let-go-of-the-past

Today we ask you to let go of the past.

Let go of the past.

Humans spend a lot of time thinking about their past.

Sometimes people are nostalgic for days gone by. Nostalgic for the innocence of childhood, the freedoms of young adulthood.

They long for some old decade, when everything seemed so much simpler.

Time is passing too quickly. Babies grow into children, children into adults. Loved ones pass on, you are getting older. Where does all the time go?

Of course, back in the 1980’s, people were nostalgic for the 1950’s. And in the 1920’s, people were nostalgic for the 1890’s. This has always been true. If you went to ancient Rome or Egypt, you would find people nostalgic for earlier days. Always, with humans, the best time is not now.

People miss the innocence of childhood. But when they were children, all they wanted was to hurry and grow up. 

Parents lament that their children grow up too fast. But when children are small, parents complain of all the hard work and exhaustion of raising children.

So it goes, so it goes. The past is always better. And yet somehow, when it was actually happening, it wasn’t.

Sometimes people are obsessed with mistakes they made in the past. If only they had made different choices, life would have been so much better.

Or else they are victims of past misfortunes. Reality was cruel and dealt them a bad hand. They were robbed of the lives they should have had.

Watch out for this kind of thinking.

Watch out for nostalgia that says: “The past was better. The present is not as good, and the future will probably be worse.”

Watch out for the mind that ruminates on where things went wrong in the past, on what should have been.

Do you wish to be a peaceful, joyful person?

Then watch out for thinking about the past. Do not let yourself drift back there. That kind of thinking is the gateway to depression and misery.

It is always an illusion, the belief that the past was better.

Generally speaking, the past was not better. The 20th century saw world wars, unspeakable horrors, mass genocide. The centuries that preceded it were all rife with terrible violence. Though you may find it hard to believe, the world you now dwell in is, on the whole, more peaceful and protective of human rights than it has ever been.

Yes, there are always going to be humans who resist positive change and cling to outmoded and destructive ways of being and thinking. If you talk to such people, you will invariably discover that they are nostalgic about an idealized past. Things were always better back then. 

So if you consider yourself someone who wishes for positive change and human evolution, watch closely for your own tendencies to be nostalgic about an idealized past.

Humans who resist positive change also invariably carry around stories of victimhood. Something went wrong in the past, and now nothing can be okay.

So if you consider yourself someone who desires positive change, watch closely your own tendencies toward believing “Something went wrong in the past, and now nothing can be okay.”

If you truly desire positive evolution, then you must let all of that go.

Let the past go. Let it go completely.

Come into the present moment. Come fully into the present time. Be where you are. Know that there is nowhere else you are supposed to be.

You are never going to step into a time machine, so let that go.

Really, thinking about the past is a bit of an indulgence, like eating chocolate. It is okay to do in small amounts, but too much will make you sick. Excessive thinking about the past will cause physical and mental illness. All those projections of the past in your mind use up valuable energy — energy that you need to attend to your life right now.

So if you feel tired, depressed, anxious, or generally unhappy with your life experience, one useful thing you can do is observe how much time you spend thinking about the past. Either in nostalgia, or in dwelling about how things should have gone differently. Just observe how much you do this.

As you observe the habit, when you notice yourself sliding back to the past — just gently bring yourself into the present moment. Come back into your body. Notice what is going on around you. Feel what is going on in your body. Listen to the sounds around you, pay attention to what you see, what you smell, what you are touching.

Anchor yourself in the present time. Find one thing you appreciate about your life today. It can be a very small, insignificant thing. Maybe you ate or drank something tasty. Maybe you cuddled a cat or dog today. Maybe you took a nice hot shower. Just find one thing you appreciate about your life right now.

Let go of the past. Particularly if you deal with physical or mental illness, or feel constricted in your life experience — let go of the past. Thinking about the past is, on the whole, not good for your health. The positive change you desire is not going to come from ruminating on the past.

This does not mean, do not study history. Good history comes alive for you in the present moment. A good historical story happens for you right now. However, if you find yourself romanticizing the past — watch out. If you find yourself feeling like a victim in your present life because of historical events — watch out.

Come into the present time. It is beautiful here, if you have the eyes to perceive it. 

There is no time machine to whisk you away to the past — and that is a good thing. You are not meant to go back there, either for nostalgia, or to “fix mistakes.”

Let the past go. Come into the present time. All the loving change you desire — it happens here, now, and nowhere else. Release the past.

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