If you ever wanted -- or needed -- a reminder that everything is orchestrated in our lives, tune into GaiamTV.com's engaging interview with Carol Bowman, "The Past Lives of Children." Bowman, an internationally known author, lecturer, counselor, past life regression therapist and pioneer in reincarnation studies, sets the scene by presenting case studies of children from all over the world, including her own son. In fact, it was Bowman's son Chase and his explicit recall of his earlier life, which inspired her to focus her past life research on children. She explains how we can listen to our children's stories with more receptive ears -- and ask the right questions to gain a deeper understanding.
A child's window of remembrance is fairly narrow. Past life memories, says Bowman, are typical in children up to seven years old. Beyond spontaneous statements about their past, other clues can shed light on their past life experience; behaviors such as phobias or physical issues often correspond to children's memories -- particularly of their death -- of their past life.
Bowman's take on this abstract subject is down-to-earth. The material can feel pretty woo-woo, but Open Minds host Regina Meredith and Bowman both treat the subject with the dignity it deserves. Bowman reminds us how we can easily miss what our children can be trying to tell us. "Most people don't see when it happens right under their noses... they don't know that children's past life memories are even possible, and they don't know what to look for," she says. "If they do see it in their child, they worry that it's too weird, don't know how to respond... and are afraid to mention it to anyone outside the family."
Processing the past
There's more to past life experiences than simply the information they contain. Often, the memory is accompanied by trauma surrounding their previous death. These memories, no matter how disturbing, offer healing opportunities for the soul, says Bowman. Enter Bowman's carefully honed past life therapy model, a compendium of insights taken from past life therapists, research scientists and ancient spiritual wisdom. She explains to Meredith that trauma can get frozen in the body, which still carries the patterning from a previous life. After you've recognized your child's attempt at communicating her past life, the next step is helping her work through it.
A blurred timeline
Bowman outlines practical guidelines that parents and anybody who works closely with children can use to identify and respond to children's past life memories. First off is the injunction to join the child in her reality. For kids, the line between past and present blurs easily, which makes the memory feel very urgent and immediate. What children need, says Bowman, is closure. "They need to know that their other life is over and that they can let it go."
The best way to find out more about your child's potential past lives is to pay very close attention to the stories they tell. If they dive into a very specific riff, prod them with open-ended questions, such as "What was that like?" Reassure your child that she is safe and explain that the memory is from another time.
Meredith's final words on the show are moving: "No matter what our beliefs in reincarnation, we should be listening much more closely to our little children, because they may be telling us a story about what they are here to do, what they are here to learn, and what they are here to heal."