surface, like packed dirt, I answered ... I was lying on the ground.
The questions continued: Was I male or female? What was my age? Where was I living? And the story unfolded:
I was a 9-year-old girl in Poland. The year was 1939. I was Jewish. My name? I stumbled over the word, stuttering as I spoke -- the "me" part of me was thinking, That's not even a name, is it? But I answered: Petla.
I was in a basement. We were hiding from the Nazis, my mother and me. I was hungry; my mother left to find food. Don't leave this basement under any circumstances, she warned me. Days and nights passed.
She never came back.
I starved to death in that basement, marking the passage of time by how much I could feel the bones through my skin. By the end I could count them all.
Petla was still with me, Dr. Berkowitz said. I needed to guide her to the light. She needed to be released. And so I did: I watched the warm white brightness envelope Petla, and she smiled.
By now you're no doubt wondering what relevance this has to my current life.
Here's the thing: When I was 9 years old, I developed a severe case of anorexia. I remember feeling my bones through my skin, I remember feeling like I physically could not eat. Like I was paralyzed. I didn't know why.
Here's the other thing: After my session with Dr. Berkowitz, I did a google search for the name Petla. It is indeed a Polish name or nickname, also a word meaning "noose" or "loop." I googled "what year Nazi occupation of Poland start." The answer? 1939.
Could these be coincidences? Technically, I suppose they could be. But I can promise you they aren't coincidences at all.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Stepping Into My Past Lives, when a memory of medieval France explains my intense dislike of the cold.
Have you ever wondered about your past lives?
Image via Horia Varlan/Flickr