Do You Believe?

No secret, I have a cluster of phobic behaviors I’ve tried very hard to overcome by just about every means out there. Some of my self-help methods will be familiar to anyone who has ever been in any kind of pain, physical or mental:

As a young girl: my journal and Jesus

In my teens: cigarettes and marajuana

In my 20s and 30s: cigarettes and wine (except when pregnant) also church

In my 40s and 50s: prescription medications and self-help

I’m 60 now and realize that although I’ve done a lot of work, drinking wine has probably had the most calming effect, although it is inconvenient to drink in the morning before boarding a flight to visit the grandkids. Self-help got me further. I can get on a plane and cross a bridge without freaking or popping a Xanax, but I’m still not ready to fly in a hot air balloon.

And I absolutely dread closed in spaces. The scariest film I’ve ever watched is The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, about locked-in syndrome, a condition where you are alive but trapped in your body and everyone, including doctors, think you are a vegetable incapable of thought yet your mind is screaming “LET ME OUT.”

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is based on a real-life experience and book by a French man who was able to break through the wall. It’s a triumphant and beautiful story but it terrifies me more than a Stephen King novel.

Several years ago I read a self-help book called The Instruction that posited our phobias are all past life shadows clinging to the present. This is because the soul gets confused about intense (usually traumatic death) experiences and will take on a past life phobia or three without realizing the past life is over. I thought this was interesting but wasn’t sure about reincarnation, even though, through the years, much of my self-help work has had a decidedly Buddhist influence.

So reincarnation. More people in the world are Buddhist than Christian. More people in the world believe in reincarnation than the resurrection. Surprised? I was when I found that out in all the literature that came pouring forth after 9/11 when we had such fear and loathing in this country around Muslims.

 

I made note of this fact, and that the psychic who wrote the book, Ainslie Macleod, was available for consultations where he could read your past life, then interpret the phobias in this life through past-life experiences. I thought about booking a session for a long time as I went along my journey toward healing these fears.

Eight years after first reading The Instruction, I joined a private group of like-minded seekers, led by Ainslie, as we talked about reincarnation, past life influences on current life, and the workings of the soul. After spending time with these old souls, I got comfortable with the idea of reincarnation. I wasn’t sold, but I wanted to give Ainslie a shot at helping me eradicate my phobias, all of them, even the road to Hana, for good.

When Ainslie told me my past life, and how I died, I immediately saw the connections to both my life this time (which he knew nothing about) and the phobias that followed me. I felt the truth of it down to my soul. I believed as surely as I’d once believed in the virgin birth. (My evolution from “religious” to “spiritual” happened as a direct result of all that self-help.)

And I have to ask myself is believing in the teaching of the faith I was born into (Christian, Roman Catholic to be exact) any crazier than believing the soul lives many lifetimes? No. I think they are equally absurd so therefore equally possible. Time will tell if my past life revelations will heal me in this life, but I can say that they affected me profoundly, to the point where I am committed to getting off a drug I’ve used for more than thirty years that is known to cause cognitive decline in aging people. Which would be me. I need all the cognition I can get.

So, without this panic button in pill form, how will I cope? I have a feeling I will do just fine, although I’m not reserving a seat on a hot air balloon any time soon.