The reason why we dig into the past is because our mind is attached to it. The solution is to meditate and let go of our attachments to the past.
The mind might be attached to the past in different ways.
- It could be attached to perceived positive things from the past, in which case we become nostalgic and try to re-live the past. We might try to seek out things that are familiar such as experiences, smells, places, and traditions in order to feel the same good feeling we associate with the past. This is a huge waste of time and prevents us from living in the reality of the present moment.
- We could also be attached to the past in a more painful way. A clear example is that we have undergone a traumatic experience. And as soon as something happens that is reminiscent of that experience, our mind will bring up the painful memories.
- Most of us have both nostalgic and painful attachments to the past. It’s like we have recorded our life like a video tape, and live inside that video tape world of pictures, without being able to escape. Thus, you could say that we live in the illusion of our mind.
How to stop digging into the past
In order to stop digging into the past, we must empty our minds. This is done by way of meditation.
Meditation these days is very simple. Reflect on the past and let it go with the help of meditation. The past appears as pictures, or video snippets, loaded with emotions. To let go effectively, it’s important to accept everything that arises in the mind. Acceptance means to acknowledge that it’s there without denying it. If we were to deny it, or force ourselves “not” to think about it, we would not be able to discard it and our pain will only keep accumulating.
Although the technique is simple, I strongly recommend to meditate with a guide at a meditation center. That helps immensely in order to establish a routine. It’s also incredibly helpful to have a person who has gone through difficulties before you, and who can support and encourage you along the way.
When you have meditated for a while, you will naturally find yourself letting go of the past. You will sense that your mind now has become ‘emptier’. This is an indication that your mind has changed now resides in the present moment. It’s quite easy to reach a state where your mind is more or less free from past thoughts. Even after less then a year of regular meditation, you will be able to tell a huge difference.
The aftermath; realizing the bigger picture
The more you meditate, the more you will get to see the bigger picture. This journey is very interesting; it begins with our desire to address a challenging aspect of our lives, and it ends by bringing us to a place where we can understand the principles of life and the purpose of our existence, i.e. to live a true life, being reborn in the universe mind.
In my case, I started to meditate because I couldn’t let go of past mistakes and that created a lot of anxiety for me. I was also very nostalgic about a few years of my childhood, which I thought were carefree and magical. I kept attempting to find ways to re-live those moments through smells, places, and experiences. It gave me a fake sense of security.
Thanks to meditation, my mind is now peaceful, I can easily move on from my mistakes. Actually, I can even enjoy making mistakes as they serve as valuable tools for learning about myself and my mind. I no longer feel nostalgic; it’s so refreshing to be able to experience every moment as it is rather than through the filter of nostalgia.
I have started to see what is really important in life, which is to live a true life, i.e. to live a life where one is reborn with the universe mind. The problems that originally led me start meditating appear pitifully tiny in comparison to what life really is about, although it was necessary to overcome them in order to realize all this.
When we have reached this state of realization, we just want to keep cleansing our mind so that we really can experience our true existence and live for the world. That is a joyful life.
Take a few minutes, and check out the video below. It explains how to empty the mind.