If you are living in the past you are not living.
Doesn’t it make sense that when you live in the past you are dead to the present? We’re not talking about a pleasant daydream recalling a special moment in your life, like the first time you set eyes on your true love. In this case, we’re talking about the tendency to dwell on something negative that happened in the past.
There is a wonderful quote floating around the Internet that goes something like, ‘Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past.’ Perfect. When you look closely at what you are angry at or upset about, it turns out to be just a memory, a thought. When you look closely at a thought you find that it has less substance than a cloud in the sky, and comes and goes just as quickly – if you simply ignore it.
Once you start engaging a thought, a memory, you bring it to life and it seems real. But a thought will never be real. The only thing that is real is that which is reading these words, the knowing presence from which all thoughts arise and with which they are known, and, ultimately, made out of.
It’s obvious that the past will not, cannot ever change. It will never become better or worse. It is what it is – a memory, and possibly a flawed one at that. To engage a negative memory in any way is a futile endeavor and will only cause more psychological suffering. It is dead and nothing you can do will change it.
Holding a grudge, bearing resentment, is like having to drag a thousand pound sack of rocks up a mountain. It’s exhausting, defeating, and futile. To drop this sack is to invite a lightness of being back into your life, experience the happiness that is your inherent nature.
And it is so easy to drop the sack. Just see it for what it is – a thought, an image, a ghost, a shadow. It may seem to weigh ten thousand pounds but in reality it is a weightless mirage. When you see the rope as a snake, you are frightened, but when you see the rope as a rope, you smile.
Relax. Let thoughts of the past and future naturally come and go and be your true self, that which exists prior to any belief, opinion, judgment, position . . . or grudge. This true self can’t be named, but is ever-present and aware, the original source of light and love. And you, I, we, are that.