I'm not preaching it's practice but an explanation of what PLR is.
There are two things:
1. Vasanas are impressions, patterns, tendencies, programming, conditioning, which have been layered in our subconscious from the past in this life and over many lives. These reside in our subconscious causal body. They sometimes show up as habits, phobias, personality traits, "Gunas". See some examples under the sections below.
How do they form? When we are not able to respond to situations in our life with wisdom. We react again to a similar situation in the same way (unless we intersect with wisdom). When we are not able to learn the lesson from the situation that is presented to us for our evolution, we postpone the lesson, and then we are faced with the same situation again and again. Therefore the pattern continues.
Some of the strongest impressions are from a traumatic death which then shows up as fears and phobias. Another example: a person feels like they are different, they are separate from others, can't connect with people, feel alone and unloved. This could be from a previous life when they were castrated from the family for being different and being a rebel. They were also outcast by an orthodox society, which resulted in them feeling unloved, alone, separate and disconnected from others. What a past life regression can do is to go through that experience again and process it, rather than supress it as pain and a personality complex. When we go through it the impression gets released and we feel relieved. The process also brings forth wisdom from our soul or a lesson to be learnt, such as, everyone is part of the bigger you. Then one can live more fully.
The root cause of our present personality and situations is in the past, either this life or past lives.
2. Karmas of the past are the seeds that we have sown that have left a Karmic imprint. Our present Karmas are affected by our Vasanas and also our Karmas form more Vasanas. Yes we need to do good Karmas but why don't we? Because our thoughts, words and actions are affected by Vasanas. PLR cannot erase past Karmas but helps in performing Karmas better by removing some of the impediments.
If by saying we should do good Karmas and live in the present moment we would then we would not need spiritual texts like the Gita or Yogic techniques and we would all be enlightened!
Vasanas affect our ability to live fully in the present moment and curtail our true nature of a permanent state of bliss.
How do we purify and erase our Vasanas which are the cause of future births so that we are free from this Samsara and gain liberation?
Swami Chinmayananda says that 80% of our life is influenced by Vasanas. As I have learnt from the Chinmaya Mission, the Bhagavad Gita gives a methodology to purify these Vasanas through Karm Yoga, Raj Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and finally Jnan Yoga.
PLR is NOT a replacement for doing good Karm, Dhyan, Bhakti or Jnan!
There is also a technique to erase Vasanas from past lives in the Kriya Yoga path.
Here is one such technique: Eternity Process
The conscious mind can access the conscious mind, memories and intellect, but not the subconscious. The subconscious mind, the causal body, that stores these impressions can be tackled through subconscious states. Through deep meditation we can access these deeper layers of our existence and memories from previous lives.
We may have many experiences that have not been processed. Like we put dirty clothes in the washing machine and don't wash or not go through the complete washing cycle, then we pick them up again and wear them only to add more to the dirt.
By exploring our own past lives we become aware of these repetitive, unconscious patterns and we erase our past by resolving those patterns. Only then, are we free from our past and the whole past is dropped.
Past life regression takes one into these deep layers of our subconscious and by reliving we go through that which was unprocessed and therefore clear the blockages to then find great relief!
The best seller "Many Lives, Many Masters" by Brian Weiss made past lives and past life regression a world known phenomenon.
Dr. Newton is India's leading researcher and practitioner of Past Life Regression (PLR) and related topics. He is also a medical doctor. But most importantly, he is a very evolved soul.
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"Many people are very scared to look into the past. But without making peace with the past we will not progress. Past is a wise teacher which can offer us so many lessons. Karmic seeds are destroyed by the wisdom of the soul. Karma is not punishment system. Karma is a feed back system through that we learn our lessons from the past and evolve. PLR is a holistic approach and it is therapeutic as well. Since more than two decades we have seen how people are benefitted from this simple process.
Another myth people have is that past life regression is making people to live in the past. But actually past life regression is a goodbye process and letting go process so that we leave the baggage from the past and start living in the present moment.
People are at different stages of their evolution and everyone speaks from where they are standing in the ladder of spiritual evolution." -- Dr. Newton Kondaveti
The rest of the below is an excerpt from http://www.liferesearchacademy.com/regression/plr-ther apy.html :
"Past Life Regression is a Holistic Healing Modality because it works on the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. It transports one back to those times before one’s birth and regresses one to previous lifetimes. This is done to sort out problems that a person may be experiencing in the present. The reason for undertaking Past Life Regression is to improve the spiritual quality of our life, right now. Its chief objective is to make our life easier, better and more fulfilling, in this present moment. Past Life Regression addresses the root cause and it enables extremely deep change to take place at the very source of the problem. It does not deal with external symptoms. It directly addresses the internal cause.
Cause and Effect:
Past-life-regression is based on the principles of cause and effect (also known as law of karma). Something that has been set in motion at some time in the past results in a corresponding effect on a person’s present physical, emotional, mental or spiritual well being, at this moment. This cause may be a past desire, a past thought, past feeling, a past emotion, a past vow, a past promise, a past decision, a past evasion or a past traumatic experience.
Benefits of Past-Life-Regression:
Past-Life-Regression helps to heal chronic diseases.This is done in the following manner: Past-Life-Regression helps individuals to understand the karmic patterns involved and the resultant energy blockages. It is these energy blockages that manifest as diseases, which are sometimes chronic. The understanding that flows clears the energy blockages and thereby the disease is healed. Take the example of a person who has had a past life wherein he/she was never allowed to express his/her views or who had to pay a heavy price for having expressed them. In this lifetime, such a person may have a disease of the throat, which constantly hinders the person’s ability to talk normally. After reliving the past life and emerging with an understanding of the root cause, the energy blockages get cleared and the person gets healed of his/her throat disease.
Past-Life-Regression helps overcome Fears and Phobias:
Past-Life-Regression releases individuals from all kinds of fears and phobias by bringing about an understanding of the specific causes of these fears and phobias. The causes are mostly present in the previous lives. They could also be present in the earlier part of the current life. For example a person who had this fear of closed spaces (claustrophobia) had experienced a past life where he was buried alive in an earthquake. Once he relived this trauma, he was able to overcome his claustrophobia immediately.
Past-Life-Regression improves one’s inter-personal relationships:
Past-Life-Regression improves one’s interpersonal relationships by causing the person to understand the past life relationships with those individuals. Till this is understood, clashes and friction with one’s present lifetime’s relations is inevitable. Once the understanding flows, the person is able to see the larger perspective and therefore the relationships are improved or ‘healed’.
Past-Life-Regression frees us from the fear of death once and for all:
Past-Life- Regression frees us from the fear of death once and for all. The fear of death is the biggest of all fears plaguing mankind. Past-Life-Regression helps us to explore our past lives and through this exploration we realize that we are eternal beings. We understand that death is a mere transition from one state to another and that the essence of our being continues into eternity as we have lived before and are going to live again after ‘death’. Moreover, once an individual has relived his/her past lives, he/she validates this understanding in the light of the personal experiences had. This removes the fear of death once and for all.
THE MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT PAST-LIFE-REGRESSION
"……..Explain the River of the soul; whence or in what order you have come……."
1. “Only the present life is relevant and past lives are not relevant to the present life.”
This belief is far from the truth about past lives and their impact on the present life. Any one would agree that we are the products of all our experiences from birth till the present time. This is true not only for the present life experiences. In reality, we are the products of all our experiences carried with us from all our past lives in addition to the experiences of the present life. We contain all the energies of memory and experience of our past. We carry our soul energy with us and it is inseparable from us. It defines who we are. The purpose of past life regression is to get rid of the negative patterns of the past which continue to affect the person's present life.
2. “Past is past and does not affect the present.”
Scientific research in the field of past lives indicates that past life memories are stored in the mind field and higher (finer) vibrational subtle energies. Past life memories are not in the past. They are here and now because we carry the memories and the effects of those lives in our energy field today and unconsciously act out of those stored beliefs and experiences.
3. “We cannot change anything through Past-Life- Regression.”
Past-Life-Regression helps people to discover the root cause of an issue. When a person discovers the root cause of an issue, understanding flows. He or she can then begin to take steps to change a pattern or behavior that has been blocking his/her life and preventing him/her from finding true peace, happiness, and joy.
4. “The past life memories that are experienced during regression are due to the suggestions of the facilitator.”
Experienced and qualified past-life-regression-facilitators do not give suggestions during regression. They only direct the client to seek the root cause of an issue, or the memory of the client's present problems and situations.
5. “Everyone who has seen a past life thinks that they were a very well known personality in that life.”
This is the kind of statement made by people with insignificant knowledge about past-lives. In my experience of over 14 years in the field, the large majority of people recall very ordinary lives, and remember highlights such as work, relationships, loves, marriages, births, separations, and deaths. Just as these events stand out in one's current life, it is true that these or similar highlights are memories of one's past life. If the experiences were the result of their own thinking, they would see mostly glamorous lifetimes but this is not the case as most lives recalled are very ordinary. Also, though it may surprise many, the happiest lifetimes reported were those of a beggar or tramp!
6. “A Facilitator does not need to believe in past lives and reincarnation to do past-life-regression work or past-life-counseling work.”
A facilitator's attitude, experience, understanding of metaphysical concepts and truths, and abilities with concepts of the soul's journey can have a positive, negative, or limited influence in counseling and past-life-regression. Scientific research into the nature of consciousness shows us that the facilitator affects the energy field of the subject. This is in addition to the effect of the subject’s own thoughts, beliefs, and experiences. Only an experienced practitioner whose belief system is compatible with the concept of past lives should conduct past-life-regression work.
Though the subject of past lives is not a religious belief, it nevertheless involves a belief system that affects the facilitators' energy field. If a subject recalls what may be a past life memory, the facilitator must at least be open minded to this concept. If the facilitator has unresolved programming, or strict religious beliefs that are not open to the possibility of past lives, he or she could affect the success of a subject's regression.
Not only a facilitator's religious and other beliefs, but also the facilitator's fears can affect a regression. For example, if the facilitator is uncomfortable with the idea of the subject reaching a painful emotional experience, he or she may avoid that experience by guiding the subject to move beyond the memory or to view the experience only from an objective viewpoint. By doing so, the facilitator would be losing a wonderful opportunity to make the subject actually relive the experience. “To relive is to relieve”. This is a great universal truth, which explains the therapeutic benefits of past-life-regression. That is why it is very important that the facilitator should have a belief system, which is compatible with reincarnation and the immortality of the soul as this will result in the best possible benefits to the subject.
7. “Past-Life-Regression can be done by anyone.”
So can surgery, but you wouldn't want to take that chance! It is important to go to someone who is trained and experienced in the field. One should thoroughly check the credentials and experience of the practitioner. The trust level and comfort of the client with his or her practitioner is very essential for one to be able to reach the deep levels to access the information contained in the subconscious mind.
8. “If we really had past lives,we would then remember them.”
In reality there are many an occasion when we ‘remember’ our past lives. At times, these remembrances occur spontaneously. On many other occasions, certain external events or stimulus can act as a trigger and the memory of our past life/lives surfaces. This could happen for instance:
a) When you meet someone for the first time but you get the uncanny feeling that you know that person extremely well.
b) While visiting a foreign country for the first time and knowing where a building or road is.
c) When you are in a situation and get a feeling that you have been in exactly the same situation in the past though you have no evidence of such a situation in this lifetime.
d) When you meet a person for the first time and have an immediate feeling of lack of trust for the person.
e) When you meet a person for the first time and you get the feeling of immense love for and emotional attachment to that person (this is commonly known as love at first sight).
f) When as child you used to have (you may still have them) memories of having lived in a different place in a different family and in different life circumstances. The narration of such experiences usually fell on deaf ears and you were gradually conditioned to believe that those past-life experiences and memories of those past-life experiences were not valid.
There are many other ways in which situations in this lifetime trigger our past-life memories. Most of us, however, are conditioned to ignore those subtle intuitive messages.