Why can't people enjoy life in the present? Why is one constantly hounded by memories from the past which invariably are an impediment to one's present moment? People get attached either with positive experiences they had in the past or negative experiences and sufferings they go through in life. Here is the answer. When I attended the Landmark Forum, a self-development program, in Mumbai in 2003, the key message of the program was how to get rid of the past burdens. It is a known fact that one cannot travel easy in life with lots of baggage on one's head as unpleasant recollections and limiting beliefs from the past keep people chained and stop them from taking new steps in the present.
Negative experiences from the past
The reason we cannot achieve what we wish to achieve is because we project our fears and restraining beliefs from the past into the future which creates anxiety. Negative experiences stored in the subconscious mind keep flashing on our mental screens and trigger a series of negative emotions like sadness, guilt, resentment, shame etc. These emotions are strong suppressors of the immune system, thereby resulting in many physical problems like muscle contraction, spasm and pain in different parts of the body. They also reduce the blood flow which impairs the functioning of different organs and leads to various illnesses.
One wonders why only negative thoughts, and not the happy moments flash on our mental screen. It is because unfulfilled desires and events are like open files. In order to move ahead in life, it is very important to do a closure of these files in our mental computer. At times, our unwillingness to accept a loss, apology or the inability to forgive, makes it difficult to shut the files, but tools such as acceptance, forgiveness, letting go and confession are of great help.
Lack of Pleasure becomes Pain
It is not only the negative experiences that haunt us; even happy memories from the past hurt us as we find it difficult to let go of them. Whenever we think of the fulfilling moments from the past, we develop a kind of attachment. Our ego mind does not want those moments to come to an end, and greedily we try to hold on to them. Our mind wants to experience more and more such pleasures which lead to psychological addiction and not getting those pleasures causes withdrawal symptoms. In fact, the lack of all past pleasures becomes a pain for us in the present moment. It is more of an emotional pain rather than a physical pain.
How do we Clean the Past?
As mentioned earlier, letting going of pride, hurt, guilt, resentment etc. helps us to clean our past. In addition, we also have to embrace the loss, be it a person, possession or own self image. We need complete acceptance without any justification. But, total acceptance or forgiveness does not come by logical thinking. One needs to have an understanding about spiritual laws that govern our life and develop some practical tools that can help to reprogram the mind. Talking to oneself in the normal state of mind usually does not get transferred to the deeper layers of subconscious mind. Therefore, one needs to meditate, because whatever one says to oneself in the meditative state gets quickly imbibed in the mind and has an immediate effect in our real life.
Chanting some mantras repeatedly, with complete understanding of their meaning can help reprogram your mind for letting go and acceptance.
Two mantras to be installed in your mind
First mantra: Life is a change, Everything is changing, Nothing is permanent
This mantra is based on the Law of impermanence - When we go through both negative and positive experiences of the past, we think that they will go on forever. This makes us restless and anxious and tarnishes our present as well as the future. Our ego mind on one hand does not want good things to end, and on the other, it also does not want unpleasant experiences. But remember, life is a flux of change, where nothing is permanent. If we don’t accept the change; the reality, we are bound to suffer. Every thing in this universe is changing and is temporary. Therefore, just chant the above mantra and get hold of your life.
Sit in silence everyday and say this mantra repeatedly in your mind for at least 10 times to begin with and keep on increasing till it reaches 40 times in a day. This will help manifest the wisdom of letting go of what has happened in the past. This will break the attachments and free you from the bondages of your ego mind.
Second mantra: Whatever happens, happens for a Reason, And the Universe knows the best
Whether good or bad, there is reason for everything that happens in our life. There is always a valid reason best known by the universe. What sometimes seem nasty and painful can become a source of strength and a blessing in disguise. The whole idea is to perceive everything that comes our way with an open mind which leads to acceptance. It also helps to bring more tolerance, patience and mental resilience.
Yoga Nidra to help implement these mantras
Only saying these mantras will not help. We need to install them deep into our subconscious mind so that it becomes a part of our unconscious habit. I strongly recommend the practice of Yoga Nidra which is a yogic technique of relaxing the body and mind and allows the access to the deeper layers of our subconscious mind.
The best time to practice these mantras is before going to sleep. Repeat them for at least 40 times till it becomes an unconscious habit and gets imbibed in the inner layers of the mind.
We would love to have your comments. Feel free to share any experiences.
Love & laughter