Woolger, Dr Roger - Other lives, Past Selves – At the famous Wailing Wall, he found himself weeping uncontrollably
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
Other lives, past selves [A Jungian Psychotherapist discovers Past Lives] – Dr Roger Woolger
Sol was a very respected osteopath and healer in his late fifties. He had always been extremely conscious of his own health, being meticulous about diet and exercise. He had nevertheless suffered throughout his life from sinusitus, which had resisted every kind of conventional and alternative therapy.
"I've cured every other ailment I've ever had," he said, "but this one has me licked. I can't seem to shake it."
His reason for trying past life therapy was that during a recent tour of the Mediterranean he had gone to Jerusalem and, at a certain section of the famous Wailing Wall, had found himself weeping uncontrollably. He thought afterward that perhaps a past life memory had surfaced in part, but he could offer no further explanation.
I wondered, as I listened, what it might be. Jerusalem has a history of so many massacres and tragedies in its life history, ancient, medieval, and modern, that it could have been one of countless stories. However, I was not prepared for what came up or for the way it came up.
In listening to Sol's story no particular image or phrase came to me, so I had him lie down with his eyes closed, focus on his breathing and particularly his nasal area, and let himself go directly to the time when his sinusitus had originated. I half-expected him to go to a scene at the Wailing Wall, but instead he found himself in sandals and short corduroy pants walking along a damp forest path:
"I am nine years old. It is a summer camp in Michigan. There's half a dozen of us walking along together. It's been raining. I fell in the creek and that makes me even wetter. I’m miserable. I want to go home. I'm so cold I'm shivering.”
Sol had indeed started to shiver as he lay on the couch, despite its being a hot summer day, and his eyes were showing signs of tearing. Clearly both the biographical and the somatic levels of his complex had been touched.
"Stay with your feelings and just say whatever comes to you," I urge.
"I want to go home. I'm so miserable. I'm so cold. I'll never see her again. I'll never see her again."
Sol begins to sob, tears and mucus streaming out of him. I hand him lots of tissues and say, "Who won't you see again?”
"It's my mother. She's very sick, in the hospital. She and Dad put me here for the summer because he can't look after me. She may die, I'll never see her again."
"Do you tell anyone in the camp?" I asked.
"No, I can't. I've got to be tough. I mustn't cry. But I feel so unhappy."
"So let yourself express what you couldn't let out then," I say.
As with reliving any story, present or past life, it is important to express the buried affects. It was becoming apparent that Sol's sinuses were where he had been holding all the feelings his strong little nine-year-old ego so stoically refused to allow to the surface. I let him unburden more of his tears for a while and then said:
"I want you to repeat 'I'll never see her again, and let the words take you to any other story they have meaning for."
"I'll never see him again! I'll never see him again!”.
With the change in this one word a whole new paroxysm of sobbing burst out of Sol; deeper, older tears it seemed.
"They’ve taken him. I'll never see him again! What am I going to do? We could have done something, It's too late. We abandoned him. I'm standing behind a large crowd. It's Jerusalem. I'm a man in a long robe. They've taken Jesus. I’ll never see him again. I'll never see him again!"
From a distance this man sees events familiar to everyone:
Jesus being dragged to his death by crucifixion with common thieves in ancient Jerusalem. Sol sees himself as a Roman who has come to Jerusalem on commercial business for the Roman imperial authorities. A chance hearing of Jesus preaching one day has utterly changed his life and he has exchanged his high rank for a local post that enables him to live permanently near this remarkable teacher. He even marries a Jewish woman and wants to convert to the Jewish faith so as to be closer to Jesus. More than anything, seeing Jesus heal someone one day makes a profound impression on him.
“It awakens something in me," he says, almost ecstatically through his tears. Sol tells of pieces of Jesus's message handed down to this Roman merchant:
"We can learn to heal if we have faith and love . . . We are all one . We must love one another . . ."
Simple and familiar words, to be sure, but they seem to arise quite spontaneously from a deep place within Sol.
The rest of the Roman's story is commonplace-no special revelations of how Jesus died and where his body was taken.
With crowds of others he keeps vigil until the body is taken down. He never sees his teacher again. Later he bands together with other followers of Jesus and they study and worship together as a form of remembrance. Living as a merchant for many more years, the Roman convert finally dies of natural causes at an old age somewhere in the countryside.
"The followers," he says, "are now scattered, their future uncertain."
Sol emerges from his story with great emotion. It has been a true catharsis for him, a cleansing in the Greek sense of that word. He recognizes the spiritual roots of his vocation to be a healer and how this is entangled with a penitent sense of responsibility toward his abandoned master. From his remembering of his current childhood and then his life as the Roman merchant, Sol knows deep within him what it is to have been abandoned and to abandon another dear to him.