I have long been on a search for greater clarity about my life: specifically, what it means to be happy, what ways of thinking promote happiness, and what I truly value in life. Naturally, in this process, I have spent a lot of time dwelling on the past. Sometimes this can be beneficial, but sometimes it can become counterproductive. I wrote about this in a previous post.
Just now I happened upon a book that I saw as a little kid. Seeing the book brought me right back in time, and a mixture of reactions came up both positive and negative. It brought up an aspect of my childhood that I felt deeply conflicted about. I had a lot of confusion back then, and did not have a confident sense of sense. Just now I found myself arguing with myself about how I wished things had been different, etc etc, even though obviously that is a pointless waste of time to think about because I am in the here and now and not the long ago. Nonetheless, for a moment there I was, as if resisting the past and distracted from being fully in the present.
When I thought it through, I realized what was going on. I reminded myself that there is nothing I can do about the past, and I immediately started to look for the benefit that this particular experience had for me. I realized that it helped me gain my immense desire for clarity. My childhood cluelessness and confusion ultimately helped spur me on my quest for personal happiness.
So in a sense, I owe the existence of this blog to the types of experiences I was reminded of by that book!
My unique experiences were crucial in helping me become who I am. Every experience was a blessing, and contributed to the sum total of who I am now. Thinking of it this way, I feel appreciation for those experiences. I see the perfection of those experiences. I see how they are essential in my life path.
Perhaps our lives are supposed to be sprinkled with challenges, the kinds of occurrences that might have seemed painful, hard, or disagreeable when they occurred but which now seem crucial.
Abraham talks about the importance of “contrast” in our lives. Little by little, I am learning to see in life with a different lens. I believe I’m starting to “get the gift.” Sometimes I still have to remind myself to think this way. But I just don’t see any value in trying to change the past, lament it, or resist what has occurred.
This present moment is too valuable to waste on such things.