by Hans Ten Dam
The Case of the Classy Lady
The patient is an attractive woman, rather well-known in her country as a presenter on radio and, lately, television. She suffers from burning belly-pains since she was around 15. Asked what she would do when the pains would have been gone, she says she wants to take her children to the zoo.
The only times she has been free of pain are the weeks around her menstruation and the months of her pregnancies. Life is only bearable by smoking and drinking too much, especially just before performances. She had several surgeries, but each surgery leads to complications that make new surgery necessary. “Men destroy my life.” The therapist, being a man and not planning any sex change, threads wearily with this patient, one of his first.
Six sessions give only marginal results. In the seventh, images surface of a teenage girl on a railway platform. Everything is shabby and the train is unbelievably crowded. She is Jewish and arrives at a concentration camp, probably Auschwitz. She is staggered, not by what is happening around her, but by “Why is this is all happening tome?” Being a resourceful girl, she spots a smaller line waiting for a barrack with a Red Cross on it. She slips from her own line into that line. Then she finds herself as subject of medical experiments. They are operating on her genitals, apparently creating a cloaca (characteristic of the most primitive class of mammals). Pain-killers are insufficient and she dies, probably from infection, after long and terrible burning pains.
She is reborn a few years later and grows up with foster parents. Her foster father is not unlike the pig-like doctor that experimented on her in the camp. “Men destroy her life.”
The pains stop. After a fortnight, she still has not found time to go to the zoo with her children. She enters a period of great emotional and mental turmoil, is not interested in further therapy, and goes on smoking and drinking till the pains return.
With the benefit of hindsight – and more experience – the missed key was in “Why is this happening to me?” She responded like an aristocratic lady finding herself – oh, horror! – amidst the common people and suffering the lot of common people. When she tries to slip out – oh, injustice! – she finds herself in utter, painful humiliation and death.
What has happened is one thing. How we responded, is an other thing. Why we remain stuck is a third thing.
The Case of the Pervert Teacher
A man calls, soft-spoken, well-educated. His need for a session is urgent. He is afraid that he can be caught any day now by the police and his career ended. He masturbates in public places, shocking female strangers. He is thrilled when they let the two bags of groceries fall to pieces when they spot him at his act between two cars at the parking lot of the supermarket. He is searching for ever stronger thrills. He is in his thirties, but has, not unexpectedly, no girl friend.
Asked to describe what happens exactly when he gets this urge, he tells he gets a strange, queasy feeling in his belly. He is instructed to look inside his belly at the moment the urge starts “to see what is really causing all of this.” To his (and the therapist’s) surprise, he sees a small dragon, tightly rolled. The dragon awakens, feels cold and seeks warmth. It starts to stretch and waggles its tails and the urge becomes irresistible. After the supreme moment, this small dragon feels warmed and snugly rolls itself up to sleep again.
When he is describing it, he says he now sees it better. It is no dragon, but a small crocodile, apparently very young still. He is suggested to see the natural habitat of this crocodile. Immediately, he sees a river bank in a tropical or subtropical country. He imagines he opens his belly and sees the cayman waking up because of the sudden agreeable warmth. “Now the beast sees some of his own kind at a small distance.” The young crocodile looks around, and suddenly slips away and swims at speed through the warm water to the others. The belly is cleansed and closed. This session, including the intake, has taken just over an hour. This is it – whatever this was.
After three weeks, the man calls. The urge is gone. The thought recurs sometimes, but the urge is gone. He wagers that the thought may return, because he doesn’t know when and how this cayman started. So we make a new appointment. “Go back to the first time ever, this cayman entered your belly.”
He finds himself in an Arabic port, somewhere in the Middle Ages, could be the river port of Cairo. Night falls, he walks the streets. He is young, strong and handsome, but just a poor laborer in the harbor. A woman, standing in a door opening, winks at him. He approaches her, is almost dragged inside and finds himself the center of attention of a group of lustful women. Apparently, these are rich women, meeting once a year for an orgy lasting a few days. As they are, of course, respectable women, nobody should know, and the Chosen One, is neatly killed at the end of the festivities. His body is drowned in the river, where it may be eaten – by crocodiles. The rest of the session is taken up by a future pace, in which the man imagines how he will meet a nice, ordinary girl and get a nice, ordinary relationship with her. This imagination takes so much time that the therapist has to refrain from daydreaming himself.
Fifteen years later, the man returns for a third session. He has a fatal disease and wants to try to slow its onslaught and regain the most peace of mind he can. He happens to have found a girl friend after the other sessions and had a happy relationship since.
The Case of the Interested Manager
This is in South America. The patient is, again, a man in his mid-thirties, an expatriate, commercial manager at a multinational. He doesn’t come for therapy, just interested. Before he is asked to, he lies down on the couch and tells that, after all, he suffers strange fits of depression, coming from nowhere. Once, he has even been hospitalized for a few weeks. For the rest, nothing special. The therapist suggests that a rewarding way to satisfy his general interest, could be discovering the cause of his recurrent depressions. He agrees. Can he feel something depressed inside him? Not surprisingly, he immediately can. Can he feel it somewhere in his body? It is everywhere, without a clear beginning or end. So this is old, generalized stuff. He is suggested to go back to a place and time before he felt this depression, when he was still happy, He is catapulted right away to a London bookshop around 1740. He is an apprentice. He loves books and learning and gives a graphic description of the joy and pride of being in the forefront of what we today would call the early stages of the Enlightenment. Each book is a window on a world waiting to be discovered and understood, each one a step to a better, lighter world. He takes over the shop and becomes the proud owner, still in his late twenties. Then this young lady visits his shop. Before they know it they are engaged in the liveliest of discussions and later with each other. They marry; they get two lovely, smart children. Their marital happiness and their intellectual pursuits blend seamlessly. It is a joy to rise in the morning. It is a joy to go to bed in the evening. Then the plague comes.
They have to watch their gorgeous children get fever and die. She is mad with grief and gets the illness too. He has to bury them, heart-broken and mind-broken. Later, he finds himself a drunken vagabond, slowly dying of the cold at an early spring morning. The first blossoms have opened, a bird sings. In the haze, lower in the South, he sees the city of London and then he dies. When telling this, he says he gets an impression of the place as it is today. The silent, unmetalled country road becomes a modern thoroughfare full of car traffic at the beginning of the morning rush hour.
The therapist asks how he feels after death. “Just the same as before.” “To what extent does it resemble the depression you have felt recurring?” It is one and the same. Like I am still there.” “OK. You just died. Where are your wife and children right now.” “Oh, my God!” He is starting to sob uncontrollably as he realizes that they are there, unable to reach him. The therapist has him look at himself through their eyes and he sobs again. He leaves in a happiness that is painful to look at.
The Case of the Suicide Girl
A girl, 21, a suicide case for several years. She lives with her mother and younger sister. The family lives under a shadow: she may do it every day. Once, she had cut herself and was in a mental hospital for half a year. Now she is a psychiatric day care and has to participate in daily group sessions, in itself enough to make you want to kill yourself. The only thing that keeps her going are the fortnightly visits to a psychic who magnetizes her. Now she feels this recourse is also slipping away. She is referred by the psychic as an urgent case, to be taken within a few days.
Asked for her worst feeling and its location in the body, she points to the upper part of her throat: she hates breathing. Other tensions are in her chest, her belly and her legs. She imagines releasing the tensions: a yoghurt-like substance comes out of her legs. After feeling a little bit relieved she is brought back to the moment in her life, these tensions were worst. She is fifteen and her father fondles her breasts. After cathartically working through this experience, she is asked for earlier experience, but none comes. She has memories of her childhood, but nothing is alive.
After a week she phones that she found the experience strange, that she has a clearer picture of her father and that she feels no more compelled to kill herself, but is drifting between life and death, both being particularly uninviting.
After another week she returns for the second session. She feels great unrest in her body, particularly the belly and the legs again. The chest (with breasts) is calm now. “Where have you felt calmest in your life?” “At a warm Spanish beach.” “You now get an impression what exactly made you calm there.” Then she flips into a forest hut near a tropical beach. She is a black woman with three children, in the South-East of Africa. She is gloriously happy there: the nature, the climate, the way of life, her husband, her children, and her tribe
She is at home. That life, apparently just before the present, ends suddenly, too suddenly, and probably because of war. The therapist suggests that she doesn’t want to die, but that she is homesick for Africa.
She leaves strangely confused, ends the day care, finishes her school, cannot convince the psychiatrist that she doesn’t want to kill herself and now works as a volunteer at a school in Africa.
(This is, by the way, not a typical therapy. Suicide has only in a minority of cases a direct past-life connection.)
The Case of the Self-Sabotaging Office Manager
A woman, around 45, is sabotaging all the time her own happiness, as she describes it. Why?
In the first session she relives being a German soldier in France in the First World War. She even gets his name. Then come some glimpses of a life in the late Middle Ages in which she dies blackened – burned? In the second session a SS-man appears, apparently guard in a camp and some images from a rough, hairy man in the Middle Ages. In the third session a break-through: she is a girl of just 11, forced to marry an old man. To force her into submission she gets a low dose of what appears snake poison. The man seems a kind of witch-doctor. She is kept more or less drugged, her first-born is sacrificed, she remains rebellious and the poison doses are made stronger, till she dies. The poison blackens her, probably figuratively, but her corpse may have been blackened also literally and she may have been burned afterwards. She finds that she still carries that black poison inside her, probably retained because of the enormous rage she had inside. The same blackness surrounded her, when dying in the mud in the First World War. Then she internalized it in her next life as an SS-soldier (also wearing black). She releases the black from her system now.
After half a year she returns for a session. Somewhat remains. Probably because the cycle started with a victim, not enough explanation why she held on to the black energy in next lifetimes. Now she returns to an older life as a Sun priest, cutting living people open and sacrificing them. How far can you go? He continues, obsessed by his own deeds. Apparently, female victim lifetimes were necessary to stop this destructive side, and male lifetimes that wobbled between being Victim and Perpetrator were necessary to wean away from being enamored with violence and evil.
She is not an easy office manager and she understands why some people are scared of her. She has contacted herself as how she was before she started to experiment with power and violence and pain. She is doing well.