Most people I talk to have some interest in, or intuitive understanding of reincarnation as a plausible concept. Many people want to know how to find out about their past lives, and many people don't realize it's not really that difficult to find out. Virtually anyone can do it with some practice and dedication to finding the best method for you.
Past Life Regression therapists can be very helpful for those who have difficult meditating or bypassing the thinking mind. However, not everyone is susceptible to hypnotherapy due to various reasons and so some can walk away somewhat disillusioned with the experience. A regression therapist is only as good as their ability to facilitate the hypnosis and help you bypass your thinking mind.
For those who don't necessarily want to spend the money on 2-3 regression sessions, there are guided meditations you can download that will aide you in facilitating your own past life regression, some of which can be very useful if you feel you need guided imagery in facilitating the process of uncovering some past life memories. If you're unfamiliar with the concept of past lives as a whole or are skeptical I highly recommend books written by psychiatrist Brian Weiss, particularly Many Lives, Many Masters for a touching and remarkable account of past life recall done during a routine hypnotic regression session. Dr. Weiss even has some guided meditations to help facilitate the process using his method.
You can often gain information about your past lives without going to a past life regression therapist. All of creation (past and future) is recorded in the Akashic records. The Akashic Records houses information about all potentialities and happenings in this (and other) universes since their inception and is available for you to access. This concept is not some new age whimsical fantasy but one that has been written about in the field of quantum physics for some time.
Those who can intuit or "read" past lives are reading the akashic records. Reading the akashic records is a fascinating process because people are only able to access information that they have a "need to know". This means that the great bulk of the akashic records is kept from our consciousness so as to prevent no unfair advantage in life.
Our consciousness only has the limits that we place upon it and we are often unaware of 99.99% of information that is flooding into the universe at any given time. However with some practice and the rewiring of limiting beliefs about what reality is, one can access the records to facilitate change or bring awareness in their own, or others lives. The information we can receive from the Akashic records is on a "need to know" basis but can be available to those who have developed the ability to read the records in order to help invoke a healing for themselves or someone else.
Most of the time knowing our past lives is relatively useless and would overload our consciousness with too many details that would impede our current lives. Frankly remembering all of our past lives would be overwhelming and tedious, and alot of them would probably be relatively unremarkable. There would be too many associations for our brains to sort and we would likely shut down from information overload. However, some lives of significance can reveal relationship, emotional, mental, or physical karmic patterns that keep replaying themselves in life after life that can be processed in order to create greater flexibility and change in our current lives.
The easiest way to access the Akashic Records in order to invoke a healing for yourself and your relationships or for someone else is to meditate. This doesn't have to be a big production. Simply take a few deep breaths. Ground yourself imagining roots going into the ground and bringing in a protective white light around your body. Ask your personality and emotions to "step aside" and for your higher self to filter the information you need to know. Then visualize yourself walking into a large hall with volumes and volumes of books as far as you can see. This is the "hall of records" of sorts that houses the akashic records (of course there is no huge reading room of books with all past life recordings in it but visualizing it in this way helps you to concretize it so you can work with the information). Pick a book intuitively and then wait for any impressions. Typically whatever impressions you get are important and will give you a clue into some of your past (or potential future) life experiences.
Don't worry about whether or not you are imagining it. You can't imagine that which you haven't experienced somewhere at some point in time. Yes, you can pool associations from books, movies, tv shows or knowledge you've obtained but why would you imagine that particular thing at this time? Why not something else? There's a reason you thought of that image, sound, time period, person, etc., at that time and it's usually a perfect entryway into access the actual past life details you need to know.
We are often attracted to certain time periods or feel we can understand certain experiences that we've never had before. This is often a result of our sanskaras (past experiences) reflecting into our conscious minds. Sometimes you can simply start "making up" a story of a past life and then find your way into the actual details of a past life incarnation. Test it with friends and family and you'll often find that people will relate to your intuitive insights and may fill in details themselves. I've done this enough to know that whatever I'm getting on some level will resonate and needs to be explored.
After you've practiced meditating on it you can try it in your waking life. Those who are adept at dreaming can ask their higher selves to reveal any past lives that are significantly impacting your current incarnation in a dream, just make sure you have something to record your impressions when you awaken. Some may find reading the Akashic records relatively easy. Others, may need to practice to gain confidence in their ability. One way to confirm insights is to try to get specific dates, numbers, countries, cities, names or other traceable details that you can then investigate. I've done this with amazing results that can be really quite startling.
I've often found that things I was fascinated or obsessed with as a child ended up being things I had previous contact with in previous incarnations. People you know now may reveal themselves and repeating patterns of relating to them may reveal current issues you may now be dealing with.
Whatever method you choose to read the records the most important thing is to trust yourself and try to eliminate doubt from your process. It may not be that every detail is accurate. In fact, at times you may simply be framing a current problem into metaphor but this alone is important for healing. Even if you prefer to view the whole reading as metaphorical use that as an opportunity to work with the lessons in that metaphor as it will be important for your current incarnation.
Reading past lives really isn't as much of a mystery as one might think, it just requires a little trust in your own intuitive ability and some patience in discovering which method works for you. As long as you ask for your highest guidance to inform your reading and are willing to sort through some of the symbolic and metaphorical associations you may receive, past life recall can unlock and reveal vital patterns in your current life. On one level these lives don't matter at all because in time they will all be "worked through", but you can speed along the process and ease current suffering if you are willing to transmute some of the karmic lessons through the light of your understanding.