It is a blessing of God that we normally forget the past. Certainly the present is born of the past, but the fact remains that the past represents less developed states of consciousness, and the present belongs to a more developed state. Therefore it is only a loss to overshadow the more evolved present with memories of the less developed past. ** Maharishi Mahesh Yogi**
There is something about this quote that I find to be very reassuring. It is good to be reminded that everything and everyone is evolving, progressing, developing – including you. Evolution is both natural and inexorable. In fact it is the over-arching principle of life. The past is constantly being surpassed.
The present is always a by-product of moving into a more evolved state. So quite simply, we can all give ourselves a break about what has happened up to now.
Of course we can all point to things we’ve done, words we’ve spoken, thoughts we’ve had in days gone by, that we’d do differently if we were in that moment now. This is natural because it is a function of the continuous upgrade that is occurring in life. For some that upgrade may appear to be glacial. For others it may seem erratic. For meditators it tends to be more rapid than average because consciousness is expanding more quickly than average (and more quickly than before).
So what Maharishi is saying is don’t beat yourself up about those past moments when you acted or spoke or thought in a way that you are less than proud of today. Don’t hang onto and recycle something that occurred in a less developed state of consciousness. In that past ‘present moment’ you acted as best you could, based on who you were, what you knew and what you were capable of. Your state of consciousness in that moment was the determining factor as to your behaviour, speech and thoughts.
The only moment you can influence and truly experience is the NOW – the current present moment. This is where our attention needs to be. When we bring our awareness to the more evolved present rather than attending to the less evolved past, an upgrade in experience occurs.
As time moves on – as the then ‘present moment’ becomes the past – so too does our knowledge, awareness and capability evolve. In this way the past has value in that we learn, we see the shifts and we see how we do and decide things differently. Whatever is useful will be remembered in the new present moment.
These are the mechanics of gaining wisdom. Wisdom is when we take the learning from the past into the new present. This is the value of the past. Rather than bemoaning and regretting things that have happened in a less conscious state, we take the new insights and knowledge and we access them whenever we need to in whatever present moment is relevant.