The past is always something that we all suffer from at some point in our lives.  Many of us, including myself, have lived in the past and so we live in pain and suffering.   The question is though, is “the past” real or is it something that we create in language, in thinking and if so, what kind of thinking is responsible? 

What I have found is that the past from which we suffer from, only shows up in a particular kind of thinking, Attachment Thinking.  It is not there, or does not show up when I come back to myself.  When I saw this, I realized that I was creating a delusion.  The past was not real.  It was something that I was generating in language, through “how” I was thinking. 

The past, what we construct in language, shows up very differently in Attachment Thinking to Reflective Thinking

The past in Attachment Thinking will always be associated with pain, suffering and trauma.  As this kind of thinking is fear-based we will generate a fear of the past.  We don’t want to experience the past, so we control and suppress and create unconscious layers that will resurface whenever we do Attachment Thinking.  These unconscious layers are patterns and in Attachment Thinking when we re-experience the past, we become the pattern.  We are now holding onto a pattern that we do not want to re-experience and it is this that will continuously resurface or repeat whenever we do Attachment Thinking.

In Reflective Thinking, we remember a past.  For example, “Oh, I remember when this or that happened.”  The difference is that in Reflective Thinking we do not hold on.  We bring forth a memory if you will, but we are not attached to it.  We are not attached to the “thoughts” or constructs in language.

So what do these reflections show about how we are thinking?  It shows that we generate a past very differently in two different kinds of thinking and we are responsible for the past that we create/construct in language and also the emotions that we generate.  The past therefore does not exist independently of what we do. 

Holding On – How a Past is Created in Attachment Thinking

How is the past created as a reality in this kind of thinking?  How do we do that?  What happens in our thinking in language? Lets explore through an example.

If someone says something that is rude, demeaning, accusatory, judgmental or critical and whatever is said is held onto, then a pattern will be generated.  We will keep going over and over what was said.  If we control or suppress what was said, then the pattern becomes an unconscious layer that will show up whenever we do Attachment Thinking, the past repeating. 

Whenever we hold on, what will show up is that we will make it about ourselves.  It becomes personal.  We think its about us when in fact its about the person who said what they said.  It actually has nothing to do with us but has to do with them.   

The Importance of Reflective Thinking

If we do not hold on, then we might reflect on how all of that occurred and see what was happening for the person that said what they said and so we learn from the experience. 

In the moment in which we reflect, we do not make it about ourselves, that we have done something wrong.  Instead we gain insight.  We are empowered by the experience and not disempowered.  We do not become a victim (what happens when we hold on) and lose ourselves down the rabbit hole of the delusional world that we generate in Attachment Thinking.  We can maintain our autonomy, reflect and be enlightened and empowered by the experience. 

Every experience becomes an experience for learning and reflecting on.  We learn from our experiences.  We gain insights and grow.  Experiences become ahah moments, where we see with insight and clarity.  We become wise.  Our experiences become very powerful methods for learning.  This is the power of Reflective Thinking and Autonomy.

We cannot do Reflective Thinking when we are in Attachment Thinking as we are stuck in whatever it is that we are holding onto.  We are living “in” the past, in a cyclical pattern repeating.  Instead of becoming empowered we are disempowered, we are victims.  We may even seek to punish the person for saying what they said.  And as we make it about ourselves, we think its our fault and blame ourselves when in fact it is not our fault.  This is why Attachment Thinking is so destructive.  This is what shows up when we do this kind of thinking.  We “become” the past and live it as real, we live the pattern as real.

Is the Past Real?

Normally we think that the past is real, but what I have observed from my own experiences is that in Attachment Thinking the past is generated and shows up as a recursion, as a cyclical pattern repeating. We might think, "oh, I have had this experience before."  Any experience that repeats is a pattern and it occurs as cycles, patterns repeating.

In fact, we ‘become’ the pattern as this is what we are holding onto and live the experience, the pattern as a reality. We think the pattern is real, but it is not. It is a pattern repeating of whatever we have held onto and suppressed.

The duration of the experience, pattern, will last as long as we continue to hold on. When we let go, the pattern will dissipate and we will return back to our calm, conscious and normal selves.

What we can see from this is that we not only generate the patterns, but also the duration of the pattern that will increase in intensity when we hold on. To learn more about patterns, recursions, durations and intensity, please refer to my book, Chapter 1, The Past: A Reality or a Cycle Repeating.

To see that we construct or create a past through 'how' we are thinking is not trivial because we can become conscious of what we are doing and what kind of experiences we are generating for ourselves. 

To learn more about the past, how it is generated, what shows up (how we become, thought patterns and emotions) in both Attachment or Reflective Thinking, please refer to my book.

Through learning about what we do in thinking, how we think, we can see how powerful we are. We can either become destructive or enlightened, empowered, wise and intelligent thinkers. We can become conscious, aware and responsible for what we are doing or remain unconscious, blind and reactionary. Ultimately it is a choice, a choice that has impacts and consequences for how we see, perceive, act and live our lives. How we think is life changing!

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