I hear over and over on the Internet and in workshops that we “have to let go of the past” in order to achieve something (fill in the blank…happiness, goals, abundance, relationships, etc.). I have to say that this totally misses the point and probably does more harm than good for people who are struggling and suffering with their life. In my practice and in my life I have found that it is far more productive to embrace my past and enjoy it than to “let go”. This also includes the notions that we have to forgive and forget our past and the people who we have experienced in it.
All of our life experiences were for one purpose and one purpose only, and that was to give us a lesson on how to live a better life. If we let go of something, I believe that people will forget the lesson and be prone to repeating the behavior that created the lesson in the first place. In many instances, the past has created our present and to let go of the past would not help the present or the future.
A case in point is my experiences with a cult a few years ago. I totally disempowered myself to the guru and ended up losing all of my assets by investing in business recommended by the guru. I did this to please the guru for the investments were high risk and ended up failing. Ironically, after the guru knew I had no more money he kicked me out of the cult. So you can see that there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this experience, including never disempower yourself, people pleasing never works, always listen to your instincts, and there are no short cuts to enlightenment. There are also other lessons I am finding every day that arose from the experience.
There are also experiences including two divorces, multiple failed relationships and raising two very intelligent, willful sons. There were also many experiences I had with my parents who could not understand what I wanted to do with my life and constantly criticized my decisions. I have had more experiences than most and each one was extremely valuable to my spiritual and emotional evolution.
So the current wave of spiritual and psychological psycho-babble would have me “let that go”. I do not want to let that go. Each and every painful experience has value to me. I do not regret these experiences, and I do not resent them. I do not try to suppress those memories. Each time one of these memories surfaces, all I have to do is say to myself “Wow…what a great experience” and I can enjoy it.
Perhaps they mean to stop regretting the past, which is not the same thing as “letting it go”. When we can detach from the emotions of the experience, we can look at the experience for what it was, just an experience. If we can let go of the emotional attachment to getting what we want, we can completely eliminate suffering. Perhaps they also mean “don’t be a victim”, again not the same thing as “letting it go”. If we believe that we are not victims and the creator of our reality, why would we want to “let it go”? Each experience is our creation, our baby. Why would we want to let that go?
We don’t need to “let our past go”. We need to appreciate our past, embrace our past and understand that we are who we are because of our past. Now if we do not love ourselves, and fill ourselves with self-hatred, then we have to resort to denying our past and “letting it go”. If, on the other hand, we love us, we do not have to “let go of our past”.
So don’t worry about your past, love it. If we really understand our past for what it is, a road map to a better present and future, we can embrace it. What we need to understand is that we always get what we want. If you believe that you are getting what you don’t want, or you want your life to be different, that is the result of an overactive mind and ego. You are living the life you were born to live. You have the power to change it anytime you want by simply changing your mind. That includes accepting and embracing your past.