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The past is not your enemy and neither is your story

By Nancy Swisher
May 22, 2017



Sometimes the past shows up in the present moment. Being ‘in the moment’ so to speak, does not mean you never have to ‘deal with’ the past. The past arises. In this article, Nancy shares how to approach the present moment with greater awareness and less resistance.



One of my dear clients said to me today, “I thought all this was in the past?  Like I thought it was over!” which became a great jumping off place to do a little teaching about the past.  These are some of the things we talked about so that she could understand the absolute perfection of why ‘the past’ came up like it did—in the ‘now’.

What is the past?

First, the past is within us.  It is within us as memory and emotion.  It is within us consciously and subconsciously.  We hold the past as regular narrative memory when we recall a wonderful experience of some kind.  We experience the past subconsciously when we feel emotions such as terror, shame, and rage that seem to make no sense in the context of our present.
 
It’s the wounded past that we generally refer to when we try to escape our past.  Or when you hear the phrase, ‘just get over it.’

We all have experienced wonderful memories of our past.  We all have re-experienced the pain of our past.  Humans get wounded.  We create a sense of being separate from our true Self.  Not everyone experiences severe trauma, but most experience the trauma of abandonment on some level.  The experience of not being seen, connected to, loved on the soul-level as children—this in and of itself causes the first inklings of the false self to emerge.  To judge ‘the past’ as bad and something to ‘get over’ is a very shallow concept of what it is and how to be with it.
 
Why is it so popular to think we should ‘get over it’?

A current self-help trend towards the ‘past’ is that we must leave it behind.  Many times our past is referred to as ‘our story’.  The consensus is that we aren’t evolved if we look at our past or get triggered by it.  Thus, we have zillions of articles on 10 ways to be happy now; 30 practices to let go of fear forever. And so on.

The human ego always wants to make things a contest.  The human ego always needs to compare in order to have a sense of self.  The self-help field is not free of ego.  That’s for sure.  I’ve heard people say, “Oh I don’t need to talk about ‘my story’ anymore.  I’m so beyond that.”  Can you see the next story emerging from the old one?  The new ‘story’ is that ‘I’m so beyond my story now.’  (You gotta laugh.)
 
The past is not our enemy.  Neither is our story.
 
Have you heard the Buddhist saying: No mud, no lotus.  The mud symbolizes our suffering.  The lotus is the symbol of expanded awareness.  We suffer when we get stuck in the past.  We are stuck when we identify as it, when we feel our limited, little self as the real us.  This is the mud.  Yet, without suffering, without this false identity, we cannot experience the larger truth that this little self is not who we really are.  The lotus begins to bloom with our greater awareness. 

We don’t ever reach a point where the past is gone forever.  But we can reach a point where our relationship to it shifts. 

This shift in relationship is what constitutes a breakthrough.

The ‘past’ my client referred to was an experience she had at an earlier age.  The purpose of remembering this was that a pattern still operating in her life originated then.  She knew it was a limiting pattern, which had repeatedly kept her from loving herself on a deeper level.  So we welcomed this past experience into the present moment (because it was there anyway!)  We explored it quite deeply and created healing and transformation of consciousness by doing this.  She expanded into her lotus self that day. 

The present moment is where our life occurs. 
 
If you can point to some place other than the present moment for where your life occurs, let me know! 
 
Sometimes the past shows up in the present moment.  Being ‘in the moment’ so to speak, does not mean you never have to ‘deal with’ the past.  The past arises.  So we embrace it.  Explore anything that needs exploration.  And shift to an expanded awareness, which includes a greater truth than what we were able to realize in the past.

With this greater awareness, what we called ‘the past’ (a particular fear, memory, shame, or stuck place) tends to dissipate.  It becomes a wave, stops being a particle.  That’s the power of awareness.  So we say we moved beyond the past, which is true.

Then life happens.  We grow.  And just when we are on the threshold of a new evolution of our consciousness, sure enough, some of the ‘past’ will arise again!  Do you welcome it?  Or do you resist it?  Generally, we resist and then realize that doesn’t work very well. 

Getting support at threshold points

At these threshold periods of our life, when we are embarking on a new expanded version of our Self, which can look like creating new opportunities in the external world and/or going deeper within as well, getting support is generally a loving action to take.  We can’t see our own programming because we are inside the computer.  A conscious, experienced guide helps us to see.

 _________

 

Nancy Swisher, MA, MFA is a Certified Inner Bonding Facilitator, Spiritual Teacher, Transformational Coach, and author of The Life That Woke Me Up Was My Own available on Amazon.  Her website is nancyswisher.com.   

 



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