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.
There lives nothing real in our past — regardless of how disappointing or painful it may have been — that can grab us and make us its captive, any more than a dark shadow has the power to keep us from walking into the sunlight.
Dwelling on any unhappy moment in life is like channel surfing through a thousand possible TV shows, selecting the one that troubles you the most, and then blaming your TV set for the pain you’re feeling.