This image popped up on Instagram recently and inspired me to write.
If this image is your copyright, please let me know.
Most of us don’t really see what is happening right in front of us. We think we know what’s happening, but most of the time, our brain is filtering out a vast amount of information that it regards as irrelevant. How does it decide what’s relevant and what’s not? By referring to what it knows from our past experiences.
The Problem With the Past
Every moment of every day, your brain is processing your experiences and matching them to what it remembers from the past. For every experience, your brain produces chemicals that it sends into your bloodstream, which create an emotional response in your body. These responses can range from very subtle changes that you’re not even aware of, to full-blown emotional reactions. When the emotional responses are more than your body can process, it stores the chemicals. These chemicals affect the functioning, and form, of your body. Our bodies are literally a record of our past.
The Promise of the Future
Most people look to a future reality in the hope it will be better than today. But the reality is, your future is created here, now, in the present. If your brain is going to filter an experience next week, based on how you experience today, then your future depends on now. As long as you’re referring to the past (whether or not you’re aware of it), you’re unwittingly recreating the past in your present. Which means the future will be, more or less, more of the same.
As long as we remain unconscious of our habits, beliefs, expectations and so on, they go on affecting our present experience and limiting our future potential.
The Present is the Key
The good news is, you can interrupt the process of experience, reaction and limitation — by developing your awareness and learning to distinguish the present from the past. By illuminating the present, you learn to let go of the past and get out of your own way. You begin living your life in new ways, open to new possibilities, attracting different experiences, be-living in yourself. And because your body responds to the change in chemical stimulus, you start to feel better.
Let go of your identification with past and future. You don’t really need them. Besides, they don’t exist. And it’s much more fun here in the present.
(If you’d like some assistance with this, check out my therapy sessions and training course.)