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.
(This is the fourth post in the series. For more info on past life regression and the hypnosis process, check out the first 3 installments, "She Never Came Back," "A Cold and Bitter End," and "They Took Her Away."
I didn't look down at my feet right away; I looked at my hands instead. My fingers were thin and small, fumbling to keep a piece of fabric straight under the relentless stabbing of an old sewing machine's needle.
How old are you? Dr. Berkowitz asked.
9 years old, I answered.
What year is it? Dr. Berkowitz wanted to know.
1902, I answered.
I was a 9-year-old girl in a turn-of-the-century New York City factory. The noise was loud and constant, a mechanical hum punctuated by the occasional angry shout of the foreman. The light was dim, filtering in through long, narrow windows, illuminating the specks of dust in the air. I was hungry and tired and afraid to make eye contact with any of the other hungry, tired girls around me. If the foreman thought we were talking he'd start yelling again.
What is your name? asked Dr. Berkowitz.
Flaherty, I said. Jane Flaherty.
Where are your parents? he asked.
Dead, I told him.
I was sitting in some kind of parlor room with a blue carpet, a coffin. A painted portrait of my parents, a line of people walking by. Because I was sitting down and didn't bother to look up, I didn't see any faces. Just hands in pockets and belt buckles and sashes tied around ladies' waists. Everything black.
Then, the same room -- empty. Empty except for me and a young woman, maybe 17 or 18 years old.
"She's looking at me with so much hate," I said.
"Who is she?" asked Dr. Berkowitz.
"My sister," I said.
Her mouth was twisted with the ugliness of whatever she was saying to me, but I couldn't hear it. I just watched her face contort with rage and contempt to the point where she looked like some kind of monster. I realized that couldn't hear what she was saying because I didn't want to.
"Why does she hate you?"
"She's jealous," I answered. "She doesn't want me to have any of the money."
But she was gone. I was in a different place: Outside. Standing in the rain on a muddy street, watching puddles form in the horses' hoofprints. I was at the bottom of a staircase leading up to a brick building with some kind of signplate. I didn't want to read the words. Then there was a long room filled with beds, two rows of cot-like beds that were very low to the ground. The reality began to sink in; I felt dizzy.
"It's like an orphanage or something," I said. "All the girls from the factory. We sleep here."
"How old was Jane when she died?" Dr. Berkowitz asked.
"17," I said.
"How did she die?"
I saw coughing, felt a sharp pain in my chest.
"And did Jane go into the light?"
"Yes," I said.
"Is she happy there?"
I saw Jane. She was smiling -- more like glowing, really. She looked completely at peace. Secure.
"Yeah, she's great," I said.
Thankfully I managed to avoid forced child labor in this lifetime. I don't have a pathologically cruel older sister, either (in fact, I'm an only child). But I have always felt like there was someone or something that didn't want me to succeed or be happy -- like some invisible, resentful entity that liked sticking its foot out to trip me up every now and then. Now that I know Jane turned out all right despite her sister's efforts to the contrary ... I guess I will too.
Have you ever wondered about your past lives?
Image via Katie Tegtmeyer/Flickr