Imagine your life as a high-tech movie that is shown as it is made. This movie will play only once, in only one direction, and only one frame will be in front of the bulb of consciousness at any given moment. That frame is known as ‘the present moment.’ Once you have seen a frame you will never see it again.
Since the film is being made as it’s shown, you do have the option to re-create a previous frame in a later scene, but it still won’t be the original frame —it’ll be a new one that you have purposefully built to look like the old frame. Life is always new, even if that newness is invested in reconstructing previous time frames.
Keeping in mind that the film is being made as it is being shown; when we say we have become conscious, what we mean is that we have become aware of our role in the creation of our film/reality. If we change our thoughts we will change how things are. Can you see then how this saves you from suffering about the past? Can you see how, just by understanding this one point, you can be free of a big chunk of optional suffering?
Once we’re conscious we know that we decide which movie we’re making. So the enlightened person knows that they cannot blame their flashbacks on the characters in the flashbacks. Those thoughts are ours. So if you’ve chosen to edit in some flashback from a painful time in your life then that is your choice.
What’s important about that fact is that it is a choice. And we should not expect to feel happy if we’re creating a sad scene. So, if you want to re-construct an unpleasant past event in your consciousness, then of course you get the emotions that go with it. It’s a very simple system. But likewise, being happy is that easy too.
You’re the Director. You decide how you want your story told. If you choose to make horrors or maudlin dramas then don’t be surprised when you get the appropriate reactions. The real question is, are you going to choose to meaninglessly re-construct troublesome past experiences? Or are you going to use that same psychological energy to create some new and worthwhile experience instead?
The film that’s been shown has been shown. None of us can go back and fix the past. To the contrary, the more we return to it the more we keep it alive in the present moment. Yes, you can argue for how compelling it is. You can suggest it’s ‘natural’ to re-live it. But that just means that the vast majority of people innocently misuse their consciousness and they taught you too as well. That’s defining ‘normal’ as ‘unhappy’ in the wrong way.
If you’re thinking painful ones then that is not because those thoughts weigh more or something strange like that. ‘Important thoughts’ are ones we think often, whereas ‘unimportant thoughts’ we barely think at all. That is the only difference between the two —it is how often they travel through our consciousness, not the weight of them within our consciousness.
You can’t make a fresh film with a changed ‘you’ by thinking about the scenes you’ve already shot. Those are done and you’ve moved on. You have to get focused on the scene you’re in. Except in very special circumstances, using current shooting time to meaninglessly repeat previous scenes is insane —especially when they are sad or frustrating scenes.
Recognize your freedom and ability. Create scenes that are easy to enjoy. The world will deliver enough challenges to ensure we all grow. So we can all forget the idea that we will make the present better by revisiting the past. So save yourself from your own flashbacks and come alive today, instead.
Now go and have/create/direct yourself a wonderful day!
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.
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