Trapped in the past or living in the present
We resonate with one another’s sorrow because we are interconnected. Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by changing ourselves. If I become a center of love and kindness in this moment, then in perhaps small but hardly insignificant way the world now has a nucleus of love and kindness it lacked the moment before. This benefits me and it benefits others.
Unlike other animals, human beings spend a lot of time thinking about what is not going on around them, and contemplating events that happened in the past, should have happened differently or indeed, never happened at all!
In many subtle ways, we find that we cannot forgive ourselves for things we have done or failed to do in the past. We carry around the dead weight of past failures, unfinished business, relationship difficulties, unresolved arguments, unfulfilled ambitions for ourselves and others.
Getting stuck in the past puts a fog over the future.
Mindfulness opens up a possibility of dwelling, moment by moment, in a state of mind that cradles you in a non-judgmental and compassionate wisdom. You will start to relate to the world with kindness and compassion, and you can only to this if you come home to who you are, accepting yourself with deepest respect, honor and ,yes, love.
There is a difference between living in the past and thinking about it. It is not only in the traumas of the past we can get stuck in but also the the good times. When it feels that nothing in the present or future can be as good as the "good old times" - an unhealthy nostalgia.
There has been a huge amount of tragedy in my life and some of it actually happened. Mark Twain
Be ground. Be crumbled,
so wildflowers will come up
where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Practices for week 6:
- Practice “Befriending” meditation . More Self-Compassion meditations
- 45 min audio talk + meditationby Sharon Salzberg, listen on your commute or otherwise
- Reclaim your life – take up an activity what you used to do when things were less busy, it can be something as small as reading a magazine, listening to music or something bigger such as taking up an old hobby or activity. It is only important that it should be something that puts you back in touch with a part of your life that you had forgotten – a part of you that you may have been telling yourself was lost somehow, a passion buried under the ashes.
- Do a good-natured deed for someone else, a random act of kindness. It needn’t be something big – carry somebody’s shopping bag, let someone go in front of you in queue, pick up litter on the beach or on your street, hold the door open for a stranger and pay them a compliment, bake a cake for the office, pay the toll for the car behind you … the list is endless. Give for the sake of giving and imbue it with warmth and empathy. Make a mental note of how you feel.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.”
Article "When you're living in the past"
5 meditation tips for people who don't (yet) like to meditate (tinybuddha.com)
Video Brain is wired for compassion
Podcast on compassion by Kirsten Neff
If you are depressed, you are living in the past.
If you are anxious, you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the moment. Blog