What is done is done.
During lockdown and the COVID restrictions I have been listening to the themes that people have been sharing with me. I have noticed that time to ruminate has, for many, been time to go over old, raw and unhealed wounds. This reliving of unresolved past events can easily poison the present and become the seeds of depression and future anxiety. We say that the devil finds work for idle hands. I say the idle mind find space for negative rumination. In Covid many of us have had too much time to think. Unless you are able to mindfully control your thoughts and feelings the monkey in your head will go bonkers and throw negative bananas at your thoughts and feelings.
I see this being played out across the board by various people from around the world. It becomes so easy to criticise and blame for past events. From racial discrimination, through to the Holocaust, bad Covid decisions, to current failing relationships. We can never change what has happened and we cannot change what will happen, we can only change what is happening right now.
I understand that many groups of people feel, and rightly so, that they and their ancestors have been badly done to by previous generations. This is real and requires both that we acknowledge what has taken place as a real part of human history. But it would be wrong for us now to grab a German teenager off the streets of Berlin and blame them for the Nazis misdeeds, the Holocaust and the Second World War. They may be the right race but they are out of that time, it is nothing to do with them.
Equally we cannot blame a teenager in the streets of London for the misdeeds of ancestors building the British Empire. The Common Wealth Organisation went some way to normalising these negative events as did the United Nations after the Second World War. Yes we need to learn from history but we do not need to keep reliving it.
I realise that this works both ways and that the deniers of bad events are also responsible for keeping the past alive in the current human awareness in the moment. Through the development of human kind there have been bad and wrong things done by one group to another. This was not only the European Empires it was equally local groups. The atrocities that stick out most is the way that the whole of Africa was mistreated by the European Empires, the abuse suffered by Native American Indians, the Aborigines and Maoris. But it goes on today in every case of ethnic cleansing that has taken place on every continent from Yugoslavian right up to the present day, Myanmar and the ethnic ‘re-education’ of Muslims in China. Even the Celts in the UK would have a case for reclaiming the whole of England as their land that was token from them by the past conquest of the Angles and the Danes.
The same attitudes still prevail in smaller groups and communities. As a Londoner I am aware of the antipathy between those born south or north of the River Thames, or those from West or East London. The same thing is true in family groups whether they are extended or nuclear.
Whatever the group that we are looking at, when we allow the unresolved issues of the past to intervene in the present we are lost. This is where vendetta and the holding of grudges develops and may last for so many generations that we forget why or how it began and why we don’t like a particular group of people we just know that we don’t like them.
With Covid and the governmental decisions there will probably be recriminations for many years to come about who should of done what and who is to blame. The arguments have already begun and are partisan as we seek to blame whoever we can for the current state of things. When Trump describes Covid as the Chinese disease he may be talking from some inner knowledge that we do not know. Equally it could be that the pandemic could have originated in any particular country. It often suits the human mind to have something or someone to blame for how we are feeling for what is happening to us.
When we look in the ‘Now’ the past has gone, we cannot change history. We also cannot or live in the future it has yet to be. However, we can play a large part in what happens next. This is called creativity… thoughts become things. However if we are to create a future, positive or negative, we can only do so by starting to own the now. It is the thoughts, feelings, actions and attitudes that we manifest in the now that will create what happens tomorrow. Today we plant the seed and in the future we can reap the crop. The harvest will either be luscious and abundant or weak and failed depending on where we planted the seeds and how we tended to the crop while it was growing.
This is true on every level of human experience. We do have some control over the pollution of the planet and my favourite topic is our over use of single use plastics. We also have control over the air quality and what we are breathing in and is Eds favourite topic ‘get out of your car and onto your bike’. We can blame whoever we want for the state of the planet, we can only act in the now to make it different. We can blame whoever we want for the mistreatment of one human group by another, we can only act in the now to make that different in the future and value each other. We can blame who we want for the state of our families or how we are feeling. We can only act in the now to put it right.
Live in the present, be here now. In the end that is all that we have. As soon as you read this it has become the past. Living in moment requires precise concentration. The last breath that you took was your past and the next breath that you take will become your future. It is only the breath that you are taking right at this moment that is your now.
As my resource for this weeks Podcast I have chosen Elkhart Tolle ‘The Power Of Now’. This is a fascinating read that goes some way to explaining that all we have is in the present moment.
Take care, be happy in your present, let the past go and stop worrying about what will happen next.