When we go back into the past and rake up all the troubles we had, we end up reeling and staggering through life. Stability and peace of mind come by living in the moment.”- Pam Vredevelt
‘Today’ the beautiful gift which is wrapped at the foot of your bed each morning encounters with its foe ‘the past’. The past is often something that holds us back from enjoying and fully relishing the present moment. It is like a cacophony in the everyday melodious music of your life. Unless we stop the past from interfering with ‘today’, we will become a victim of our circumstances and won’t be able to take action towards the life that we want. Clinging onto the past is detrimental to our mental health. Letting go of the past is imperative. But how does one? It is so difficult and things are easier said than done. Here goes the action list:
Begin each day in a jolly way. Every new day is too valuable to be cumbered with the old balderdash. Once you finish a day, you better be done with it. You did all that you could. You might have committed a few blunders. You behaved in a silly manner where you weren’t supposed to. Still, forget them as soon as you can. Don’t let the novelty of the new day be overshadowed by the perturbations of bygone day. How about you greet everyday with open arms as anything new presents you with endless possibility? If you treat every new day as a once in a lifetime event, your life will be much more exciting and refreshing.
Nothing is worth breaking your head over. The past continuously torments you and doesn’t letyou go on with the flow of life. One thing that can make it go away is stillness. All that incessant chatter inside your mind needs to be ceased. Meditation helps in calming your mind. Your life is fast paced with all that noise, busy work culture and too many distractions. Clarity sets in from composure and quietness. Knowing that meditation is tough for many as it needs too much concentration, start with few minutes. If you have troubling focusing on your breathing, any soft stress-free or transcendental meditation music can help you along.
There is no point in analyzing the past still at times the mind seeks answers. So take time to reflect on your history as an observer looking in without judgement. Foremost thing is that you are not your past. Those bygone situations, people created your experiences, they didn’t create you. Understanding certain situations and your repeated patterns will help you to recognize why you hold on to self-destructive behaviour. This will create awareness and help you to break the cycle of being hurt again and again. Identifying the things or people that hurt you, will help youto stay away from them. Thereby, anything that triggers memories of your past will be discarded from your life.
Accepting your life the way it is gives you power. When you accept your past for whatever it gave you or taught you, it will stop having power to control you. When you deny, the past comes back again saying ‘you better face the fact’. In order to let go of the animosity, bitterness and anger associated with your past, you need acceptance of your history. Just because you accept everything it does not mean it defines you as an individual. It rather helps you cope up with all the burdens of the past. Once if you have been hurt, let it go. By excavating the wound over and over again, you are just prolonging the pain. The moment you accept things the way they are, you control the mind than the other way round.
A Japanese master once received a professor who came to learn Zen meditation. He served tea to his guest and poured the visitor’s cup full to the brim and kept on pouring. The professor said that the cup couldn’t take anymore. Then the master replied saying that just the cup which is overflowing, the professor is full of his own opinions and speculations so how can he be shown Zen unless he empties his cup. Letting go of the past means letting go of our ideals, delusions of how people should behave. Pour out your expectations of how people and situations should have been. Your life purpose will come to you when you detach your mind and being from your past.Embrace change as once you venture out of your secure pond of thoughts holding you back, you will come to know there is an ocean of opportunities.
Take a moment from all your self-talk about past and write down your core values, life goals and actions you are taking to pursue them. When you get an honest view about yourself, you will know whether you are progressing or regressing. The past often holds you back from your goals so if you are moving forward, you would have a clearer perception. If the previous goals are not working then create new ones and new core beliefs. Crawl, walk or run but keep moving forward in the direction of a purposeful life. There are just too many things to think about everyday and too many things to learn, so there will be no place for your past. Believe that the universe is unfolding in the way it should and things are ultimately for the best.
When you love yourself, you can love others. You will gain the strength to forgive yourself and others from your past. Letting go of the past is the reflection of loving yourself. It is very easy to be bowed down by your troubling past but if you really love yourself then you give power to positivity. Affirm optimistic thoughts that cultivate your subjective well-being. Loving yourself teaches you to bring a smile on others’ face. It becomes infectious. If you keep cribbing about past that too sends vibes. So choose those thoughts which make you feel good and fall in love with whatever life has to offer.
You might have a terrible habit of treating each day as similar to the one before. All of us slip up, that is ok. Give yourself a break. The greatest fact in life is that it is never too late to start again. You can let go of the past right this moment. Think you are being reborn everyday, so don’t berate yourself for your blunders and absurdities. The past only bothers you because you think you have ample time. Remember you have limited time on earth, time flies by. Why don’t you understand that you have no way of knowing when your time is up? If you do get this, then you will live the present moment to the fullest as if it were your last.
Everybody has got a past which comes in the way of their happiness of the present. But the past is not the future unless you live there! In the arduous process of letting go, you will lose things from the past, but you will find yourself. Let the past leaf wither, die and fall away. Usher your growth forward to better things in life ahead.