How much of your energy, is focused on thinking about the past? Not that there is anything wrong with thinking about the past but it can become a problem in one’s life if this is where your energy and time is often spent. If you are ever feeling sorrow or suffering of some nature, stop and check in with yourself. See if your attention is focused on some thing, a person, a situation or a combination of all, related to a story from the past.
We cannot change the past, that is why it is called the PAST. It’s important to really stop and be present and contemplate this statement and see the past for what it really is, and the reality of what it simply means. You may discover it can reveal a sense of freedom when you can acknowledge and let go of the past. There’s no doubt we can all certainly learn from the past and take the wisdom we have gained into the next moment of our life, but hanging onto any scenario like a dog with a bone doesn’t really serve anybody. We seem to believe at times that yesterday was better than today, and in some cases I am sure that may be so, but nonetheless, you cannot bring that moment back, it’s gone. No matter how much you try to recreate it it’s impossible because everything changes, that is a guarantee about this life, no thing stays the same.
How many of you have tried to recreate memories of days gone by or gone back and visited such a place or a person and discovered it’s changed and it’s not even the way you remembered it to be anymore? Sometimes when we revisit these experiences they can be revealed to us as nothing more than an illusion, a day dream or a figment of our imagination and this realization can be quite a shock for those who have tried to create or want the past back in their life. Strange how that happens isn’t it? Maybe it’s because you are no longer the person who had that experience back then and the thoughts that passed through your mind during that time don’t exist anymore either.
Alexander Graham Bell said, “When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us”. When you live life in the moment thoughts can come and go about the past, but they are merely thoughts passing through consciousness and it’s our projection of the experience in our minds that reaches out to grab the thought and hang onto it for dear life. As if we actually had a choice of whether to keep that moment from the past here or let it go and at the end of the day, all it really is anyway is a thought arising in consciousness because that moment and that experience is gone it’s in the past.
Any memory we treasure from the past is always held in our heart, notice how we don’t have a problem when they are pleasant memories, they simply remain present without any fuss but it’s the challenging memories or sad times from our past that continue to knock at our door throughout the day and of course always in the middle of the night. You know the 3 or 4 am wakeup call that becomes the “I can’t sleep, I can’t stop thinking of” syndrome. Pay attention next time thoughts come knocking at your door and wake you up in the middle of the night, instead of letting the thought consume you, be simply mindful of where your attention is focused and become the observer of your thoughts. Let the thought return to the source from where it came. There are many great books on mindfulness meditations that can certainly help those of you who require support or a process to let go of thoughts, I like those written by Jon Kabat-Zinn or Pema Chodron but simply being present is all that is required and then you may notice thoughts will fall away when you have no attachment to them. We’ve entered a new year let 2010 be behind you, let the past gently rest in its place and practice living in each and every moment by being here now.