When we change our relationship with the past, it changes our experience of the present and what we can accomplish in the future.
I suppose this is at the core of psychoanalysis, the Sunday sermon, the self-improvement books, the meditations, the vision quests, or whatever it is that floats your boat. But really think about it for a minute – actually, really feel it. We’ve all had experiences where we’ve changed our relationship with something in the past – we come to an understanding of someone’s actions (or a deeper understanding of our own), we forgive a person (or ourselves), we gain some knowledge, some perspective, that brings us into a different relationship with our past. And some of those “shifts” result in us seeing ourselves and the world in a new, sometimes subtly different, sometimes dramatically different way. We experience the present with a new quality, a new awareness, a new wakefulness. And our experience of the present has a direct impact on us, it shapes what we do each moment, and in that shaping, it shapes our future.
For my part, how much more useful therapy sessions would have been if I had fully understood that the intent of therapy is to change my relationship with the past. Two things:
- changing my relationship, not me
and in that intention, in changing my relationship, I do change.