I recently watched a superb documentary about John E. Sarno, author of the bestselling The Mindbody Prescription (highly recommended for anyone suffering with long-term pain or illness) and commented with a friend on how much of life roots from past experiences.
Most people still suffer under experiences of schooldays and childhood, despite our characters having strengthened over the years. Avoiding/disliking the school bully, wanting to be one of the ‘cool kids’, desperate to be ‘liked’ or even just accepted. These battles stay with us for life and take deep roots in our psyche even though we’ve become stronger and more ‘successful’.
As we get older, the past, too, becomes more halcyon. How many of us have looked back at old photos and thought, weren’t we young/carefree/happier/contented/hopeful back then? Those rose-coloured spectacles we look at the past through, why is it we can’t just put them on now and see the moment?
In ten/twenty years’ time, we’ll be looking back at today and saying those things again, for sure. So, my challenge to those who think that is: how about cutting out the middleman?
How about we look at our lives today as we would have twenty years before or will do twenty years in the future. How about we see how far we’ve come since those school/college/childhood days and how young/carefree/happy and contented we are now, rather than wait two decades to realise it?
We should, of course, look back at life and see what chains are tying us to our past errs, and find ways to sever them, as Dr Sarno suggests. But maybe we should also take a moment to realise how good life is now, compared to waiting? And if it is hard now, move into that future of contentment today.
The only thing holding us back is a shift in mindset: reality is only what we choose it to be, not what the world, or our misgivings are trying to sell us.