So many people today are bitter, broken-hearted, or just plain angry because of what happened to them while growing up. The reasons for their resentment or regret are as countless as are the number of unconscious people who unknowingly create such pain in the lives of those they hurt. But nothing that happened yesterday -- as horrendous as it may have been -- has authority over the present moment and its new possibilities.
We may sense the truth of this spiritual fact but have been unable to put its power to work in our life. 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 from ourselves.
The true present moment cannot burn anything, let alone your immortal Self; it is the strange allure of reliving the past that punishes those unwary enough to wander back through it, searching for some resolution that can't be found there.
Any sorrow, resentment, or anxiety brought over and into the living now can only be an echo of some event now past. Try to see this liberating fact: no pain from the past can make itself present unless the mind, asleep to itself, is deceived into revisiting the painful memory of that misery.
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 reaction makes the unwary a victim of nothing other than having sleepwalked into the stored memories of his or her own unwanted 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 brings us to a key idea for those who wish to leave a conflicted past behind:
Who you really are -- your immortal Self -- 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 show us that we've arrived in the wrong place, led there by misguided parts of us.
Imagine sleepwalking into a rundown, dangerous neighborhood and suddenly awakening to your situation. There's no doubt as to your next action: you would get out of that place as fast as you could. Wisdom, if not pure instinct, prevails, and the same intelligence should hold true for us when it comes to our spiritual lives.
What "once was" lives on only in an unconscious "neighborhood" in ourselves -- one where we no longer belong. This in-the-dark level of consciousness is populated with the shadows of former painful experiences, both real and imagined. But their power over us runs only as deep as we are identified with that dream world into which we have fallen. We walk out of there by waking up, or by bringing our attention back into the presence of the living moment, where it belongs.
No one can teach us to leave the world of what was or to abandon those unconscious parts of us that actually need to relive their pain in order to live on; they cannot see themselves for what they are, nor do they want to.
We must see them, their world, and the pain of their reality as being something we no longer wish to walk with or through. Nothing can delay our departure from this lower level of self, any more than the ground floor of a skyscraper can keep you from taking its elevator all the way up to the observation deck.