The Unconscious Mind Listens - Ancient Voices and Past Life

This is the sequel to my article titled Adopting Carl Jung and Milton Erikson’s Take on the Unconscious Mind. It is a poignant example of how the unconscious mind listens and responds to everything including that which is barely audible. And no matter what professional or personal hat we are wearing, in this case mine was hypnotherapist, this story also exemplifies how intuitive intelligence guides us to find solutions and heal.

Kay was the oldest daughter of three girls and shortly after her youngest sister was born Kay’s mother became severely depressed. She was hospitalized and remained under psychiatric care from that point on. Recurring bouts with depression landed her mother back in the hospital many times while Kay was growing up. Because Kay was the oldest her father relied heavily upon her to help out with the other two children and the household chores. Kay graduated from High School and attended college close to home so she could return there on the weekends. After college Kay found work through Temp Agencies and although she was an extremely efficient and valued employee, she felt emotionally frayed and disenchanted with life in general. She was in her mid twenties and the thought of falling into a depression frightened and motivated her to seek out professional help. She was determined to find out why certain patterns in relationships both at work and in her personal life kept repeating themselves. This was about the time she started coming to see me.

Kay said, “I want to be a star free to do the things I love like dancing and acting”. She was so forthright and clear headed. Years of taking care of her family and tending to their needs shaped and molded Kay into a very adept caretaker, motivator, and organizer of… others. In a relatively short period of time Kay began processing her experiences differently and transferring some of her abundant resources back into her self. She enrolled in acting and dance classes and started to audition for parts.

One evening Kay came for session really perturbed. An apartment deal fell through and the disappointment brought other issues to the surface. “I have to move out from Stan’s apartment because I have to prove to myself I can take care of me”! From everything she indicated in previous sessions her relationship with Stan was mutually respectful, loving and supportive. I asked her what else was going on. “I am afraid I will become totally dependent on Stan like my mother did when she married my father”. “Your mother’s circumstances were very different”. “My mother got married and had children. She never pursued any of her own interests” Kay continued. “You sound disappointed and angry with her”. “I remember when I was about ten years old my mother picked me and my friend up from school. She didn’t like staying home all the time and many times she’d put my sisters and me in the car and drive around aimlessly for hours. This day she did the same thing but my friend was in the car! I remember feeling such hatred for her and wishing she would die and leave me in peace. I couldn’t deal with her craziness anymore. Being raised a Catholic I knew I had committed a sin wishing this. But now I consider myself spiritual and eclectic”.

“Many times children carry the burden of their family’s problems inside them. If no one is talking openly and honestly children think these problems must be kept secret. To tell a family secret is like committing a sin. Your mother was obviously suffering from mental illness and I suspect your father just didn’t know how to talk about it with you and your sisters” I said.

“Do you believe in past lives and the after life” she asked? “I am open to these possibilities” I answered. “Would you like to do an NLP and hypnosis exercise to help you release and transform your fears and guilt from the past”? “Yes” she said.

Here is an edited version of what happened next… I asked Kay to close her eyes and begin to relax settling down and quieting herself. I decided to put some music on in the back round and randomly selected the album “Common Ground” by Paul Winter. I picked a song “Ancient Voices” that features an African thumb piano because I liked the sound of this instrument, turned the volume down low so it wouldn’t be distracting, and said “Return now to a time in your life when you believe you committed a sin. Signal me with a raised finger as you retrieve this memory”. Kay raised her pointer finger. “Let your voice speak comfortably and describe what you are seeing”. “I am running towards a fence. I am running away from my husband! I am pregnant and I am escaping” she said…

Confused it took me awhile to register that she wasn’t talking about the present. It became evident as Kay continued that she was describing another life. How did this happen? What had I inadvertently said to make her regress to a past life?

While reading this did you pick up any hints?

I continued. “Sometimes we are witness to other lives in order give us insights into our current one. Discover how this past experience applies to your life in 1985. Feeling uplifted release your fears to the wind returning to the present with insights that will renew and transform you”….

“I didn’t expect that to happen” Kay said when she opened her eyes. We spoke briefly about what she saw. I was not interested in discussing why she thought she had a past life memory. Whether you believe in the notion of past lives this is what Kay uncovered. I implicitly respect this unconscious process. It was very powerful and I wanted to leave it intact, be it symbolic metaphor or a scene from a life her soul had lived before. “You escaped an abusive situation and you saved your unborn child. How powerful” I said.

Later that evening I re-ran the session in my mind. I retrieved the album from my shelf and started reading the inside cover which describes each song. Ancient Voices is based on a classical African composition from the Shona people of Zimbabwe for an instrument called the mbira. This instrument is used in a formal ceremony called the Bira. Family members gather to call forth support from their ancestors. The mbira is thought to have the power to project and draw ancestral spirits down to earth.

I had never taken the time to read the inside cover nor listen carefully to the lyrics of this song. What I read amazed and amused me reminding me how impressionable and impressive the unconscious mind is. And here are the lyrics to Ancient Voices that led Kay on her way. Keep in mind that the stereo was turned down low and my rickety old stereo had only one speaker functioning…

Ancient voices sing forever guide me on my way.
Carry me back from far away to dreams where I have been.
Bring me back to where I left with eyes open again.
I remember suns of morning promising the day.
Turning spinning circle ending life begins to play.
Eagles fly beyond your back from places far away.
When this land is free again you’ll return to stay.
Ancient voices sing forever guide me on my way.

I relocated to California at the end of 1985. Kay kept in touch with me for awhile and told me that she and Stan got married, formed a production company for aspiring playwrights and actors, promoting off Broadway plays. She is living her art fulfilling her dream in a happy and health marriage.

“Fine-tuning your intuition safeguards your future and opens doors to the extraordinary”.

Stephanie Rachel Alt

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