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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review - Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives by Brian L. Weiss



Many Lives, Many Masters: The True Story of a Prominent Psychiatrist, His Young Patient, and the Past Life Therapy That Changed Both Their Lives by Brian L. Weiss

I am intrigued about the concept of past lives. I don't know if I really believe in it or not, but many Chinese believe that what you do in this life, will affect your next life, e.g. if you do a lot of good deeds in this life, then you will have a good next life. If you have really bad luck in this life, it's probably because you did a lot of bad things in your past life. Or if in this life there is a person who treats you badly but you still care for that person a lot, it's probably because you did something really bad to that person in the past life, so it is now your turn to pay.

Anyway, I was interested in this book since this was written by a psychiatrist, and I totally agree with its opening sentence, "I know that there is a reason for everything."

There were some interesting parts:

  • the author's patient knew the author's father's name or why the author's son died when both weren't common knowledge.
  • "We must share our knowledge with other people, our debt and ability can carry over (to the next life)."
  • People are in a coma "are in a state of suspension, and not ready to cross into the other plane... until they have decided whether they want to cross or not. If they feel they have no more learning in physical state, then they are allowed to cross cover. But if they have more learning, then they must come back, even if they do not want to. This Si a rest period of time, a time when their mental powers can rest. (p69-70)" 
  • But if people know that "life is endless; so we never die; we were never really born, " then this fear (of dying) would dissolve. If they knew that they had lived countless times before and would live countless times again, how reassured they would feel. (p122)
  • There are different levels of learning, and we must learn some of them in the flesh. We must feel the pain. When you're a spirit you feel no pain. It is a period of renewal. Your soul is being renewed. When you're in physical state in the flesh, you can feel pain; you can hurt. In spiritual form you do not feel. There is only happiness, a sense of well-being. But it's a renewal period for us. The interaction between people in the spiritual form is different. When you are in physical state, you can experience relationships. (p124)
  • Wisdom is achieved very slowly. This is because intellectual knowledge, easily acquired, must be transformed into "emotional," or subconscious, knowledge. Once transformed, the imprint is permanent. Behavioral practice is the necessary catalyst of this reaction. Without action, the concept will wither and fade. Theoretical knowledge without practical application is not enough. (p209)


However, this was mostly the account of just one patient. There was a person that the author was supposed to teach him something, but it was never mentioned again, so it felt incomplete. The author briefly mentioned 12 other patients but did not provide much details, apart from the fact that some were not able to go back to their past lives. He didn't offer an explanation of why not.

The biggest criticism for most people (myself included when I first read it) was this sentence that the patient spoke of when she went back to a past life, "People are writing all day, making a library. It is 1536 BC" (p39) - would people really say BC back then, before they even knew they were in the BC?! I supposed the author could have use BC to clarify the time frame for us, but he never clarified whether that was the case or not.

The author also stated that he's scientific and skeptical due to his medical training, so it was very difficult for him to believe about the past live business in the beginning, but he kept an open mind, and in the end the patient seemed to be "cured" for her many psychiatric issues due to knowing what had happened in her past lives.

It was an interesting story, but I still don't really know what to believe in. I guess it is one of those things you have to try it out yourself to really believe in it? I guess I wouldn't oppose to talking to the author to see if I do have any past lives :) So, really, it is difficult to rate this book, but I'll give it a 3 - an "okay" rating since I don't love it or hate it, but I am still intrigued.

3 / 5 .

Note - The book was borrowed from the library.



All reviews and posts are copyrighted by Christa @ Mental Foodie. Please do not use or reprint them without written permission.

10 comments:

  1. It does sound like a very intriguing book, maybe a good discussion for a book club.

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    1. You are right, it'd make a great book club discussion book!

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  2. This sounds very interesting - I like having my beliefs challenged, especially after years of medical training where I was taught to question everything - as a result many of us doctors tend to be cynical and skeptical, and I have to consciously remind myself to always keep an open mind!

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    1. I am not a doc but I am cynical and skeptical hahaa (always score high on those personality/work style tests on being analytical). But I do try to keep an open mind, but I guess it still helps to be skeptical otherwise we'd just blindly believe in everything we read/hear :) I just wish he used more than just 1 case patient to show some more "evidence" hehe :)

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  3. It sounds a bit sloppy in many ways. I like the concept of past lives or having a period of renewal before "trying again" but I'm not sure I really believe it.

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    1. Yeah, I need more evidence lol, or at least experience it myself... guess I am a skeptic (not just about this, but generally speaking).

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  4. I don't really believe either, but I'm willing to keep an open mind. It doesn't sound as though this book is going to be the one to change my mind though :-(

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    1. Using just one patient is not very convincing. I was hoping he'd include more cases!

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  5. Dr Brian Weiss is a psychiatrist and self-proclaimed ‘scientist’ whose best-selling book, “Many Lives, Many Masters”, has apparently “scientifically proved” reincarnation by recounting the hypnotic regression of one of his patients to past lives. His book has sold over 1.5 million copies with rave reviewers mostly giving ratings of 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

    I give the book zero stars. I believe it’s a sham, pretending to be a work of scientific discovery when it’s nothing of the sort. The book gives doctors, and science, a bad name. The fact that so many readers believe that this book provides “evidence” for reincarnation shows that modern universal education has in many ways failed to properly explain the principles and discipline of science.

    I’ve now written my damning review of this 'work of fiction'. I’ll let Dr Weiss sue me in the next life. :) Click to read my review:

    http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/418986461

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    1. My follow-up article: ‘Fact or fiction: The girl, the hypnotist and past lives’

      http://jondanzig.hubpages.com/hub/factorfictionpastlivesandhypnosis

      Short link http://goo.gl/aoz6m

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