The Past In Light Of The Present

23 Feb

Photography by Gracie – © All rights reserved

Knowing Better Now

When we look back at the past, knowing what we know now, we often find it difficult to understand how we made the mistakes we made. This is because once we learn new information, it is nearly impossible to reenter the headspace we were in before we learned that information. And so we look back at parents who spanked their kids, for example, and wonder how they could have thought that was a good idea. Similarly, our personal pasts are full of mistakes we can’t believe we made. We did things then that we would never do now, and this is precisely because we have information now that we didn’t have, or weren’t able to access, then.

From ideas about how to raise children to how to treat the environment, our collective human past sometimes reads like a document on what not to do. In many ways, this is exactly as it should be. We learn from living and having experiences. It is from these past actions that we garnered the information that guides us to live differently now. Just so, in our personal lives, we probably had to have a few unsuccessful relationships or jobs, learning about our negative tendencies through them, in order to gain the wisdom we have now.

In order to live more peacefully with the past, it helps to remember that once we know better, we tend to do better. Prior to knowing, we generally do our best, and while it’s true that from the perspective of the present, our best doesn’t always seem good enough, we can at least give our past selves the benefit of the doubt. We did our best with what knowledge we had. Beyond this, we serve the greater good most effectively by not dwelling on the past, instead reigning our energy and knowledge into our present actions. It is here, in this moment, that we create our reality and ourselves anew, with our current knowledge and information.

Daily OM


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6 responses to “The Past In Light Of The Present

  1. Suresh Gundappa

    February 23, 2007 at 5:39 am

    That’s why this moment is also call “present” it’s gift of now!

  2. Penseroso

    February 23, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    This reminds me of something. A former president was once asked how he would like to see himself when he was seventy years old (why seventy? who knows!). He answered simply: “I want there to be no regrets.”

  3. Gracie

    February 23, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Suresh, I like that – it makes sense to me… Thanks!

    Penseroso, Thanks for sharing that tid bit of info – I have heard my mom say the same thing after somebody passed. I do have regrets about things and often wonder how she is always able to feel that way. – I don’t know.

  4. Fluid

    February 24, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    Regrets.. hmm, maybe not. But if I were to kick the bucket right now, I’d certainly have to reincarnate cause I’d be unfullfilled, ha ha ha!

  5. Grace

    February 25, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    This was so helpful today, Gracie, thanks for posting it! (Sometimes I get behind on everyone’s stuff but – like today – the messages when I read them seem to be so perfect!)

  6. Gracie

    February 26, 2007 at 12:41 am

    Fluid, I can relate to that. There are too many things to do with so little time. Hope you are doing well, nice to see you again.

    Grace – It’s been a long time – so good to hear from you and hope all is well.

    I’m glad you liked it. 🙂


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