It comes a moment in your life after which you spend most of you time remembering. It’s easy to miss the present when your attention is constantly focused on the past. You approach everything according to how they relate with your memories. It influences the way you think, the way you speak, the way you sense. It becomes the lens through which you approach the world. Eventually it becomes the first thing you have to leave behind when you decide to change your life.
Life unfolds around a sense of identity that originates in the past. When you deal with what you believe yourself to be, you deal with memories. Even when you plan the future, memory gets involved. You tend to think of tomorrow in terms of your memories, looking for something that will relate with the fulfillment of the needs and desires you had experienced in the past. Avoiding to think of the future as a whole new possibility, you think of the future in terms of your past. You think of tomorrow as the potential of a future memory.
It’s easy to behave as if life has no more secrets anymore. Everything seems to come down to the idea you have about yourself and the idea you believe others have about you. This is how you shape expectations of what the future should look like. When life is in disagreement, the mind gets defensive. Life can easily turn into a stage for ideas if we lose ourselves inside them. Then life becomes stiff and cumbersome, it starts to feel unsatisfying.
You usually encounter these feelings later in your life, as you grow older. You put the blame on our age, the loss of innocence you had as a kid, the responsibilities that took over your life. You see life as a scenario and you try to find a story line for you to remain relevant with. A story about who you are and where you are going. This is how life becomes only a backdrop. In this case though, the most significant change that occurred since you were kid, is that the mind became less open. It make you feel more confident about what you already know. It convinced you that life has a specific shape that you have to cope with.
This is when your mindset changed and life started to feel unsatisfying. Your mind limited your space to fit inside its worldview. It tried to change the dimensions of life. As a result the space inside us you distorted, your psychological clock started speeding up. Days became shorter, time seemed to move faster. The more value your mind gives to the past the more it tends to overwrite our sense of presence. You started to feel that there is not enough time. The mind gave to life its own dimensions.
Your heart reacts to these proportions. For if your mind is the intellectual center were the past is stored, your heart is the emotional center that reacts to it. The way your heart reacts to the mind determines the way you react to the world. The more you hold to your past the more your heart reacts to your present. It carries the burden that your mind creates. Everything, always, comes down to the heart. When you decide to be free, it means that you try to keep your heart free. But this doesn't mean that you try to protect your heart. It is exactly the opposite.
Being free means that you decide to be free of having to defend it. It means that you want to be free of having to carry the burden that your mind keep placing. It means that you want your heart to be free of having to consume your energy in order to feel safe and secure. It means that you want the joy of your heart to be free of any effort. It means residing inside your real nature. You surrender your mind to the magic of this world and you return your heart back to its real nature.
“The past mind is ungraspable, the present mind is ungraspable, the future mind is ungraspable”
Shakyamuni Buddha, Diamond Sutra
Your past is the only thing that separates you from this freedom. It fixes inside you the ideas and beliefs that condition your life. It constantly manifests itself as thoughts and feelings. Your reactions towards all events are always conditioned by your memories. Everything you feel and every thought that arises in your mind is always connected with your past. This relationship grows stronger as you continue in the same pattern. This is the pattern you try to escape from, once you decide to be free.
Everything around you change when your thoughts and feelings change. Your impression of the world follows your emotional state. Thoughts and feelings are affected by your past memories. You may be happy until a memory inside you triggers an emotional reaction that will suddenly make you feel sad. You feel strong and optimistic, until a thought inside you make you feel week and insecure. Growing older, you tend to believe that these emotional imbalances are an aspect of our personality. The mind convinces you that you do have weaknesses you have to live with. You wish you didn't have them, but since you have to address them, you accept them as such. Eventually you end up believing that dissatisfaction is an element inherent to life.
This is how you try to learn how to live with our mind. You carry your thoughts and feelings on your shoulders, just like carrying your cross. You can't see how misleading this is because a part of you is always in pain. You are not your past, this is not your cross. It is only an idea. An idea generated by the fixed ideas and beliefs that condition your life.
You are free.
In fact you are beyond what the word freedom could ever express.