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Record Type: Review   ID: 765

Coming Back: A Psychiatrist Explores Past-Life Journeys

Moody, Raymond A., Jr., & Perry, Paul

This is largely an autobiographical account of Moody's experience of past-life regression and where it led him. Previously skeptical of such experiences, after experiencing regression at first hand Moody could no longer deny the reality of such experiences even if he could not explain them. He incorporated hypnotic past-life regression into his psychotherapeutic practice, and he gives many examples of the ability of such experiences to heal physical and psychological illness. He describes the characteristics of the past-life state and speculates about it. He points out that although the fact that people actually are experiencing past lives has not been proven, nonetheless such experiences have a reality of their own to the extent that they have beneficial effects in this life. He suggests that they may serve to make one's life more meaningful. They not only have the capacity to heal, but they may serve a creative role. Whether or not these experiences represent actual past lives, "they are becoming recognized as effective tools in psychotherapy" (p. 73). Usually they relate to a current problem in the experient's life. He proposes that they may be metaphors to assist the person in coping with his or her life. In creating these metaphors, "the mind draws upon all of its available resources—memories thought to be long gone, images from books and television, pieces of conversation, even events daydreamed and 'forgotten' a long time ago. . . . Under hypnosis, these become memories as real as yesterday's lunch date" (p. 76). He also observes that these regressions are useful in discovering one's personal myth. If therapy is viewed "as a process of understanding a person's story, then regressions that reveal personal myth cut right to the core of identity. These myths give people handles with which they can get a hold on their lives" (p. 160).

He proposes that these regressions may play a sociocultural role. They may "have some connection to mankind's understanding of history. . . . It is entirely possible that the subconscious in each of us is struggling to discover where we fit in [the] long chain of humanity" (p. 190). He concludes: "At their least, they are deep revelations from the unconscious. At their most, they are evidence of life before life" (p. 190). Moody also describes his experiences and those of others with crystal-gazing. The final chapter is a self-hypnosis script for use in self-regression to an earlier life. Moody does not pretend to be a scientist. He is a therapist and an explorer: he discovers new territories where scientists—if they respect the data—may one day follow. Those who may scoff at his approach may be revealing more about themselves than about Raymond Moody, who bravely goes his way, being truthful to his exceptional human experiences.

Publisher Information:New York: Bantam Books, 1991. 217p
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