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Life Lessons from Lives LivedBy SJ McCarthy



I have always been drawn to the mystical side of life. I believed, from a young age, in something ‘other’, a mysterious link to the world. I felt there was more to the cosmos than I had been led to believe through religion. Because of my feelings, something I refer to as my sense of knowing, I became a believer in other lives. Most people will know them as past lives. Either way, they are lives that have created the evolution of my soul.



Prolog – The Reason behind The Method


In my twenties I was faced with a toxic friend-of-a-friend situation. It was the summer break of my college years. I had met a woman who I will call Shirley through my best friend Kayla. Shirley’s life had been a hard one, but she was working on stabilizing her situation. She was roommates with two gentlemen named Pedro and Graham. The five of us quickly became fast friends.


Sadly, this situation would not last long. The more Kayla and I became integrated into Shirley’s life, the more erratic her behaviour became. By the middle of summer, she had become a toxic influence on the group. I realized her behaviour was aimed squarely at me. I felt she was singling me out.


At some point I spoke to Kayla about it. I remember saying to her, “I feel like I’m being hunted. Like she and I have done this all before.” That’s when we realized there was a way to investigate my feelings. We hatched a plan to unveil my previous lives. Since the internet was in its infancy, I had to search the shelves of local bookshops to find what I was looking for - a book on past life regression techniques. The book, in today’s terms, would be referred to as a beginner’s guide to Past Life Regression (PLR).


I brought home my purchase and scoured its pages for the technique we would use. We were excited to get to work. Within days of acquiring the book, Kayla guided me through my first PLR session. We set our intentions to find the life where Shirley and I had met before. In my haste, I skipped over the preparation stages as well as the post PLR contemplative meditations.



My First Past Life Regression


I lay on my bed while Kayla’s voice guided me into a deep meditative state. She talked me through the chasm leap and into a previous life. She asked me to look down at my feet to describe my footwear: a common suggestion when working through a PLR.


I could not see my feet. My view was blocked by beige woolen skirts and an apron. I stood on rough-hewn planks. When Kayla told me to lift my skirts, I could not. My arms were tied behind me to a wooden post that anchored me to the platform. She instructed me to raise my eyes to view my surroundings.


I was standing on a small platform approximately three feet off the ground. The platform was surrounded by dozens of fagots. The bundles of kindling were tightly bound and stacked three layers deep. The structure was purpose-made to burn long and hot.


I raised my eyes to look straight ahead. I could see twenty or more faces staring back at me. I sensed more people surrounding me. I knew the village was present that day. Many of their faces were filled with anger and disgust while others looked on in sadness and shame.


I scanned the faces to find the person who had brought me to the stake. There, in the furthest row, stood a tall, handsome man. His blazing eyes and smug grimace told me all I needed to know. He wore a tall hat brushed to a lustrous sheen, its pewter buckle glinting in the sunlight. A modest lace collar draped over the lapels of his tailored black-cloth coat. In his grasp, cradled like a babe-in-arms, was a large bible. The ornately carved leather and wood bindings whispered at its untold wealth.


My shock registered through my trance state. I knew the man! I knew him and had loved him – once. I knew the book he held, for we had studied it together. Side by side we worked. I knew the smell of the leather, the satin smoothness of the wood; the creak of the bindings as he opened the pages. I spurned his feeble attempts to see me upended over his table. The obsessive, glowing burn in the Preacher’s eyes revealed the soul within. The same burn was mirrored in Shirley’s as she created false narratives.


I felt a swift blow of panic reach through time to seize me. I began to shake as great gasping breaths ripped at my lungs and struck at my throat. I could not stop the overwhelming sense of dread. I had been hunted and caught by a predator. That same predator who stalked me then stalked me now.


I knew the path I needed to tread. I had conquered my childhood bully a mere five years earlier. I knew how to deal with people who enjoyed defeating others. Having overcome my panic, I took up my sword of truth and aimed it squarely at Shirley’s lies. I was ready for the war.



My Second Past Life Regression


Less than a month later, I experienced a spontaneous regression. That summer was filled with revelations. I consider it a turning point in my life.


The afternoon heat in our apartment was made all the more difficult by the stagnant ocean air. We had not had a whiff of a breeze for more than a month. I returned home from work to find myself alone. A rare occasion given the schedules of my roommates. Because of the momentary lull in activities, I decided to take a cool bath to wash the heat off my skin and to laze away the hot afternoon.


I was lounging in the bath, eyes drooping and swimming with fatigue, when flashes of images lit up my mind. The images were covered in the sepia of an old photograph. With the images came anger, disgust, and disappointment. I felt as though a lifetime of hard work and determination had been thrown away, “…for nuthin’!”


I remember being covered in red dust in the heat. I was thirsty and tired from a day’s digging. I held a shovel in my hand. The raw wood of the handle was gray and splintered with age. My hands were large, swollen, burnt brown from the sun, and caked in silty red sediment. Every crack and crevice, every wrinkle of my skin was a catch-all for the insipid stuff. The sepia wash wasn’t age. It was the rust red dust from the opal mines of Australia.


As I ingested the pictures, I watched another scene immerge. A group of young gentlemen came driving through the dust in a factory-new jalopy. The rag top was down. The chrome of the windshield and grill glinted sharply in the full day sun. The young men wore broad ties that flew behind them. One hand grasped the leather door straps while the other held boater hats firmly in place – jaunty angle and all.


“Dumb pups!” I muttered as the crew raced towards me. I watched as they swung left before me, the gleaming running boards and wire spokes of the wheels flashing sharply as they turned. A handsome lad in the backseat stood up and raised his boater to me in gleeful tidings. The boy’s teeth flashing white and genteel at me.


My disgust was as irritating as the sand in my hair and the dryness of my throat. I raised a menacing fist and croaked out a husky curse. A warning not to come any closer. The head Tosser threw the machine into gear and sped away in a plume of accursed red grit. I watched as my son looked back at me in sadness before he turned and sat back down, a shadow of helplessness marred his handsome cheeks.


I knew it was the last time the old miner saw his son. The gruff old man held little sympathy for the boy he lost to ‘those sorts’ of men. There was no room in his heart for pansies like his son. the old bigot turned to enter his hut, I heard him say, “Disgusting! The lot of ‘em!” The world was better off without them, in his mind. With those disturbing thoughts in my mind, I opened my eyes. I was no longer covered in dust. I found myself growing colder as I sat up in the water.


As I exited the bath, I realized the old miner had spent his money offering his son a better life. To make his son an educated man of means, had been the old man’s life work. Yet on his son’s return, the old man had thrown the boy out. His son was a man who loved men. And in the Outback of the roaring Twenties, that simply was not on.


I have since forgiven the old man for his hate-filled actions, but at the time I was racked with guilt for having been a person who threw away his son.



Reviewing and Reassessing My First Regression


After the initial shock of my first regression, I went about removing Shirley from my life. I thought my lessons had been learned. That my past lives had been integrated into my consciousness, but the flashbacks of the woman at the stake told me differently.


After years of fear, I decided to repeat the regression of the woman at the stake. I felt there was more to be gained from this woman’s death. I decided it was time I faced her final moments. I had grown in my maturity. I had faced the pain of childbirth and I was now the mother of a severely affected Autist. I had withstood my own burning times and had come out stronger because of them. Now in my forties, I settled in to regress myself and return to the life that had left scars in this one.


I settled in and walked myself through the same technique we used years before. Shortly thereafter, I found myself bound to the stake on the platform. The sun shone overhead. The village’s poorest man stooped with a fire brand in his hand, lighting the fagots around me. I watched him move sheepishly away, his coins safely in his pocket. I remember thinking the wood was too green to burn quickly. I scanned the faces once more, to look my hunter in the eye. I knew what he had told the village. “She must have placed an enchantment on me!” he had cried.


Awash in memories, I smiled broadly through the heavy smoke. The man’s smile faltered then fell. I drew in a deep breath of smoke-filled air, suppressing a cough. I cast my eyes to the bright blue sky and said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”


With a gladdened heart, I ended the life review. I knew her ending. As a wisewoman and a midwife, she knew the ways of life and death. She knew the smoke would rob her of her soul well before the flames could char their pound of flesh.


She chose to end her life in the only way she knew how – by consciously willing herself to die by smoke rather than by fire. In choosing her death, she chose her way to freedom. By knowing her end, I empowered myself to live with her courage and her wisdom. Her death brought about my freedom, and for that I am eternally grateful.



Author’s Note


My story should not be viewed as a successful attempt at Past Life Regression. I believe my trauma was avoidable had I been in the presence of a professional hypnotherapist well versed in PLR.



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