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Breakfast With

Dr. Brian Weiss

Monday, August 05, 2002

By Patricia Sheridan, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Past life problems may be what's plaguing you today -- at least that is what Dr. Brian Weiss has found with some of his patients. Author of many books on the subject, including his best seller "Many Lives, Many Masters," Dr. Weiss is a practicing psychiatrist in Miami, Fla. A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, he has worked at Western Psychiatric in Oakland. His very formal academic background didn't prepare him for what he stumbled across when a patient revealed a past life under hypnosis. His latest book, "Mirrors of Time," features a CD with meditation exercises. For more information, go to

Q. How is it that everyone seems to have been someone famous in a past life?

A. Actually, that is one of the great myths of this work. When I do regression, we don't find famous people; we find mostly mundane, ordinary lifetimes. For example, I was regressing a man who thought he was Napoleon -- this happens very rarely. It turned out he was just a corporal in Napoleon's army, and he could see the uniforms and battlefield, but in his mind he distorted it slightly.

Q. Do you know anything about your own past lives?

A. My wife, Carole, has done some regressions with me. She is a social worker and a hypnotherapist. I wanted to experience what my patients were experiencing. I was a Catholic priest in Scotland several centuries ago.

Q. So basically you believe in reincarnation.

A. Well I do now. I certainly didn't at first. When I was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh, I was a skeptic. Since that time, with Catherine [the patient with whom he discovered past lives], which was 1980-81, I have observed so much interesting phenomena. I watch people getting better, getting rid of symptoms, phobias, fears and improving their relationships.

Q. Is it true that the same people get recycled into our lives?

A. Yes, it seems to be the same souls. The relationships may change. The grandparent may become a lover or a daughter or something like that. But the souls are the same, and we seem to travel in groups of souls. It can explain a lot of things like love at first sight and attractions.

Q. How can knowing about your past life improve the present one?

A. In a couple of ways. One, you stop fearing death. You know that you go on, and that is healing. The other thing is, you may find the specific cause of a problem or a symptom. For example, there was a woman I regressed who was a slave in Egypt and was buried alive with her master. They often entombed their servants with them. In this life she had severe claustrophobia. It completely disappeared when she remembered that entombment.

Q. Is it possible to regress yourself?

A. Yes. It really is not that difficult to do. I have tapes and CDs that all of my patients use to practice. Meditation is another way.

Q. What is the strangest thing you ever encountered?

A. The strangest thing recently was a Chinese surgeon, a woman, who came from China with a translator. She didn't speak one word of English, and she remembered a lifetime in Northern California around 1850. She was having an argument with her husband in that life and began to speak English. The translator nearly fainted.

Q. What is the average number of past lives a person has?

A. That is a good question because it seems to vary quite a bit. Anywhere from 50 to a few hundred. But the Buddhists and Hindus say thousands. In one life, we may be working on a trait such as greed or violence, and in another life, it could be compassion or relationships. But it is always about love. That is the ultimate lesson.

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