Let Go of the Past

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Why do un­happy events stay on in the mind? Why are we haunted by those episodes in our lives that left us grief-stricken, frus­trated, re­sent­ful, hurt, guilty or up­set, and not by those that left us happy and con­tented? Across the mind’s screen, un­pleas­ant images of the past flash by more of­ten than ful­filled pleas­ant ones.

Per­haps the key lies in the word ‘ful­filled’. Ful­fil­ment im­plies com­ple­tion. It refers to some­thing that is over, fin­ished with, with no loose ends. Close that file. We need to click on the file­name if we wish to open it. Oth­er­wise, the file is tucked away inside a folder, some­where. How­ever, nu­mer­ous haunt­ing mem­o­ries con­tinue as cur­rent files. Some­thing in each one of them re­mains to be fin­ished. It may well be an apol­ogy that was due. It could also be an un­will­ing­ness on our part to ac­cept a loss.

What­ever the case, that nig­gling file is al­ways open in the men­tal com­puter screen. As sole op­er­a­tors of the ‘files’ that trou­ble us, we have it in our power to ‘com­plete’ those files and save them, too, in that folder in the re­cesses of the mind. But to do that, we will have to let go of some of the pride, hurt, guilt, re­sent­ment or which­ever emo­tion is com­ing in the way of our ‘com­plet­ing’ that file.

Each re­li­gion has its own pre­scrip­tion for this ‘com­ple­tion’. Confession, for­give­ness, mind­ful­ness, con­scious ac­cep­tance — all these are dif­fer­ent ways of telling those open files to close. For, this is one com­puter that never shuts down — not even when we sleep. Our trou­bled dreams tes­tify to that.

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