Why do we experience trauma that is carried across lives?



As I explained in my previous post, trauma from a previous life can manifest in a current life. After my clients have released the emotional energy carried over from a past life trauma, they often wonder why they had to experience such traumatic events in the first place. What value can we gain from such painful experiences?

Dechen’s story, detailed in my book, Other Lives, Other Realms, shows how a trauma can affect us across multiple lifetimes. As a sixteen-year-old girl named Lesandra, Deschen died terribly many centuries ago.

Lesandra shared a dirt-floored hut in rural England with her father and her sister. She felt exhausted after working all day in their small vegetable plot. Arriving home at dusk, she lay down to rest. Her younger sister began preparing the evening meal, intending to have it ready when their father returned.

Lesandra’s sister watched over a pot strung over an open fire, near Lesandra’s bed. Suddenly, the oil flared up. As the fire erupted, her sister panicked, and rushed out of the hut. Lesandra woke to a raging fire. Trapped behind the flames, she burned to death before she could find the door.

The fear from this death carried over into Dechen’s current life. As a doctor, she faced many life and death incidents. Some of these triggered debilitating anxiety. During the regression, Dechen re-experienced this past life, accepted the death and passed over peacefully. Afterwards, she noticed that her anxiety had disappeared.

Like many other clients, Dechen wondered why she experienced such a painful death.

During a life-between-lives regression, clients are given the opportunity to question the ‘Council of Elders.’ The Council is made up of wise beings who know us better than we know ourselves. They offer us their gentle wisdom.

I have noticed that clients are given the same answer whenever they ask why they have faced certain challenges. Which is? ‘You chose it.’

You may wonder how you can choose something before you were born. In the regression, you discover that you are much, much more than your physical body. Your greater self, or soul self, chose to be born. It chose to experience your past lives and your current life.

When we are born, we forget the choices we made during our life-between-lives. Indeed, some of the decisions we made then may seem inexplicable now. Why would we choose to experience a traumatic death? Why choose to be persecuted and tortured?

The Council explains. ‘To be whole, to complete your journey as a human on Earth, you need to experience life from all human perspectives. You need to know what it is like to kill, persecute and torture, just as you need to know what it is like to be killed, persecuted and tortured. You need to know what it is like to be fat, crippled and ill, as well as strong, healthy and beautiful.’

While this may seem perverse to us, the Council’s reasoning makes perfect sense. Sharing in every aspect of the human experience allows us to develop genuine compassion. We reach the point where we know that our only real choice is to love and accept every individual, just as they are. Once we know how painful it is to feel disconnected from love, to feel disconnected from our true self, we lose the ability to judge others.

Of course, there are times when judgment seems like a natural reaction to the worst excesses of human behavior—the callousness of terrorists, for example. But terrorists have cut themselves off from love. They have separated from their higher selves. Their hearts are set like stone. Remembering the pain of our past lives when we were disconnected, when our hearts weighed like granite in our chests, we soften, and feel compassion. There can be no happy ending for terrorists. They will suffer and struggle over countless lifetimes, acting out their anger and resentment. The pain their actions cause will spill over from lifetime to lifetime, until they gain sufficient insight to renounce and release their self-hatred, and choose instead to reconnect to love.

If our higher self chooses how we will be born and what we will experience, what level of free will do we humans have? I will address this question in my next blog.



What carries over from past lives?


Gabrielle was trapped in that timeless state of the stormy sea where she'd drowned.

Gabrielle was trapped in that timeless state of constantly fighting the stormy sea where she’d drowned.


Remember Karma, discussed in my previous post? Through my clients, I’ve learned that we are neither punished nor rewarded for our actions in past lives. At the same time, unresolved issues can flow from one life to another. Let’s look at some examples, drawn from my clients’ experience.


Adrianne is happily married to Erin. She came to me because her friendship with another woman was causing problems in her marriage. Erin sensed a level of obsession in the friendship, and was pressing Adrianne to end the relationship. This case is discussed in more detail in my book, Other Lives, Other Realms.

During regression, Adrianne returned to a life in which her friend had incarnated as her younger sister. Tragically, her sister died prematurely. Adrianne felt responsible for her sister’s death, and never recovered from the loss. She withdrew from her husband—who shared the same soul as Erin.

As Adrianne had never addressed the grief and guilt she felt after her sister died, her protective instincts were triggered when she met this woman in her current life. I helped Adrianne work through the emotions she had previously avoided, and she was able to bring the relationship with her friend to an appropriate conclusion.


Meredith was torn between her own needs, and meeting society’s expectations. During regression, I asked for her to be shown the origin of this conflict. She soon learned that the same battle had raged in her previous lives.

Meredith returned to a life as a healer, relying on herbal remedies and her psychic abilities. Unfortunately, she lived during the era of the Spanish Inquisition. She was tortured, and burned at the stake.

Her guide told her that she had experienced persecution in several lifetimes. Meredith was shocked that mass hysteria and religious extremism could lead to such cruelty. She also realised that the fear she felt in her current life had its genesis in the tortures she had endured centuries before.

Meredith and I began resolving this issue during her regression.


Gabrielle was afraid of water, especially seawater. Even standing ankle-deep on the beach, the undertow aroused strong feelings of anxiety. Yet she had no memory of any water-related trauma in her current life.

I regressed Gabrielle to her life as an adventurous teenaged girl. One calm evening she climbed into a boat, planning to row along the shoreline a little. Suddenly, a storm rose up, sweeping her out to sea. She panicked, and decided to swim back to the shore.

Unfortunately, the elements overwhelmed her. Even as the waves dragged her down, she kept struggling, trying to reach the safety of the shore. Although she drowned, part of her—the part that wanted to survive—refused to accept the fact. She remained trapped in the terrible reality she had created for herself, fighting constantly to keep her head above water.

Gabrielle remained trapped in that timeless state until she reincarnated in her current life—when she was given the opportunity to clear her fear of death by water for good.

Rescuing the dead

Gabrielle exemplifies the problem of a violent or unexpected death. If we were unable to accept the reality of our death, we can find ourselves trapped in a netherworld of perpetual resistance. However, we need not remain stuck. In my counselling and regression practices I have used hypnosis and other techniques to rescue hundreds of people from the purgatory they created for themselves.

My research and personal experience have convinced me that many of us are carrying emotional burdens created by the manner of our deaths in past lives. While these emotions are not apparent when we are reborn, they can easily be triggered.

For example, the first time Gabrielle dipped her feet into the ocean and felt the tide pulling at her ankles, her latent fears were triggered.

Meredith could have been triggered as a young child when her mother ignored her desires.

And Adrienne’s feelings of guilt and loss were triggered when she met the woman who shared the soul of her younger sister in a previous life. She could not let go then, and had trouble letting go in her current life as well.

Many of the challenges we face—not wanting to have children, a fear of commitment, fear of flying, unexplained anxiety, a compulsion to help others, health problems and addictions—echo the unresolved conflicts of our past lives.

These issues will keep resurfacing, in this life and in future lives, until we resolve them. In fact, we attract the situations that trigger these unresolved issues, and will keep doing so, until we can make our peace with them.

Once we have re-experienced the situation that gave birth to our negative emotions, released those feelings, and seen our problems from the perspective of multiple lifetimes, we find that the issue either melts away, or at least becomes easier to manage.

So why do we experience traumas that can take lifetimes to resolve? Good question. I’ll explore it in my next post!

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