The painting of the red doors was done when I was in my 30s, a good 25 years after the time I was hospitalized as a child. I didn’t think much about the painting after I had done it, but felt it was a scene I had to put on canvas for some reason. When I was studying for my master’s degree in art therapy, I had an assignment in my photo-therapy class to tell a story that had never been told before in pictures. That was when I got the idea to go back to the Child Life Center at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and do a photo essay of the place I had been so long ago. I just took pictures of things that felt familiar to me. I didn’t remember the doctor’s names or their faces, but I did remember the echoing sounds in the hallway — the sounds of the carts moving along the corridor and the sounds of people’s voices as they walked down the halls — and the bright lights. I also remembered the smell of the alcohol they used to rub me down when I had high fevers. It was like walking in a dream.
The photos seemed to jar my memory. I developed them and was completely blown away when I saw the corridor one; I had to compare it to the painting of the red doors. It was unmistakable. I had pulled up the image from my subconscious without even knowing it. What was interesting was the color I chose to paint the doors. If you know anything about art therapy, you know that everything has a meaning, especially color.Red can represent excitement, love and so many other emotions, but this particular color was DANGER.
I knew as a child that I was in danger. I was, after all, in a life-and-death situation. Often, when you experience that kind of circumstance, it happens in a flash, like a car accident. You’re in the car, you know you’re going to get hit, everything starts to move in slow motion, and then — bam — the collision happens and then you’re sitting there on the side of the road shaking from the impact. But the whole thing can take five minutes. This was not like that at all. My whole life was in the hospital, and it unfolded over about five years. I would say I was in danger about 90% of the time I was there.
You can notice in the painting that the double doors at the end of the corridor are very similar to the ones in the photo, with the light coming in at the end of the hall. It feels like a tunnel, the kind of tunnel you hear people who have had a near-death experience speak about, in which they see the light. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic, but I know that experiences embedded in my subconscious from my childhood have had a huge impact on my psyche. These images and feelings made an indelible imprint, not only on my memory but on my soul as well.
Every event that happens to you is recorded in the physical body and subtle body, which is your soul. The soul surrounds the entire body, and is made up of layers. The first, which is the closest to the physical being, is called the etheric field. This field extends about six inches from the body and goes all around it. The etheric field is associated with your root chakra. Everything you experience is imprinted on this layer; it may also be referred to as the qi, prana, or maybe even the life force. This energy never dies, and is always available to you.
The next layer is called the emotional body; it is associated with your sacral chakra. This layer carries all unresolved feelings from past and present lives, such as fear, anger, injustice, depression, shame, humiliation and worthlessness. This field extends two to three feet out from your boy and all around it. This can be seen as your aura.
The next layer is called the mental body, and is associated with the solar plexus. This layer carries all obsessive repetitive thoughts such as “I’ll never be good enough,” “I always have to do everything on my own” or “No one is ever there to help me.” These are the self-defeating thought loops that we all carry with us from lifetime to lifetime. This field extends very far out and can fill up the entire room.
The next layer is called the astral body. It is associated with the heart chakra. This field connects us to others and carries karmic ties that bind us together. This can also be called the collective unconscious, in which ideas can be transferred from one to another. The Buddhists believe that when you have a negative experience with someone, as in an exchange of words or actions, it creates a thread that connects you to that person if it remains unresolved. Family ties are an example. I believe this is also the part of your soul that can astral project, as I did when I was a child flying around the hospital while my body lay in a sick bed.
The next layer is the etheric template, which represents the entire blueprint of the soul entity that exists on the physical plane. It is associated with the throat chakra. This layer can extend very far out, even into other dimensions, and enhances communication between the planes.
The next layer is called the celestial body, and is associated with the third eye or the pineal gland. This connects you to the divine and the angelic realm. This body is sending and receiving messages from the spiritual realm, can communicate telepathically, and experiences unconditional love.
The next layer, called the causal body, is the highest level of bliss, at which the yogi experiences calmness, peace and joy. Referred to as the true self, it is associated with the crown chakra. It connects you to all that is the “I AM.”
To know your soul is to know who you really are. You can drop your body, but all your information is recorded in the layers of your soul. That is why, when you reincarnate, all the information is transferred to your new body. Even physical characteristics such as body type and facial features can carry over.
When you are able to know your past lives, you can peel back the layers of your soul to see what information is stored there. The higher intelligence or what is known as your higher self will only reveal to you what is necessary for your individual growth. You can tap into this at any time, with a trained professional like me who recognizes the signs of what your emotional or mental body wants to unlock — the unfinished business from the past that keeps you revolving around the karmic spiral of life, death and rebirth.
Next time, we will talk about how you can heal these layers through past-life regression.