May 19     

Today's quotation:

You cannot be a prisoner of your past against your will.  Because you can only live in the past inside your mind.

Augusten Burroughs

Today's Meditation:

I've known plenty of people who are prisoners of their pasts.  Some of them are still agonizing over a mistake that they made or some hurt that someone else did them.  Others are in the "glory days" mode, thinking of some time in the past that was the "best time of their lives," and that's pretty much all they ever talk about.  Others live in regret of an opportunity not taken, or one taken-- taking that job that they're still "stuck" in, when they should have bought a one-way ticket to Europe or South America or Asia.

But our past doesn't imprison us-- it simply can't.  It has no control over us at all, and no ability to control us.  Rather, we keep ourselves stuck in the past with our own minds-- we choose to think of our glory days instead of the people who are in our lives now; we choose to agonize over a mistake from ten or twenty years ago rather than appreciate the opportunities that are ours today; we choose to wish we were still with that one love we had rather than keeping an eye out for someone who will be even better.

Our past can be more than just a prison-- it can be a storm that blows out the light of our inspiration and passion.  The world is full of wonders every single day that we're alive, but they're only going to benefit us if we're able to recognize them and take advantage of them.  If we're pining after something in our past, though, we're going to be blind to all that is in our lives today, and that's quite a shame.

Let's leave the past in the past, where it belongs, and stop digging it up so that it can ruin today.  Let's focus on the present moment and the future, and give ourselves a chance to live happy, full, and complete lives.  The past can give us nothing-- only today can contribute to our well-being and happiness.

Questions to consider:

How do so many people get caught up in their pasts?

What are some of the things from your past that keep you focused on them instead of on your present moments?

What's attractive about focusing on the past?

For further thought:

The person who broods over the past can never master the difficulties of today.  Every wise person learns to forget and does not allow him or herself to become a slave to his or her memory.

Herbert Casson

more on the past



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