This morning: a surge of views, positions and opinions I have expressed in the past, and that are being challenged in some way or another, flooded my mind. I can see my immediate reaction to defend those positions as if my life or integrity depended on them.
But then a sentence articulated itself in my mouth:
“I owe nothing to the past”
I owe nothing to the 'me' that is the accumulation of that past, to the me that wants to stop time, freeze the eternal flux into a conceptual framework it (I) can control. What has been said and written has been said and written; I take responsibility for having said it, written it, and also take responsibility for now releasing myself from the permanence and echoes of that action. If I said true and useful things, then so be it. If I said things or wrote things naively or that turned out to be untrue, then so be it as well. If my intentions were good, so be it. If not, so be it. The past has a way of luring us into a maze of unresolvable doubt.
I release myself from the permanece of that past. I don't owe myself – or anyone else – an explanation.
As I presently flush out the past from my system (or more precisely, watch it getting flushed out without my will, but with my full consent) I give it one less reason to exist, one less source of sustenance. Good or bad, the past is past, and what should remain from it is a carefully distilled knowing, a 'lesson' if you will. And that 'lesson' can only come into being when the content of the past is cooked by the flame of awareness, released from its solid state into the air... untrapped into new potential.
I keep the past by not keeping it. I hold the diamond it leaves behind after the mountain under which it formed has come to an end. Every moment is a dying and a new beginning, which means that the very action of living is that of facing the sacrifice of the known. Through this sacrifice, not only is a 'space' freed for the arising of the unknown, but also a new knowing that has been crystallised in the fire of conscious experience comes into play, as a new skill and disposition fully integrated into one's being, and through which one is now more equipped to face the unknown.
It is in this sense that one an speak sensically of 'improvement' and 'process'. These terms too, however, in this context are distilled away from time. The diamond of knowing can only arise at the point in which time – past, present, future – becomes smoke. You cannot distill the past tomorrow. One cannot even decide to distill the past, as that too implies and necessitates two steps: the deciding and the doing. The doing comes by itself, and if one has remained or become sensitive enough, the cultural-instinctual-rational impulse to resist the death of 'past/self' can be bypassed, and one moves into the unknown, knowingly, in one single indivisible movement.
May we make space for the new.