"All fear comes from thought in the form of memory (past) or projection (future). Thought creates time: past, present, and future. So fear exists and comes from the perceived existence of time. To be free of fear is to be free of time. Since time is a creation of thought, to be free of fear you must be free of thought. Consequently, it is important to awaken and experience your Self outside of thought, existing as eternity. So question all notions of yourself that are creations of thought and of time—of past, present, and future. Experience your eternalness, your holiness, your awakeness until you are convinced that you are never subject to the movement of thought, of fear, or of time. To be free of fear is to be full of Love." - Adyashanti

I have been a lover of the past. I have believed that my past qualified me for better things, or at least should be enough to earn me happiness. I have looked backwards to find ways to prevent myself from repeating the past. I have held on to parts of the past, akin to the famous break up line "No one can take away what we had." With respect and spiritual truth, I am going to call B#$* S*%# on that.

1. Live in the Present

This one sounds obvious, but our minds so often make our past into a story that we tell, retell, revisit, and reconstruct. This process keeps us in the past, and keeps us from experiencing our soul, our enlightenment, and our freedom. "Your body has been going through this thing called "life," but your head has been going through this thing called "my fantasy about life" or "my big story about life." You have been caught in an interpretation about life, so you have never really been here. Here is the Promised Land. The eternal is here. Have you ever noticed that you have never left here, except in your mind? When you remember the past, you are not actually in the past. Your remembering is happening here. When you think about the future, that future projection is completely here. And when you get to the future, it’s here. It’s no longer the future. To be here, all you have to do is let go of who you think you are. That’s all! And then you realize, "I’m here." Here is where thoughts aren’t believed. Every time you come here, you are nothing. Radiantly nothing. Absolutely and eternally zero. Emptiness that is awake. Emptiness that is full. Emptiness that is everything. " -Adyashanti

2. Energetically Let Go

Often, some aspect of the past is connected to us energetically. Life events can leave unprocessed energy in our bodies and our minds. While couselling can be helpful to process some of that, there needs to be a process of moving the energy of whatever connects you from the past. Whether it is a lover, or a regret, or an old pattern of yours, it can help to imagine the energetic connection it has with you and dissolve it. A lover often has energetic strings to your heart and other chakras. Imagine the energetic chords being dissolved with golden light as you connect to universal love and energy to refill the energy to the chakras. Or sometimes what you are releasing feels like it has hooks into you. Imagine releasing the hook from where ever it seems most attached to you. And remember that this energy is not wrong; what you feel is neither good nor bad. You simply don't want to hold it any more.

3. Is it True?

I have found that one of the fastest ways to release the past and thinking that holds you there is to apply the Work of Byron Katie. Heck, there is even an app for it!

The Four Questions:

Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)

Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?

Who would you be without the thought?

4. Stop Believing Your Thoughts

Your thoughts are not who you are. You have no control over thoughts. They come and go without you doing anything about it. You cannot cause your next thought. It simply is. Thoughts occur more often when we condition them by returning to them, giving them our energy (ruminating or talking about them), and by believing them. Do not resist a thought. If it is a thought that is painful to you, I suggest you try "#3 - Is it true?". Once you really look at a thought and challenge it, it is like a rope you saw in the dark and thought was a snake. Once you see it as a rope, it can never become a snake or source of fear for you again.

5. Focus on Being

"Awakening to the truth is a deep realization of what you are as an experience. What is it that is feeling? What is it that is thinking or sensing? This is not about coming up with the right name for it, so don’t name it for a moment. It’s about just noticing, just experiencing. Feel it. Sense it. Welcome it. Spiritual awakening is realizing what occupies the space called “me.” When you listen innocently, you’ll see that there really is something more here than a me." - Adyashanti

It becomes more difficult to live in the past if you are BEING at this moment. When I was suffering the most emotionally, I found meditation, retreat, and yoga to be the best cure. I went to Brazil on a spiritual retreat and left alot of my story behind. I had to sit with myself in meditation for 10 hours a day, and discovered that there was something more than Me. After that, everything in my life flowed from that place and aligned with it. That is not to say I don't have days or moments of blech. But the blech is an experience now. It is an opportunity for experience or for inquiry. It is not good or bad - just dropping those labels makes a huge difference.

As you let go of the past, the space it creates in your life for more of what you value to show up is amazing. Slowly, subtley, you look around and realize your life has become a reflection of your energy and your vibration. And then nothing is ever the same again.

Gail Matheson, PhD, is a tantrika, a business leader, an artist, a lover of life...but mostly a mom.

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