William Blake’s famous poem, “London” describes the misery he sees all around him. Blake’s poem was published in 1794, a time of great disruption and industrialization. (See Enclosure Acts for more information).

 One verse caught my eye, particularly the last line.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

Some of my clients have recalled past lives during that era in England. It was tough. And from the vantage point of the twenty first century, I understand what Blake means by “mind-forged manacles.”

Many of the people who come to see me are bound up with mind-forged manacles. Some of those manacles were first formed during the industrial revolution, around the time Blake wrote his poem. Let me give you an example.

Jake came to see me because he was struggling. He felt weighed down trying to achieve his dream of being an airline pilot. Even though he was a competent commercial light aircraft pilot, his sense of responsibility and fear of failure was undermining his self-confidence. He just wanted to feel safe and free.

During his regression, he accessed a past life as a man living in a village with his wife and children. It was winter and they were hungry. Common areas in the village had disappeared and hunting in the forest was not allowed. He went out to hunt anyway and was discovered. The manor’s huntsman felled him with an arrow. He reports how he feels:

Now I am cold and numb and cannot register what I am feeling. I am almost gone. People walk past. I try to call out, but no one hears.

I suggest that he may have died.

I want to die but I don’t want to leave my family. I know I am going to die anyway. I want to get it over and done with.

I suggest he let go and then tell me what happens.

I feel relief. There is a weight off my shoulders. I can see my body slumped against a rock. I am feeling concerned because my family were relying on me to get some food. I want to go back and see them.

I am back at our place. My wife is bouncing our son on her knee. She is strong. I am giving her as much of my love as I can. She gets a sense of my presence. I can feel her doubt that I will ever come back. She is shocked that I might be gone.

I am slowly drifting through the trees and upwards. I am closing my eyes and letting it happen. I am enjoying that feeling of being withdrawn from the earth sphere. It is familiar. I see the earth. It is beautiful, like a giant colourful marble.

In this past life, Jake had not passed over. He was stuck, not wanting to leave his family because he felt responsible for providing for them. Once he passed, he felt immediate relief.

I felt the weight of the responsibility of four people to look after in the past life. Dying relieved the weight off my shoulders. It was a hard life. I was meant to feel that helplessness and vulnerability for some reason. Oh! Because I enjoyed being in control. I needed to learn what it was like to not be in control. To let go. It was meant end that way.

The heavy sense of responsibility he felt in his current life was coming from his need to be in control. Without consciously realising it, in the past life, he had been avoiding feelings of vulnerability, preferring to feel in control, even after bodily death. During his regression, he finally got the message and accepted his death. This experience contained an important message: You cannot always be in control.

We cannot always be in control when we are physical. Surrender is needed sometimes and the feelings of vulnerability it entails.

Jake’s mind-forged manacles were his fear of vulnerability and his subsequent need to be in control. The regression confirmed something else important. He realised that physical death is not the end of life. This knowledge helped him accept his human vulnerability and inspired him to trust his path—whatever happens.

His mind-forged manacles had slipped away.

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