Most of us have unresolved issues from the past – hurts, injustices, losses, things we did that we wish we hadn’t done, things we didn’t do that we wish we had done and so on. If we get locked into thinking over and over about these various issues, into ruminating about them in other words, this can rob us of our experience of the present and of our involvement with life as it is now. it can repeat a lot of past pain without really getting as anywhere.
It’s important to remind ourselves to come into awareness of the present moment when we find ourselves lost in these ruminations. That can be done by returning to awareness of the breath or of whatever is going on around us.
Pema Chödrön wrote in The Wisdom of No Escape that: “Resenting what happens to you and complaining about your life are like refusing to smell the wild roses when you go for a morning walk … We can get so caught up in our personal pain or worries that we don’t notice that the wind has come up or that somebody has put flowers on the diningroom table … ” .
Taken on its own, this may sound a little harsh, especially if what happened in the past is still very strongly emotional, but the fact remains that we can ‘take refuge’ as Buddhists put it, in the present moment – the roses, the breeze, the flowers on the table – and we don’t have to be trapped helplessly in the past.
My online course Easy Mindfulness can help you to live more in the present- pay by donation. Learn more
Image by Patryk Sobczak
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