Prisoners of the past

Festive periods usually highlight how much our lives have changed, triggering memories and nostalgia of how it used to be. People have come and gone, relationships redefined, fortunes have swung, lifestyles transformed. Everyone wanders to the past – so many events, experiences and emotions that have made us who we are. To think of the past is natural. To live in the past, however, is nonsensical . Mark the difference. The past can be instructive and inspiring, but also haunting and limiting. Some enter that space and never find their way out. A painful past captures many, confining us into the role of a victim, holding on to wrongdoings and imprisoned by bitterness, hurt and regret. We demand explanations, justifications, rationalisations – but would those ‘answers’ really pacify the heart anyway? Ironically, other people become prisoners of nostalgia. They constantly reminisce about the ‘good old times,’ reliving sweet memories and wishing they could turn back the clock. They psychologically block themselves from further discovery, mournful that it will never be the same again. In the bitter-sweet symphony of life, it’s so easy to become a prisoner of the past!

The Bhagavad-gita identifies four levels of vision – seeing through the senses, the sentiments, the scriptures, and the soul. The first two levels of vision are what 99.9% of people have become accustomed to. They see with their physical eyes and interpret through their memories, mindset and mood. Though this vision seems natural and automatic, it lacks creativity and imagination – fresh perspectives, deeper insights and new revelations rarely arise from it. When we view life through our senses and sentiments we’re confined in the small world of our own limited human perceptions. This vision doesn’t introduce us to new possibilities, and is therefore much more likely to imprison us in the past. We need to find a gateway, portal and passage to higher vision.

Enter the books – not just ink and paper, but the potentiality of a whole new life. Accessing the timeless words of the sages, saints, and Supreme intelligence, lends one the possibility to start seeing the world through scripture, and eventually, through the eyes of the soul. In reality, we’re not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings having a human experience. Wisdom lifts us to this elevated vantage point, offering profound perspective and bringing everything back into perfect clarity. We acknowledge the past, but view it from a detached perspective above our own emotions. Beyond that, we see an extraordinary future – so much beauty in the life yet to unfold. We see the prospect of where our journey is taking us and feel inspired to reach it. When we open our eyes to the spiritual potentiality before us, a beautiful dream on the horizon, there is no hesitancy in letting go of the past, no point in constantly looking back.

Friends, let us venture beyond the senses and sentiment , and learn to see through the scriptures and the soul! One fine day, we’ll fully embody the vision of eternity, and enter the world of unlimited possibility… onwards and upwards.

– Swayam Bhagawan Keshav Maharaj