Reviewed by Thelma B. Freedman, Ph.D.
In JRT Issue 17, 1999
“Most people carry a burden of guilt. If it’s deep seated enough, it can be like an insidious virus that infiltrates every aspect of your life, so that all of your responses to life and others are filtered through the guilty feelings. Many people have been able to eliminate their guilt through the technique of past-life regression, discovering that there are spiritual lessons to be learned in all past experiences. You will read their stories here, in Life Without Guilt.”
So begins Dr. Hazel Denning’s inspired analysis of pervasive guilt in all its destructive forms: its sources, its effects on lifetime after lifetime, and how it can be recognized, learned from, and eliminated. Unacknowledged guilt can be the cause of physical, mental, or spiritual problems, and if not dealt with it can sometimes be fatal.
Dr. Denning provides many transcripts of client sessions to illustrate the many problems she has worked with that were caused by past-life guilt. With her interest and expertise in metaphysics, these transcripts do not remain at superficial levels of past-life exploration; they move into areas of spiritual overviews of mission, soul lessons, and overall understanding of the continuing patterns from life to life. In one transcript, the client says, “God cares because I care.” This remarkable statement is a good example of the kinds of insight that Dr. Denning’s clients achieve, and the spiritual levels at which they gain understanding. Another client says, “I have some adjusting to do. Hate is just as important as love, and boy that is hard to say. It goes against my grain.” This deep understanding seems important in dealing with the kinds of lifelong, unrecognized guilt that Dr. Denning describes.
But this book goes far beyond its topic, guilt. Along the way and scattered through it are the insights Dr. Denning herself has garnered from a long life of learning and helping others. Her first chapter alone, “The Eternal Search: Implanted Guilt,” with sub-headings like “Does Mankind Have a Common Goal?” and “Life as a Spiritual Quest,” contains a wealth of original observations presented in Dr. Denning’s down-to-earth, common sense style. She also includes chapters on the history of reincarnation and a “Brief Review of Karma,” both of which supply the reader with a great deal of historical information.
At the end of the book Dr. Denning presents “Five Axioms That Can Change Your Life.” With her typically common sense approach, the first axiom is to accept “The law of cause and effect.” The others contain the same simple/profound wisdom and all five together can indeed help people free themselves from guilt. But as she herself would say, and from the evidence of this book itself, sometimes a little help from regression is needed, too.
Dr. Denning does not pontificate and she does not speculate, either. She draws her conclusions from what she has found with her clients, and discusses the issues raised in a clear and reasonable manner. And her comments are so astute that this reader, at least, found herself pausing on almost every page to consider them before reading on.
In her “Introduction,” in which Dr. Denning describes the processes of her own growth into the areas of metaphysics, psychology, and past-life therapy, Dr. Denning comments “For almost twenty years I have wanted to write this book on guilt and I can only say I am glad I did not write it twenty years ago. The additional years of experience have given me a much deeper understanding of life and its purpose here on planet Earth, as well as a much greater insight into the whole spectrum of guilt in the human experience.” In this book, Dr. Denning has summed up her learning from over forty years of past-life therapy. It is a “must read” for any past-life therapist or anyone else with an open mind.