We can look at our past with regret. We can identify our past failings and their consequences. We can use our life energy to idly think those painful thoughts. We are free people and no one can really stop us if we choose to torture ourselves with thoughts about our past.
The question is, what is the value in this thinking? We know from our initial negative reaction that we felt off target almost immediately. So in most cases, the lesson was learned almost immediately.
This is why everyone has many regrets in life that we all endeavour to never repeat because they were painful.
The question then becomes, if we’ve already learned the lesson, what is the purpose of continuing to beat ourselves up for our pasts? Are we just emotional sadomasochists?
The truth is, in a weird way, we are.
We don’t mean to be, but if no one has ever taught us how to manage our consciousness then how would we learn how to use it?
Most of our misuse of our consciousness is entirely innocent. The problem is, we still pay for it, which is why it’s worth learning how to manage it.
What will our future be made of? It’s our past-to-be. Isn’t it just a collection of what we do now, in the present moment? Don’t we just wind this little thread with that little thread with another and another, and with that we weave the string of moment to moment events that form our lives?
And if we were to say that our emotional state was represented by the colours we weaved in, in each moment, then our sadder times would see darker threads intertwining around each other and we would call that portion of our life our ‘darker times.’
This all means that the individual moment to moment threads are what ultimately weave together to form our conscious experience of reality. When we look back we are viewing past-presents. So if the present is what forms the past, then it is those threads that we should be focused on now.
The line of the past cannot be changed and the line of the future is not dictated by our past, it’s dictated by what we weave now.
We must spend less of our presence on revisiting the past, and worrying about our future. We are better off being focused on being present for the weaving that will shape that future.
In the end we cannot change what we did, and we have not done what we might. We can only act in the moment we are in. And it is that moment we should be focused on, because that moment is where we live.
Today, let us use our consciousness to appreciate with. If we do that, we can be assured that our mind has no time to wander away to consider any ugly past threads that might otherwise trip up our future.
So the parting question is, what thread of thought will we pick up next? Because it’s that choice that will form our future past.
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.