How to stop our past from dictating our future
Recently, I was speaking to a client about a job change. She wanted to change her job and in fact she was unhappy in her career as a whole. I was very excited to help her because I love being involved in people’s process of dreaming, creating, planing, doing.
I asked her about her dreams expecting to hear a an answer similar to “when I grow up I want to be an astronaut.”
Yet, every time I asked her a question about what she wanted to do for work, she would change the subject and instead come up with several reasons why she could not change her job.
For example, when I I asked her: what company she would like to work for ideally, her reply was that a company she would like to work for has no openings for her skill set and even if they did, it would not a position she’s be happy in. When I asked her if there’s a skill set she would like to learn, she’d reply that it costs money which she does not have. Then she would share about how every time she tried to make a change in the past, something awful would happen. She said that her past experience taught her that no matter what she would try, she would fail. She also pointed out that on the psychic level there are forces working against her, familial programming, past lives actions, karmic forces, etc…
Being the impatient… err, I mean kind and sensitive person that I am, I pointed out to her that in every story she told there was a common denominator – herself. The boss failing to promote her, the husband mistreating her, the scholarship being taken away, the inter generational trauma, the karma from past lives – all had just one thing in common – herself.
I also told her that she was asking the wrong questions. Instead of asking “what could go wrong” or “why it would not work” she should ask “what can go right” or “what needs to happen for it to work”. And most importantly, I advised her to look at herself as the common denominator in this whole saga and ask: “what do I need to change within myself to make it work.”
I asked her to shift her perspective. To look at her past, present and future from a different angle. To stop identifying herself with a particular story of her past, to stop basing the infinite future possibilities on the one path that she chose willingly or unwillingly in the past…
After she left, I wondered: we live in a multidimensional universe with nearly infinite transmutations and possibilities. Why then do we continue to lock ourselves into one specific future based on one specific past?
This is ludicrous and illogical. To speak in the language of system analysis (my twenty years in IT does show its ugly head from time to time): the future and the past do not have a one to one relationship. They have a many to many relationship. Many possibilities of what has happened in the past can result in just as many if not more possibilities of what could happen in the future.
In other words, although we choose only one, in reality, many transmutations of the past, present and future are possible… that is assuming that there is indeed such a thing as linear time. Stop! I’m not even going to go into the time thing now.
I also wondered why do we, seemingly logical, educated and free thinking people drag the baggage of the past with us into the present and the future?
Why do we drag the baggage of the past with us? Because we fear, nay we “know” that it will happen again. So we carry the burden of the past just to make sure that we do not acquire it in the future. Do you see how ridiculously illogical this is: we carry baggage so that we do not acquire baggage. But the baggage is already with us!!!
Drop the baggage and change the way you walk through life. Yes, on your path you will acquire new baggage. But, perhaps for just a moment when you drop the baggage you will discover that you are light. And perhaps in that one moment you will realize how wonderful life is when the past is no longer within you. And then you will know what it feels like to breathe as a free man instead of an indentured servant.
What would life be without fear? Quite possibly it will suck and you might get hit upside the head yet again. But even more probable… something will be different. Perhaps that big bat coming for your head will miss its mark, ricochet off the wall and hit your attacker. Spirit had a great sense of humor.
For many years I too was a firm believer that the experience of the past dictates the future. I lived by by this belief as if it were written on a stone tablet and brought down from a sacred mountain just for me. I knew it would keep me safe and prevent me from messing up yet again.
One day, I realized that I had made a great miscalculation by assuming that the world around me and the world within me would always remain constant thereby creating a set future.
A tiny thought was able to sneak past the walls, bars and curtains that I had created within my psyche. This thought told me that the future is not just the result of my past. Yes, it may be influenced by my relationship and attachment to this past. But more than that, the future depends on the person I am today, not the person I was five, ten, twenty years ago.
I saw that the past cannot be changed but my dependence on it can. And so can I. I can change. And once I change myself then so will my future.
This is not to say that change is easy or fast. In fact, change can be scary, dirty, bloody and uncomfortable. But it is possible. All we need is a tiny opening. A possibility, a hope that somewhere in this vast universe of our internal world there’s one molecule that’s capable of change. And that I, the great big ruler of my body, mind and spirit give permission and freedom to this molecule to vibrate in a slightly different pattern.
After all, if a tiny virus (that is not even a cell) can kill me, surely I, a much more advanced organism can heal myself.
And in this this lies the moral of this 3 story:
If you don’t like the answer you are getting, perhaps you are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “what can go wrong,” ask “what can I do to make it go right.”
Remember too: quality of the answer depends on the quality of the question.