Who are you? It’s the age old question. How would you answer that question?

What do you really know about yourself?

Learning about ourselves is a drive that begins early in life, because self-knowledge  is rightfully at the core of our values, decisions, relationships, self-esteem, and purpose. Without self-knowledge, we feel lost in the wilderness.

Instead of developing into our truest and best version of ourselves, we adopt tastes and traits that mirror our parents, friends, teachers, culture, religion, and the latest trends. While we cannot avoid such influences, oftentimes they lead us astray from who we truly are and what we are truly capable of achieving.

In my practice of over 20 years, it has become apparent that the lack of self-knowledge is at the core of nearly every presenting problem that my client’s bring to the office. From addictions to fears, dysfunctional relationships to disease, the deeper causation of these symptoms reside buried in the lack of self-awareness and the failure to blossom into the most brilliant version of ourselves.

I like to use a diamond as a metaphor for the soul. This diamond has an infinite number of facets that create its luster, brilliance, and depth, revealing its true and most glorious nature.

Imagine if, in our soul, each facet represented a different lifetime. We each have infinite lifetimes, each with a set of knowledge, experiences, skills, traumas, strengths, weaknesses, relationships, lovers, and careers.  All of those lifetimes, combined, make up the nature of an individual’s soul. They all influence the present because they are all connected as a part of the greater being.

When we are aware of only one lifetime, it is like wearing a diamond that has only one facet. Think of how dull and disappointing that would be. It would lack the color, dimension, power, and brilliance that lies within its true nature.

In a recent session, my client came to me because she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. She wants to explore all the alternative approaches to healing possible before submitting to radical surgery or chemical treatments.

As we began, her subconscious mind presented her with a book. As we explored the book, it became clear that it contained legacies from her ancestors as well as from her own soul journey through lifetimes. As she was handling the book and absorbing the wisdom, she could sense many spirits doing healing work on her. The foremost of them, a Native American female shaman, told her that her health condition was due to not expressing her full nature. That she was hiding and making herself small compared to her true nature and capability.

While the spirits continued to work on her, I regressed her to a lifetime where she was a physician. She had no formal training, but had apprenticed under her father. This healing career was a legacy, and one that came naturally to her. She was excellent at what she did, but as the only healer in the community, was overwhelmed with the weight of holding life and death in the balance for so many people.

She wanted to give up, pleading with the gods, “Why me? Why do I have to carry this burden. I just want to go hide and get some rest.”

Yet, as we turned to guidance from her Native American healer, she was encouraged to look at the situation from a different angle. Why not train an apprentice in the way that she had been trained?

The lightbulb went on, and my client’s past life character sought out and trained an apprentice. Then, her life turned to joy and fulfillment, instead of despair and frustration. My client realized that, in this life too, she needed to reach out and collaborate with others in order to move forward more easily.

From here, we proceeded to another lifetime. Ancient Egypt. In that lifetime, she was a healer and mentor to a woman of royalty. Her life was peaceful and fulfilling. Her energy was expansive and powerful; her confidence was solid. In a conversation set up between my client and her past life counterpart, she was questioned why she was making it so hard on herself this lifetime. “Why neglect yourself in service to others? Why make yourself small and powerless when you were created to do your work from a position of high energy and confidence?”

My client had thought that submission was a part of service to others. She had been taught this by her mother from a childhood, and now realized that such training was convoluted and misguided. She immediately became aware that self-empowerment led to a greater ability to heal and serve. Blossoming and standing strong would be more effective than being frail and depleted.

This past life persona agreed to integrate into my client, and remain there anytime she was needed, in order to retrain her into the perspectives and countenance of her most powerful and effective nature.

In tying these past life experiences to her present diagnosis of cancer, she realized that at the root of this disease, for her, was that she was living from the perspective of self-sacrifice. She had a legacy handed down from her mother that connected to her despair in the lifetime as the physician. She, too, had a desire to escape, and in this case, even an unconscious death-wish.

The second past life showed her the resolution to her present condition. Self-love, empowerment, being all that she can be, creating community, living life in ease and on purpose.

Treating the symptoms of a disease or condition is not enough. And living from the perspective of one facet of our souls will not create deep satisfaction, nor does it allow us to live in the fullest glory and brilliance of our true nature.

The expansion of our consciousness and the foundation of our spiritual growth is in the discovery of the full spectrum of our soul. To flourish in our grander nature, we must explore our past lives, resolve traumas there as well as here, and regain the perspectives, wisdom, knowledge, and skills earned, though not yet retained. It is the brass ring of the hero’s journey.