You may remember that I spoke not too long ago with a woman who was an astrologer/medium who talked quite a bit about past lives, which played quite nicely into a piece of fiction I have been working on. Jo’ann suggested during the reading that I read a book called Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives and perhaps even consult with a regression hypnotist.The book is written by a hypnotist who takes people through their past lives, but is really interested in exploring their time between past lives, i.e., what they do when they cross to “the other side.” I know that many would think I was crazy for going down this path, but come on, you have to admit, it’s fascinating. Don’t we all want to know what happens after we die? I felt much more at ease about death and dying after reading this book. Where many people may have felt skepticism, I was willing to accept these ideas, partly because of how similarly each of the book’s subjects describes things, but also in what the ideas might add to what I am writing: that we continue to do spiritual work in the afterlife, that we can split our souls between being in the afterlife and being on earth, that there are varying levels of souls, based on an individuals spiritual growth. As I read the book, I was couldn’t-put-it-down excited by some of the ideas that I will now be able to incorporate into my prose.
Of course, this much excitement has led me to setting up an appointment on Tuesday with a woman I found on the Internet, a student of Michael Newton, who wrote the book. She could easily be a “quack.” There is no Internet BBB for hypnotists, and a Google search turns up nothing but prolific speeches she has made and articles she has written. Turns out you can’t just go and be “regressed” in one session. It’s something you need to build up to, thus requiring several sessions. Not a cheap venture. I have never been hypnotized before so I keep telling myself I am doing this in the name of book research, but I am also intensely curious about such things, which if you have been following this blog you will have probably surmised. I am also hoping I can write off my hypnotism on my taxes. (You scoff).
I have been finding it interesting in the midst of this curiosity on all things spiritual, I have been in several conversations now with CHA about a transformative class he has taken called “Landmark Education.” I have mentioned this to a few of my friends and was surprised when the name was met with a groan. Seems some people have had some bad experiences with “Landmark People.” Its clearly been a life changer for CHA in a spiritual and philosophical sense, and yet my guard is up. If you Google Landmark, there are many articles about it, both good and bad. I don’t want to be skeptical about something that changes people’s lives in positive ways, and yet for some reason I am. I think it has something to do with the zealousness with which CHA speaks of it, yet without being able to give me any specifics with regards to principals or process other than to say, “you just need to take the class.” There also seems to be a pretty forceful recruitment element to it and I am reminded of when I was 14 years old and during a sleepover, my best friend tried to tell me that if I didn’t become a Born Again Christian, I wouldn’t be saved when Christ’s second coming arrived. It made no sense to me and when I tried to question her, she just kept telling me I should come with her to camp. I did visit her at that camp, and was so sad to see that I had somehow lost my friend, so caught up as she was in a life of prayer meetings and singing Christian songs around the campfire, smug in the knowledge that she would be one of the selected few who would make it to “heaven.”
And yet, here I am about to visit a hypnotist. Am I being hypocritical? I suppose the difference is that I sought this out of my own free will, rather than having this hypnotist trying to convince me that her way is the only way to a spiritual enlightenment and yet I wonder if there really is any difference between paying a hypnotist to take you on a journey of your past lives, or taking a weekend-long intensive class in order to put your past behind you.
I am also not sure how this chasm between having transformation thrust at me vs. discovering it in my own way might affect the future relationship between CHA and I. He seems pretty convinced that if I were to take this weekend intensive class, it would change our relationship dramatically, that it would change me in some pretty profound ways. I suppose what has annoyed me about this Landmark thing is what appears to be a disregard for any other form of transformative experience. I have worked hard these almost 9 years to grow through grief, in itself a powerful transformative experience, but I am still encouraged to take the course. Dare I suggest that CHA undergo my form of transformation? If I accept his form of awakening, surly he should accept mine.
And thus, I am at a crossroads. Hopefully one of my past lives will help me figure it all out.