Way back in my childhood, we lived in a housing complex with this wonderful lawn with enough space for all the kids to engage in their favorite activities. So some girls skipped rope or played tag, others, including the boys played badminton or football and we were a happy lot. However, as the sun set, we would all gather in the middle of the lawn, and start sharing ghost stories. Whether we believed in ghosts or not did not matter. For that brief period of time, we believed in Ghosts & Ghouls.
The stories were scary but we would all listen with rapt attention. No eye blinks, may I add! Then suddenly someone would point in a direction and shout Bhoot! Bhoot! (Ghost! Ghost!)
We’d all start running, screaming and shouting and that marked the end of our day and everyone would go home, happy, ghost story forgotten and replaced with anticipation of the next day’s session.
Now why would I want to reminisce about something that goes back 4 decades? Because, I realize that we all have ghost stories. Incidents and events that have happened in the past that we simply cannot let go of and that affect us in the present preventing us from creating the future that we really, really want. A future that will not happen even with the help of Creative Visualization or using the Principles of the Law of Attraction, until we lay the ghosts of our past to rest.
They say that ghosts get their power to harm us by feeding off our fear. Something similar happens when we refuse to let go of the past and let it affect our opinions, ideas and decisions in the present. We amplify that fear of making a mistake and thus do not even try to take the right actions.
Osho puts the point that I am trying to convey beautifully in his book, The Great Zen Master Ta Hui (Chapter 10)
“These tenses–past, present and future–are not the tenses of time; they are tenses of the mind. That which is no longer before the mind becomes the past. That which is before the mind is the present. And that which is going to be before the mind is the future. Past is that which is no longer before you. Future is that which is not yet before you. And present is that which is before you and is slipping out of your sight. Soon it will be past…. If you don’t cling to the past…because clinging to the past is absolute stupidity. It is no longer there, so you are crying for spilled milk. What is gone is gone! And don’t cling to the present because that is also going and soon it will be past. Don’t cling to the future–hopes, imaginations, plans for tomorrow–because tomorrow will become today, will become yesterday. Everything is going to become yesterday. Everything is going to go out of your hands. Clinging will simply create misery. You will have to let go.”
Osho The Great Zen Master Ta Hui Chapter 10
So hanging on to the ghosts of our past, won’t get us very far in the present or future. Now I don’t for a minute imply that we should not learn from past mistakes or that we should keep repeating them in the present. What I do endorse is learning from the past and carrying those lessons into the present so that our future is the one we desire.
What I do suggest is to confront the past in your mind, analyze what went wrong and why, take out a key lesson or take away from that experience and then let it go.
Your Present too shall soon be your past, so why cling to that which is no longer there?
Just as when we were children we would run screaming our lungs out, enjoying every minute of it, when we heard the word Bhoot and then forgetting about it, let go of your ghost. We kids looked forward to the next day for more fun after school and homework. Look forward to tomorrow – Life begins afresh!
Written By: Vatsala Shukla