Heather: From time to time I feature other authors, researchers, and hypnotherapists on my blog. Today I am very excited to have Dr. Joseph Mancini on PLR Institute.
Dr. Mancini is currently a Clinical Hypnotherapist specializing in Spiritual Hypnotherapy and certified by numerous international and national certifying bodies. He also has a Master’s in Organization Development, which he uses for executive coaching and corporate training on various leadership topics. In addition, he had worked for over 20 years as a Clinical Social Worker and, with his Ph.D. in Literature from Harvard, had taught, for 17 years in various universities, an array of literature and literature-and-psychology courses. He has published articles in his various fields of study and has authored two books on past lives and past-life regression.
Heather: Dr. Mancini, thank you for joining me today.
First, of all, let me say Congratulations on your new book Ending the Endless Conflict: Healing Narratives from Past-Life Regressions to the Civil War. Can you share with us how you first became interested in past lives?
Joseph: Well, nearly 40 years ago, when I was an assistant professor of literature and starting to get a bit bored with the limitations of that profession, a friend of mine introduced me to the Seth Material channeled by Jane Roberts, who passed over in 1984. I was blown away by what Seth said about past lives and other alternate selves, though it took a bit of time to integrate into my world view these phenomena that were so undermining of my limiting beliefs about the Universe (or, as Seth would call it, All That Is). (Along with other metaphysical texts, I have been reading and re-reading Seth’s works for all the succeeding years and have used his concepts in my writing, including my two books.)
And, back then, as if Spirit knew that I needed some personal evidence of the reality of past lives, I had an experience that I would later—decades later—incorporate into my new book, Ending the Endless Conflict. I met a woman who in many ways was decidedly not appropriate for me; yet, she displayed psychic traits that vastly intrigued me, given how new the concept of past lives was for me at the time. We lived about 30 miles apart; and, one night, I got a phone call from someone with a slightly southern accent who called me “Jason” and asked me to “ride” over to her place as soon as I could. Finally recognizing the voice as belonging to this woman, and always ready for an adventure, I rode my “horse” down to her place where she greeted me at the door in a flowing negligee that could have been worn by women from long ago. Today, I would say that she was in a deep and abiding trance as we talked; I gradually discovered that “Ellie” and I were lovers during the Civil War. The next morning, we were out of the trance—I, too, had gone into a trance during the experience—but, unfortunately, we did not speak about what had happened. Frankly, I wasn’t sure whether the woman was psychologically stable; but, today, I would characterize her basically as being undisciplined, ungrounded in her access to the other world.
A couple of weeks later, we went to Cape May, where, just after dark, we strolled along one of the main routes into the town, the one bordered by Victorian houses. Suddenly, the woman leaned her ear against one of the wooden gate markers at the beginning of a semicircular, grassy driveway of one of those mini-mansions. She told me that she was hearing the creaking of wagon wheels, the snuffling of horses, and the gay banter of several people; then she started to approach the house. Realizing that she was again in trance and back in the Civil War era, I quickly guided her away from the house before we were seen. Back at the motel where we stayed, we again made love as “Ellie” and “Jason.” Sadly, I soon grew tired of being tacitly and unfavorably compared to Jason and ended the relationship, never to hear from her again!
While I was in the midst of writing my book on regressions to the Civil War, I consulted a trusted psychic who confirmed that the woman and I were, indeed, paramours during that era. Readers of this interview can consult my book for further details about “Ellie” and “Jason” and the healing potential for this incarnation of my knowing about that past life.
Heather: Can you tell us a little about your new book?
Joseph: Oh, sure. As indicated from my last response, the book has a very personal dimension. In fact, as I explain in the Preface, I started the book during a difficult time in my life and found that it provided a healing for me, not only of my then despair, but also of my not-quite-resolved issues from my Vietnam experience many years ago. Taken by a friend to Gettysburg, I visited one of the battlefields, none of which I had paid attention to on my two or three visits to the town. As we traveled up the road to Culp’s Hill, I saw the regimental markers that I took for tombstones. I was overwhelmed by the thought of the immense carnage and suddenly had the idea that, with my hypnotherapy training, I might be able to offer some healing to present-day individuals who had past lives during the War. And, somehow, the regressions might bring some healing to those past-life selves as well (since all lives are actually going on simultaneously in the Spacious Present and thus are not ended, despite our common perceptions created by the time-space continuum).
The governing metaphor of the book is found in the ancient Hindu story of the blind men who encounter an elephant for the first time. Each of them, in contact with only one part of the elephant, declares that he knows fully what this new creature is. For instance, the one touching the trunk believes the elephant to be snake-like, while the one holding a giant ear declares the creature to be bird-like with huge, heavy wings. None of the blind men is willing to make room for the experience of any of the others. This overconfidence in the rightness and totality of any one view to the exclusion of any others divided the North and the South, even before the start of the Civil War, and, very sadly, continues to this day in our fractured and polarized political and social worlds. Gary Gallagher, a University of Virginia historian whose work I very much admire, talks about four interpretive traditions found in traditional histories of the Conflict; these traditions each tend to see the War, an Elephant in itself, through one lens and minimize or outright dismiss the others, thus creating dissension among historians and common citizens that never ends.
What I discovered in doing the regressions is that each person, living back then or today, is an equally complex Elephant, a creature of multiple dimensions. These facets include different parts of the conscious or subconscious selves, as well as the alternate selves that make up the vastness of the Soul, such as past lives, future lives, parallel or probable selves, and counterpart selves—all of which factor into the stories in the book.
However, when the individual does not recognize or accept his/her multi-dimensionality or that of others (individuals or groups), trouble prevails, including physical, psychological, and spiritual sickness and even non-productive conflict and ultimately war. Lack of awareness or dismissal of one’s multiplicity can lead to the polarization (inner war) of opposite sides of oneself, to the rejection of alternate selves and the resources they can provide, to the projection of those rejected parts (the Shadow) onto others whom the individual can dismiss, hate or even kill. The consequent reduction of the complexity of the self leads to the stereotyping of the self as good and the other as bad—all of which creates hostility between inner parts or between the self and the other. Being one-dimensional robs the self of the resources necessary to deal adequately and compassionately with a world ever growing in complexity.
In each of the thirty-four stories recounted in the book, the individual suffers and often causes others to suffer because of his or her failure to see the self and the other as complex human beings. Just one quick example: in one case study, Natalie (pseudonym) believed she would not be a combatant but instead be a domestic of some kind in her past life; for she abhorred violence and could not watch the war movies her soldier-husband frequently watched after his tour in Iraq over 10 years ago. They were well polarized in this dimension of their relationship. Well, Natalie was in for quite a shock when she encountered her past-life self: she was Raymond, a drummer boy who eventually morphed into a vicious killer of the enemy, who survived the War, but could not quite integrate his former brutality into a conception of his peace-time self, that is, until just before his death, when I helped him do just that so he could die at peace with himself. In her current life, Natalie had not accepted her capacity for betrayal of others and, like Raymond with his brutality, could not integrate that trait into her conception of herself. So, Raymond’s being able to finally assimilate all his parts, shadowy and otherwise, helped her begin to accept her inner diversity and finally understand the basis for her betrayals.
While that was an amazing healing, more was to come. Having been in Vietnam, I explained to Natalie that the reason her husband could not share with her much about his Iraq tour is that, given her disgust with violence, he did not feel her to be a comrade, one who would not flinch from his story and thus could listen with compassion. She went home and cautiously told him about the regression; to her utter surprise, he immediately began to tell her what he had not been able to tell her before. Now, having listened to his wife’s own war story, he could trust her, open up to his new comrade, and therefore begin his own healing in bringing his hell home to his now compassionate fellow soldier.
There is so much more to tell, but I have to restrain my passion for this project that helped heal me as well.
Heather: I’ve been reading your new book and find it fascinating. I’m pleased to see how busy you are. I remember your wonderful radio program and your previous book The Present Power of Past Lives: The Experts Speak. Any other projects in the works?
Joseph: Thank you, Heather. And I remember the equally fascinating interview I did with you for that book!
As for new projects, I am certain I have at least one more book (and maybe more) gestating within me. But I am not clear on the topic. I have contemplated a sequel to Ending the Endless Conflict—I have one more regression I did involving a nurse working around D.C. during the War, as well as the names of several other willing participants. I also have been toying with the idea of doing a book on regressions to the American Revolutionary War. But I think I want to do something else first, possibly a book of interviews with practitioners who work with dreams from different interpretative traditions, e.g., Jungian, Gestalt, Shamanic, Sethian, and others. I also plan to do some online teaching in the next few months (check my website for details at www.lifetransforminghypnotherapy.com) on Working with Crystal Skulls, Accessing Alternate Selves for Healing, and Approaches to Dream Interpretation.
Heather: If someone was interested in learning more about past lives where would you suggest they start?
Joseph: I actually would start with my first book, The Present Power of Past Lives: The Experts Speak. As one prominent reviewer on Amazon said about it, the book could serve as a text for a course in the topic. In it, I speak to twelve experts in the field of past-lives, covering just about every venue in which accessing past lives is important. The books written by these individuals will further explain what they synopsize in their interviews.
I also urge individuals to make sure that they have a spiritual context in which to understand fully the notion of past lives and related issues. They can do this by researching a metaphysics that can account also for some of the strange phenomena that pop up during regressions. As I mentioned earlier, I have found the Seth Material to be absolutely invaluable in guiding my understanding of our multi-dimensional reality. In The Present Power, I comment on what the experts say through the massive lens of Seth’s metaphysics, including a chapter on what Karma is and is not (It is not a time-bound, cause-and-effect, eye-for-an-eye, deterministic phenomenon; it is rather a series of free choices embodied in contracts among souls for the enrichment of all concerned).
Heather: Has past life work changed your life? If so, how?
Joseph: It has made me less fearful and more powerful because it has expanded my sense of who I am as a multidimensional soul having physical experiences. I think the notion of a one-dimensional soul with one body, one life, is productive of great fear, recognized consciously or not. You have one chance to grow, to get it “right” before you are judged as worthy or not—my gosh, how scary! Having grown up Catholic, that’s what I was taught, yet always pushed against. The one-life model also robs the individual of all the resources that are waiting to be accessed in his/her other lives, resources that include skills, perspectives, and experiences seemingly alien to the person as he/she normally perceives the self. Moreover, the one life model keeps us from maximum empathy for others, especially for those very much unlike us; but, if the soul of each of us is multi-dimensional, then each of us is very likely to be deeply connected to alternate selves like past lives that are very different from how we ordinarily see ourselves: e.g., the macho male is soulfully connected to a very feminine woman in another time or place.
Heather: You must spend a lot of time and energy on your work. What do you do to recharge? Do you have a creative outlet?
Joseph: That is a very interesting question, Heather. I would say first that my work—the individual and group sessions, as well as the writing—can be tiring; yet all that also recharges me, makes me feel expansive and even joyful, especially when I see a client or a reader of one of my books blossom in some way, psychologically and/or spiritually. Yet, like everyone else, I need downtime, especially near water. I love taking out my Hobie, pedal-driven kayak; someday, I will get another of Hobie’s kayak sailboats, which will be even more relaxing. I also like to see plays, amateur and professional, and have tossed around the idea of writing one myself and having it produced. Ah…if there were only 36 or more hours in a day!
Heather: Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. Where can our readers find out more about your work?
Joseph: They can always check out my website at www.LifeTransformingHypnotherapy.com and my blogsite at www.ExplorationsinSpirit.com. If they want to be on my mailing list, they can contact me through my website or by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would also like to hear from individuals who have a strong interest in or a strong repugnance to the Civil War and/or the American Revolutionary War. They could become participants in one of my future books!
I want to thank you so much, Heather, for this opportunity to share my work with your readers!