Attachment to the Past

I was planning on doing an article on Death and Life… but I figured that I’m not quite ready to tackle that one yet…However, I think I’m up for a little Attachment on the Past.

Where to start…For our convenience lets start from the beginning, that everyday we go through this struggle with the past. Things that we more or less grieve over, thinking that these things if changed will have presented a different outcome. Because of this taught mechanism inside us, we will go on wishing the outcome were different, whether good or bad. I will show you why this creates suffering… like in my Suffering Suffers, you do not. post it is based around the idea that these thoughts take you out of your present moment. Anytime that thought is involved it does not come from the present, it comes from the past, a memory. So in a way it puts a gear in the mechanism of your natural being to muck everything up..

Also the past…being memory, is gone, so why worry about something that has already come and gone… Will worrying ever change the circumtstances of the past? What good will worrying about these events that you handled the way you handled them in their present moment do for you? Most likely if the outcome has become unfavorable to you its because of the following reasons…

  • You were not in the present in that present moment, and you were unaware what was going on, therefore your decision was filtered by the me, which also comes from the past or future… but future doesn’t exist so I won’t even go into that
  • Your beliefs, concepts, ideals, have clouded what your true intentions, and the outcome was not as you expected it to be, which pulls from the me again making it sort of selfish if you really think about it.

Our decisions are often based so much fromt he past that we always expect known outcomes, things in which have never worked, but seem to be stable…. but stable to what extent? They are shallow at best, it is like putting a piece of gum on a crack of a dam that is filled with water.

So how to pull away from past expectation of self?
The master says, “Awareness, Awareness, Awareness, means Awareness.”

Be present as much as you can and slowly slowly, you will begin to catch yourself in these phases in which you begin to dive into the past. The past is nothing more than a remnant, there is no use in withholding happiness from yourself for something that you’ve already handled. You don’t deserve that and respecting yourself in the present is much more fulfilling.. That everything you have does not reside in the past but rather right now. It is the only moment that you have worth living. Being present and being aware go hand in hand with each other, the more you are present, the more you are aware. and the more awareness you have the more love you will be receptive to within yourself. The more love you have within, the more love will prevade the community that you live in. Do you see where I’m going with this?

It comes down to you though, it must start with you, you cannot fix other people if you cannot even fix yourself. You have the choice to be present, although you may fall from time to time, but just the catching of it is enough of a reward, do not be bothered by the thought of falling out of the present moment… that is just thought again trying to pull you back into the past. It’s only doing its job of being of past.

Here are some examples to guiding yourself back to presence:

  • If you see that thoughts of past have come up, take a moment to see your subtle breathe, how it gently goes in and goes outward. Almost as if in a circular motion, pay attention to it. This is often called by Atisha who was an Enlightened Buddha, “Riding the Breath.” Paying attention to the breath is important because it requires no thought just an awareness of being. The Breath itself will bring you back into the present moment
  • Pull yourself back to what you are currently doing, for example if you’re on a walk, to be aware of the tensions in the body, the very intricate way that each foot takes it step.
  • Say you are drinking tea, don’t do anything else but drink the tea, smell the fine aroma, observe the taste that it gives off when it hits your lips.
  • And the practical one for the thought pulling you in the past, by merely seeing that that is what it is doing, instead of getting caught up in it… Step back (not in the physical sense… or if you want to get creative you can do it in a physical sense :P) observe the thoughts floating by, feel no judgement toward you, they need not be judged for again they have already been dealt with, but rather observe the reactions the thoughts are having. By being aware of the thought and the reaction of the memory, you are in the present viewing them, because you have created the gap. With this gap creates realization that, “yeah, these are just thoughts, why have the thought in the first place?”

It’s okay with the thought it there, let it happen, they will subsibe on their own, you don’t need to condemn or resist thought, infact if they want to hang out, let them, you being aware they are there and just letting be will allow them to filter through you. Masters have used this analogy of, “Thoughts are like clouds and you are like the sky, that the clouds will always just drift by and disapear but you will remain.”

More on being present in my precious presence post.

sodom and gomorrah:

Interesting enough my father brought this to the forefront and although I don’t believe this to be an actual historical event as much as a parable for this exact state of being. “Do not look back, only deal with what you have right now in the preent moment. You have everything that you need in this moment right now.” This is what the story says to me. Just do not look back, it is meaningless, but this is not to say that you can reminisce on memories. Just know that there consequences for choices that are made. Like thinking too much will likely have a reaction of thought asking you, “what did i do with my life?” These are natural things that pop up that really don’t need to be worried about. You are not those thoughts but rather just scenes in a long movie that you can enjoy. Also these things have been learning experiences…

Detaching from the Past:

When you have re-discovered that the present moment is who you are, who you really are, there will be a shift. However just because you have become more present does not mean that you will not come into any roadblocks or rough patches in life… for life seems to always be in dual, in equal balance, in bad and good, light and darkness…. So things will still occur in your life, that you may view as being bad or good, but being present allows you to tend to them totally and with clarity, you will learn greatly from the experience and you will transcend the experience. IT is your natural quality to do so…

Abide Here Now, You are You in the Present Moment!~


Nick Myers, a 28 year old serial blogger. Also minimalist, zen participant, philosopher, author of Emotional Alchemist, and tea disciple. I am one who sees a potential lesson in every experience in life. Life is who we are and life is our ultimate guru. I seek to bring us together through our own shared experiences. And hope to not only learn deeply who I am but to learn deeply who others are by dropping my ideas from moment to moment about you.

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Posted in awareness, Mind
2 comments on “Attachment to the Past
  1. Liz Madsen says:

    Haha. 😀 Well… Interesting. Technically… It’s as much wrong as it is right. It’s a beautiful thing to live in the present… But living in the past, or remembering it is no flaw, as it is no virtue either.

    As you said yourself… It’s you, regardless of anything else.

    It’s as inefficient to obsess over the past as it is to obsess over anything (like the present and the future). However, as some lessons would provide a better experience if well learnt, and everything shaping you can provide better experiences in the future… Why not dwell in the past from time to time?

    I think you should do a post on the meaning of life (if any meaning, as everything is subjective these days, lol). Apologies if you already have ( I like to think I’ve read most of yer texts, if not all). Point me in the right direction if so. I’m curious to see your side of this “meaning”. Also, from what I know of you so far, I’d tend to return to the “everything is” as an answer to my request. LOL 😀 Wouldn’t that mean though that there’s no meaning? Or that the meaning is higher than understanding? I don’t know… Any ideas?

    Sorry if this comment is erratic. I just wrote it in the “pencil’s hurry” (don’t know if I said that right or if the expression exists in English). 😛

  2. Hey Liz,

    Thanks for posting! I’m glad you’ve given me the opportunity to do some seeing, some meditation on this. When it comes down to technicalities there will always be the opposition, because of apparent duality, so you are very right when you say, there is much wrong with it as there is right with it. If the mind wants to live in the past, there is no problem, there are consequences, but there is never a problem, it is right that it is you who is creating the problem which there is alot to be said about your post. Obsession has everything to do with the storyteller or the one who is creating the problem.

    Whatever the present moment brings can become an obsession just like anything, and something I would say about that is you just have to let it happen, when the mind takes over or the storyteller seems to take over (or what is referred to as “the one who knows something”) is where the problem arises. “I have to do it this way to receive this outcome, or I have to expect this wanting this outcome.” When this is not the way things work, the outcomes don’t come in straight lines, they just happen regardless of our ideas or beliefs. They have no room for personalisms. What you truly are are not these things but they are just thoughts of controlling the outcome, so really its the thought of control but not you, you are not that control but we agree to grab onto it thinking we need that control to maintain some kind of identity. If the identity is not there, then who IS there? I think is the question we should be asking, Who is the one without any demand on a specific outcome, Who is, or back to the root question of “What Am I?”

    mmm… Meaning of Life, could be an interesting subject, I could probably write a bit on that (and i will meditate on it to see if there is enough there to write or if it should just be let go, to me meaning is right now, in everything.)

    The question of meaning never really needs to arise, if we’re aware of our True Natures however, it is both meaningless and very meaningful, so like you said it’s not that its higher than understanding, but it is out of understandings grasp. “The one who knows” cannot fathom what it is, thats why the question is even there. The simplest answer I can give you is Love adores Love, we are all connected, we are not separate. This doesn’t mean we are not different, but we are not separate. Lifes meaning is well.. Life, it is life for the sole purpose of Life itself, humans exist out of the soul purpose of life being life, love abiding in love, there is no other needed reason. Even now this is only what I see, and it has already become very very distorted but its the only way the mind can communicate something that is uncommunicable.

    If you look at what is going on right now in this moment that you are sitting at your desk, exactly doing what you are doing, the one that has no demand on past or future, the one that is present, whatever that is, is the meaning, That things that says everything through nothing, that is the meaning. What you are is this Truth, you aren’t any of the other stuff that you’ve been “taught” you are, or the things that you have come to know, you are none of that, never have been.

    Thanks so much for the post, its nice seeing your writing around here Lizzy!

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