I just finished a really compelling book called “Cosmic Cradle: Spiritual Dimensions of Life Before Birth.” In it, Drs. Elizabeth and Neil Carman synthesized forty-five years’ worth of research, historical accounts, and firsthand natural experiences of the pre-birth realm. Don’t feel bad if you aren’t familiar with the term “pre-birth realm.” I wasn’t really either before reading this book. By way of background, you’ve probably heard of Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) and the huge body of research on them. Well, apparently there is a growing body of research on Pre-Birth Experiences (PBE’s), as well.
The stories in the Carmans’ work include some of the most fascinating natural, spontaneous memories of life before birth, like children choosing their parents and selecting specific life circumstances, such as whether they will grow up amidst poverty or great wealth, or whether they will be welcomed into a family or unwanted by their biological parents.
Making their research even more interesting is that the Carmans specifically excluded reports of memories obtained using methods like hypnosis, drugs, and regression. Often the folks they interviewed said their memories concerning their pre-birth experiences were more real, more vivid than any other memories they had.
And although it was seemingly impossible for the people they spoke with to know certain things (like well-kept family secrets concerning the exact location and circumstances surrounding their conception), many of the memories were later verified by their surprised parents or family members. If you’d like to hear more about the Drs. Carman and their research, I had the pleasure of interviewing them last week on Sunny in Seattle. You can check out the show here…
So you might be wondering why or how this research is relevant to my work as a coach? I promise to tie this all together and land the plane below. But for now, it’s relevant because a lot of what I do involves helping clients detach from painful and limiting beliefs and find evidence for a new story that will support their goals and dreams.
In other words, I help my clients recognize that the stories the well-meaning left hemisphere of the brain concocts are not necessarily the absolute truth. Bottom line, we have what amounts to a spin doctor in the left brain (from Michael Gazzaniga, a leading researcher in cognitive neuroscience at UCSB), so rewriting the narrative of our life can be crucial in changing the quality of our lives, careers, relationships and more.
For example, say a client is still devastated several years after losing her condo in the city. My job as a coach might be to help her rewrite the narrative of loss and devastation to see that this perceived negative event actually led to her destiny. Namely, it forced her to move to a friend’s cabin in the country. Had she not been in the cabin, she wouldn’t have met and adopted the stray dog that ended up becoming a beloved pet and therapy animal. And without that partnership, she would not have found her true calling in Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT).
This is a simplistic example, but you get the point. We can rewrite our narrative to eliminate limiting beliefs about certain events (e.g., “Loosing my condo was the worst thing that ever happened to me”). In doing so, we also find where the Universe may actually have been supporting and conspiring to assist us all along, which can be incredibly powerful and uplifting.
So now let’s turn back to the pre-birth experience research. And let me say at the outset that you absolutely do not have to believe what the Carmans are putting down for my tie-in to be relevant or helpful. Just do what anthropologists do when researching belief systems that make no rational sense to them: they bracket (i.e., suspend judgment temporarily while studying what may appear to be far-fetched claims of certain communities or tribes).
So, brackets up? Okay. Instead of simply rewriting your narrative, what if we take it even deeper by doing what I’m going to call a Cosmic Rewrite? What do I mean by that? I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that everything in life happens for you, not to you. Well, what if everything is happening for you because you set it all up that way?
What if the Carmans’ research is in fact correct? What if you chose your parents, your abilities, your challenges and your life circumstances to experience certain soul lessons, in much the same way you signed up for college courses? You knew certain classes would be more challenging than others. But you also knew the learning and the reward for finishing would be great.
I’ll just go ahead and admit that this is my personal cosmology. But I certainly do not expect it to be yours. Please use your own power of discernment to decide whether it rings true for you. Regardless of whether you have to bracket to stomach all of this, or whether it resonates deeply for you, I would invite you to live for just a little while as if you authored your own narrative.
Think of a troubling situation (past or present), and ask yourself why you might have written this challenge into your script. And how might you handle a particular adversity or road bump in your life if you knew you were not a victim of it happening to you, but instead were an empowered soul seeking growth who purposely signed up for it?
I think that even more than rewriting our narrative, the Cosmic Rewrite takes us from a place of powerlessness and victimhood into being an active participant in our own life. From there, you are both empowered and able to transform any seemingly negative circumstances into grist for the hero’s mill. I like the way Garrison Keillor puts it (although I believe it applies to everyone, not just writers): “Nothing bad ever happens to a writer; everything is material.” Perhaps see what happens if you live from the perspective that whatever apparently bad things are happening to you are just the raw material for some incredible soul growth.