I argued. I was celebrated and ostracized. I watched the moon and stared slack-jawed at stars that don't exist anymore, or maybe never did. And when I "died," I felt a river wash me away, hooking me by the hip and shooting me back to my Creator, through a bottleneck of shining silver light and into my cabin again.
This vision of being a Native American, is not uncommon, according to Barham. If in fact this was something I pulled out of my ass, it was obviously based in a few touchstones: old movies, books, the constant but wholly unverified reassurance from my grandfather that our great grandmother was Apache. It was a colorful gasp of possible past that seemingly just floated in front of me, unprovoked. Whatever had happened, it was intense and visceral.
But the real core to Barham's experience isn't just a thrill ride or a parlor trick to tell your friends about, or even the seeds to cultivate a never-ending chain of experiential ramblings. What she wants -- and what her clients pay her for -- is a lasting lesson. To uncover something. During my own experience, I was able to view my past self's problems through a macroscope and realized most of the anger in my short life stemmed from frustrations with other people, a problem I took to my deathbed.
Bullheadedness and hubris made for a life a hardship. I was stubborn and proud. I dug my heels in the ground whenever conflict arose. I challenged elders and spat at advice because I thought I was smarter than everyone. It was like watching a tape of yourself in middle school and cringing at your frosted tips and general stupidity. It wasn't easy. But it was necessary.
When I was pulled out of the hypnosis, it was like Barham hooked my eyeballs and reeled me back into consciousness. My mind was swimming with thoughts of cabins and lights and possible cultural appropriation, but the hardest shot to my gut was that I actually learned something that was hard for me to swallow. The vision of past/possibly-made-up-me was a lot like me-me. The same flaws that hindered my life "back then" live on in the present. And it only took a transcendental journey lying inside the floor of well-furnished closet to make me realize the uncomfortable truth of what Barham does: She's a teacher. Your mind is her classroom. And the lesson is different each and every time somebody floats into the light.
I don't think I reached enlightenment, and I'm not sure I can 100% buy into what Barham is selling. My visions were vivid, but I'm unsure if that was the power of my own mind groping and grasping for answers or if it was truly the remnants of a true past life. But I can say one thing: skeptic or not, the journey of past-life regression is not a passage to be taken lightly. If nothing else, you will face some uncomfortable truths, and live out your wildest memory (that may be fantasy).
I did not heal any deep wounds, but I definitely found out more about myself than I ever intended. And I have to think I am now better for it. At the base level, this is Barham's goal. If I am still kind of a prick, I am perhaps less so. At least, I hope I am... which is half the battle. Not bad for a former skeptic.
Also, I think it's really cool I wasn't a Nazi. That would have really ruined my Tuesday.