Just a quick, simple but important reminder as I awoke from a nightmare this morning and am not quite connected. Haha I realise I have just ‘let the past steal my present’ by letting the nightmare affect me. It is slowly wearing off. In my nightmare after a morning of being horribly disorganised and leaving for work very late and only half dressed, I attracted two rapists in a public car park and the rest of the people in the car park left (walked past me on foot) so I knew I was in trouble. When I woke I decided that if I was ever in that situation I would leave with the other people if I could even though it would appear odd and rude as the two men had started speaking to me. (I’ve heard that politeness and worrying about what other people think can make you more susceptible to rape as you don’t avoid the person your instincts tell you is dodgy). It was a horrible variation on my recurring disorganised dream where I have uni exams and haven’t attended the classes. Much worse consequences though.
Anyway I digress. So how does the past steal your present? And why shouldn’t it? As Eckhart Tolle says, the past is now just a memory, like a film in your mind. You may have photos and videos which last longer than the memories but even they will be destroyed eventually, like all physical things. We also ‘rework’ the memories into part of our ‘story’ that we commonly (but unfortunately) carry around with us, attached to our ego. This story can steal our present if it keeps replaying louder than the events around us. To steal our present means leave us not fully aware of what’s going on around us. It leaves us unable to be present and fully appreciate and enjoy things for what they are. The past could be terrible, full of childhood horrors which may steal our present by leaving us fearful and distrustful, or it could have been ‘magic’ so that nothing we do or have now compares.
Our bodies regenerate every seven years or so I have heard. Each body part takes different amounts of time. Our memories remain in our brains within connections and electrical pulses I believe, though clearly I know very little on this subject. My point is that thought is the main thing that we keep with us on our journey. (OK I’ve heard that cells have memory too but I don’t want to go too deep). Lessons, experiences, skills etc come with us. And so do the stories. If we can’t rework those stories into something manageable (accept life, become philosophical, forgive and forget) then they will bite us and affect our present. They will steal it by clouding our current experiences negatively. The first thing I did on awaking today was remove the photo of me in a bikini on my other blog!! Fear crept in and I listened.
So how can we rework those stories? Realising that they are stories formed by us is the first step. Realising we have the power to shape them and that we therefore have the power to reshape them is important. And having the will to let the story of your past go and ‘be present’, using all your senses to realise that where you are right here, right now is probably safe and calm is helpful if not essential.
Ultimately, we have to take responsibility for our own happiness and not assign the power to something external. We may not think we have the strength to overcome or forget the past but for me it is a worthwhile endeavour. Joy is Now. Look around you. You are bombarded with current information. Your surroundings, feelings, senses should take up every ounce of your thoughts and with whatever you have left, shape your ‘now’ the best way you can. Create beautiful experiences. Now where’s the chocolate?