Ever has a mental conversation with someone and then asked them about it and they had no idea what you are talking about? But you are absolutely sure you had that conversation? Well, life is formed through thoughts, events, and emotions. And the habit of living in the past in a must break this year.
Before we get into today’s topic, let me explain how events, emotions, and thoughts are tied to living in the past or creating a future.
In my scriptwriting class, my lecturer always emphasized cause and effect as what drives a story. An event occurs (cause), and a character responds ( effect). Now what happens next in the plot will be as a result of this effect, which now becomes the cause of the next action.
According to Dr. Joe Dispenza, this is called the bilingual world, and that is where most of us are living. We wait for an event to happen (cause); we react to it (effect).
Once an event has occurred, it emits a feeling is us. It could be joy, sadness, frustration, shame, guilt, gratitude, love and so on.
If the emotion the event causes in us is so strong, our mind takes a screenshot of the cause, and stores it in the long term memory.
When such an event occurs again, or something similar to the event, we automatically react the same way we reacted the first time. If we practice this for so long, it becomes a habit, which eventually becomes our personality.
When you think about something for so long, it becomes true to you. “Thoughts are things.” Let me illustrate, so we are on the same page.
People are not perfect. Someone promises you that they will handle an issue for you, but you immediately have a thought about them not solving the problems. You then go on to have a mental conversation about why they did not handle the issue as promised. Without knowing it, the thought and mental discussion make you angry and in a bad mood.
And true to your thoughts, the person fails to handle the issues, and now you have a real conversation (that you had mentally practiced) about why they keep breaking promises. Do you follow?
Now that we are on the same page let us look at how all this is tied to our topic.
The habit of living in the Past
All the habits that I have highlighted in this blog have emerged from events that happened to me in the past. For example, in my previous articles, I have talked about the habit of making friends, the habit of poverty and the habit of procrastination.How were they formed? By practiced emotions such that my body re-lives the moment I first experienced that particular emotion. So I experience it over and over and over.
In the habit of making friends, I am always on defense mode lest I say something that will cause me embarrassment or cause others to view me as weak, backward or not enough. This is because these were the feelings that made a significant impact on me when I first commented about a TV program to my classmates.
This means then I have been living in the past through my emotions because of events that happened to me more than twenty years ago.
When I say something embarrassing, it should ideally be funny. But noooo! I will feel shameful, and my mind will travel to when I was eight years old and re-living the shame, pain and hurt again.
I am not alone, this I am sure. So many of us are living in the past without even knowing it.
Let me use a different example. You wake up in the morning and switch to social media. You see people posting pictures of what a beautiful life they are living. You even noticed that so and so bought a car.
You then have a mental conversation of how bad you are doing, how little your job pays that you can do nothing constructive and this gets you in a bad mood. You put down your phone and hit the shower, and in no time you have had another three reasons to be angry and frustrated.
Traffic is crazy today which also sets you off, and in one Facebook group you love visiting, you see how business people are doing great. You (for the ten thousand time) vow you will quite this a** paying job and get into business. By evening you are exhausted that all you want to do is sleep. Tomorrow, the cycle repeats itself.
You are living in the past.
Survive or Create Your Circumstances
For a very long time, probably 20 years or so, I have been surviving. So that I don’t lose you somewhere let me explain what I mean by surviving.
Events keep creating emotional connections to things that happened in your past. These events have caused negative emotions, and because you have re-lived these emotions for so long, you keep looking out for events that will cause you pain, frustration, and anger. You are surviving, not living.
If you always feel guilty, shame, anger, depression, fear, loneliness, self-pity, continually complaining and comparing, you are living in survival. If you are always stressed, you are definitely in survival mode.
Survival means that your body is always on standby watching for events that cause negative emotional, chemical reactions that reaffirm why things are the way they are.
But there is a flip side.
Living a happy life is possible. To live in joy, love, peace, harmony, and abundance but you have to create it. I have to create it for myself.
I have to stop living in the past and start creating my future.
Remember my earlier explanation on how people live in the past? This has to stop.
Sh** happens, and it happens to everyone.
It’s time to let it go and to stop giving all these emotions so much power.
What you focus on grows. Focus on fear it grows. Focus on anger it grows. And the easiest way to develop these alternative emotional states is to consistently and continually replay them through thoughts.
I kept wondering why my world kept repeating itself, like a vicious cycle. And now I know it was simple to predict this future that I am living.
Think the same thoughts, recall the same emotions that have now become familiar and comfortable and you will keep creating the same future. Sure the events will vary, but the feelings and the cycle will probably be the same.
I found myself saying stuff like:
“I am stuck.”
“Why does this keep happening to me.”
“Why can’t I move?”
“Something needs to change.”
I kept saying affirmations, but nothing changed. The same old cycle continued, and affirmations were added to the equation. So was more research and reading. A never-ending cycle.
I realized that my body was working against me. It was not willing to let go of comfort created by familiarity and dive into the unknown. Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know right?
What if I was happy all the time?
What if I was loved and appreciate?
What if I was the most confident I have ever been all the time?
What if people took me seriously?
What if I was empowered and had enough abundance to share with the world?
If my negative thoughts brought about negative events that in turn solidified my negative emotions, then the opposite should be right.
My positive thoughts should bring about positive events which will enforce positive vibes.
Is it working? Hell yeah!
But when you practice something for so long, it does not change within a split second. It takes time. I can’t count the number of times I had to stop myself from thinking a negative thought.
Or how much effort I had to use to keep myself from having negative mental conversations? Most of which will never happen in real life by the way.
How to Stop Living in The Past
I happen to be in a really awesome Facebook group called Mystic Academy. From January this year, we have monthly challenges as a group based on Neville Goddard’s teachers.
January’s challenge was taking five minutes every morning to imagine what you want your day and send positive energy. Immediately I wake up, I meditate and get psyched up for the day.
2. Keep catching myself whenever I indulge a negative thought.
This is where the real work is. One thing I am absolutely grateful for is learning affirmations. When a negative thought creeps into my mind, I say to myself “Not all thoughts are true. Just because I thought about it does not make it true. The outcome I would want for this situation is XYZ.”
This does not deny the thought happened, but it does not encourage me to keep thinking it either. It supplants the negative thinking immediately, and I can focus on a positive thought.
I may also decide that the thought is not worth my time and I refuse to give it more time. I refuse to attach emotions to it, and I remind myself of what I imagined for the day during my morning meditation.
February’s challenge in Mystic academy was exciting. It was about revision, again from the teachings of Neville Goddard. We were to mentally go through our day and revise anything we did not like into what we would have preferred.
Also, we were to revise for others and wish them the very best, from the heart not from vain repetitions.
If something does not go the way I wanted, I imagine myself happy that things went as I wanted them to go. A more natural way I have learned is to imagine myself fortunate because things worked out.
What happens when things don’t change immediately?
I keep imagining a happy outcome. I don’t dwell on it, or try to force it. I imagine myself happy, and I live in that joy, then I let it go and go about my day.
4. Focus on the plan
We all have 24 hours in a day. The thoughts, emotions, and events in yours will determine where you will be at the end of the year. Stop living in the past, and start creating your future.
Goodbye past. Hello future!