Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moving beyond the past

When we are willing to search deep within ourselves we nearly always discover that much of our suffering in this life has little to do with the present moment. Events from our past far too often define how we feel in the here and now. In this, we discover one of the core teachings of the Buddhist practice which is moving out of our past suffering.

The Buddha said, “What is in the past is left in the past”. The present moment is where we are right now yet much of the time we allow events of our past control our feelings in the moment. Only by surrendering to the fact that we cannot change our past can we move beyond whatever suffering we have endured and begin to see life for its full potential.

One of my favorite quotes states that “forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past”. Recognizing the significance of this statement can be the key to ending a life of suffering. Regardless of how bad things may have been in our past, there is absolutely nothing we can do now to change it. Continuing to carry the burden of what we have endured only prevents us from reaching our potential for living a happier life today.

The mind has a way of replaying past events over and over again causing us to define our present life based on past experience. The expression “a cast of thousands” describes the voices from our past that we have allowed to define who we are as if the conditions that created our suffering never change. Only by admitting to ourselves that we will never change our past can we begin to move through this suffering, releasing the burdens we have been needlessly carrying.

Ask yourself how much of how you feel right now has anything to do with where you are right now. You may find that most of your reactions to people and events are based on historical events that have no place in the present moment but rather are the defenses you developed to deal with pain that is long past. Healing requires us to acknowledge this pain but we will never move forward without also acknowledging that we are helpless to do anything to change it.

Let the present moment define who you are and may you find peace in the here and now.


Dixie@dcrelief said...

Hi Roger.

Thank you for this post; direct and encouraging.
I find I let go a little easier today than a year ago. Staying in the moment has definitely been the key.
Good to hear from you.

Namaste, my friend

Julie P said...

Hi, Roger

Thanks for this inspiring post. It's so true that we let the voices of our past interfere with who we are today and the choices we make now. I know my past has been stopping me from doing things recently - or, rather, I have been stopping myself from doing things!

As you say, the past is in the past and we cannot change it - how we move forward on this journey, taking each moment as it comes, is the important thing.

Julie xx

LinRN said...

Wow. I needed to hear this this morning.
Thank you.

GEM said...

I am on my path to self discovery and doing my best to embrace spiritulism after a life of non belief and cynicism. There is no past and there is no future is so hard sometimes to accept but as I break out of old habits, I am finally learning to understand and seek out this wisdom.

Take Care


wagepeace said...

This is so true and just what I was needing to hear not only this moment but every moment.

daydreamer3740 said...

I love this post. It reminds me a lot of the book I read, "The Power of Now". And it's true, one's mind does endeavor to replay all past negativity, and it most certainly does affect one's present demeanor. We feel as though there is nothing we can do about the past, yet we still mull over our failures every single day. Once we recognize that we are, and always will be, in the HERE and NOW, we will be free.

dc said...

Love this post. It's so simple, but so true. I wish more people I know could identify with this idea!

Anonymous said...

This is so very true! Thank you for sharing!