Monday, February 13, 2012

Ghost of the Past

The other night I was talking to her when we started talking about truths of life, past and related fears. As always, she was reluctant talking about it. After a while, I paused and started wondering why we fear our past. We all have a past, a deep dark past. There are always certain things which we wish we had not said or done; things which we don’t want anyone to know.

Why do some of us spend so much time thinking about their past? Why do they fear talking about it? The most prominent reasons which come to my mind are that we didn’t expect ourselves making so many mistakes as we made and we assume a lot of things will turn out as we expect them to. This post briefly summarizes my viewpoint on how to let go of our past and not fear it.  It is one of the most important lessons of life – living in the present is the key to happiness. The past is over and gone; never to return. The future is not guaranteed.

Most of the times, we are able to put our mistakes of past (regrets?) behind us, especially the ones which are not major disappointments. And once we overcome them, we don’t fear them; personally or while sharing them with others. However, there are a few things which we are unable to get over in our minds. Those are things we regret about our past and fear sharing them. The main reasons behind this fear are the sense of losing something/someone and the belief that it might affect your present. Our minds keep returning back to what “might” have been, “could” have been and “should” have been. The more we think about the events we regret, the more the associated fear deepens. It follows us wherever we go and stops us from achieving our aspirations. 

How to let go of your past?

The most critical fact about past is that it cannot be changed. The events that you regret have already happened. And since there is no way to change the past, it is better if we learn to accept it. I believe that we should never regret our past decisions because they are what we considered the best at that particular moment. In case of failures, we just need to learn from those and move ahead. “Let it be” is one of the best phrases I’ve heard which helps me get rid of the past.
Once we learn to accept the things the way they are, we should stop thinking about them. The problem is that when we think about those events, we start imagining how the things could have been and then we realize that things have changed, which upsets us. It starts with a single thought but as soon as we start, it is almost impossible to stop. One thought leads to another and a vicious circle is formed.

One more important thing in this process is to realize the truth of impermanence. We should realize that outcome of the next second is unpredictable. Death can come at any moment. Therefore, we don’t have enough time to keep worrying about the past and ruining our present also. If someone tells us that we had only a few days of life left; we would regret spending so much time thinking about the past. As the time passes, we would be able to train our mind to ignore such thoughts, ultimately leading to complete dis-attachment.  

The next thing is to learn to accept that we can be wrong sometimes. We often don’t allow ourselves and others to be less than perfect. We need to learn to forgive not only others but also ourselves. Lastly, to overcome the fear of sharing our past, we should realize that people who care about us would accept us the way we are; with our mistakes and past, no matter how dark it is. Sharing always helps to overcome fears.

Letting go of past is like lifting a weight off our chest. It prevents us from being stagnant, allows us to move on and enjoy our present. It might be hard to accomplish but if we believe in ourselves and realize the aforesaid points, it is possible to overcome every fear related to your past and live completely for the present.


Mahima said...

For the very first time I've read something on this sensitive topic that I felt more or less captured the essence of how I sometimes feel. You just gave me better advice than any I've heard in the recent past. Great job Arun! :)

AzzArun said...

Thanks a lot, Mahima!! Your words mean a lot to me. :)