We all have a soulmate, someone who is special to us. In this book, psychiatrist and past-life therapist Dr Brian Weiss describes the extraordinary case of two of his patients. Pedro and Elizabeth, whose shared lives and lifetimes unfolded quite separately in his office. Could they have loved – and lost – each other across time?
Dr Weiss explains that you may be awakened to the presence of your soul companion by a look, a dream, a memory or a feeling. Finding and reuniting with your soulmate will bring you profound bliss and happiness, safe in the knowledge that you are together always, to the end of time.
All that setup was anticlimactic.
The concept of soulmates is quite interesting. It’s the basis for so many romance novels, fan fiction, and movies. Two people destined for each other, who meet under unexpected circumstances, and are united forever. Aww!
This book is absolutely nothing like that.
Okay, I am being a bit overdramatic. But, the sentiment is true.
You know Elizabeth and Pedro will meet and be together from the start. How? Because it’s the tagline of the book, “The story of soulmates reunited.” So, what’s the big whoop about it, you ask? There isn’t any. This story is more about the different lifetimes that these two lead characters have led, the pain that they’ve experienced in each of them; less about their connection with each other in this lifetime.
In the blurb, you see it is described that they shared lives and lifetimes. This doesn’t happen. They shared only one lifetime in the book. Maybe the other instances were not covered. Then again, if we are writing a book about the experiences of two individuals, you should include all of them, not just the one. Some of the regressions were so insignificant that you would have not missed anything much even if they weren’t included.
You may think this is a meet-cute romantic love story. It is definitely not. It is a journey of how these two souls have lived across time and have come to be now.
There are too many pauses in narration that make the whole book feel disjointed. It feels like a compilation of many regression sessions rather than one main love story. There is also a generous sprinkling of platitude all over its pages. The author wants me to really believe in the power of love and its transcendence through aeons and lifetimes. He wants me to know that love conquers all.
Let me talk a bit about the foundation of this book, Past-Life Regression Therapy.
I don’t properly understand the concept of past-life regression. Maybe because I have seen clips of its overdramatized and serialized versions on television. They are bizarre and comical. I am not saying that this is something that is peddled by psychiatrists to make a quick buck. I also don’t want to sound like a Scientologist and dismiss psychiatry as pseudo-science or anything of the sort. Psychiatrists and therapy help millions of people better their lives. I am not dismissing its benefits.
However, this book reads more like an advert/trailer for a reality show about regression therapy. There are a lot of references to his previous book, Many Lives, Many Masters and his most popular patient, Catherine. The author has used this book as a marketing tool for his practice. The reason I say this is because, besides the very simple story, there are many other regressions that the author sprinkles generously across the book. In the 176 pages, you read about so many other regressions that have nothing to do with the core story. I was promised a soul-wrenching love story; I got a commercial. I would have been fascinated if it was more dramatized and made into a semi-fiction.
Maybe in one of my many lives, I will come to appreciate this book, but not in this one. This is one of those cases where the journey is better than the destination.
What was good?
The concept of past-life regression. While I was not impressed with its presentation in the book, it piqued my interest. And I appreciate any book that makes me rethink my perceptions. The regressions were interesting, even though they weren’t relevant to the core story. They showed how a person’s past-life experiences could affect them in their current lifetime.
This was also the first book I finished in 2020, so that’s another plus. It got me out of my reading slump.
What could have been better?
Less digression from the actual characters’ stories and more focus on the story after Elizabeth and Pedro develop their relationship. If the book was marketed as a collection of past-life regressions, I would have been better accepting.
My story with this book
My friend gave me this book saying that it reminded her of me. How my connections to some of my other friends must be destined. She read it in one sitting because it fascinated her. She also read the author’s other works and was similarly satisfied. I really love it when people share their experiences with me. This book was one of the many I received from her mother-in-law’s collection. I am glad that she gave it to me.
I’m never ever reading again.
The Technical Stuff
- Title: Only Love Is Real: The Story of Soulmates Reunited
- Author: Dr Brian Weiss
- Format: Paperback
- Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology
- Pages: 176
- Publisher: Piatkus
- Edition/Copyright: 1996
- ISBN: 978-0-7499-1620-6
- Average reading time: 3 hours and 11 minutes. (How Long to Read?)
- Goodreads rating: 4.15 (Goodreads)
Amazon: Audible | Hardback | Paperback
Or better yet, your friendly neighbourhood bookstore. But not during this pandemic. Please stay safe at home.
Questions for you
- If you’ve read this book, what did you think about it?
- Are you into the whole past-life regression therapy thing?
- Would you go for a session if you had the chance?
- Who do you think you would have been in your past life (assuming you believe in past lives)?