I read a news article about a psychologist in Norway getting in hot water for using regression therapy, using stories of apparent past lives to get at what is alive right now.
According to the news article, he had told his client that she had been burnt at the stake in a past life, which would explain some of her problems in this life.
Problems with seeing the story as real
Of course, the problem here comes if the therapist and/or the client actually see these stories as somehow real, if they add another story saying that this is what really happened.
At the very least, it can be a sidetrack and distraction, taking focus away from the story as a reflection of what is very much alive right now.
The client may get weirded out in believing it is really a story about a past life, or that the therapist thinks so. This can possibly get the client in trouble, amplifying the initial problem and the apparent solidity of the stories around it. And it can also, for good reasons, get the therapist in trouble. This is apparently what happened in this case.
Any story as a mirror
Any story is a reflection of what is very much alive right now, they are mirrors. And this is independent of their apparent source: waking life, dreams, daydreaming, fantasies, active imagination, regression therapy, movies, books, religions, science.
They reflect what is alive in us right now, especially if they have a charge for us, small or big or any flavor.
And there are many ways to explore these mirrors.
Ways to using stories as a starting point for inquiry
In The Work, I identify a stressful belief triggered by the story and inquire into it. They shouldn’t have burnt me at the stake. What is the turnaround? I shouldn’t burn me at the stake. Yes, that feels more true. I am the one doing it, daily, over and over. I burn myself at the stake.
In the Big Mind process, I explore dynamics among some of the voices related to the story. I was burnt at the stake. I can explore the voice of the body, of self-preservation, the protector, vulnerability, victim, perpetrator, helplessness, impermanence, and then look at it all from some of the transcendent voices such as Big Heart and Big Mind.
In Process Work, I can unfold the process behind the initial images and story and see where it goes, following the bread crumbs back home to wholeness.
In active imagination, I interact with whatever characters are there, asking them what their role is, responding differently to the situations and see where the story goes now.
In all of these ways, the initial story becomes an access point into exploring what is alive right now, bringing it into awareness, allowing the knots to unravel.