Recently I’ve published articles describing three extraordinary experiences from the altered-state sessions of Stanislav Grof (whether LSD or intensive breathing). One involved life after death, another healing via access to knowledge not available to the everyday consciousness of the person concerned, and the third an apparent exorcism¹. More recently I’ve written two articles on reincarnation². What follows is an anecdote which brings the two themes together, healing through reliving a past life trauma³.
The person in question was an Australian psychologist and minister, who was tortured by chronic pain in his shoulder. X-rays revealed nothing, and there was no medical explanation. Injections provided temporary relief for a few hours, but nothing had helped in the long term.
In his altered-state session he went through a long period of screaming and shaking, then eventually became relaxed and blissful. In the feedback session which followed, he said that he had relived three levels of trauma. The first was an incident which occurred when he was seven years old, playing on a sandy beach. A tunnel had collapsed and buried him; he almost died. In the session he was still in pain, and then relived an experience of being stuck in the birth canal, his shoulder trapped behind the pubic bone of his mother. He stayed there for a while, choking.
As explained in the previous article on reincarnation, once people have relived their birth, they seem to have access to material from past lives. This man then moved on to the third level of trauma, and experienced himself in a uniform, on a horse in a battle in Cromwell’s England. A lancet went through his shoulder, and he fell off his horse. He was then trampled on by other horses, and he experienced himself as dying, his consciousness detaching itself from his body. He then saw his trampled body from above.
Following this altered-state session, that was the end of the pain in his shoulder, which never came back. This suggests that fully reliving a traumatic incident, even from a past life, provides the necessary catharsis to enable healing.
Does such an anecdote prove reincarnation? Probably not, but it is at least strongly suggestive, the word used by Ian Stevenson in my last article.
1. Here are links to these articles: Is There Life After Death? – an Interesting Anecdote. Consciousness and the Brain – an Interesting Anecdote, and Another Interesting Anecdote.
3. Grof tells this story on a series of audiocassettes, The Transpersonal Vision, Sounds True (Publishers), tape 3.