Read an Excerpt
How to Find Meaning in Your Past Lives and Your Interlives
By Georgina Cannon
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2012 Dr. Georgina Cannon
All rights reserved.
Man has no Body distinct from his Soul; for that called Body is a portion of Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul in this age.
Most of us aren't aware of how extraordinary the body is. We only know it's too fat or too thin, too wide or too short. We don't celebrate the brilliant mechanics of the machinery that houses our essence. By and large, we have one of what we need (heart, mouth, thymus gland) or two of what we need (kidneys, lungs, eyes), and, most of the time, they all work well together. Without any conscious thought, we go about our days—walking, talking, making decisions, eating, loving, acting, and reacting—and yet not once do we stop and say: "Wow, this body thing I have is really amazing!" But when we do take the time to look at this structure, we discover how truly extraordinary it is.
During our lives on this planet, 500,000 body cells die each second. Each day, about 50 billion cells in our bodies are replaced, resulting in a completely new body each year.
Every year, about 98 percent of the molecules and atoms in our bodies are replaced. Each living being is in an unstable balance of two opposing processes of continual disintegration and integration. We don't appreciate this constant change or its possible impact on our lives. But where does the continuity of our continually changing bodies come from? We know that cells are just the building blocks of the body—like the bricks of a house—but who is the architect; who is the engineer who coordinates the building of this house?
When someone dies, only mortal remains are left. But where is the director of the body? What about consciousness when we die? Is "someone" the body?
Do We "Have" a Body?
The belief is, in essence, that everything and everyone is part of a pattern and thus interconnected. And we connect and interconnect with each other through an altered state or transcendent state of consciousness.
This state allows us to "plug into" the earth and universal energies to heal ourselves and others, both directly and across boundaries. This state also allows us to access our "guides," or spirit helpers, to heal or balance our energy aura or chakras.
The medium—or energy—of this state can be achieved through hypnosis, meditation, or prayer. Many who follow the traditional religions of Christianity, Judaism, or Islam also believe "beyond the book." They believe in a state we call energy, "the light," "the Christ consciousness," ITLχITL, or "the force."
The idea of past-life regression journeys isn't the shocker it once was. More and more people are recognizing that there is something beyond who we are today, right here, on this planet. And that we are truly the sum of our parts.
And whether the sum of our parts is made up of soul parts or DNA parts, we are more than either, or both, of these.
So, like all curious travelers who wish to explore new, uncharted territory, we can experience surprise, wisdom, occasional discomfort, awe, and delight from the voyage of our souls into the Interlife. Unlike earthly travelers, however, you are unlikely to get tummy troubles on this journey—but then, you don't get air miles either!
Do you feel you belong to your body, or does your body belong to you?
Why do you think you chose the particular body you now inhabit?
How does your present body serve your purpose?
The Soul/Body Agreement
Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.
—Henry David Thoreau
We generally assume that, when a woman becomes pregnant, most of the time the baby is born complete with a soul, and that both mother and baby remain together for the journey through the chosen lifetime.
But it isn't always that way, as my colleagues and I have learned working with new mothers and mothers-to-be in my hypnosis clinic.
Sometimes, the soul doesn't enter until after the child is born—occasionally as long as a few months after.
Sometimes the soul leaves after the start of the forming of the body and a miscarriage occurs; sometimes the soul chooses a body that it knows will be aborted; and sometimes the soul makes the choice of leaving just before birth, or just after, as in the case of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In those cases, the baby dies before it lives the life the parent expects.
How and why are these choices made? We know that they are usually grief-ridden for the parents, whenever and however the choice is made—but what could possibly be the reason for such a choice to be made by the soul?
Generally speaking, the soul doesn't actually join the body until the twelfth or thirteenth week after conception—but there are exceptions to this.
Sometimes, a soul is so eager to come in that it joins the mother at the time of conception. Sometimes, the soul is so reticent that it doesn't join the baby until birth or after. The joining of the spiritual and physical is usually harmonious, but occasionally it can be tumultuous. Again, why should this be?
Palden Jenkins says, in his online article "Psychic Abortions" (1999): No one knows the inner reasons, existing in their own right, which lie behind a soul's decision to be conceived, and to choose a specific set of parents. Therefore a key part of the process is to glean this from the soul itself ...
Whatever decision is made (and this is open at the beginning of this process), the final decision, methinks, needs to come from the children/souls. It concerns what is the most realistically manageable and achievable evolutionary path forward, for them, and for the parents and for other closely involved people, jointly and severally ... The "abortion" is done by the child itself—usually within three or so days ...
In my experience, pre-birth and immediately post-birth souls are well capable of making fully aware life-decisions, especially if supported through it ... but in the end it is the child-souls who choose whether or not to take on the challenges before them.
When do you believe your soul joined your body?
Do you feel it made the right choice of body? Why?
Planes of Existence
From wonder into wonder, existence opens.
According to ancient teachings, there are seven planes of existence. The first plane is the material plane, the one we identify as our physical world. The second is the force plane, or etheric plane. Then comes the astral plane, followed by the mental plane. Very little is known about the three planes that follow these, except that they are believed to be of a high degree of spiritual evolution.
New writings and ideas continue to come forward about spiritual evolution and understanding. Jim Self, in his book The Shift (2009)—as well as on his website, masteringalchemy.com—talks about a shift of time and consciousness awareness, and how two massive waves of light and energy are moving through this universe and this earth planet, taking us to a heightened sense of awareness and consciousness. As we move into an awareness—even subconsciously—of the next wave or two of energy, and into more awareness of the now, we need to let go of past remembered hurts and move strongly into the now. That means letting go of just responding to noise, motion, action, and reaction, and moving into a time of choice. We will choose how we want to live, react, think, and feel in each now. Without judgment—right or wrong, good or bad—or fear of punishment.
According to Jim Self, we are moving more toward an awareness of being and living as the souls that we truly are!
When a person dies, his or her spirit and astral body go to one of the sub-planes of the astral world, where the spirit rests in a peaceful and regenerative sleep. During this sleep, it undergoes a cleansing and prepares for whatever place corresponds to its level of spiritual development. The astral body remains in the astral world for a brief time after the spirit leaves it. When the spirit awakens, it passes to the mental plane, from where it proceeds to its appropriate level. In The Beginner's Guide for the Recently Deceased (2004), David Staume says:
You probably noticed, soon after the death of your body, that you hadn't gone anywhere in space—you were pretty much in the room you died in, or around about the bus that hit you ... all that actually occurred was that your consciousness changed focus. You were no longer focused in your physical body—you were focused in the body you have now. It's called your astral body, and the world it allows you to perceive is called the astral world.
Eventually, the astral body loses strength and disintegrates like the physical body. The more spiritually advanced a person is, the faster his or her astral body disintegrates.
The Astral World
Migene González-Wippler, in her 1997 book What Happens after Death: Scientific & Personal Evidence for Survival, tells us:
In the astral world there are zones of great beauty and light that are occupied by higher spirits, but there are also places of darkness and terror inhabited by dark and destructive entities. These terrifying habitations have also been created by the mental vibrations and memories of the beings that inhabit them, most of whom committed terrible crimes and other destructive acts during their material lives.
Each plane of existence in the astral world has its own vibratory rate. The higher the plane, the faster its vibratory rate. The vibratory rate of a spirit depends on its evolutionary development; it will be in perfect harmony with the plane to which it belongs. Spirits are not able to ascend to a superior plane, where the vibrations are stronger and faster, but they can descend to a lower plane and remain there for as long as they wish. According to most mystical schools, higher spirits descend to the lower levels of the astral plane to help the spirits who inhabit these darker regions seek redemption.
We enter the astral world, or Interlife, for a period of time in order to rest and learn. This is the time when we evaluate where we have been and where we need to go next. Our actions in the life just past are examined and measured against our karmic destiny. Have we learned the lessons of that destiny or must we repeat them? We don't undertake the journey alone—we are offered assistance in the form of spirit guides, who are able to consult with a council of higher spirits that meets in a council chamber in the center of a powerful energy field. Dolores Cannon describes it this way, in Between Death and Life: Conversations with a Spirit (1995):
If you were to look at it with physical eyes it would appear that where we are gathered is suspended in midair, but it is really not. It is supported by an energy field that you cannot perceive with the eyes of your level. The energy field is a beautiful deep violet color and it surrounds all of us. There are not really any definite walls or ceilings; everything is just this deep violet and gold. And suspended in the center of this energy field is a council chamber, I suppose you would call it.
As we understand it—and Interlife journeys seem to prove it—members of this council have reached a more advanced plane than most, but have not yet attained the highest plane, that of total enlightenment. They work closely with those who guide individuals on the lower planes. These spirit guides see things as they appear on the physical plane, so they can help individuals plan their future paths and make their choices.
In Between Death and Life, Cannon goes on to tell us this about the relationship between our decision-making and the role of the council:
You are truly the master of your own fate and destiny. You, yourself are in complete control of what you call your lifetime. You are the one who is making decisions as to when and where and how. We [on the council], from our point of view, can see all the options spread out before you. But it is you, yourself who must make the final decisions. You also cannot help but influence other individuals while you are living on this plane. You influence individuals continuously.
Those on the council switch back and forth between lifetimes, sometimes working on a general council and sometimes acting as guides. Those who are guides have usually served on the general council and there is much interchange of information between the two. This allows for greater awareness as well as different perspectives. I see them as spiritual consultants—soul project managers, in a way.
Before we begin our return trip into the physical life, we go through a series of planning sessions with our guides and teachers. During this process, we also check out the family we are considering joining in our next life on earth. Yes, we choose our parents!
In chapter six of The Book of the Soul (2004), Ian Lawton gives us the graphic description of the process of choosing lives during the Interlife, comparing it to being in a theater and watching an interactive movie:
Here souls are able to review the various options available to them in terms of a selection of human beings that will be incarnate with more or less the right sort of aptitudes, circumstances and environment, at about the right time, perhaps in a number of geographic locations. So effectively this place is one where the subject can manipulate time and control the movie telepathically as if it were a video playback, fast-forwarding where necessary and even pausing the scene to enter it temporarily and gain direct experience of that particular incarnation.
Have you experienced the astral state between the times of sleeping and being awake?
How did it feel? Did you have any "insights" that you may have put aside since that time? What were they?
Why do you think you chose the parents you have?
What did that choice teach you?
Soul Levels and Karma as We Understand Them
Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul.
Both the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Egyptian Book of the Dead suggest that, immediately after death, everyone is able to perceive the "Clear Light." However, some souls may be drawn because of anger, desire, or misused lifetimes to less luminous states. Many people seem unaware that their souls are on a journey. And maybe because of that, the periods between lifetimes are uneven in length—some souls need a longer learning period in the life between lives, while others want or need a speedy reincarnation, as they feel their previous lifetimes weren't complete in some way or another.
Do all souls go to all levels? The honest answer is: I don't know! I have asked this question many times, hoping to receive the answer, but my educated guess has to be this: Not all souls go to all levels. It seems, from the various Interlife journeys I have facilitated, as if, depending on the life lived and the way it was lived, the soul can move up (!) two levels, or sometimes three, between lifetimes. For instance, I have had clients who went directly from the second level to the fifth level. It seemed their souls were on a fast-track journey to total enlightenment. Does it happen often? No. But it has happened.
The levels we attain, therefore, show us where we currently are and how far we have yet to journey. As I tell my clients: If you don't get it right in this lifetime, you'll have to come back and repeat the same lesson again! And, yes, my clients groan, too. But it does make for a stronger focus to try and get things right this time around. The soul levels as we know them are:
1st level: The Elementals—pure energies—rocks, trees, water, the earth. Life/energy/cellular forms with no individual personality—collective life forms waiting for their time.
2nd level: Elementals who deal with plants, trees, and animals, or the land, sea, and air. Also called dryads, sprites, fairies, leprechauns, devas. They have more mischief than intelligence. They exist in the spirit realm—their souls are working toward perfection, just like ours. After they have learned to take care of nature, they can move up and learn to take care of themselves and each other.
3rd level: Humans who do not have the intelligence to be either good or bad; they just live an existence. Animal group souls are also at the third level.
Excerpted from Return Again by Georgina Cannon. Copyright © 2012 Dr. Georgina Cannon. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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