Tag Archives: ego

Your Illusionary Past – Garret Kramer

This article is incredible. Taken from: http://garretkramer.com

Can your behavior become habitual? Yes. Can a habitual behavior originate from your past? Definitely. If you are struggling now, should you look to your past as the reason why you feel the way you feel, and for the cure? In my opinion, not for a second.

Indeed, the self-help world strongly disagrees. Virtually all therapists, life coaches, and counselors believe, and have been trained to believe, that conquering former traumas is the key to overcoming current difficulties. One famous self-help professional recently insisted, “The key to finding the truth is to go back to the past, to those haunting times, and resolving former traumas.” Oh boy, where do I begin?

Let’s try simplicity. If people delve into their past in order to explain or fix their current troubles, then they seek answers in the same misinformation that created the troubles in the first place. Or as Sydney Banks once said, “Going back to a troubled past is like putting your hand in a burning fire, pulling it out because it hurt, and then saying, ‘I think I’ll put my hand back in again’.”

The past no longer exists. Why do so many of us look to the past to explain our present troubles?

In short, the past is merely a memory carried through time, a thought. And like all thoughts, the past is not real. So if you attempt to solve your problems in this illusion, you’ll pretty much spin your wheels. As a personal example, for years I couldn’t figure out why at times I lamented my childhood, poor me; yet at other times, I relished it, lucky me. Same childhood, so why did I look at it in such dissimilar ways?

Then, one day I realized that my perception of my past was solely the result of the quality of my thinking and state of mind—which are always changing. Thus, it made no sense to look to my childhood as a concrete circumstance that had the ability to bring me down.

In other words, if I thought about my past one day and it made me miserable, and I thought about my past another day and it made me smile, it had to be something inside of me (my thinking) that was causing my despair or happiness. The past had nothing to do with it.

Your perception of your past is always changing. When you feel down, your past is problematic. When you feel up, your past makes sense.

Now, to be fair, I’m not saying that there are never times when a therapist takes a client back to a former ordeal and the client then finds clarity and feels more at ease. What I’m saying is that when this happens, going back to the past is not the reason. If the client’s thought system and level of consciousness are on the upswing at that moment, he or she will find tranquility no matter what the therapist suggests.

Here’s the bottom line about the past: If it had the ability to lead people to despair, then different individuals who experienced the same traumas would all be suffering now. Plus, your past misfortunes would affect you in the same way at all times. Of course, neither is the case.

To me, the self-help world needs to consider the negative impact of taking a person back to former low states of mind. It energizes and perpetuates suffering. Instead, let’s teach people that they perceive the past from the inside out; that the quality of their thinking and state of mind in the moment create all of their perceptions, including their perceptions of the past. Remember, challenging thoughts about your own life history will occur, but you don’t have to do anything about them—they are illusions—left alone they’ll wither away in no time.


Excellent Points

Everything Matters: Beyond Meds

We perceive the world in a particular way and confidently expect it to conform to its appearance. But we fail to recognize that certain aspects of the ‘reality’ that appear to us are nothing but figments of our own imagination. In this confusion a conflict ensues between the world as it is and the world as we believe it to be. And the more we insist on our infallibility, the more frustrated we become as the actual world again and again stubbornly refuses to live up to our expectations.Stephen Batchelor from Alone with Others: An Existential Approach to Buddhism

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