Between Lives Regression sometimes called Life Between Lives provides a powerful experience for those who would like to understand what happens to the soul after death. Using deep hypnotic trance, people are guided beyond a past life and into their soul memories in the spirit realm.
Between lives history has its roots in the ancient philosophies and religions of India about reincarnation around the second century BC. In the West work with past life regression started in the mid-seventies focusing on the therapeutic use of past life regression. Several of the past life pioneers independently discovered that their clients could recall details of a time between lives as well. All of a sudden, ordinary people with no particular religious or spiritual background began to deliver profound insights into the between lives experience. Even more impressive was that their revelations proved to be highly consistent.
Psychiatrist Joel Whitton’s experience was typical of the pioneers when he gave an imprecise command to a subject with whom he had already undertaken a great deal of past life work. During one of these sessions he instructed her to go back to the life before the one she had just been regressed into, and was amazed to find her describing herself as "In the sky… waiting to be born… watching my mother". He went go on to make a huge contribution to the understanding of the between life experience by deliberately investigating the phenomenon with a number of his more responsive subjects, publishing his research in his 1986 collaboration with Joe Fisher, Life Between Life (1).
By contrast Helen Wambach deliberately instigated a research program in which she regressed volunteers in groups. She decided to try to take 750 of her volunteers back to the time before they were born into this life. She asked about whether they chose to return, whether anyone helped them in their decision, and how they felt about coming back. Again her results, published in 1979 in Life Before Life (2).
Over the next decade three more pioneers all from America published books on the subject. Dolores Cannon stumbled upon it again by accident when a client after a past life death began describing floating above the body, and her further research was published in 1993 in Between Death and Life (3). In 1997 Shakuntala Modi’s book Remarkable Healings (4) contained some highly consistent summaries of her findings about the life between lives.
The final American was Michael Newton who was more successful than any other pioneer in bringing life between lives research into the public consciousness. Typically he too was skeptical about past life regression and stumbled upon the life between lives by accident when issuing an imprecise command to a client who was particularly receptive to entering deeper states of hypnotic trance. From that point on he concentrated most of his efforts on investigating this area as thoroughly as he could, publishing his findings in Journey of Souls (5) and Destiny of Souls (6) in 1994 and 2000 respectively.
In the next decade psychotherapist Andy Tomlinson published Exploring the Eternal Soul (7) in 2006 with the help of researcher and author Ian Lawton. They added to the between lives experience by gathering more information about the shedding of unneeded emotional layers they called delayering, adding of emotions before incarnation they called relayering, and analysing other pioneers’ research to demonstrate the consistency across key events. He went on to train hundreds of professionally trained between lives regression therapists.
The description of the experience varies when meeting other souls and the surrounding they are in, and other souls sometimes appear in human form. However, everything in the spirit realms is just energy and can be shown in human or semi human form for the benefit of the incoming soul. Also there is a fluidity of the order the events are experienced. However, the key events of transition, healing, soul groups, next life planning and incarnation do show a remarkable consistency.
Transitioning and healing happen after death. Consciousness that survives death, called the soul, sheds the heavier and denser emotions and energies associated with the physical plane so that our soul energy gradually becomes lighter and less dense. Souls often refer to moving through or shedding layers. It is inextricably linked with emotional healing, and less experienced souls are usually assisted with this, whether they are aware of it or not, while more traumatised souls require more intense initial healing. It also represents the essential process by which souls raise their vibration level sufficiently to return to their true home in the spirit realms.
Research conducted initially by Michael Newton and confirmed by Andy Tomlinson indicated that souls usually make a deliberate decision about how much soul energy to take into incarnation, thereby leaving some of it behind in the spirit realms. So an additional aspect of the transition is that at some point the soul will need to reunite with the energy it left behind, at which point it will receive another dramatic infusion of soul energy and awareness.
The between lives past life review is part of the initial healing, or not long afterwards. The soul may do this alone, aided by the spirit guide, or in conjunction with Elders who are the wise and experienced souls allocated to each soul to help plot a path of successions of lives. Some people describe these reviews taking place in a library environment in which the books in front of them come alive like a film. Others even suggest that they can enter the film to replay various events, or even to role-play them by doing things differently and seeing what happens. And some report that they can place themselves in the bodies of others, to feel exactly what effect their actions had on them.
During these reviews the only judgment comes from the soul itself and not from the more experienced souls that might be assisting. This is because the soul perspective is totally unlike the human perceptions, and cannot include self-deception or excuses. All the actions, and even more important the intentions, are laid bare. And it is up to the soul, aided by spirit guides and Elders, to cope with our reaction to them.
We all have a group of soul group with whom we work closely in varied relationships over many lives, and the reunion with them is always a profoundly moving experience. The primary aim of all souls is to learn, experience and grow. So time with the soul group is often characterised by discussions about lives shared, what was handled well and what could have been handled better. In this context the ability to replay and role-play events is helpful. Occasionally souls move to a different soul group to work on new lessons.
It is worth examining what learning is. First are emotional lessons, and to experience both sides of every emotional situation. So souls need to experience not only all of the less attractive emotions such as loss, guilt, failure, shame, remorse, selfishness, sorrow, humiliation, jealousy, anger, hatred and revenge, but also the counterbalancing emotions such as patience, altruism, openness, understanding, forgiveness, acceptance and, ultimately and most powerfully, love. But in order to experience and understand them fully and to learn, souls need to feel them and also cause them to others.
Emotional learning consists of repetitive patterns of behaviour, attempting to master particular emotions in a variety of life settings. However, as souls gain in experience they start to move into more progressive patterns of behaviour, which tend to be characterised by altruistic actions. This includes healing, teaching, and guiding other souls. They may increasingly choose more altruistic lives that’s are for other souls benefit and learning rather than their own. The most obvious example of this is when souls volunteer to be small children who die young.
At some point in the life between lives next life planning takes place. At the very least it will involve an awareness of who the parents will be, where they live, their circumstances, and what sex they will be. But many people reveal that they receive a rather fuller preview, often describing it similar to seeing a film that they can stop, rewind, fast-forward, and even enter to fully experience what is going on. Sometimes souls may be given a preview of several different lives, and asked to choose which one they think will be of most use for learning and growth. Spirit guides and Elders are on hand to provide assistance and advice. Often plans are discussed with other soul group members who will be involved in that life, and even agreeing triggers that will help recognise them when in physical bodies.
Planning is probably the most crucial aspect of the between lives experience because it indicates that souls have complete control and personal responsibility for the new life. Any life previews only represent major probabilities. Lives are not completely predetermined, and some deviation may occur when souls use freewill.
An important part of the return into incarnation is the decision about the level of soul energy to bring back. Souls may want to leave as much behind as possible to allow it to carry on with various aspects of learning and growth in the spirit realms. If they return to the physical with too little especially with a difficult life then it reduces the ability to achieve the plan. Souls make additional decisions about what proportions of specific emotions we want to bring back to carry on working with, and even of past-life strengths to help us through difficult patches. This is achieved by a relayering process in which the soul takes on these heavier emotions as if putting on various layers of clothing.
The return is concluded by entering the baby while still in the womb which can be any time from the point of conception to just before birth. The process of merging the soul with the new physical body is a gradual and sometimes difficult one, involving matching the individual pattern and frequency of soul energy to that of the developing brain. The stress of this process can be reduced by floating out of the body for short periods. Another aspect of the return is the gradual weakening of the incarnating soul connection to the spirit realms, and the gradual lowering of the veil of amnesia. The reason for this that if souls knew all about life plans in advance it would be like taking an exam with all the answers, with no learning. Also if people remembered too much about the bliss of the spirit realms souls they would be constantly homesick and long to return.
One of the major conclusions to emerge from the personal between lives research by Andy Tomlinson and Ian Lawton is the degree of fluidity in the life between lives. Although the elements described above provide a consistent underlying thread they are not all experienced by every subject during every life between lives regression. Sometimes the emphasis may be more on review, or on planning, or on meeting soul groups. This does not necessarily mean that each of the key elements is not experienced during the life between lives. But when people are recalling the soul experience in human form, some things may be more important than others and the order of the key events may vary.
Clients also report that the between lives represents an eternal now, in which elapsed and sequential time becomes unimportant. So the recall of time in the spirit realms under regression is only an approximation of the true, timeless experience. The only earthly time markers is the past life death and current life birth.
One crucial issue is whether the consistency of the life between lives experiences reported by the pioneers’ subjects resulted from them having specific belief systems or prior knowledge, or from the pioneers themselves sharing their information or engaging in undue subjective leading. The possibility of any of these factors playing a major role appears to be negligible.
As to subjects having prior knowledge of the between lives itself, this is highly unlikely to have occurred on any significant scale. Most of the pioneers’ books quoted above were nothing like best sellers at the time. The possible exception was Michael Newton and his first publication did not come out until long after most of the pioneering work had already been completed. Andy Tomlinson carefully screened subjects for the book based on prior knowledge.
The possibility of potential leading of the clients by the book authors is far less common than skeptics normally assume. Under hypnosis subjects tend to take instructions extremely literally, much like a computer program. So at the very least deliberate falsification of information is virtually impossible, unless the person is not really in trance, and a skilled therapist can tell when that is the case. For the same reason people cannot just be told to experience something, because for the most part they have to be actually having the experience to report on it. Many of the transcripts of between lives regression sessions are now available and reveal that the authors were mainly asking open questions subjects and not making suggestions.
Between lives testimony has now come from thousands of people. Its strength lies in its derivation from countless ordinary men and women, with no fixed preconceptions, and shows a remarkable consistency of the key events.
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1 Whitton, Joel, and Fisher, Joe, Life Between Life, Warner Books, 1988.
2 Wambach, Helen, Life Before Life, Bantam, 1979.
3 Cannon, Dolores, Between Death and Life: Conversations With a Spirit, Gateway, 2003.
4 Modi, Shakuntala, Remarkable Healings: A Psychiatrist Uncovers Unsuspected Roots of Mental and Physical Illness, Hampton Roads, 1997
5 Newton, Michael, Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives, Llewellyn, 2002 (5th edition).
6 Newton, Michael, Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives, Llewellyn, 2003.
7 Tomlinson, Andy, Exploring the Eternal Soul: Insights from the Life Between Lives, From the Heart Press (3rd edition), 2018.