People are always talking about the importance of not allowing the past to exert a hold over you, but the reality is that the present is a product of the past. It can be no other way. Whether we believe in linear time, or not, makes no difference to the fact that if we are sitting reading this on the bus, right now, then we are doing so because you we got on the bus in the (recent) past. As it is with the body, so it is with the heart, mind and soul. To construct a pretence where we behave as if the past plays no part in our life is to indulge in the heights (or depths) of delusion. This delusion may be so strong that we start to believe our own hype, but turning toward our experiences and saying ‘I deny you’ does make it so. The past denied will be the past relived.
We are where we are, today, because of the choices we made yesterday. There is little chance of positive learning and growth if this cannot be grasped. To be defined utterly by our past? No. But to be affected and influenced by it? Maybe greatly so? Yes.
The midpoint between yesterday and tomorrow is the present, the mould into which tomorrow will be poured. Choose wisely, for what we select today will define our tomorrow. Move in the natural direction of the Universe – outwardly, toward increase and growth and tomorrow is set up to be better than today. Seize today, for it is a lifetime in miniature. Embrace it this morning and let it go this evening.
Then we have the future. Can the future be foretold? Yes, most certainly, but it depends on how much the subject is bound by and unaware of their past. The past sets patterns, grooves into which we unknowingly default. Most futures are entirely predictable for this reason. Humans do however possess the capacity to surprise, to create futures unforeseen, by learning the lessons of their past and acting with those in mind in the present. The future exerts a pull for it is already part formed – through the grooves of the past, via numerological patterns, through unlearned and unconscious behaviours. But still it does not have to be that way.
All these – PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE – are to some extent alive, right here, right now. The past and the future seem to be connected in some way, as if the past wants to replicate itself in the future, ‘same, same but different’. But it is only in the present that we may overcome the past and defeat the future.
Alongside the past, present and future live their respective evil twins – REGRET, DISTRACTION and EXPECTATION. Anytime we connect with ‘coulda, woudla, shoulda’ we are lost in a world of regrets. The past, in practical terms now, exists only for one reason, to learn from. Crying over spilt milk is no use. We must understand why and how it was spilt and resolve to do things differently next time.
Distraction is at work in the present, insidious, behind the scenes always pulling us away from ourselves, toward the shiny and bright ‘out there’. ‘You can do it later on, or tomorrow’ says The Lord of Distraction. But who is to say there will be a tomorrow, or that its conditions will be any better?
Expectation is connected to the future and our desired outcomes – fixed ideas of what could be, should be, must or must not be. So many of us want to know where the bus is going, before we decide whether we get on it or not. This is sensible in a public transport setting, but pointless and impossible in our wider life journey. By building up our expectations we are actually creating our very own hell, right here and now, torturing ourselves with possibilities that we cannot actually ever manifest.
We should be more present. That is not a revolutionary idea. But this is. Our life, today, is probably the way it is because we like it that way. And our life tomorrow will probably be very similar. We can complain all we like about this but it must be true on some level, because if we did n’t like it, we would change it. Would n’t we?