This detailed story is being presented as it was posted on a listserv, with permission to post here.
I recently have been going through a period where I have had to do a lot of soul searching and work with myself. They have mostly have been issues of ego and feeling sorry for myself, for rather unintelligible reasons. Unlike a lot of people out there, I have no chronic disease to struggle against and a relatively peaceful home life. (As stable as that can be.)
Still, I kept falling into these pits of self pity and thought it was due to problems in my present life. OK, I worked those out but that wasn't where the problem was coming from.
Then, I thought they might stem from my most previous life and which was bad news because a lot of things happened then which I can't do anything about now. I even considered the idea of calling up a past life regression hypnotherapist to start working on what I suspected was the problem.
Still, I somehow felt that that was only part of the real thing.
But this morning, the answer gave itself.
I started meditating and was instantly drawn towards the memories of a past life in which I contracted polio as a young child and became paralyzed from the waist down. This young man had loving parents and a very well to do background, so he got an education and was sent to university, something which was not common at that time and place (England in the mid 1800's.)
At university, in the very liberal atmosphere there, he fell in love with his room mate and best friend. (The university is not open to women.) The crush is reciprocal. But the best friend's parents arrange engagement with his cousin and he chooses to marry her for a job with the in-laws in the territories and leaves university.
The young man then embarked on a downward spiral of self destructiveness and depression, because he suspects that his disability was part of the reason that the friend chickened out and abandoned him.
I have always thought the "I" of this life killed himself over the best friend leaving, but today, I was shown the rest of the story:
It turns out the young man survives the overdose of opium tincture he intended to kill himself with and wakes up in hospital, very exhausted and very depressed. But at the hospital he gets to see other people who are physically worse off then himself and that makes a deep impression, even though he refuses to admit it then. He is brought home to his family's house and sulks for a long time, staying in bed for most of the time even though he isn't physically ill.
One day as the nurse and maids want him to get up from bed, and place him in the wheelchair without his consent, the young man throws a complete fit of anger. He starts throwing things at the nurses and his mother who comes running at the sound of problems. The women leave the room and the young man proceeds to thrash everything he can get his hands on and manage to throw into the floor. (Some vases and small paintings.)
Then he discovers the door to his room has been locked from the outside, which makes him just more angry He bangs on the panels on the door and demands to be let out. He is told he will only get out when he has managed to calm himself down. This throws him into a new fit of rage and he starts rattling the handle of the door desperately.
By this time, I was so deeply into the memory, I could hear myself dizziness you get when hyperventilating. I had to calm myself down before I could go on. I got a very good look at the young man's rage and despair and self hatred and the feeling of being locked in behind that door. I got a good idea where my claustrophobia comes from.
The young man rages behind the door until he is completely spent. The door opens and the family physician enters, along with the mother and the nurse, to give the young man a shot of sedative and put him to bed in another room.
Afterwards, the young man is still depressed, but something has changed, he isn't so angry any longer and starts noticing things around him.
Then one of the friends from university comes to see him. The friend is very embarrassed and clearly not used to sharing feelings and out of his depth when faced with the despondent friend, but he manages to tell the young man that "the other chaps and I miss you. When are you coming back? By the way, did you hear what old Fonsie did to Professor McKenzie?"
This makes the young man realize a lot of things, among others that he has been feeling sorry for himself for no good reason at all. He starts on a long road to self acceptance, moves back to the university, gets another room there and arranges with his tutors to make up for the time lost.
I have been exploring a lot of past lives but very few of them have been as liberating as this. The emotions I got a good look at when the friend said "we miss you, when are you coming back?" could have lit up an entire room. It was incredible.
The long train of thoughts that was revealed when he realized that people around him accepted him as a person, not a disability, was also hugely fascinating. A very personal type of insight.
I've had moments of insight such as these in this life time and they are usually very liberating. So was this particular memory. I've felt relieved all day and even my mother commented on the phone today that I sounded more upbeat than in a long time. :) I definitely do feel relieved. I think it must have been from reliving the past anger and seeing that it was misdirected, but perhaps necessary to go through.
I also have a strong feeling now that with all the things my past life "I's" went through, I can't let the things I experience now bring me down, especially when I have all the reasons in the world to overcome them. I just need to be patient.