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By Joanne DiMaggio, MA, CHt

Are physical and mental illnesses the result of karma acquired in a past life, and if so, does uncovering that lifetime lead to healing? That is what I set out to prove during a yearlong research project. Fifty volunteers, ranging in age from 34 to 74, participated in the project, coming in with such conditions as diabetes; heart disease; leg, back and foot pain; liver and kidney issues; head-related concerns; mental and emotional issues; drug and alcohol abuse; weight and digestive problems; and even sexual concerns.

Employing past-life regression and augmenting the session with soul writing, i.e. writing in an altered state of consciousness, the project sought to find the buried past-life story behind the present-day malady. The results were fascinating.

During the course of that study, I met Gary, a 68-year-old Navy veteran and defense contractor who was complaining of arthritis in his thumbs. His session was so compelling that he was included as one of 23 case studies highlighted in my latest book, Karma Can Be a Real Pain: Past Life Clues to Current Life Maladies.

At the start of our session, I asked Gary to do a body scan to determine whether he felt any sensitivity, discomfort or birthmarks in a particular part of his body. Body

scans often preview conditions that come up in the regression and they enable the participant to focus on

areas in their body where they have experienced repeated problems.

Gary’s body scan brought up the memory of a wound

in the back of his thigh, as well as wounds above his digestive organs on the right side and a punctured right lung. He also recalled injuries to both thumbs and said his right thumb was tingling. This was an important piece of information, given what he would uncover during the regression.

While under hypnosis, Gary went to a Civil War past life in Virginia where he saw himself as a 35-year-old man named John who was an officer in the 32nd Virginia Infantry with men under his command. The significant event in that life occurred during an early battle.

“I’m on horseback,” he recalled. “My saber is drawn during a skirmish. I struck the hand of my (Union

Calvary) opponent and severed his thumb. We would fire our pistols first and then we would resort to sabers.

I tried to hit the hands of opponents rather than the body [so they] can’t ride, hold guns or wield a saber.” John dies a year later as the result of a gunshot wound to his chest.

Gary’s case is an example of physical karma that is a direct reflection of a past-life act. John drew his saber and struck the hand of his opponent, severing his thumb. In this life, Gary has arthritis in both thumb joints. He clearly saw the correlation between the two.

“Yes, I do feel that the pain in both my right and left thumb joints are due to my past-life practice of intentionally injuring the thumbs/fingers of my opponents while fighting them with sabers,” he admitted. “At present, I have experienced arthritis in no other part of my body, though I am now a 68- year-old disabled veteran.

I feel this is a karmic debt I am now facing due to my past life’s view of how I would fight, intentionally wounding or disabling opponents with saber strokes aimed at their fingers and hands.”

Gary’s revelation that his current chronic condition stemmed from actions in a prior lifetime was echoed by the other volunteers in this research project. The participants were all respected in careers that ranged from university professor to nurse to aerospace contractor—not the sort you would expect to make up incredulous tales of the past.  Many who came to the project were skeptical of the validity of past lives, but upon meeting their past-life aspects and discovering the karmic origin of their chronic condition, they embarked on a healthier, happier life.

Statistically, the results of the project were encouraging. Within three months of the session, 17-percent of the 23 individuals highlighted in the book, reported a complete healing while 30-percent reported their condition improved substantially. Gary was in the 35-percentile group that said nothing had changed after our session.  Even so, all who said their condition neither improved nor worsened admitted that their attitude about their condition had shifted as a result of their regression. Just knowing and source of their malady was, in and of itself, a healing experience.

Like everyone in the research project, Gary was enthused about the healing potential of past-life regression.

“It would be nice if medical science and organized religion would be more accepting of past-life experiences and of karmic debt incurred by our past-life actions,” he said. “It is good that you do such research in these fields. We need more of it.”

Joanne DiMaggio, MA, CHt, is an author and inspired a teacher who has written three books: Soul Writing: Conversing With Your Higher Self; Your Soul Remembers: Accessing Your Past Lives Through Soul Writing; and her newest book, Karma Can be a Real Pain: Past Life Clues to Current Life Maladies. For more information, visit