Oakville Zen Meditation

#403 When the past is polluting the present ,and what to do June 26 / 22

When, and how the past is polluting our present; what to do

Our past is a master in polluting, once in a while, our present moment if not too often.

The past is the largest tenant of our 3 space-times, followed by the future, and finally by the present moment.

 Remember, the mind loves to be in the past and future rather than the current moment because

 it is it’s the best way to control us using these fictional worlds in which the past you and future you

don’t exist. WE are daydreamers by excellence.

When our past events are popping out from our subconscious, we are facing almost a no-win situation: Why?

    Good moments:

       They are perceived with nostalgia, remorse if not regrets, and over-sentimentality, all of them

      sources of potential negative energy.

    Bad moments:

       Are also perceived with regrets but also bitterness, resentment, discomfort, but also with pain, guilt, poor self-image, and self-reproach, all of them again are sources of potential negative energy. 

Sometimes, when I step into one of those black holes of my past, I catch myself swearing at

my younger self, hurling insults like “I was an asshole” even 30  years or more after the unfortunate event or bad behavior caused by myself.

What to do then?

Besides making ourselves stuck in our fictional past, some flashbacks are like poisonous arrows and may traumatize our present moment

Also, trying to erase these flashbacks is impossible. They are indestructible, cast in stone.

When I mindlessly call my younger self a dumbass!, and catch myself doing that, I can:

      Suffer from this negative self-image almost forever.

      Either forgive myself for whatever dumbass things I did back then or

      Forgive others for what they did to myself or others.

When these flashbacks strike, we can use that moment of awareness to deal with them.

Acceptance and forgiveness are the only tools to depollute our present moment from the negative impacts of our past.  Past demons cannot be eliminated nor surpassed, just accepted.

Here is a practical example you may apply during your meditation:

The acceptance/forgiveness process is simple and immediate.

We do it with a mindfulness-based 2 steps process:

      Breathing in:

         During which you observe, in a mindful way, then accept the culprit and consequences

        of the past event including any current negative feelings then,

     Breathing out:

         During which you let it go, and move on. It is a sort of desensitization like the one used

         to treat allergies.

This approach seems mechanical and artificial, but, with time and practice, its effectiveness

will become clear. Past demons will resurface again and again but being managed the same way

it will become easier to deal with.

When we get good at it, we may expand our practice to forgive others for mistakes that they have made and things they have done against us and our loved ones.

If you have a strong habit of blaming yourself and others for past and present problems,

a compassionate practice of forgiving the past could have a profound effect on your current life.

Acceptance and forgiveness will help you to realize that the past will never pollute,

and prevail against the power of the present moment.

Thank you.