There is a popular saying in the New Age spirituality. There is no past and no future. What we have is the now. Yes, the present moment is all we have. Yet, unless we are in a coma or sleepwalking, how we experience this moment is shaped by our past. Simply put, we cannot escape our past. Without our past, we don’t have history, roots, or identity. We must honor our past if we want to be fully present in this moment.
The good news is that we have the power to change our past, or to be precise, to change the meaning we ascribe to the past.
Who we are today at this moment has the stamp of our past. The idea that now is all we have, views life itself as a single point. Buddha Gautama was vehemently against the prevailing spiritual concept held by Brahman (the ultimate cosmic consciousness) which is the same as Atman (the unchanged permanent soul). The Brahman cosmic principle, in essence, views life from a static state-a single point in which we cannot change anything. Buddha Gautama was a reformer. His observation about life told him that life is a continuum which keeps changing. In the eyes of Buddha, life is in a constant flux of change embracing the fixed past, experiential now and possible future. To apply Buddha’s wisdom and insight in life and relationship, I developed the concept of becoming now in the Sacred Path of the Soulmate.
How does Buddha’ insight play out in life? Although what we have is this moment, the choices we make and the actions we take in this moment are shaped by our past due to the memories we have and the desires we want to be satisfied in the future. (If you want to find “the one” in your future, being in the now won’t get you anywhere, you need to become now.) What we can change is not what actually happened in the past but how we frame the meaning of the past experience. Consequently, it is possible that we can change our past perceptions in the present moment.
Here I need to introduce the concept of the causal outcome.
All events created by human behavior have three components: intention, which means the cause, action, which creates the reality, and consequence, which is the effect. The past events, meeting our soulmate and the subsequent breakup, is actuality which is not changeable. However, the attribution of the meaning of the cause and consequence can change the flavor of the story, who we are and who we want to be.
One theory that accounts for the meaning of love life is ‘causal outcome’, which means that based on the outcome of the event we re-create or rewrite the intention and redefine the meaning of life. (This is not same as rationalization or intellectualization which are a defense mechanism to protect our pains.)
Here is an example of the causal outcome. In his opening chapter, Alain confesses that shortly after he meets Chloe, he falls in love with her – why Chloe and not another woman? How Alain explains the cause of his falling in love will depend on the outcome of the relationship. When their relationship is going well, Alain attributes the cause of love to fate. When the relationship ends in a breakup because Chloe cheats on him and eventually dumps him for the new lover who happens to be Alain’s friend, he attributes his love for Chloe to his need to fall in love. If his love story ended differently – let say Chloe becomes Alain’s lifetime partner and he writes, “Essay in Love” shortly before he dies – how would Alain attribute the cause of his encounter with Chloe? Would Alain believe he fell for Chloe, this particular person, or for the idea of “in love”? The outcome of the story would shape how he conceives the cause and how we want to remember the past.
For readers who seek love, if you don’t want to make the same mistake again, be aware of your past.
Do you use the spiritual concept of being in the Now to run away from life?
Imagine the following: you hate your first ex because they dumped you 30 years ago when you were 15. What meaning did you give to the first breakup when you were 15? What happens if your first ex comes back in your life 30 years later and you marry your first ex, now how would you give the meaning to the breakup at 15?