Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Many Lives, Many Masters

Do you believe in reincarnation? Spirits? Do you believe that the soul survives after death and takes the form of another body?

Well if you don’t, read ‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ by Dr Brian Weiss, a practicing psychotherapist who graduated from Columbia University & Yale Medical School.

‘Many Lives, Many Masters’ is the true story of one of his patients, Catherine, who suffers from depression, various phobia & anxiety disorders. Months of conventional psychotherapy fail to bring about any improvement in her condition. That is when Dr Weiss decides to try ‘past-life therapy’ on her, where the patient is hypnotized & regressed into his/her past life. Not only does it emerge that her phobias and anxieties are rooted in the way she died during her 86 past lives, the patient, in the state of hypnosis, even starts conveying messages to him from ‘Masters’ (or highly evolved souls not presently in a body) that exist in the “space between lives”.

The Masters make some startling revelations about life after death and also disclose secrets about Dr Weiss’ past & present that Catherine definitely had no means of knowing, thereby adding a sense of authenticity to their existence.

The messages from the Masters are myriad. The soul is immortal. Reincarnation does take place. The soul leaves the body after death & houses itself in another body after a resting period in which it floats in darkness before coming into contact with a bright light that rejuvenates & re-energizes it. During this waiting-to-be-reborn state, the soul apparently also acquires wisdom or transcendental knowledge from the Masters. Souls then await instructions and guidance from the Master Spirits.

Our fate in our next life and the quality of the life itself depend on our actions in the previous life. Or ‘karma’.

We are meant to learn certain pre-ordained lessons in each lifetime, and if we die without learning those lessons, we must go back. This is apparently what happens to people who’ve had near-death experiences where they have admitted to floating out of their bodies towards a bright white light before returning to their bodies once again because they are asked to go back. People in commas can decide whether or not to return, depending on how much learning they have yet to accomplish in their present lifetime. If they feel they have nothing further to learn, they can crossover to the spiritual state.

In the ‘in-between state’, souls have a chance to reflect on the lessons learnt during the previous lifetime and can choose to be re-born, what they need to accomplish and what karmic debts need repaying. If we do not overcome our vices before dying, we carry them over with ourselves to our next life.Groups of souls tend to reincarnate together again and again, working out their karma over the span of many lifetimes.

All human beings are given intuitive powers. Some of us possess powers greater than others because they have been accrued from other lifetimes. Therefore, people are not all created equal but eventually we will reach a point where we will all be equal because eventually there has to be balance & harmony in the universe.

The Masters also tell us about the existence of many subconscious ‘planes’ or dimensions, each being a level of higher consciousness. What level we go to depends on how far our souls have evolved in the ‘physical state’. According to the Masters there are seven planes of which only 3 are revealed in the book as Catherine gets completely healed before the Masters have a chance to reveal the remaining four.

The first plane is the plane of Recollection where you are allowed to see the life that has just passed. Souls that are highly evolved, i.e., Masters are allowed to see history with the help of which they can share lessons of past lives with us (essentially what happens in this book). The second plane is the plane of Awareness where we become aware of the lessons we have learnt in our previous lives and those we still need to learn. The third plane is the plane of Transition where it is determined what dominant trait we must overcome in our next life.

The Masters also tell us that there is a God who we try to approach by going through each lifetime. Once we’ve learnt all the lessons we were meant to learn, accumulated enough knowledge (not intellectual, but what they call ‘emotional’ or ‘subconscious’ knowledge) & have cleared all our karmic debts, we can finally get close to God and rest forever.

A chilling message given by the Masters is that humans will eventually destroy themselves because they are full of greed, ambition & fear. But nature will survive.

I did not take the book very seriously while I was reading it because like millions of other people in this world, my brain too believes in the ‘logic’ of things. Spiritual talk seems abstract at best, to me. Stuff about souls, spirits, life after death, reincarnation etc. are not things that tickle my fancy. I’m one of those people who believe that once life is over, it’s over. End of story. One lifetime is enough to deal with, who wants life after death and another life after that!!

I started thinking about the book a couple of days after I was out of it. One might be tempted to dismiss the book as crap, psychological babble etc. Except that it might not be psychological babble after all. This is because the ‘Masters’ do disclose some secrets about Dr Weiss’ past & present life through Catherine, which are unknown to anyone except Dr Weiss himself and Catherine has no recollection of those things once she’s out of the hypnotic state.

Many of the concepts that this book talks about, such as the immortality & indestructibility of the soul, reincarnation, karma etc. are things one knows as being major tenets of Hinduism. Quite a few of us, especially those who are not very religious, usually dismiss such concepts as religious bullshit. At least I know I did…until I read this book. I’m not saying the book has altered by belief completely but it has definitely made me think if these things could actually be true. That Hinduism might not have been so misguided after all. And the thought is spooky!

Read the book if you’re open to questioning your beliefs. Yourself.


Moonshine said...

I too read this book..spooky is how i would define it too..

But wouldnt it be interesting to know what you were in your past life? Interestingly spooky!!!

Whats reassuring to know is that the same set of people appear all around you in different roles in all lifetimes... like the doc was a doc in one liftime, friend in another etc!!!

Apparently past life therapy is quite big.. and getting quite a lot of attention here!!!

Scarlett said...

Noooo...I don't want to know about my past life at all. I mean, knowing what you were in your past life might be interesting but if we had memories from our past lives, that would be really scary! What if those were haunting memories? I've also heard about past-life therapy quite a bit. This new form of therapy I read about is 'angel therapy'. It's not very big yet but some people do practice/believe in it.