past lives

Tapping Into The Power Of Dreams

by Hervé Boisdé

Salvador Dali 'The Persistence of Memory'

Salvador Dali 'The Persistence of Memory'

We're all a bit fascinated by dreams even if we don't actively analyze them like Freud did. I mean...where do they come from? Do they have a deeper significance? I think we've all wondered about that. While we can't really be sure of the purpose of dreams, what we can agree on is that some amazing ideas have been born from them.

Salvador Dali's most famous painting was inspired by a dream, and he called many of his paintings "hand painted dream photographs". He also had a painting named 'Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate One Minute Before Awakening' (1944).

This video about the Beatles' Yesterday explains that Paul McCartney came up with the song in a dream and was fearful that he had unknowingly plagiarized it from somewhere he couldn't remember.

John Lennon also claimed that one of his songs, "#9 Dream", also came to him in a dream.

Niels Bohr, known as the father of Quantum Mechanics, had been struggling with the correct structure of the atom when a dream helped him with the discovery. In his dream he saw the nucleus in the center with electrons spinning around it much like planets orbiting the sun. When he awoke he became certain that the image he saw in his dream was correct.

On a less scientific note, director James Cameron credits the idea for his blockbuster film Terminator on a fever dream he had when he got sick. The ambitious director was little known at the time having only directed Piranha II: The Spawning up until that point. But when he had the fever he dreamt of a robot, cut in half, pulling itself along using a kitchen knife and dragging a broken arm, as it chased after a fleeing girl. He said it was "a really horrific image" and when he woke up, despite his illness, he forced himself to make a sketch of the robot which became the inspiration for the movie.

So we can see that dreams can be a source of creativity and ideas. But how do you tap into that?

Some people claim that they don't remember their dreams. It's been proven that we all dream, even if we don't seem to remember them later on. Many people have been able to improve their dream recollection by keeping a dream journal close to the bed. Often-times when we awake after we've experienced a dream we are still in a semi-asleep state and then we fall back into sleep and the dream disappears. If you can train yourself to jot down the dream in a journal immediately after you wake up then you will be able to get better at recalling your dreams more easily, even if you don't write them down every time.

People have also been able to train themselves to have lucid dreams, where they are asleep but aware that they are dreaming, and thus able to control what is happening in the dream. This is a bit like being a director in your own mind movie and there are inspirational possibilities with that also.

Meditation and hypnosis tap into the alpha and theta brainwave cycles known for accessing the subconscious mind, which is the seat of imagination and emotion. Similarly, hypnagogia is an altered state that everyone experiences when we are between sleep and being awake. We can have dream-like visions and this is a very creative brain-state to be in. Many people have had moments of clarity, epiphanies, or the spark of "Aha!" moment where they have come up with the solution to a problem that that has been troubling them for a long time.

On a more spiritual level, some people believe that there are dreams that are memory fragments of a past lifetime, especially if they are extremely vivid and seem to be set in a distant time. This has led some adventurous souls to look into Past Life Regression hypnosis to explore the possibilities of past lives. Dr Brian Weiss, author of 'Many Lives, Many Masters' (who trained me in Past Life Regression Therapy), advises people to look down at their feet and notice if they are wearing antique footwear if they suspect they are having a past life dream or past life experience in trance.


Is Past Life Regression real?

by Herve Boisde


Interest in past lives and ways of exploring possible past lives is growing. According to a 2009 survey conducted by the Pew Forum, 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation and a full 24% of US Christians do as well. In 2010 the New York Times published an article titled "Remembrances of Lives Past"  which talks about this expanding interest and how many people are trying Past Life Regression, through hypnosis, to try to remember these past lives. The article states that "The popular purveyors of reincarnation belief these days are not monks or theologians, but therapists — intermediaries between science and religion who authenticate irrational belief."

This is because many believe that Past Life therapy can heal traumas that affect us in our current lifetime. One of the therapists cited by the NY Times is Dr Brian Weiss, a physician and psychiatrist (and graduate of Yale and Columbia), who wrote one of the most famous books about Past Life Regression, 'Many Lives, Many Masters'. Dr Weiss was a traditional psychotherapist, that occasionally used hypnosis, who didn't believe in reincarnation until one of his patients spontaneously regressed to a past lifetime and started describing her experience in stark historical details. This patient was a simple woman with not a lot of formal education but this experience, as well as many other past life explorations, convinced Dr Weiss that her descriptions could not possibly be invention, fantasy, or an attempt to fool the therapist; especially after a historical discovery, following one of their sessions, confirmed some specific details she had described.  But what surprised Weiss the most was that his patient, Catherine, began to quickly heal her many phobias and emotional issues, even though long periods of traditional psychotherapy had failed.

I personally attended a week long training seminar with Dr Weiss for Past Life Regression therapy. As a certified hypnotherapist I was receiving requests from clients to explore past lives through hypnosis. I could have done a similar training earlier at the Hypnotherapy Academy of America, in New Mexico, where I got my hypnotherapy certification, but at the time I was skeptical, not to mention a bit creeped-out by going back in time to before I was born. Eventually I began to read more about the many people that had healed not only phobias and emotional issues, but medical ailments as well, simply by doing hypnosis regressions to explore their past lives. This made me consider that regardless of whether it was fact or fantasy, the healing potential alone is worth doing the training.

So away I went to the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY and was able to listen to Brian Weiss tell innumerable fascinating stories about the many ways this type of therapy has changed him and his life. He described how he went from being an extremely Left-Brained, fairly close-minded individual, to a deeply spiritual man with a passion for life, dedicated to spreading hope through his books and speaking engagements. And of course I had an opportunity to have an experience of my own. In one of the very first group regressions that Weiss conducted, I had a vision of a past life where I was a traveling soldier in a barren hilly landscape among men appearing to wear viking clothing and helmets. I eventually saw myself alone and trying to cross a bridge (made out of 3 ropes) over a turbulent stream and then slip and fall into the water, to drown and see my body from above as if floating over the scene. Dr Weiss said that to review a death scene would cause no pain or discomfort and was perfectly safe while in hypnosis, since the subconscious mind will only review material that the subject is ready to handle. This appeared to be the case for me since I wasn't startled by what I was seeing, even less than if it had been a dream I was having at night.

Afterwards I kept wondering if what I had experienced was real or imaginary. I did notice connections between the events in the "memories" and my current life. Some were obvious and some were subtle but even though I had made no intention to explore these specific connections they had spontaneously appeared in the regression session. Could my subconscious mind have been looking to find closure or heal some lingering traumas? The drowning part was particularly interesting because though I don't remember it, I did fall into a swimming pool when I was 2 years old. Luckily, my older sister was there to fish me out, but up until I did my hypnotherapy training I never considered it a trauma or something that was affecting my adult life because I have never been afraid of water. Maybe this regression session to a "past life" was a safe way for me to acknowledge that I came close to drowning as a child. Or perhaps, as Dr Weiss suggested, we tend to repeat traumas in multiple lives, until we finally learn the lesson that enables us to grow.  As far as whether past life experiences are real or imaginary, this is up to the individual. But even a skeptic could be surprised and enlightened by exploring the possibilities.