Don’t pack what is back – the past – in your backpack
Suppose we are going trekking with just a backpack. We will carefully decide what all to pack in it. If we fill it with novels and have no space for food and water, we will get into big trouble indeed.
During our life-journey, we frequently let past hurts and issues stay in our minds. Just as our backpack’s capacity is finite, so too is our mind’s capacity. Just as carrying too many things physically burdens us, so does carrying too many things mentally. Dwelling on the past makes us feel hurt, wronged, helpless, resentful, disheartened.
Most damagingly, the past takes up the mental space we need to give to the present. No matter how bad our past might have been, we can always create a better future for ourselves, if we can act constructively in the present. Unfortunately, by dwelling on the bad past, we unwittingly make our present and future bad too. Such self-destructive thinking characterizes the mode of ignorance (Bhagavad-gita 18.35).
How can we stop packing the past in our backpack? A common answer is: live in the present. Though valuable, this advice is not easily practical. Why? Because our present is inextricably linked with our past; focusing on the present may keep reminding us of the past.
To live in the present, we need to live for something bigger than the present. Gita wisdom reveals the biggest reality: God, Krishna. He is the master of all phases of time: past, present, and future. Even if we don’t know what the future holds, we can know who holds the future: Krishna. He is with us in our own hearts, always. If we strive to serve him diligently in the present, he can bring good even out of a bad past and lead us to a brighter future.
Think it over:
- How does packing the past in our mind hurt us?
- Why is it difficult to live in the present?
- How can Gita wisdom help us to live in the present?
18.35 And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.
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