We are not just our own experiences in this world; we are influenced by a variety of energies and belief systems. The easiest example of this is our family. Unless there is some sort of healing or coming into greater awareness that occurs, we will most likely take on the beliefs and understandings of our parents. We are also likely to “loop,” or live out their wounds, pain, and unprocessed emotions without realizing it.
We rarely understand that many of the energies, beliefs, emotions, and patterns we carry do not originate with us, with our experiences in this world, in this incarnation. This is not to shirk any sort of personal responsibility, by the way—even when we do inherit patterns and traumas and emotions, we still have our own experiences of them and add onto them.
Our past lives are intended to be in the background. We are not intended to be aware of them. If we are, they are likely unhealed, meaning that there is something about that lifetime that is creating restriction in your current body and life. Similar to the inner child work, past lives need closure to heal any overwhelming or traumatizing experiences that were not able to be reconciled, and to release the beliefs associated with them.
If our past incarnation was not able to reconcile the trauma or emotions they experienced, that energy gets passed down to us. It is a part of the energy that we inherit coming into this world, and clearing at this level can have profound and often surprising effects. We may have little idea before doing this type of work of the impacts unhealed past life beliefs and traumas are having on our current incarnation.
Unresolved Issues and Death
There are common reasons why past lives linger. The most common is manner of death. Ideally, we would all have what is known as a “good death.” This means that we die consciously, that we are ready to die, and that our death was not surprising to us. Understandably, there are times when a good death does not occur. In these cases, the manner of death frequently needs to be worked with.
It may be surprising to notice while doing this work that an area that is creating physical pain for you may be linked to a hanging in a previous life (throat), a miscarriage or death during the childbirth process (pelvic pain), starvation or exposure (digestive tract) or a stabbing (solar plexus), but these are all commonly realized patterns when working with past lives.
Our bodies and spirit like closure. When we did not have this good death, the death remains unresolved. We did not have time to fully resolve emotions, feelings, or other experiences because of the manner in which we died. We may not feel as if we had an honorable death, either. This is more important in some cultures than others.
Trauma-Based Emotional Patterns
The other pattern for past lives is largely emotional and trauma-based. Much like our own lives, we struggled and loved and lost in our past lives. Any trauma, emotion, or experience that was too much for us to work through in our previous incarnation is unresolved and carried forward into this lifetime.
A red flag to possibly suggest that past-life healing may be helpful is fear that does not make sense within the context of your experiences in this world. This fear is beyond the normal and logical experience of fearing heights, betrayal, earthquakes and natural disasters, or other experiences in this world.
We will then attempt to heal this unresolved past life energy or might relive the experience without our conscious awareness. We may, in fact, meet people from previous incarnations with whom we are attempting to heal some sort of rift. In simpler ways, we may not understand why we have always had a fear of the ocean, or carry around a huge amount of grief, are angry toward a particular type of profession or person, or have a huge interest in airplanes, or knowledge about airplanes, without much if any study.
We are, of course, rarely conscious of any of this. If we are “awakening,” we may begin to recall past lives and have strange dreams that feel like they are from elsewhere, a recollection of odd events, or even flashes of ourselves in a past life. More commonly, people come to past-life healing because there is an area of their body in pain that nobody can figure out.
As a spiritual practitioner, I find that the people who come to me typically have been to see as many as twenty other health care practitioners with little change to their situation and are often willing to try anything, no matter how strange, to bring themselves closer to healing.
Past-Life Healing Is Not A Panacea
Past-life healing is, of course, not a panacea for all that ails us. We are unique individuals with unique reasons for being, and have many reasons for disease and dysfunction. But in many cases, past lives are a piece that helps us complete the puzzle of our lives, and in healing the root reason why something began (a past life), other methods of more traditional care may start to work, or work better than they did previously. When we get to deeper, more spiritual patterns, we are getting closer to the root of a pattern, that is, why it may have emerged in the first place.
For example, we may have significant digestive issues and have visited many physicians, therapists, and holistic practitioners for treatment of the physical, emotional, and some of the energetic issues yet still experience problems. In some cases, this would point to more time needed with the physical elements of the digestive system (which take time to heal). But in many other cases, the root of what originally caused the digestive issues has not yet been expressed.
The ancestral, familial, or past-life energetics, once worked with and resolved, would heal the root of the issue. Typically, what occurs is that the physical, therapeutic, or holistic methods of working with the digestive tract would then begin to work with higher efficacy. We are spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical beings, and it is by working with all aspects of ourselves that we can heal.
Past Life Beliefs and Personal Responsibility
Taking responsibility for our path and bodies really means that we cannot blame our experiences on our past lives (or our ancestors, or karma, or even our family or inner children). To complete and provide closure for the past life energy that lived within you, there must be some sort of reconciliation of how it impacted you.
If you consider this past life (you can also do this while working with it), this person likely had a lot of emotions and thoughts about their experiences. Trauma changes us. It changes what we think about ourselves. It changes what we think about other people, and creates fear and separation in our relation to the world.
There were likely beliefs or understandings that emerged due to the trauma of this past life. This person may have distrusted authority because they were a servant to a king, or may believe that the world is unsafe because their village was raided. They may believe that they cannot use their voice and that they will never amount to anything; they may feel that men (or women) are dangerous as a result of the experiences they have had.
With experience, you may be able to relate their experience to one in this life, and note your relationship to the king (who in this life may be your mother), and how the situation has “looped” or been created again.
While working with the past life energy, you are welcome to ask the body deva these questions, but an important part of the process is to take a step back and contemplate what belief structures and understandings changed as a result of the trauma this person experienced. If it is a matter of death, the person may have formed fewer ideas about the experience as they may have simply not had time, but otherwise there is likely something there for you to consider.
When an idea emerges, you can realize that you have taken on this belief or reaction in some way. Maybe you are afraid that your house will be broken into, or feel as if the world is constantly out to screw you, or are deathly afraid of heights. Maybe you have had dreams of being strangled, suffocated, or lynched, or you find yourself unwilling or unable to trust your partner due to a betrayal by them in a past life.
Whatever it is, you have taken on these thoughts, realizations, and reactions and made them your own. You will have done so directly (believing in the exact same way that the world is constantly out to screw you) or the belief may have shifted and changed based on your own experiences in this world (you now believe that a particular class, race, or gender will break into your home due to the beliefs and traumas of the familial household impacting you).
Realizing this will offer the opportunity for further release. Going back to your body deva with this realization, and asking the body part where this energy was being held to release as a result of this new understanding, will permit full closure of any past lives being expressed.
Release at this level can cause release of emotions. For example, if the person in your past life was grieving, you may feel some grief arise in your own body. This is always surprising to people, as they are not used to working with something spiritual and having it have a physical impact. Some experiences of soreness can occur with this type of work. We are doing deep excavating here, and this type of response will really show how we do in fact hold energies like this within.
The Body Deva: Working with the Spiritual Consciousness of the Body
by Mary Mueller Shutan
In this step-by-step guide to understanding and working with the body deva, the consciousness of your body, Mary Mueller Shutan explains how our bodies hold the traumatic energies, emotions, physical issues, and restricting beliefs that cause us pain and feelings of disconnection. She details how to make contact and dialogue with your body deva to heal a variety of issues, from physical pains to ancestral and past life patterns to limiting ideas about what we can accomplish in this world.
About the Author
Mary Mueller Shutan is an acupuncturist, herbalist, craniosacral therapist, zero balancer, and spiritual healer. Author of The Spiritual Awakening Guide and Managing Psychic Abilities, she has helped hundreds of people worldwide through her programs and consultations. Visit her website at www.maryshutan.com