This story is about releasing a past life fear of death. Ever wondered why you don’t remember your past lives? Well, try this exercise: Close your eyes and cast your mind back through this current lifetime. Focus on the deaths, disappointments, rejections, betrayals, failures, grief, and other assorted traumas. Feel all the sadness, anguish, and deep emotional pain you’ve suffered over the years.Then multiply the emotions you feel by a thousand. You really don’t want to remember your past lives — at least not in all their gory details. It would be debilitating. It can be hard enough just dealing with this life alone. Throw multiple tortures, imprisonments, and bereavements into the mix and you’d have to spend the rest of your life under sedation. Thank goodness for the amnesia that blocks us from easy access to our prior incarnations. Yet, all of us are impacted in some way by what I call “past-traumatic stress.” Your soul can’t help it. When it encounters a reminder of pain and suffering from a prior incarnation, your soul reacts with panic. Unable to clearly separate one lifetime from the next (your soul is conscious throughout both life and death), it senses danger and does its best to get you to take heed. Triggers take you back to the original incident. Your spouse cheats on you and in an instant you’re back to a time, 200 years ago, when you were similarly stabbed in the back. And if that original event led to premature death or some other misfortune, your soul will assume the same thing could happen this time around. It’s the triggers your soul associates with death that cause the most radical responses. Encountering a major trigger can be like stepping on a landmine: sudden and violent. One minute all’s well with the world, the next you’re in fight or flight mode with adrenaline surging through your veins. By revealing the most salient details of a past life — the major incidents and traumas, and the death—I’ve helped people to overcome problems as diverse as an inability to confront a spouse, infertility, migraines, and low self-esteem, as well as a host of phobias, ranging from public speaking to flying. Phobias are death-related past life fears, and are the result of unresolved past life traumas that your soul associates with sudden, premature, or violent death in a prior incarnation. A fear of public speaking, for example, is a phobia of judgment, and stems from a death in which you’ve been judged. Perhaps you were judged harshly by a court of law and executed. Or maybe you were exterminated as part of a genocide or ethnic cleansing, judged by the color of your skin or your race. Just recently, I spoke to a woman in Norway about her fear of flying. This particular past life fear is actually several death-related phobias rolled into one and not, as you might imagine, a sign that the individual has previously perished in some kind of aviation disaster. Anne had suffered from her past life fear of flying for almost thirty years. It started when she lived in the States and had to take a flight from Florida to Connecticut. ”We had really bad turbulence,” she told me. “I can’t remember any of it. I must have repressed it. But my cousin who was with me told me later how terrified I was. It started to get worse when I had my child, and has gotten worse over the years. It got to the point where I didn’t fly for over ten years.” The symptoms Anne suffered were severe. She would experience a feeling of overwhelming panic. “I feel sure I’m going to die,” she said. “I have trouble breathing and my heart beats so hard and fast I can’t hear a thing around me. I can’t control my body — I shake all over. Nobody can talk to me or touch me. I might floor them if they did!” It took one session to annihilate the fear, though neither of us knew it at the time. It was only a month later, when we had our next session together that I got the full story. A few days after we’d talked, Anne discovered she’d have to make a trip to London. In the past, the panics would have started as soon as she knew she’d have to get on an aircraft. This time there was nothing. “I didn’t really expect anything from that session,” Anne admitted. “I’d had the fear so long I thought I’d always have it. But when I was told I’d have to take this trip, I realized the symptoms had completely gone. I had no anxiety before or during the flight. I even slept on the plane.” What happened to Anne was not particularly unusual. Many of my clients have remarked on how quickly a long-held fear can evaporate. Even the most stubborn of phobias will release its grip when your soul understands that its origins lie not in the present, but in the past. Earlier this year I was taught a workshop at Kripalu in Massachusetts. The subject was all about healing past-life fears. On the first evening, I was alone in the classroom preparing for my introductory talk, checking the microphone, and making sure I had all the course material in the right order and so on. I figured I had plenty of time to center myself with a quick meditation. As I sat silently in the center of the room with my eyes closed, I heard the door quietly open. I squinted out of one eye to see a middle-aged man walking softly toward me. From his clothing and physical appearance, he had to be Indian. I stood up and stretched out my hand. At the same moment, he raised both of his hands in a gesture of prayer. “Please help me,” he said, his voice quivering with emotion. “I feel like I am going to die.” I wasn’t sure how to respond. I withdrew my hand and gave him what I hoped was a reassuring smile. “I take it you’re here for my workshop? We’ll have all weekend to work on whatever fears you have,” I said breezily. Tears started welling up in his eyes, and to my astonishment, he dropped to his knees in front of me. I wasn’t sure how to respond. I glanced around the room feeling rather self-conscious, and was relieved to see we were still alone. “I am so sorry,” he said. “But I am desperate. I have come from India for you to bless me.” “You’ve come all the way from India for this workshop?” “I know you can heal me. I have panic attacks all the time. I know they are from a past life. I can’t live this way. Please, please.” I took his arm and helped him to his feet. All sorts of thoughts were going through my head. What if I can’t help him? What if he has to go home in the same state of distress as he’s in now? What does he mean by “bless me?” Does he think I’m some sort of a guru? The introductory talk went well. Kumar sat as close to me as possible, and I noticed how, every so often, he’d start hyperventilating, breathing rapidly through clenched teeth. He was clearly in deep distress, and my heart went out to him. But with something like thirty other people in the class, I worried that if I gave him all the attention he seemed to need, I’d be neglecting the rest. When the talk was over, he waited until everyone else had left the room and, once again, fell to his knees with his hands together, begging me for help. I promised him that I’d talk to my spirit guides as soon as I got back to my room, and suggested he get some sleep, and we’d talk in the morning. Both he and I were suffering from jet lag, though my sleepless night on the red-eye from Seattle was clearly nothing compared to his trek halfway across the globe. My guides told me to get some sleep, too, and we’d talk when I was in a more receptive condition. The following morning, Kumar was waiting for me when I arrived in the classroom. He looked worse than he had the day before. We went through the same routine, and I told him he really didn’t have to get down on his knees to make his point. He apologized saying, “I am sorry, it is our way.” I promised that I’d have the conversation with my guides as soon as I could. I explained that exploring the events of a past life in sufficient detail to create healing took time. As the workshop progressed, I explained to the class how each fear can be identified by its “resonances,” specific symptoms that come to the surface when you encounter a trigger of some kind. And every so often I’d glance at Kumar to make sure he was okay, and not showing too many of his own resonances. I don’t remember now exactly when it happened but at some point in the afternoon he started hyperventilating again, and a young woman sitting beside him kindly took him outside for a breath of fresh air. Five minutes later, there came a terrifying cry of anguish from the terrace outside the room. I paused for a few seconds waiting, perhaps, for someone in the room to shout, “Don’t worry! I’m a doctor,” and deal with the situation, before realizing it was my responsibility. I dashed outside to find the woman standing anxiously by the door, with Kumar several feet away, holding his head in his hands and moaning with despair. “I am in so much pain! You must help me. I haven’t eaten for days,” he cried. “Last night I awoke every hour with a panic. I feel like I am dying.” By now, all I could think of was getting to my room and calling in my spirit guides, but there were still several hours to go, and I didn’t feel I could abandon the rest of the class on his account. Being surrounded by so many people was causing Kumar tremendous anxiety, yet he eventually began to breathe more normally and told me he was ready to come back into the room. When the class was over, I had to go straight to a book signing. I was relieved to see that Kumar had been taken under the wing of Tom, one of the participants in the workshop, and a man of great compassion. He was the perfect person to help soothe Kumar’s anguish. Once the book signing was over, I had less than an hour before I was scheduled to deliver a talk to a large group of visitors to the center. I dashed upstairs to my room and brought my spirit guides in. What they said was this: “The life was in the early part of the last century. Kumar was a boy in New York. His father was a striking worker who took his son to the front lines of the dispute. When police attacked the strikers, the boy was crushed to death in the panic..” And there was another significant element to the story. “The father bore significant responsibility. He should not have taken the boy with him when he knew violence would occur.” And that was it. It hadn’t taken more than five minutes. I wanted to tell Kumar as soon as possible. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long, since Kumar and Tom just happened to be taking a leisurely stroll past my room at the same moment I opened the door. “I have it,” I said. “We need to find somewhere quiet. As we walked out of the building onto a small terrace, Tom said something to Kumar that revealed a high level of intuition. “I get the sense you were crushed to death in a previous life.” I went straight into the story. The moment I began telling him of his life and death in New York, somewhere back in the early 20th Century, I saw Kumar’s entire demeanor change. He straightened up a little and stared into the distance, as if he was remembering something from the past lives. On a soul level, of course, that’s exactly what was happening. The whole conversation lasted just a few minutes. Kumar got to his feet. “Thank you, thank you,” he said softly, “Now I must eat.” I was surprised to see Kumar turn up at my lecture that evening. It wasn’t actually part of the workshop, but a chance for other guests to the center to learn a little about my work, and there were twice as many people in the room as there had been earlier. He didn’t seem in the least bit anxious, and sat serenely in a chair at the back of the room until I’d finished. Kumar was, once again, the last to leave. He handed me a small gift and pressed his hands together in the, by now, familiar gesture of prayer. But this time, instead of begging me for help, he couldn’t thank me enough. I gave him a hug—hoping he would stay on his feet—and complimented him on his remarkable recovery. It was no surprise to find Kumar waiting for me in the classroom when I arrived for the final part of the workshop. I asked him how he’d slept. “I awoke several times with a panic,” he said, “But instead of going to here, (he indicated a level somewhere above his head), it stopped here (he lowered his hand to just above knee level.) I can eat again. I can sleep. I feel so much better. Thank you, thank you.” On the first evening at Kripalu, I offered a free session to the person who’d traveled the farthest to be there which, to no one’s surprise, went to Kumar. So, a few months later, we had the chance to speak again. “How are you now?” I asked “I am cured,” he said. He told me how he’d felt so good after what happened at Kripalu that, instead of flying straight back to India, he took a trip to New York (his first visit in this lifetime) to spend a few days with a relative. Apart from one moment of mild panic in the PATH station when he got to Manhattan, he has had no further panic attacks whatsoever. When I told Kumar about his traumatic death, it was as if his soul said, “Wait a minute, I get it! That was in the past and I no longer have to worry about being around people any more!” And, from that moment, the panics subsided. Most of my sessions are by phone, so I’ve rarely had the opportunity to witness such a radical healing take place. When clients have described overcoming their fears immediately, I’d assumed it meant later that day, or perhaps a week or month later. And in many cases, it probably does. Not everyone sees such an immediate shift and, of course, it’s going to be a lot more noticeable when you’re dealing with debilitating panic attacks than when you have a mild case of low self-esteem, or a not particularly significant fear of loss. What I’ve found is that there are few fears that won’t loosen their grip in some way when the past-life cause is uncovered. Some are a little stickier to shift than other. And a lot depends, of course, on how strong the fear is. Sometimes a fear will seem to spontaneously disappear after a few months, while another will gradually dissipate over a period of time. The encouraging thing is that in most cases, the only thing that needs to happen to create a positive shift toward healing is to uncover the original event that caused the fear in the first place. Once that happens, your soul can recognize that (to paraphrase Shakespeare) “the past is not prologue,” resolve the past life fear of death so you can get on with living the life your soul intended, free from the negative influence of prior incarnations.