The past is always a memory which is held in the brain, and so the past is always personal and is subjective to your brain’s interpretations.
So if your past casts a shadow of negativity in your mind, it will color your present in the same negativity and your future would also reflect this quality – it becomes an endless vicious cycle.
The present is actually free of the past, because the present moment is fresh – it always is.
However, the mind can choose to hold on to the past (in the form of memories and emotions), and not really be in the present. Hence it will “experience” the present in the same way as it experienced the past. In other words, we keep re-living our past even if the events are no longer happening in the present.
Also Read: How to let go of the past and move on?
For example, let’s say that you were criticized by your parents as a child and your mind was badly hurt by it. It’s likely that you are still feeling hurt in your present though you may no longer be living with your parents. This causes you to develop a victim mentality that does not allow you to uncover your true potential and keeps you stuck in a loop of negativity.
Value of the past
But it’s also important to note that the past certainly does have value. You can learn from the past. You can use it from the perspective of growth and functionality.
But what’s important is that the past loses its grip over your psychological makeup so that you have the freedom to do what’s right in the present rather than holding on to what went wrong in the past.
Becoming free of the past to experience a positive shift if your reality
If you live in your mind, lost to its movements, there can be no liberation from the pull of the past – so the past will always have power over you.
If you can choose to let go of being identified with your mind’s movement, and allow yourself to stay in a state of being one with the present moment, using your conscious will to just stay aware without being lost to the mind, you will experience a sense of peace and aliveness that’s the very nature of the present moment – the very nature of life’s energy, free of the coloring of the mind.
As you continue to practice this conscious choice of staying with the present, while using the past simply from the stand point of being functional (in terms of remembering your schedules, dates and grocery lists), letting go of the psychological influences of your past (present in your mind), you will slowly but surely start experiencing a shift in your reality.
Your past will stop creating your future, instead your future will be created from the fresh intelligence of the present moment. Also, you will notice that your mind starts letting go of the past as you stop fueling it with your attention.
The power of being present
The past has no power over your present, as stated Eckhart Tolle, is a poignant pointer to the fact that the psychological influences of your past experiences/memories can be completely let go of if you choose to stay fully in the present, in a state of awareness (ensuring that you don’t get lost in your mind).
It can take a while to develop this steady state of awareness, but this is the power that will liberate you from re-creating the negative past experiences into your future, thus breaking the vicious circle of negative realities that one can become prone to.
Also read: Quotes by Eckhart Tolle on Body Awareness.