Question: Painful experiences from my past have a way of coming to the surface and wrecking me all over again. How do I stop engaging myself with the past, and how do I leave this pain behind me once and for all?
Answer: Unconscious conflicts, in dialogue form, play themselves out in our mind by painfully reenacting various scenes from our past; moments gone by in which we either know, or sense, we were compromised by our own weakness. If these dark inner dialogues were left to themselves as they popped into our mind, they’d be as powerless to disturb us as an echo is to change its own sound. Where we get into trouble is when we’re unknowingly drawn into these scenes out of our past and find ourselves interacting with a cast of ghost players! The ensuing mental dialogue is always a desperate but futile attempt to change what has already been said and done so that maybe this time around we can come out a winner.
Try this step for the winning solution… if you sat down on a metal bench and suddenly realized the midday sun had heated it way beyond the comfort zone, you’d stand up as quickly as you could. The same intelligence behind this instinctive physical reaction can help you release and drop all dark inner dialogues that cause you to hold on to some past hurt or hatred.
Each time you catch yourself in a dark inner dialogue, of any kind, use your awareness of the conflict it’s creating within you as a springboard to help you leap out of those scary scenes from your past into the safety of the present moment. Then, instead of giving yourself back over to those inner voices of conflict that are still trying to converse with you, remain aware of yourself in the present moment, and of their continuing beckoning presence.
No matter how many times you hear in your mind those fighting words that have always prompted you to jump into that dark dialogue, refuse to join in. Ground yourself in your awareness of the present moment. When you’re no longer a captive of your own past, you can recognize its ghost voices as the source of psychic intrusion they really are. Learn to ask for a happy, new life by refusing to relive what’s been tearing at you.
In this short talk, Guy Finley talks about why human beings are so addicted to stress and tension, and why it is so important for us to understand that something within us actually enjoys being anxious.
Click here to listen to “Let Go and Learn the Truth of Yourself”
There are those who will tell you why it is wise to never forget the pain of the past . . . but if you look closely at the anger, sorrow, and bitterness that has hardened their faces, then you will also see why learning to forgive is the better of the two paths.
The following thoughts are for all of us who have ever been hurt, which means the following insights are for the whole world.
Here’s what to do whenever we find ourselves wrapped in the flames of that burning house called our painful past:
Get out of it!
Here’s the “how” part…although each of us must see the following truths (that help free us) for and from ourselves.
The present moment cannot “burn” anything; it is the past that punishes those unwary enough to wander back through it searching for answers that can’t be found there. The pain we feel (in the now) is due to being identified with a mind that is asleep to itself and its own activities. As such, this level of mind has no real direction; this fact should be clear or it wouldn’t wander off and fall into a ditch by “deciding” to relive a painful memory. Nevertheless, in the same moment this negative image (replete with dark emotions) is recollected, it is resisted (by the same sleeping mind that resurrected it!). This unconscious reaction makes the unwary a victim of nothing other than unconsciously revisiting the past; and though the pain is real, no doubt, it is a pain born of resisting a dream whose dark content creates misery for anyone caught in its realm. This is the key idea for those who wish to leave a conflicted past behind. Who we really are doesn’t live in the past, and therefore cannot be punished by anything that happened there. If anything, the repeated pain of reliving whatever the problems may have been should be showing us we are in the wrong place, we are in the wrong parts of us.
Imagine sleep walking into a rundown dangerous neighborhood, and suddenly awakening to your situation. You would get out of that place as fast as you could. So is it intended for us when it comes to our spiritual lives: what was, what once happened to us is a “neighborhood” of a sort we no longer belong in; and when we find ourselves suffering the hoods and haters, the bums and thieves that live there, we need only wake up and “walk out” of there by “waking up”…by bringing our attention back into the Presence Moment (where it belongs).
No one can “teach” us to leave what amounts to our “selves” behind; we must see them, their world, and the pain of their reality as being something we no longer wish to walk with or through. There lives nothing in a dream (in our past) that can delay our departure, anymore than dark shadows have the power to keep us from walking into the sunlight.