Why do we always talk and reminisce about something from the past?
Have you noticed that most of the conversations that take place are about something we “did”, or some habit, or some period of time, maybe even a certain age when the mind has retained the information “That was ideal for me”?
Have you consciously asked yourself if, this tendency of the mind to distract you and constantly make references to something past, is your real voice? If is it the voice of a conscious state or is it the voice of a habit?
The mind loves familiar things. It loves to have routine and habits, because they keep it “tidy”. When the mind identifies a point of reference with an ideal time, it often looks back to avoid the challenges of the present.
But this function puts us in a constant comparison of “then” and “now” which can be problematic.
It keeps us in an almost obsessive tendency to search for something ideal, which we once had and no longer have. The mind enjoys problem-solving but often creates problems where none exist, such as idealizing past situations that were not so perfect.
“When I wore those jeans.” “When I was my ideal weight”. “When I went on vacation.” “When I was in that relationship and there was love but we broke up.”
Let’s take the example of the relationship. If you really look back, this past relationship ended for a reason. Love regardless. So does the lesson, just needs to be taught without romanticizing and idealizing a situation. Ask yourself for a moment, this once might was, or at least seemed, ideal, but does it fit your current lifestyle?
“When I was my ideal weight”, “when I fit into those jeans”….
Consider, how was the mental state? How was the individual development? How were human relationships? If it really was your ideal weight, what happened and led the body to change? (including all health levels).
The extension to the collective mind.
On a social level, years that have passed are always compared. We usually refer to the years passed as if they were better, with a more romanticized view of situations and events that have simply softened over time.
Always “the situations are difficult”, “there is economic instability”, “it is not the time for such things”. I am referring to the collective fear. But this is not only true now for back then. It was also true THEN for even far before that!
Even in an ancient text it begins like this:
“I have heard that ancient man lived up to 100 years! Today, after the 50th year man is already exhausted! Is this difference due to circumstantial causes or is it due to the wrong tactics of man himself? ….
In the distant past those who knew the Tao, lived the Yin Yang, lived in harmony with the universal destiny, were conservative in their diet and movement, always worked without exaggeration and thus kept the body and spirit prosperous. They lived according to their destiny and did not die before reaching at least 100 years of life. In today’s reality, the same or something similar does not happen anymore· on the contrary, we tend to use wine instead of water, to mistake abnormality for normality, to have sexual relations in a drunken state… Finally we travel without measure”.
This is the beginning of a text written in 2500 BC. (Hoang Di, Nei King So Wen, Greek translation by F.P.Rossis.)
How far could a person have traveled in 2500 BC? Where was it without measure? How much was the person working that was ultimately excessive compared to their ancestors? How much was the air pollution and contamination? How ideal did they consider the “old days when everything was better”?
Difficulty in accepting changes.
This romanticization and idealization of “then” in relation to “now” shows the difficulty of accepting changes in life. It shows the comfort zone, it reveals the resistance to realizing that every day we have the opportunity to rewrite our history.
It highlights the general difficulty in accepting that we are not the same as yesterday. We compare ourselves to a previous self, 5-10-15 years ago when “everything was better”.
This reinforces the illusion that only when we are younger “things are good”.
How can we become better in the days to come, when we want to bring to our “future” what and who we were in our “past”?
This entire mind game relies on the human construct of understanding life and time since, in human perception, time is linear. However, in cosmic reality, past, present and future are all “Now”. The decisions and actions we take in the now have an impact on the whole timeline of our life. The past events or emotions determine how much we let them affect us further, and about the future, our actions in now affect the creation of our reality, the self and the perception that a person desires.
All the traumas are in our past.
A large percentage of the experiences that have evolved us have a traumatic side.
Excessive reference to the past is also found when there is unresolved trauma. Sometimes it is also used as an excuse, to avoid taking responsibility for ourselves, and to put the blame on someone else.
In the past are the lessons and realizations that we come to discover in our present moment in order to unhook and release from past situations. If we really observe the events and periods which we recall, and we present them rosy at first, we often come to traumatic points.
The trauma includes the feelings of betrayal, abandonment, not belonging, not being accepted by one’s circle, at some point when we realized that the road we are walking is a well-worn road and not the inner calling, in that the person should be a good kid (people pleaser)…to name a few.
What was traumatic for each person, can only be answered by existence itself. This comes with the moment of meaningful work with honesty, respect and love for each person’s uniqueness.
And yes, if our past has led us to a dysfunctional present, we need to reconsider our choices. We remind ourselves that we are in control of our lives, identify the steps that led us to this temporary impasse, and determine our future actions.
What were the options and at what point did we get them? What do we do now about what has become dysfunctional today?
An example. A teenager decides to drop out of high school, so later does unskilled work for many years. However, as an adult, the person decides to return to school, earn their high school diploma, and proceed to further studies. The person chooses to do something apparently socially incompatible. Following their own inner path that will lead to a conscious choice and decision to do things their own way.
It is important that our decisions and actions are free from concepts such as “What will people say?”, “At this age we don’t…”, “Oh no, this is too difficult”.
As I was recently reminded, people can do hard things.