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Recently, I've been going to a place I've rarely been before: the future.
When Catherine came to me as a psychiatric patient twenty-four years ago, she recalled with stunning accuracy her travels into past lives she had led that were as far apart as the second millennium B.C. and the middle of the twentieth century, thereby changing my life forever. Here was a woman who reported experiences and descriptions from centuries past that she could not have known in this life, and I a Yale- and Columbia-trained psychiatrist, a scientist and others were able to validate them. Nothing in my "science" could explain it. I only knew that Catherine was reporting what she had actually seen and felt.
As Catherine's therapy progressed, she brought back lessons from the Masters incorporeal guides or spirits possessed of great wisdom who surrounded her when she was detached from her body. This wisdom has informed my thought and governed my behavior ever since. Catherine could go so deeply into the past and had such transcendent experiences that, listening to her, I felt a sense of magic and mystery. Here were realms I never knew existed. I was exhilarated, astonished and scared. Who would believe me? Did I believe myself? Was I mad? I felt like a little boy with a secret that, when revealed, would change the way we view life forever. Yet I sensed that no one would listen. It took me four years to gather the courage to write of Catherine's and my voyages in Many Lives, Many Masters. I feared I would be cast out of the psychiatric community, yet I became more and more sure that what I was writing was true.
In the intervening years my certainty has solidified, and many others, patients and therapists, have acknowledged the truth of my findings. By now I have helped more than four thousand patients by bringing them back through hypnosis to their past lives, so my sense of shock at the fact of reincarnation, if not the fascination of discovery, has worn off. But now the shock is back, and I am revitalized by the implications. I can now bring my patients into the future and see it with them.
Actually, I once tried to take Catherine into the future, but she talked not of her own future but of mine, seeing my death clearly. It was unsettling to say the least! "When your tasks are completed, your life will be ended," she told me, "but there's much time before then. Much time." Then she drifted into a different level, and I learned no more.
Months later I asked her if we could go into the future again. I was talking directly to the Masters then as well as to her subconscious mind, and they answered for her: It is not allowed. Perhaps seeing into the future would have frightened her too much. Or maybe the timing wasn't right. I was young and probably couldn't have dealt as competently with the unique dangers that progression into the future posed as I can now.
For one thing, progressing into the future is more difficult for a therapist than going into the past because the future has not yet happened. What if what a patient experiences is fantasy, not fact? How can we validate it? We can't. We know that when we go back to past lives, events have already happened and in many cases can be proven. But let's suppose a woman of childbearing age sees the world as being destroyed in twenty years. "I'm not going to bring a child into this world," she thinks. "It will die too soon." Who's to say her vision is real? That her decision was logical? She'd have to be a very mature person to understand that what she saw might be distortion, fantasy, metaphor, symbolism, the actual future, or perhaps a mixture of all of these. And what if a person foresaw his death in two years a death caused by, say, a drunk driver? Would he panic? Never drive again? Would the vision induce anxiety attacks? No, I told myself. Don't go there. I became concerned about self-fulfilling prophecy and the unstable person. The risks of acting on delusion were too great.
Still, over the twenty-four years since Catherine was my patient, a few others have gone into the future spontaneously, often toward the end of their therapy. If I felt confident of their ability to understand that what they were witnessing might be fantasy, I encouraged them to go on. I'd say, "This is about growth and experiencing, helping you now to make proper and wise decisions. But we're going to avoid any memories (yes, memories of the future!), visions, or connections to any death scenes or serious illnesses. This is only for learning." And their minds would do that. The therapeutic value was appreciable. I found that these people were making wiser decisions and better choices. They could look at a near future fork in the road and say, "If I take this path, what will happen? Would it be better to take the other?" And sometimes their look at the future would come true.
Some people who come to me describe precognitive events: knowing what will happen before it happens. Researchers into near death experiences write about this; it's a concept that goes back to prebiblical times. Think of Cassandra who could accurately foretell the future but who was never believed.
The experience of one of my patients demonstrates the power and perils of precognition. She began having dreams of the future, and often what she dreamed came to pass. The dream that precipitated her coming to me was of her son being in a terrible car accident. It was "real," she told me. She saw it clearly and was panicked that her son would die in that way. Yet the man in the dream had white hair, and her son was a dark-haired man of twenty-five.
"Look," I said, feeling suddenly inspired, thinking of Catherine and sure that my advice was right, "I know that many of your dreams have come true, but it doesn't mean that this one will. There are spirits whether you call them angels, guardians, guides, or God, it's all higher energy, higher consciousness around us. And they can intervene. In religious terms this is called grace, the intervention by a divine being. Pray, send light, do whatever you can in your own way."
She took my words literally and prayed, meditated, wished for, and revisualized. Still, the accident happened. Only it wasn't a fatal accident. There had been no need for her to panic. True, her son suffered head injuries, but there was no serious damage. Nevertheless, it was a traumatic event for him: When the doctors removed the bandages from his head, they saw that his hair had turned white.
Until a few months ago, on those rare occasions when I progressed my patients forward, it was usually into their own lifetimes. I did the progressions only when I thought the patient was psychologically strong enough to handle them. Often I was as unsure as they were about the meaning of the scenes they brought back.
Last spring, however, I was giving a series of lectures on a cruise ship. In such sessions I often hypnotize my listeners en masse, then lead them into an earlier life and back again to the present. Some go back in time, some fall asleep, others stay where they are, unhypnotized. This time a member of the audience Walter, a wealthy man who is a genius in the software business went into the future on his own. And he didn't go into his own lifetime, he jumped a millennium ahead!
He had come through dark clouds to find himself in a different world. Some of the areas, such as the Middle East and North Africa, were "off limits," perhaps because of radiation damage, perhaps because of an epidemic, but the rest of the world was beautiful. There were far fewer people inhabiting it, because of nuclear catastrophe or plague or the lowering of the fertility rate. He remained in the countryside and so could not speak about cities, but the people were content, happy, even blissful. He said he hadn't the right words to describe their state. Whatever had thinned the population had happened long before. What he saw was idyllic. He wasn't sure of the date, but he was sure that it was more than a thousand years from now.
The experience helped him emotionally. He was rich enough to fantasize about changing the world, but now he realized no one man could do that. There are too many politicians, he said, who are not open to the concepts of charity or global responsibility. The intention to make the world a better place was what mattered, along with the acts of charity he could personally perform. When he returned to this life, he felt a little sad, possibly because he was no longer in the idyllic future. Or he may have been grieving about the coming calamity, sensing its inevitability at some level, as most of us do.
When he was awake, he described the vivid and powerful scenes, and the feelings and sensations he had experienced. This is one reason that I think this is not all imagination. Yet his excitement did not come close to matching mine, for I finally saw the implications. I had come to learn that past, present, and future are one and that what happens in the future can influence the present, just as the past influences it. That night I wrote: "We can go into the future if it's done wisely. The future, whether near or far, can be our guide. The future may be feeding back into the present to influence us now into making better choices and decisions. We can change what we're doing now based on feedback from the future. And that changes our futures in a more positive direction."
Think of what that means! As we have had limitless past lives, so will we have limitless future ones. Using our knowledge of what went before and what is to come, we may be able to shape the world's future and our futures. This ties into the ancient concept of karma: What you do, so shall you reap. If you plant better seeds, grow better crops, and perform better actions, your harvesting in the future will reward you.
Since then I have progressed many others. Some have progressed into their own lives, some into a global future. Science fiction, wish fulfillment, imagination all these might explain what they saw, but so might the possibility that they were actually there. Perhaps the ultimate lesson I can draw from this lifetime is what the future holds and how we can all influence it. That knowledge, at least as much of it as I have now, will color my next lives and yours on our voyage toward immortality.
The future is born from the past. Nearly all my patients experience past life regressions before they journey into their future. This route paves the way for increased understanding and allows them to make wise choices in the present.
That the future is flexible and that we will be present in that future are the concepts that are addressed in this book. Compassion, empathy, nonviolence, patience, and spirituality are life lessons we must all learn. This book will show you why they are crucial through the examples of some of my most remarkable patients, and I will add some simple exercises to begin to teach you how to achieve them in this life. A few of you might actually experience regressions, but don't be disappointed if they don't occur. If you master the lessons, this life and your next lives will be happier, easier, emotionally richer, and more fulfilled. What is more, if all of us learn them, the future itself will be better for us cumulatively, since knowingly or not we are all striving to achieve the ultimate goal which is love.
Copyright © 2004 by Weiss Family Limited Partnership 1, LLP