How does a small town girl from Indiana whose grandfathers were both Christian preachers develop a belief in reincarnation? Well, I did it by moving from Indiana to California after a divorce left me looking for spiritual answers. The first book I read in that search happened to be one by Jess Stearn that mentioned Edgar Cayce's work.
I have wondered what would have happened if I had never read a Cayce book. Would some other books have interested me in the subject of past lives? The first time I read about Cayce's past life readings I felt I'd come home. I have read and reread books published by ARE Press about Cayce's work and what has always run through my head as I read about past lives was, "I Love to Tell The Story."
Since Christians connect that song title with the life and work of Jesus, it may seem strange for it to symbolize my passion about past lives. Certainly Christian churches don't list past lives among the teachings of Christ. No matter, the words of that old hymn are the words that always occur to me when I ponder past lives.
In OUT OF THE ASHES, Rabbi Yonassan Gershom's book about people living today who believe they've reincarnated after a lifetime during the holocaust, he states, "...a question (was) asked " of Jesus in the Gospel of John: 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'...implies a belief in reincarnation, as there is no other way that the blind man himself could have sinned before birth!...the story does indicate a belief in reincarnation among Jews during the Roman period." So, perhaps my connecting the song "I Love to Tell the Story" with the subject of past lives is not inappropriate after all.
I can't count the number of people I've told about Cayce and past lives through the years. As I've read other books about reincarnation, like Rabbi Gershom's, for example, I've added other understandings to my litany, but the major source for my past life crusade has continued to be Cayce. Through the years as I've spontaneously spread the word, I have had many times when, "I Love to Tell the Story" sang in my mind.
I became a believer in the efficacy of psychotherapy many years ago during the divorce I mentioned at the beginning of this. I saw a therapist for quite some time and resolved a major issue in my life. I have always been glad I had therapy and have assured others who were hesitant about it that they would probably be glad, too.
I couldn't imagine then, however, that one day I would also be a believer in past lives, and would bring these two interests together by writing about a form of psychotherapy called Past Life Therapy. I must admit I've wondered what Dr. Hugh T. Carmichael, the Chicago psychoanalyst I saw would think of my activities on behalf of past life therapy. If he were still living I doubt that he'd be use it. I like to think though that if he's passed on he would now have the perspective to be pleased.
I remember a heated verbal sparring match I had years ago with a minister after he impatiently dismissed my notion of treating emotional ills with past life therapy. Many years after that Jess Stearn delineated how one woman, world famous author Taylor Caldwell, did just that. I can still recall being almost beside myself because the minister friend would not even try to see the possibility of such a thing. I'm sure he must have been as baffled by my very emotional presentation of the idea as I was by what I thought was his unreasonableness.
For the past several years I have interviewed Past Life therapists with the idea of putting these interviews together as a book. Interviewing these therapists has been inspiring. So have their stories about their clients. I believe their stories will have the same effect on others. Some of the interviews in this book have appeared in print in a newsletter about Past Life therapy and have been popular with its professional readers over the past few years.
There is no hard evidence that can prove the existence of past lives, but one can make a case for the inner consistency of the Cayce readings as a sort of proof of their reality. After all, Cayce in an altered state could zero in on a certain past life for a client then many years later refer to the same lifetime again, describing it the same way each time and pointing to the same material in that life as an influence on the present lifetime. The thousands of readings he spent his life giving for people took up so much of his time that he couldn't have had enough left to cunningly plot all these connections in order to contrive consistency in the "lives" he cited.
Occasionally, as Dr. Brian L. Weiss in his recent book THROUGH TIME INTO HEALING says, two people unhappy about a present life relationship will do separate regressions, as did one of his clients and her daughter, unbeknownst to each other. The mother had a past life regression because of their troubled relationship, unaware that the daughter had also had one for the same reason. Later the two told each other about their regressions and discovered that they'd regressed to the same lifetime as having laid the foundation for their present relationship.
One can point to this kind of occurrence in past life therapy as proof of past lives, too, it seems to me. Edgar Cayce also found this kind of connection among people he did readings for, and the recent book MISSION TO MILLBORO is, of course, a book that resulted from a whole series of such overlapping regressions.
It doesn't really matter whether or not one can prove past lives, as the P.L. therapists all say, they use it because it usually gets quick results. A belief in past lives is not necessary on the part of either the therapist or the client for it to work.
And how does a girl from Indiana become convinced of thevalue of Past Life therapy? She regresses to a past life and, as a result, symptoms that have troubled her for years disappear. That's what happened to me. Of course, that's what happened to Taylor Caldwell in Jess Stearn's book about her regression therapy, and she continued to be a firm disbeliever in reincarnation even after her symptoms were gone.
Here's what happened to my interviewees and their patients as they used this therapy over the years. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed gathering it.