you can’t learn anything if you deny history
the gloomy sunset can still presage a bright new dawn
Some things in our past may be painful, uncomfortable, unpleasant, disgusting, illegal, or just a big mistake. Personally, I will admit to trying hard to forget the painful, uncomfortable, unpleasant mistakes I’ve made ~ and there have been more than a few. But, you know what? Without fully accepting and trying to understand the what, why, and how of the mistakes in my past, I will never learn anything. To be a real man I need to learn from my past so that I will not make the same errors of judgement again in the future.
More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t busy denying them. ~ Harold J. Smith
Conversely, I also need to remember the good people, places, events, and things in my past so that I can repeat and reinforce anything virtuous, righteous, ethical, principled, and enjoyable things I have done, experienced, or been responsible for. And you know what? There are far more of those good things in my past than there are expressions of my dark side.
The very worst kind of people are those who will never honestly look at their past and say; ‘I should not have done that…..’ But, those who look at the past and see only negativity and darkness are not such good people either. The past is what it is, nobody can change it, we can only accept what we do in this moment and resolve to do better in the future.
Perhaps the very worst people of all are those who have no ambition to be better tomorrow than they are today. Those who have no good aims, goals, dreams, desires, and aspirations are doomed to fester in the slough of despond forever.
Some say that the past has nothing to teach us. And that we should wipe out history as being unacceptable and pointless. All I know is that as you give to the world, so you shall receive in return.
tomorrow is another day
another chance to be better
Those who only look to the past are certain to miss the future.
the past is not real
There is nothing wrong with learning from the past, but the mind can masochistically replay painful memories from our past, or from the pasts of those we may profess to care about. This dark process will create anger, jealousy, envy, paranoia, and suffering. Continuously replaying the past, yours or anyone else’s, not only causes immense pain, it also stops us from living a happy and mindful life in the present, and it will make dark all our possible futures.
Because I suffer from a serious personality disorder, I would allow my mind’s stories of the past to contaminate and blight my whole life, without learning very much at all. I continuously carried around with me all the pain, suffering, grudges, resentments, and jealousies ~ sometimes from things that happened years before, and often from things others did years before I even knew them.
This is self-destructive. Continuously replaying the past can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. My dwelling on thoughts of the past, my own or anyone else’s, will lead to similar events happening in the future. This process of reliving the past is more like self-torture than a positive learning process, because there is one thing you should know ~ no matter who you are, you cannot fix the past.
When we replay the past in our minds we relive all the big mistakes we made, all the bad things that happened to us, and all the horrible things that people have done to us. And, the terrible thing is that some of those horrible things probably happened before whoever did them even met us, or knew who we were. This distorted and paranoid view of the past becomes impressed on our subconscious, which then uses it as a template to deal with the present, and projects it into a dark and painful future.
When we listen to our mind’s stories about what should have happened, about what we or others should have done, we are no longer experiencing real life, we are instead lost in the subconscious mind’s paranoia, suspicion, and judgmentalism. This leads to pain, stress, anger, anxiety, guilt, and apathy.
We all need to find a way of letting go of the past, for the past is nothing but a memory, and memories aren’t real life. Other than counselling, working with a psychologist, hypnosis, self-hypnosis, or psychotherapy, I only know of one way to reprogram the subconscious mind so that any memories of the past are no longer painful and dark. To act ‘as if’. Act ‘as if’ the past isn’t painful, that it no longer bothers you, that the past no longer causes suffering, grudges, resentments, and jealousies. Do that well enough, for long enough, and that will become your new reality. It may take a year.
Some say that he’s an evil bastard just because that’s how he acted in the past. Or that she’s an alcoholic addicted tramp because she used to drink too much, smoke pot, and screw around. All I know is that the past is another country.
don’t look back to a dark past,
live in the present
The worst part of holding onto the memory isn’t the pain, it’s the crushing loneliness.
Not all memories need to be bad ones ~ but then why are all my memories and dreams in out-of-focus monochrome?
this isn’t a memory
it was a nightmare.
Being There. Do you know how that feels?
Do you know what it’s like to conjure a memory.
When I cast my mind into the past it no longer feels like a remembered event to me. It is as though I am watching myself act out the memory, as though I am being taken back there by a Guardian Angel, or a concerned Goddess, or a malevolent Ghost. Perhaps it would make more sense if I said it was like Doctor Who travelling back in time and secretly watching an earlier version of himself during some critical event.
Imagine George Bailey being shown the possible shape of Bedford Falls when it was renamed Pottersville, an invisible observer to a possible future built on a different past. That what it’s like for me now when I remember my own past.
There memories are not what it was like, they are the shape of what it was really like.
When I cast my mind back just a couple of years I see a very horrible version of my life back then. Not how it was on the surface, but how it really was, deep inside and with the interconnectedness of all things.
My memories of myself, in my apartment, (the garret), from a couple of years ago. It’s gloomy, the garret isn’t white and bright, it’s dark and dingy like a mediaeval dungeon. The walls are grey stone dripping with moisture, there are rats on the floor, one small, barred, window high up in the wall. Light is from the guttering stub of a candle. I am at a small table, writing. And, I am old, wizened, hunched-over, dark and defeated, an evil version of myself. That is not what it was like. That picture is what it was really like.
My memories of the past have become vivid metaphors where the truth is revealed.
Spooky, weird, disturbing. Insightful, valuable, true. These strange visions of the past are teaching me how to learn, how understand the interconnectedness of all things.
Respectable scientists using optogenetics have shown that memories reside in specific brain cells. A while ago I suffered a fractred skull and intracranial bleeding, so perhaps my memory cells were damaged, and I have ‘relearned’ my own past.
Whatever this strange gift is, I am glad of it, for now I see the true past for exactly what it was. And, much of it was bad.
California coast sunset in pain meanders
nirvana poltergeist soubrette in vain leaves
a wicked Pandora the utmost coquette in disdain lures
she is a madonna boasting fishnet in lust with black flowers
offshore a lost vignette, just constrained emotions
the aura a ghost so forget your lost memories
words and pictures by jack collier email@example.com