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12 November, 2011

Past is past

       Think of a notebook with several pages.  Each page in itself is just an open page.  It is up to us to either scribble on it or write poetry on it.  Irrespective of whether we scribble on it or pen poetry on it, we can still turn to the next page and again have the choice of either scribbling on it or writing poetry on it.  Till the notebook ends, the freedom of choice to use or abuse the pages of the notebook purely rests with us.  More importantly, even if we have wasted the first half of the notebook with just scribbling, we can still write enough poetries in the second half of the notebook and make it worth preserving.  Metaphorically, the notebook can be compared to our life and each open page in it to a day in our life.  The dawn of every day offers us the choice of using or abusing the day.  Till we embrace death, the freedom of choice to use or abuse the today's of our life purely rests with us.  Whatever be our age, as a worst case scenario, even if we have wasted the entire past of our life, we can still make a beginning, starting today.  We can make the most of every day of our life from now on and create a life that will be cherished.

       So, focus your energy in building your future than in processing the bygone past.  The rear-view mirror of an automobile can aid in driving, but you have to look ahead through the windshield, for that's the only way to reach your destination.  Your past only serve as a rear-view, mirror, reflecting your accomplishments and your failures.  It teaches you the lessons on what to do and what not to do.  You must mature out of your past and take the future awaiting you, head on.  With derived maturity from your past, you must and you can do much more with your future.

       Two monks were walking when they spotted a teenage girl standing near the stream they were about to cross.  The young girl had fear written all over her face.  It was already dusk and daylight was fading.  In response to the question one of the monks had asked, the girl replied, "I am afraid of crossing the stream."  The monk volunteered and carried the girl on his shoulders and dropped her at the other bank.  The two monks continued to walk.  After they had walked for about 30 minutes, noting a sense of unease in the other monk, the monk who had helped the young girl asked him if something was bothering him.  The other monk retorted, "Don't you know what monks aren't supposed to touch the opposite sex?  When then did you carry the girl on your shoulder?  That's why I am upset."  Centred and still smiling, the monk who had helped the girl replied,"Oh, the girl you are talking about... I dropped her long time back.  Why are you still carrying her in your head?"

       Your past has left you a long time back; so, what is the point in you continuing to carry it in your head.  You can help a person caught in the jaws of a crocodile.  But how do you help a person who thinks he is caught in the jaws of a crocodile, while all he has is just the picture of crocodile under his feet?  Your past has no other reality except in your memory.  Nothing is a greater retardant to growth than the burden of the emotions of the past.  The trouble with the emotions of the past is that it leaves you with scratched spectacles.  Through your scratched spectacles, everything you see appears to be scratched.  You become incapable of seeing life as it is; you only see it through the experiences of your past.  Someone misbehaved with you in the past and because of those scratched spectacles every new acquaintance too appears to be a rogue.  An employee of yours learnt everything from you and then became your competitor.  Now, every new employee is viewed with suspicion.  You tend to burden your present with your past.

       You need new spectacles to view your today and build your tomorrow.  Treat your past not as a source of hurt and agony, but as an experience that you needed to gain this maturity.  You needed those experiences  to become the person you are.  But for that yesterday, you won't be what you are today. 

       The process of chiselling may not have been pleasant, but without it you won't be the sculpture you are today.  Use your today to construct your future, and not to dissect your past.  At the point of maturity, it is crucial where you are looking.  If you focus on your past, you will only feel negative and low.  If you can focus on your future, you will feel positive and charged up.  Bitter yesterdays have the potential to create better tomorrows.  When bad things happen to good people, they become better people.  This is the blueprint on which life is built.

       Yesterday was over yesterday.  Draw a line to your past and move on.  Today is a new day.  Today is a new beginning.  Don't make your future an imposition of your past.  Your past is just a picture of a doesn't really exist.  Wake up from the psychological slumber of your past.  Don't waste another drop of tears on your past.  The beginning is from where you begin.  Begin today.  Begin now.  The person you will become in life is waiting for you in the future.  You must go and meet him.  So, focus your energies in being an architect of your future.

       The past of an exquisite sculpture was a stone, which took numerous blows from the chisel of a sculptor.  The past of a flute in the hands of maestro was a bamboo that was seasoned in fire and with holes drilled into it with hot iron rods.  A glittering diamond was once an unnoticed piece of carbon.  You can go through anything in life, if you can become what you can become in life.  There is nothing in a caterpillar that suggests that it can be a butterfly; yet, it becomes a butterfly.  Your past is not equivalent to your future.  What you have been, and what you are, are inconsequential to what you can be.  Crucify your past and resurrect into a new future.

Follow the following:

1.     Liberate yourself from the baggage of hurt from the past by embracing forgiveness.  Between the hated and the hater, it is always the hater who suffers more.  So, one of the most sensible things you can do is to forgive the other and thus liberate yourself from the clutches of hatred.  Unless you Forgive, you cannot Forget.  Give pardon and get peace.  A little pain in one part of the body should not stop the functioning of the entire body.  Something that had gone wrong during a certain phase of your life shouldn't halt the progress of your life.  Imagine yourself holding a chair in the air.  In spite of the fact that the weight of the chair remains the same, the longer you lift the chair, the heavier the chair will become.  Carrying is an effort.  Dropping is a decision.  You have been labouring with your past.  Make a decision and drop it.

2.     You can either stand on 'Reality' and blissfully progress towards your 'Desires' or you can imagine your 'Desires' and look at your 'Reality' and thus feel miserable and stagnant.  I can accept my present reality that "My English isn't good" and keep progressing by taking the steps needed towards my desire of wanting to be good in English, or I can keep regretting, "I want my English to be good but the disturbing fact is, my English is very bad."  I can accept my present reality that "My marriage isn't in great shape" and keep progressing by taking the steps needed towards my desire of wanting to enjoy a great marriage, or I can remain miserable and stagnant by regretting, "I wanted to have a great marriage but it is in pathetic shape."  The by-product of a progress is bliss and the by-product of stagnation is misery.  So, stand on your today and blissfully progress towards your tomorrow, than to stand on your today and regret your yesterdays.

3.     Even in the case of those who have had a glorious past, you still have the responsibility to build a glorious future.  Yesterday's success does bit deserve today's applause.  That you were the champion last year doesn't give you an inch of an advantage this year.  Neither the starting line is pushed nor the finishing line is altered.  To win again, you have to begin again.  In this race, this performance alone counts.  There is no 'Carry forward' in the race of life.  Satisfaction is the enemy of performance.  Don't let your good yesterdays to impede the possibilities of a better tomorrow.  So, after every significant success, reset your axis, make it a starting point again, and go for it another time.  It is not about 'From where to where?'  It is about 'From here, where?'

       The caterpillar was gone.  The butterfly emerged.  The seed was gone.  The sapling emerged.  The stone was gone.  The sculpture emerged.  Mohandas Gandhi was gone.  Mahatma Gandhi emerged.  Siddhartha was gone.  Buddha emerged.  Let go of your past, and discover a new you within you in the future.

Source: Excerpt from the magazine "FT"

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