It may sound
strange and improbable, but this short article explains how it’s
possible to actually change your past, and let go of any painful
experience that wants to haunt you. The secret lies in awakening a
little-known skill that every person is given at birth, but that few
ever realize they have: the
ability to start life over any time we choose.
It’s true: today is the first day of our life; but this truth is only
of use to us if we know how to turn its power into something practical
that can free us from the painful regrets and disappointments carried
over from our past.
It may seem at first like starting life over every moment is a daunting
and impossible task, but there is a simple method of bringing this
power within our ready grasp. Here’s how we get started winning our new
life: we must learn to allow every movement in our life – every
unwanted memory, every emotion, every thought, and every relationship
we have with whatever moves through us – to have its own life.
If we look around, it’s evident that everything under the sun – from
thoughts and feelings to trees and thunder – has its own birth, life,
and death. This simple idea has extraordinary implications. It holds
the key to the beautiful healing realization that the only reason any pain from
our past persists is because there is something in us that won’t let it
die out naturally. Any lingering sadness, regret, guilt,
or resentment is an unnatural life-form kept alive by our conditioned
mind’s reluctance to let it go.
Physicists have just recently started to understand what religious
scholars, wise men, and mystics have known for thousands of years:
every present moment is always new, and new is always right now.
Another way to say this is that everything is being re-born all the
time. Now is constantly shedding the old in an endless celebration of
life. Don’t mistake this for philosophy or a sentimental wish for a
kinder, gentler universe. All of life unfolds through this process. We
need only observe any living system to see the beauty and significance
of starting over – and over and over and over. If anything in life
fails to shed the old, it quickly stagnates. A spring that stops
replenishing its new waters soon turns dank and sour. This powerful
principle is never so true as when it pertains to human life. It is a
scientific fact that the “you” who is reading this sentence right now
will not be the same “you” who finishes it!
This means that there is no real reason why any moment should ever seem
stale or boring because real life, which we are part of, is always new
right now. Our task then is to unleash the power of this fact in our
own lives. You may be thinking, “That all sounds fine in theory, but
how do I do it? How can I learn to really start over all the time?”
Just as a weary rock climber must at times reach above himself to gain
a difficult resting ledge, you too must dare to go beyond yourself to
find the ever-present safety of the present moment. And, unlike rock
climbing, there is no danger in the ascent to true self-understanding!
The only real danger lies in stagnation – in failing to go beyond who
you have been.
Consider the happy implications: If you could discover that
true relationship with the moment where there is an entirely new you
every moment, it would mean that with every single heartbeat you would
be free from any possible heartache that might have preceded it. In
this new life, every relationship begins for the first time over and
over again. Every discouragement is over right now. Every challenge and
every difficulty is shouldered only in its time and is never carried
forward or looked back upon with regret. Isn't that what all of us
really want . . . the freedom to be who we are, without the fear or
limitation resulting from who we have been? Yes!
Here’s a simple three-step exercise to help you turn this new knowledge
into the power that sets you free. The next time you find yourself
stressing over something from your past – or even upset over what seems
like a present problem, such as being angry about something someone
just said to you – follow these simple steps:
up! See how the stress that now punishes you has the
power it does because you mistakenly picked up some self-compromising
thought or feeling from the past.
go! Instead of wrestling with that troubling thought or
feeling, deliberately set it down with the aim of watching it go
through its life cycle. Only now you aren’t going with it; and when it
passes on -- as we’ve learned all things must -- you are
3. Start over!
Take this bold new action over and over again each time you feel some
familiar ache come calling for you to give it your life. You will soon
know, for yourself, that nothing in the universe can stop you from
leaving the painful past behind and realizing a whole new you.
(Adapted from The Secret of
Letting Go, Rev. Edition, by Guy Finley, Llewellyn, 2007)
Guy Finley talks about the process and art of letting go of
grief, anxiety, fear, pain and depression. For the full interview go to
Guy Finley is the best-selling
author of more than 38 books and audio albums on self-realization. He
is the founder and director of Life of Learning Foundation, a nonprofit
center for self-study located in southern Oregon where he gives talks
four times each week. For more information visit www.guyfinley.org,
and receive your free Guy Finley Starter Kit. You get several free
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insights and encouragement emailed to your desktop once each week.
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