Therapeutic work with TVP. My current approach.
By Dr. José Luis Cabouli, MD
Through the years, as I gained more experience with TVP, I started to see what takes place during regression work under a different light. The basic technique remains the same, but this different understanding of what happens during each patient’s particular experience allowed me to reach even deeper healing levels.
The first issue of this new approach stems from the premise of fully understanding what is going on when a person comes to my office to ask about a symptom. In order to understand this, I have to know that although we may be speaking about past lives, in fact, for the soul, past lives do not exist as such. For the soul it is only one life taking place at two levels alternatively, both at the physical and at the spiritual level. Since we develop our conscious life in the physical body, we have come to identify ourselves with it to such an extent that we believe that we are our body. Besides, as we have given this body a name to identify it and differentiate it from others, the death of this physical body leaves in us a feeling of a past life and a past character. But for the soul it is only one life, and the different bodies it uses are just instruments or vehicles to undergo the experiences it needs for its evolution to take place. Adding even more to our confusion, we govern ourselves by physical time, which is linear. Thus, when we refer to a body with a known name, we are talking about a life that occurred fifty, a hundred or a thousand years ago, for example. But for the soul time does not exist. Everything is here, now, at the same time, and that life or that body, which finished or left a thousand years ago for us, is as though it has just happened, or may still be happening for the soul. Therefore, although we keep talking about past lives because it is the way we understand this and the way it is established, it would be more accurate to call this therapy "Therapy on Experiences in Past Bodies".
The next concept to learn derives from the previous one. For the soul, the different bodies it uses are like clothes. Just as I change clothes without ceasing to be who I am, so does the soul, when changing bodies, keep its original identity. Likewise, when I feel sad or depressed for some reason, even though I may buy new, classy and elegant clothes my problems will not be solved just because I put on new clothing. Something similar happens to the soul. Just because it changes bodies, its conflicts or its unsolved traumatic experiences do not vanish. When it reincarnates into a new body, the soul brings along all the unresolved emotions and feelings and, one way or another, it will reproduce in its new body the physical, emotional and mental conditions of the original experience. This means that, on occasion, some organic diseases, including cancer, are a way to reproduce a situation that has not been solved by the soul.
The next concept is very important, and it is linked to the previous premises; it is the trapping of the consciousness. Generally, this takes place when death in a previous life occurred in extremely painful, highly unbearable circumstances, especially if this death was preceded by a long agony. Let us imagine somebody who is being tortured to death in the Middle Ages. Their tormentor wants to tear a confession from them, but they resist, and the aggression to their physical body and the pressure on their psyche increase more and more, until death finally comes. During torture, physical and psychic pain are utterly unbearable. While being tortured, they experience pain, panic, desperation, rage, hate, a sense of unfairness, powerlessness, helplessness. At the same time, they think, "I'm not going to talk," "I will not say anything," "I cannot break away from all this," "I have to wait until I die," "I never get to die," "I will have revenge," "They will pay for this." In these circumstances, death takes place, at the peak of all these feelings and emotions. At the time when the soul leaves the physical body, the consciousness is so immersed and so absorbed in all these feelings that it does not even realize that the body has died. This is worsened by the striving of the consciousness to survive, and the way to do it is by staying in the mind, moving away from the body so as not to feel the pain, or quite the contrary, hanging on to the pain because so long as it feels pain, it is alive. In any case, the outcome is the same. The consciousness does not realize that the physical body is dead, and it remains trapped in this slice of time and space. As a result, while the person is here, living this life, a part of their consciousness is trapped in another time and place.
And so comes the most important concept, a direct consequence of all we have discussed. What I must understand and acknowledge as a therapist is that when a person comes to ask about a well-defined symptom, they are in a regression already, and therefore I do not need to do anything to send them into the past, for the simple reason that they are there already, all the time, although they may not be aware of it. If a person comes to see me because every time they have to take an elevator they cannot breathe and feel as if they are dying, I have to know that the feelings of suffocation, asphyxia, panic and a sense of imminent death are the physical manifestation of an event that is taking place on the subconscious level, and that this person, or rather a part of their consciousness, is not done dying yet in that experience. Maybe they have been trapped in a landslide inside a mine or in an earthquake, or were buried alive. I do not know, but what I do know is that all I have to do is help this person bring this experience on to the level of everyday consciousness, and complete their death in that body here and now so that, at long last, they may release the fragment of consciousness that was trapped there.
Now that we know that there are parts in our consciousness that are living in a different time and a different reality, we can also understand that, although we keep talking about regression, it is not exactly true regression, since the person does not go back to any place but has been there the whole time. Personally, when I talk about regression, I am referring to the therapeutic experience itself.
To summarize the previous concepts:
- For the soul time does not exist. Everything is here, at the same time.
- When it reincarnates, the soul brings along all unresolved situations.
- Consciousness may remain trapped in a slice of time and space.
- When patients experience the symptom, they are already in a regression.
How do I lead the person to relive the original trauma?
Once I have acknowledged that when the patient is in front of me they are already in a regression, everything becomes easier. If I take the symptom shown by that person in the session as a synonym for an experience excluded from consciousness, I will never fail. It is very easy; one symptom, one experience. Thus, in most cases I start directly from the symptom that the patient displays. There is no need to do anything here, not even relaxation. If I realize that the patient is in a regression, and if the person feels trust and yields to the work, the past life experience may arise in one or two minutes at most, and it can sometimes occur instantaneously. The way to have access to past life experiences in this way may be found in chapter X of Past Lifes Therapy, where I explain what I call the Samyama technique.
When it is not possible to have access to the past life experience through the symptom, whether because the person is not in touch with their feelings and emotions, or whether because they do not clearly know what they need to work on, or because they cannot leave the rational realm, I must then resort to induction. An induction is any technique I use to bring to consciousness what is hidden in the subconscious. It is a bridge between everyday consciousness and the experience of the soul. Basically, it is a relaxation exercise associated to suggestion techniques.
Once relaxation is over, I can suggest the patient different ways of access to find the experience that is responsible for their current problem. For example, I can suggest the idea that they will go back in time as they go along a tunnel, or travel in a time machine, or walk downstairs, or make a journey by train or balloon, or go with a guide that leads them by the hand, or with a cloud that comes for them. Each person can create their own induction or ask the patient how they would like to do it. If you use the image of time travel, do not forget that in fact there is not such thing, because we do not travel anywhere. The suggestion of travelling through time is only a bridge to help the patient connect to the experience that is already in the subconscious. This is important to keep in mind, because many people have the fantasy and the fear that by going on a regression they may remain in the past. Now you know the truth; this is impossible because in fact the person does not travel anywhere. On the contrary, they are there already. Actually, they have been trapped in the past all the time, without even knowing. That is why they undergo their present experiences.
Once the patient is in a past life, I must guide them until they find the experience that is responsible for their symptoms, and relive it as if they were there. All I do during the regression is lead the patients for them to relive the branding event which caused their current problem. This is when the peak moment of the regression is reached, the transcendental moment of therapy where the secret and the alchemy of healing lies. Once the patients are in the traumatic scene, they must relive it fully, from beginning to end. If they were piloting a plane that was taken down, they must reproduce the whole situation, from the moment of impact itself through the nosedive until the moment in which the airplane disintegrates or crashes against the ground. If they were buried alive, they must reproduce the whole experience, from the moment they are buried until death comes and they leave their body. If they were punished or tortured or locked in a cellar, they must relive all the experience until they leave the place. Once the patients have fully relived the experience leading to their symptoms, they must identify the most terrible or most traumatic moment of such experience.
Only then have we reached the root of the current problem. Because it is here where the symptoms originate, which these people experience in their current life, and it is the thoughts arising in those circumstances those that generate the behavior patterns. This is the origin of samskáras and vâsanâs, of past impressions and latent tendencies. Here lies the origin of fears, phobias, blocks, incapacity, guilt, sexual conflicts, as well as rancor, violence or desire for revenge. And it is also here where consciousness tends to be trapped. This is the moment when, through the release of these emotions and feelings, the draining, cleaning and liberation of the fragment of the soul that was trapped takes place. This is the moment when the rushing release of repressed energy causes the trauma structure to break, immediately followed by relief and the disappearance of the symptom.
We will see now in a brief, practical example how I work on the traumatic experience. Marcos is a young man, with difficulties to communicate and transmit what he feels, specially to those he is emotionally involved with. But besides, he experiences a strong block against speaking in public and in his working environment. In regression, he finds himself in a past life in which he was in charge of a king’s custody. Somebody betrays him; he is framed and later tried for something he had not done. Finally, he is sentenced and dies by beheading. Let us see the traumatic sequence.
Therapist: What is the most terrible moment of all this experience?
Marcos: When they are about to behead me.
T: Well, now pay attention. At that time, when they are about to behead you, what are your physical reactions?
M: I am afraid, I feel stiff, I tremble. I see my wife’s eyes, she is looking at me in doubt. She does not believe me.
T: Very well. And at that time, when they are about to cut your head and you see your wife’s eyes, and she does not believe you, what are you emotional reactions?
M: Fear, powerlessness, sadness. Everybody is looking and nobody believes me.
T: And right then, when they are about to behead you and you feel powerless and nobody believes you, what are your mental reactions?
M: Nobody listens to me. I do not know what to do to prevent this from happening.
T: Very well, now focus. In what way are all these feelings affecting your life as Marcos? All this, "I am afraid," "everybody is looking and nobody believes me," "powerlessness," "nobody listens to me," "I do not know what to do to prevent this from happening," all of it, what does it make you do in your life as Marcos?
M: I remain silent. I clam up in my own world, and I do not want to listen to what they tell me. I stand on the other side; it is me who judges the others and I do not say what I feel.
T: And all this, what does it prevent you from doing in your life as Marcos?
M: I cannot speak, I cannot say what I feel. I cannot say the things I do not like. I am afraid of being judged.
T: And now focus on one last thing: what is the last thing you remember before you leave that body?
M: This powerlessness in my throat. Nobody listened to me.
Notice in what accurate and simple way the basic problem that brought Marcos to the session appears in the traumatic sequence, and how he himself realizes the way in which the feelings in the moments before death were conditioning his approach to his relationships. Also notice the relationship between the presence of his wife and the public at the time of death, and his difficulty to communicate with those he loved as well as the block against speaking in public. The last memory before leaving the body is also very important, because there lies the impression of powerlessness in his throat, which is precisely the organ for expression. If the traumatic experience leads to death as in this case, the patients have to be guided until their consciousness leave this body, in order to be done with these feelings once and for all. The traumatic experience may not be the cause of death in that past life; in that case, the patients have to be led until the moment of death in that existence. The death experience is fundamental in the therapeutic process; it is what makes it possible for that story to have a final cut, and for consciousness to be released if there is a trapping. The mere vision of the dead body in a past life may be all a person needs to detach from that story by becoming aware that none of all that belongs to them anymore. By deeply experiencing death, we give our body the chance to experience all it needs to do in order to exhaust the feelings from the past. And even though we may believe that all this is a product of imagination, if the patients finish their stories with the experience of death they will also have finished with the character of fantasy.
Another positive aspect of the death experience is that by leaving the pain behind, and detaching from the physical body, it is possible for us to understand the whole meaning of that life and that experience. On occasion, we may see that it was necessary for us to live through certain situations in order to learn some aspect in particular. A patient who saw himself in a past life as a physically impaired person said that he needed that experience in order to learn that we are all equal. In a more remote life, he had been extremely haughty and despised everybody, and he realized that even today he had some traces of that haughtiness to continue working on.
In conclusion; if I am guiding the session with a therapeutic goal, my work is to help the patients relive the event that led to their current problem. The story itself is an anecdote. What I have to find is the traumatic experiences, meaningful or branding, whether in a past or the present life. This is very important, since both the therapist and the patient run the risk of becoming fascinated or allowing to be seduced by the story in the past. The story may be important to understand some events from an intellectual point of view. But what is more transcendent is not the story or the outcome, but the inner process that is triggered during the experience of regression, and which leads patients to meet their immortal essence and their true being.
(Extract from Terapia de Vidas Pasadas, técnica y práctica ["Past Lives Therapy, technique and practice"], 4th edition, Editorial Continente.)