HEALING YOUR PASTs
"Living in the moment" has been a good idea that quickly became a movement but like all ideas that become movements, we seldom slow it down long enough to look for weak places in it. Since Tolle's "The Power of Now," living in the now has resulted in dozens of books and CDs. And yes, I got caught up in it with my own recording of "A New World Every Day." But time and reflection has helped me to see some flaws.
I see one in Eileen Caddy's statement, "Dwell not on the past. Use it to illustrate a point, then leave it behind. Nothing really matters except what you do now in this instant of time."
Does that part of your life called the past not really matter? Why disrespect a large piece of your life? Did your living of those years have no value except to "make a point"? Why denigrate the past in order to make the present more valuable? Listen to me: your whole life story is important and worthy of respect.
In truth, the past is never really over. When does the birth of your child cease to be a part of your continuing consciousness? Or your graduation from college? Or meeting your best friend, lover or wife or husband? Or winning the lottery? Ad infinitum.
Now I admit we drag a lot of cumbersome old junk from the past with us. Like old hates and resentments and failures and losses. But each of us will be reprocessing some of this old junk as long as we live. And there is a worthy purpose: trying to understand it. Making sense of our past is as important as making sense of our present for the simple reason that the past is always present.
There's a good old country song about a man's wife walking in the door of a restaurant and he whispers, "My past is present." Wife or no wife, your past will always be making cameo appearances in your daily activities.
Using this example, here's what is healthy and helpful about the past walking into your present and what can be unhealthy and unhelpful. It all depends on how you handle each appearance of the past. If your ex-wife walks in, it will help you see in that moment how well you have processed all your negative feelings about her and give you another chance in that instant to reframe it again to make more sense of that piece of your life.
It will also give you a chance to see some of the positives she brought to you. You cannot tell me you would have fallen in love with her and made love to her and lived with her as long as you did if some positive things had not been happening. If she did nothing positive you can remember except make good love to you, be man enough to recognize that and remember what it meant to you at the time. Maybe she rubbed your feet a time or two.
She may be your ex but she will always be a part of your life story and you can make good changes in your life story as long as you live. Yes, we can restore some of the years the locust has eaten, as the prophet Joel said.
As Donnie Jenkins says, "Distance improves perspective." As a divorce becomes more distant, we see our exes and the whole situation with more perspective if our goal in life is to find truth. When moments of returning to the past yields perspective, it is time well spent.
Have no shame or chagrin about your past. To repent more than once is an insult to God. But God will definitely help you gain the saving grace of perspective on your past and present if you are honest in your asking.
When the past comes into your present, heal it.