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  • Writer's pictureAnna Kultin

Reincarnation Journey

By Anna Kultin

I don’t have the slightest intention of making this little article a big argument for or against the theory of reincarnation. As much as I am fascinated with all manifestations of spirituality, even with those that are surely absurdist, I can only present my reasonably honest, objectively perceived, and admittedly naive verdict on this topic. After all, I went on this adventure in a time of a constant emotional pain and deep unresolved psychological issues in my life.

The moment had come. I scheduled my regression therapy session with the clinical psychologist, who claimed to be very experienced and had an impressive number of positive testimonials (1500 travels to past lives, she claimed). All these so-called travelers seemed happy, and even anxious to share their colorful stories of past lives.

I have travelled across almost all of Europe, parts of Asia and Africa, and beyond, but to venture on a journey to my previous lives sounded more extravagant, if not to say on almost the same pricelist. Approaching my experiment as a new therapeutic method, as the psychologist presented it, as opposed to a traditional therapy session, I had hopes it would lead me to some interesting results. Besides, it had become very popular in the last few decades. Some of my friends didn’t shy away from mentioning that they had undergone regression therapy.

One of my dear girlfriends recounted her vision: “I saw… I was a wolf chasing deer. It was unusual to feel that energy, that muscle happiness, the instinct,” and then as she embarked on a more detailed description. “It felt normal to kill another animal…There wasn’t anything bad about it. Just life on its own terms.”

I have to say that despite growing up in a Christian society for the most part, I was open to other ideas, even when they were not that logically attractive to me. “How is recognizing myself as a wolf going to resolve any of my problems?” I questioned myself.

But my life at the time was full of those esoteric experiments which one can undergo when in search of answers. After a few months working with a psychic, having serious conversations about being in a flow, chakras, energies, vortexes, meditations etc., attempting to travel to my past lives seemed less of a stretch than it might have otherwise. I guess I was ready to explore that little terra incognita in person.

The bland face of a slightly overweight middle-aged woman on Skype, with her raspy voice, instructed me a day prior on how to set up the environment required for the session and what to expect. The entire apartment was to be prohibited any entrance or exit, no music was to be played, no external or internal communications, all lights were to be blacked out. I even had homework assigned: to play some imaginative games and roleplay through a series of emotional states. It seemed she was testing my ability to explore a deep imagination and sensitivity to her guidance. After finishing all those preparations, as well as sending a good amount of money her way, she reported: I passed.

The day came: I was propped up with a perfect pillow and a blindfold over my eyes. A Skype call, she would direct me by using this medium – how convenient. My expectations were that I would see “the visions”, like being in a movie theater where that movie is imagined and created by a filmmaker, someone other than you.

Overflowing emotions hit me in the second hour of the trans, where I, or what I thought was “myself” and my partner, or someone I felt was my partner, were in a past life. I could relate to the moment of their encounter. I could feel that couple. Then I saw myself in a few other past lives, as a man and as several women. The visions were really nebulous, and mostly I was just feeling what was going on but not really able to visualize it. The psychologist/psychiatrist, with her raspy voice, would guide me to “see” certain episodes and she asked questions about them. When she went quiet, I coldly asked myself if that was my own brain, desperate to send a signal about my struggle with that relationship – or something else?

Five hours later, when the session was over, the most unusual calming sensation was: it all keeps evolving. I have lived it before. Death was not that scary anymore.

The session did not provide answers or help in resolving anything. In fact, strangely enough, I became more depressed a few days later. In a way, it was like watching a TV show – exciting during and flat after. The events on the screen trigger emotions and you can applaud, cry, watch – but those feelings WERE NOT born inside you.

I kept my own, personal rights to pursue discovery. A voice inside asked: “Did this seem to you like a product of your shallow imagination?” We want to believe in certain narratives – because we need to find peaceful explanations for what happens. Our minds need logical constants to work with, a chaotic world feels uncomfortable.

A psychologist would assure you that it is not merely a product of your brain inventing the story. “It is impossible,” she mentioned, “in real time, during the session to create the entire story, in such detail and talk so fast, be in that flow, answer so quickly when I ask.”

I went online and read everything I could find regarding past lives. It is an axiom in many religions: there is a past life, or multiple lives. As far as anything scientific – it was a quiet space, with a scattering of pseudo-scientific studies.

As always, when a hot topic is new to us, many follow whatever explanations that seem simple enough to understand: like, yeah, children remember their past lives, when in their few-years-old abracadabra speech they describe themselves as solders from World War 2 – or possibly whatever they hear from their parents. I found a huge research project conducted by an institute, where a respectable doctor collected children’s testimonies about their past lives. The audience could barely hold their breath – they deemed it an ironclad proof, even though kids can barely explain what they see around them at such a young age.

The rare and ancient commentary I found from St. Basil the Great warned against belief in reincarnation by sarcastically noting: “Run away from the delusions of sullen philosophers who are not ashamed to consider their souls and the souls of dogs to be one with each other, and say of themselves that they were once wives, trees, and fish of the sea. But though I will not say whether they were once fish, yet with all my strength I am ready to affirm that when they wrote these – they were more clueless than those fish”.

The psychologist was adamant: our past lives affect our current one. Sometimes, she shared, there is no rational explanation: beautiful marriages are falling apart, kids rebel against their parents, or someone cannot get married or have children. A past life can cast a shadow on everything we do in the present. She told me a story: One of her clients who struggled with her relationships and love, a beautiful girl with very low self-esteem was also sent on this trip to her past lives. The young woman saw herself in a Nazi camp. As a young Jewish girl, she attracted attention from a high ranking official in that camp. He saved her from death and torture, and soon she was cleaning, cooking and having sex with this German official. The source of her pain was – her inability to help her Jewish fellows, dying in the camp. The psychologist concluded that the young woman had suppressed any feelings of love for the soldier. “You could have made him love you so much, so that he could see you in other girls and that would change something, even though you could not do it yourself” – the psychologist concluded. Upon recognizing that, the client, according to the doctor, felt better.

Wrestling with my own doubts of the “real” reality of those past lives, I had a recurring pattern of thought: I was creating those stories from the deep-buried source where I mine for my creative writing character ideas. They were merely the fruit of my fantasies, far from reflecting or remembering any past reality. The psychologist emphasized the point that it is impossible to create those stories so spontaneously and quickly in all their detail. But to me it was similar to spinning a fairytale, creating my own narrative, but in this case directed by a desire to heal, a whirlwind of inspiration that assembled a self-contained gestalt, seemingly effortlessly.

The human mind is an absolute terra incognita, despite the comprehensive dogmas of scientists on the potential of it. Even the descriptions of how endless the possibility of the human mind is fail to capture the mystery. I went with the flow and the dynamic of my narrative somehow unfolded, melded into a cadence similar to the speed of casual conversation. She helped me to enter a trans state of mind - that was a fact. That opened up something in me that was hard to define, but I was still myself, controlling my own narrative.

When you sleep you have no choice but to follow the seeming logic of your dreams. Dreams can reveal a little something, some insight about yourself, but in a very confusing manner. Once you wake up, you know that was a dream, and the interpretation, or phantasmagoric digestion of your emotions and thoughts is complex and tangled.

The underworld of your imaginative thinking and dreams is in many ways close to a drug-induced altered state of mind, creating warm kaleidoscopic visions. After smoking weed or consuming DMT we experience a reality in our mind that for a moment, like in dreams, feels real, juicy, truthful. The process of a deep dive into it, to a point where it is hard to distinguish phantasmagory and reality, is over once the chemical influence is over. You return to your reality. That is a Real reality. You are present in your physical body.

Freud dared to explain our dreams. Not without pleasure, the public of that time learned that thought has its origins deeply rooted in the subconscious and is ruled by vicious mechanisms. For a time that theory would sell itself well. In Freud’s era, Europe happily acknowledged that the psyche exists. There was a hunger for a new level, maybe less biological and more mystical, of psychological awareness. However, the applause did not last long before critics and haters started openly mocking the father of psychoanalysis. Eventually doctor Freud, the Einstein of psychiatry, inventor of panacea, had his psychoanalytic theory labeled a myth, at a loss for a coherent explanation. “In a state of bewilderment,” noted one of his critics, “it may therefore bring comfort and relief … give its subject a new and deeper understanding of his own condition and of the nature of his relationship to his fellow men. A mythical structure will be built up around him which makes sense and is believable, regardless of whether or not it is true.”

Now we dare to explain our multiple, endless past lives, barely understanding exactly what we are searching for. We are again entrusting the interpretation into the hands of psychology enthusiasts. Hoping that they have clear and functional explanations of how to heal the human psyche is like entering the deepest, darkest forest with no compass and a flickering little candle.

I am sure that for some, the idea of reincarnation sounds appealing and comforting. I say: “Good for them, if they don’ t believe in anything else, at least it will hold them accountable. Karma does work, if you do stupid shit, you are going to pay for it, if not in this life, in the next life for sure. Amen.”

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