Back To The Present

“What’s the point in going back to the past for my well being? I want to go forward, not dwell on the past.”

This comment was spoken during a break in a recent workshop.

Each of our past histories hold important keys for our personal growth, yet it is often tempting to become preoccupied with the past. There are many people who dwell too much in the past. On the other hand, not looking at our past history will prevent us from learning vital information about ourselves. And, yes, there are also many people who avoid their pasts, who want to fully immerse themselves in the present, yet unconsciously are controlled by their pasts and don’t realize it.

We’ll try to give a few examples of a balanced approach. George, married six years and in his early thirties, didn’t understand why he got so upset when his wife came home late from even a shopping errand. He had never connected his mother’s death when he was five years old to his fear of abandonment that was triggered by his wife’s lateness.

George resisted going back to his childhood and complained, “What good will that do? The damage has already been done. I need to move on now.”

His mother’s death was just history to him, neatly packaged in his mind.

The key to real healing and freedom from negative programming, however, is to unlock the feelings associated with the historical events, to feel the emotions we felt at the time of the incident, but to feel them as we are now, not just as we were then.

We coached George to lie with his head in his wife’s lap and to go back in time to this key event when he was five. Sure enough, there was lots of emotion. Before long he was sobbing at the painful memories of a childhood without a mother.

To leave him there in that regressed condition, however, would be to deprive him of the gift of healing.

Instead, when we felt it had been enough time, we asked him to now feel his wife’s hands holding him, loving him, nurturing him, and then, even the invisible hands of his mother who would always love him and be with him. A tranquil expression of innocent joy eventually spread over his face. This change of direction was a way to transition him from past to present consciousness, to move from the pain of the past to a loving feeling in the present. Without his re-experiencing the feelings from the past, the healing would have been limited or superficial.

Without his feeling the pain of abandonment, he could not have felt the sweetness of his wife’s comforting.

Another example: Robin, a single woman in her early fifties, was being held by a small group of men in our workshop. She was grieving the absence of fulfilling male relationships in her life.

We were struck by how many times she referred to her father’s pronouncement during her childhood that she didn’t deserve love. She was dwelling too much in the past. As with George, we encouraged her to become a child again and feel the pain caused by her father’s words, even though she let us know she had done this many times. After much resistance, she finally gave in to profound sadness, which soon turned into anger.

She needed to feel and give expression to these feelings. When we felt it was time (and this requires the sensitivity and experience of a skilled therapist), we asked her to open her eyes, still feeling as a child, and listen to the words of loving, healthy fathers. Each man took a turn and told Robin how precious she was, how deserving of love she was, how lucky a man would be to have her as a partner.

The feeling in the little group was sacred. We were re-fathering her, breaking a trance in which she had been for decades. Her smile was radiant.

So please remember how important your past is. Remember there is buried treasure underneath your negative programming. Neither dwell upon nor avoid your history. Feel the feelings generated in the past, and find the right help to bring these feelings into the present, into the light of consciousness, where they can be transformed, and you can be free.

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