Mindfulness Part 5: Leaving The Past In The Past

(TORONTO, ON) – Automatic reaction to situations is usually an unthinking response based on past experiences. While we can’t help being a prisoner to the past, I think we must realize that there is some importance to the past while living in the present is a weakness of mindfulness.

It fails to acknowledge that we can learn from the past and that solely living in the present is but a pipe dream. Although, automatically assuming that the past will repeat itself in the present is a bit of a dangerous game.

Facing difficult situations with a past-biased memory inventory is really a recipe for continued disaster. At the risk of sounding flaky, take a breathing space to confront the situation, remembering what happened in the past does not mean it will happen again.

It is a new situation in a different time and space.

If you are caught up in the past, and you accept your captivity, you will never escape the situation. Take a few minutes, a breathing space, to recognize the issue as a new experience in a different instance.

This is reacting in the present as opposed to being a prisoner of the past.

Just because you dealt with Mr and Ms X in the past over a similar situation, it is not a guarantee your experience will be the same. In fact, this situation could be an entirely new experience, a fun new challenge, if you are clever enough not to be caught in the past.

You can make an effort to control the situation instead of being influenced by your past reactions to it.

Remember that, at all times of stress, you can always focus on your breathing during a 5-minute meditation session, where you are taking complete time for yourself to calm down and face the situation. With some perspective, the situation may be far less daunting than you thought it might be.

Through a few minutes of meditation, you may liberate yourself from what you originally thought your reality was. A huge perceived problem may simply be an annoyance not worthy of distracting your mind.

Do not be a victim to your thoughts. You can disregard many thoughts and perhaps only focus on those thoughts that persist.

Live for the moment. The past is past and the future is not controlled by it.

We own but a moment of the present. Make the best of it.

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About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write." Email Robert Stephen