How Can I Let Go of the Past and Move On?

The human mind is an incredible story teller. It can make a dramatic story out of the most ordinary situations in life. If you just sit for a while, without doing anything actively, you will notice the mind spinning stories about your past, your future and your present. The mind is particularly addicted to the past, because the past usually gives you a sense of “identity”. It’s difficult for most people to let go of their past because they derive a sense of who they are from it, which is inherently a dysfunctional state of being. Clinging to your past will ensure that your future carries the same “essence”, and your life appears to be moving in circles with nothing new or creative coming in. In this article we give you pointers and insights on how to let go of your past and allow life to bring up a refreshing future.

Stop Defining Yourself Based on Your Past

It’s an unconscious habit that you picked up as a child, you started defining yourself based on “what happened” to you. For example, if you got low marks in a class and were reprimanded for it, you might define yourself as being an average student or a failure. That’s how the mind works, it just labels everything including you. Most adults are still defining themselves based on what happened to them in the past. This is a highly dysfunctional way of living life, because life will bring you a reflection of what you think you are.

A new way of living, is to stop defining yourself at all. Why do you need to define yourself? There is no rule book which says that you need to define who you are to live your life. In fact, life moves on in a smooth manner when you don’t live in your past by defining yourself through the events that happened to you. Always die to this moment, which does not need any definition from you. You can just “be” without needing to “know” anything. Allow life to bring you the knowing as and when it’s needed.

Know Deeply that Life is Always This Moment

It’s so simple and yet most people don’t get it, that life is always just the “now”. There is no past or future in life, just this one moment called the now. Life is timeless; the mind creates time by going into memory or by projecting from memory. One can live surrendered to the now, and life will moves effortless forward bringing forth all the comfort and well-being that is needed for the body. Feel free to let go of your ghosts for they have no value in the now which is always fresh and new.

Nisargadatta Maharaj used to say “When you board a train, would you still carry your luggage on your head or would you rather put it down and enjoy the journey”. Sadly, most people don’t understand that life is “kinetic”, it’s always moving forward, it does not need your past stories and it does not need you to keep the burden of your past identity alive. Let go into the stream of life and it will take you places, you will find that life is never dull when you are not defining each moment from the past.

No Story, No Suffering

Adyashanti, a well known spiritual teacher, talks about the state of living free of the stories of the mind, and how it liberates the being from suffering. You have the choice to ignore the mind. You don’t have to give it attention every time it pops up with a story. Most people never exercise this choice and they just allow their mind to grab their attention with every thought that it creates. When you allow this happen, you are at the mercy of the mind, and thus you can never let go of the past because you keep renewing it with your attention.

Letting go of the mind and letting go of the past is essential the same thing. The mind inherently operates from the past. So how does one let go of the mind? It’s simple, stop paying attention to it no matter how cunningly it tries to grab your attention. The mind will try all types of strategies to get your attention, but if you simply stay in an alertness, you will not fall for it. With time, the mind will slow down, and become very silent. When you become free of the mind, you will also become free of your past and your stories about yourself. Life doesn’t need any stories to move forward.

In Conclusion

You have to ask yourself if you are willing to be “fresh” to life, if you are willing to let go of identities and stories. Most people want to let go of their past, but want to retain their identity which comes from the past – this is not possible. You have to let go of your identities, and be willing to come completely fresh to life, in a very innocent way. Life doesn’t need anything from you expect that you stay free of the “stories” and just let go into the stream of existence. When you live life this way, everyday will be fresh, and it will bring joy and abundance like you have never experienced before.












4 comments

  • Merlene Yearwood says:

    This is a profound article. I was looking for answers and help in order to release past programming. Thank you, I discovered the answers on this page – Merlene.

  • MB says:

    Really appreciate your writing, thank you.

  • M says:

    This is really good! It’s helping me let go of a painful past!

  • R says:

    Nice article! I totally agree with living in the moment and not moping about the past. Otherwise, the every progressing moment we call present will be forever plagued by our past. It’s all about accepting, forgiving and most importantly learning. IMO, we shouldn’t throw the past away but master it. I don’t agree with the fact that we shouldn’t be defined by our past at all since that’s what brought us to the present. I do think however, that the past should not define our future. We learn from our past and continually strive to make a better future, no matter what life throws at you. Just my 2 cents on the topic =)