No Need to Ponder Past Lives - Look to the future
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2012-03-23
We are the sum total of actions and reactions set in motion in past lives, recorded in the astrologic sign under which we are born. We do not have to know the details. Our tendencies, the way we react, comes from what we learned in past lives. We don't start over from scratch. Be ready. Gather and have in reserve new knowledge and wisdom for when the law of karma brings back a situation to us to fix.
This is from a recent Master Course lesson:
"However, it is neither necessary nor advisable to pursue events, identities or relationships that may have existed in previous lives. After all, it is all now. We don't think it important to remember details of our childhood years, to wallow in happy or unhappy nostalgia. Why pursue the remembered residue of what has already come and gone. Now is the only time and for the spiritual seeker, past life analysis or conjecture is an unnecessary waste of useful time and energy. The present now is the sum of all prior thens. Be now. Be the being of yourself this very moment, and that will be the truest fulfillment of all past actions."
Skipping a few lines, it says:
"The tendencies of our nature in the present incarnation are the ways in which awareness flows through ida, pingala and sushumna currents."
And these come from our actions, reactions and the things we have set in motion in past lives. Data recorded in the astrological signs under which one is born.
I think we all take this pretty much for granted but it stood out to me one day. I was talking to a woman from Canada who wasn't that familiar with our teachings. She was more familiar with certain kinds of New Age teachings that she had been studying in Canada. And she started talking to me about who she was in some of her past lives according to certain teachers she had been with. And it stood out at the moment:
I said: "Oh, that's something we generally don't do." That's what I thought to myself and then I figured I should say something to show her how we looked at that without being critical of it. The idea I expressed was that right now we're the sum total of our past lives so we don't really have to know all the details. Similar to, we don't have to remember every day of our life to have the understanding that we are the sum total of all the days of this life. It's an obvious fact. We don't... As the lesson says we don't give a lot of value to remembering this specific detail, that specific detail when we were six years old or nine years old. We just let it be. And are content in the knowledge that we're the sum total of everything we've done in this life.
Well Gurudeva's pointing out the same principle applies to past lives as well. We don't start over every life from scratch; we carry forward. It's just that the memory content is hidden from us. It's there if we were to perfect the ability to find it but it's hidden from us for a good reason. The one I always joke about is you know the things that went wrong in this life that we did that we regret, you know imagine if we could remember them from every life. Be kind of paralyzing, right? But probably the further we go back the more things we did wrong. So, we'd be paralyzed; we couldn't move. Remembering dozens of lifetimes of flawed action that we regret.
So, we get to start over. We forget. It's a good thing. But, we carry forward certain knowledge even though we don't know the details of where we got that knowledge. And that is found in our tendencies, the way we react to different events in this life comes from how we handled and what we learned in past lives.
"Proceed with confidence. Don't look back. Fear not what others say or do. There is a new world tomorrow, and you are a vital part of it. The yesterdays cannot be adjusted or corrected until we meet them with a new attitude born of knowledge and wisdom in the tomorrows of our future. "
That may not be self evident but it means... I'll comment on it. The example I use is many individuals as teenagers were not that respectful or cooperative with their parents. Didn't really fulfill their duties. And as an adult can look back on that period with some regret when they realize how they should have behaved but didn't behave. So there we are we're regretting it. We're regretting that we did this. And if we did something seriously wrong it'll be a big regret that burdens us. Something we think about regularly. But there's nothing we can do about it if all we do is look into the past. It happened.
What Gurudeva is saying is: Look into the future with a new attitude born of knowledge and wisdom. In other words, the law of karma will bring that situation back to us to fix. We did something to someone else that wasn't right. So, we'll have another chance to do it. But, if we're so burdened by the past we may not see it come around cause it may not be self evident. We may have to reach out a little bit to toward someone a little further away than we would normally reach out toward to have that relationship exist again. But it will come around in this or a future life.
Therefore, instead of simply regretting the past we need to think about it and say: If a similar situation came around again how would I handle it differently? In other words we need to learn from the experience; we need to gather new knowledge and wisdom that we didn't have back then. Have it in reserve in case that experience comes around in the next few years; we're ready for it. When it comes around again, this is how I will handle it.
So that's what Gurudeva's meaning. Let me read it again with that in mind:
"Proceed with confidence. Don't look back. (Meaning don't regret the past.) Fear not what others say or do. There is a new world tomorrow, and you are a vital part of it. The yesterdays cannot be adjusted or corrected until we meet them with a new attitude born of knowledge and wisdom in the tomorrows of our future. "
Thank you very much. Have a great day.