The positive, powerful reviews for From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide are coming in. Several reviewers are people I respect, and even consider them to be among my teachers. And three of them have questioned my focus on reincarnation in the program for curing oneself from depression. They consider it to be an interesting, readable digression from the main theme.
Not so. Here is my reply to Ian Ellis-Jones:
Ian, thank you for the review. I am delighted.
I do have an argument with you, regarding reincarnation (surprise!). The opinions and beliefs of people, including the Buddha, are not relevant, because there is sound scientific evidence for the occurrence of reincarnation. You will enjoy reading the two books by Jim Tucker (references are in my book).
In the 19th Century, Faraday demonstrated the existence of magnetic fields, and was almost laughed out of physics because a force field is action at a distance, which was considered impossible. Not knowing “what” continues from life to life is the same kind of theoretical disbelief. If empirical evidence conflicts with the theory, guess which needs to be changed?
The reason I gave reincarnation such a prominent place in my “cure” section is that it’s one of the most powerful tools in gaining contentment, second only to equanimity.
Here are my reasons:
1. It makes sense of a great amount of otherwise inexplicable things. In my case, the worst trauma of my life (4 bigger boys smearing faeces on my face) turns out to have been chosen restitution for my terrible act of killing them, and shoving them head down into pit latrines while they were still alive. I’d dealt with this using exposure therapy, but after my past life recalls, I accepted this event as just and fair. Also, all my life, I’ve found the human body to be bizarre, mis-designed, and somewhat disgusting. I call one of my lifelong sankharas the “Pees and Poos.” According to my past life recalls as described in Ascending Spiral, my immediately previous life was as a sentient plant on an entirely different planet. Its body was FAR better designed. Plants don’t pee and poo, don’t stink from sweat, etc.
I’ve had similar reactions from many clients who achieved hypnotic past life regression with me. Once something makes sense, and accepted as a natural consequence, it is easy to live with, and this allows one to move toward contentment. There is no longer a reason for resentment; Poor Me.
There are many recorded cases of people being cured of severe health issues because of a past life recall. My friend Carolyn Harris had a client with severe asthma. She asked the woman what that felt like. The answer: “As if I were drowning.” They did life regression hypnosis, and the lady found herself to be a little girl, drowning in a well. After this session, the asthma went away.
2. As I’ve written, reincarnation is a wonderful tool for achieving contentment, “because it allows us to learn from experience, to progress in spiritual development, to gain from suffering… We go up and down, forward and back, but over a lifetime, most people grow and improve in some ways. Extend that for many lives, with lessons from one life influencing others, and you have inevitable overall growth. I make sense of our world by considering us to be caterpillars feeding on the green leaves of experience, until at last we graduate into butterflies. That is the state of enlightenment, when we can get off the wheel of life. It is when we have learned all the Lessons we can learn, the final one being the one from Jesus, of unconditional, universal love for all.”
So, it is a meaning-building tool. Yvonne’s story in that chapter demonstrates how she realised that everything has meaning, and good or bad luck, coincidence, are only because our view is short.
If a person can accept past-life stuff, the (correct) concept of karma, then life makes sense, and can be accepted. Whatever happens is all right. What can be more powerful for contentment than such acceptance?