Are you carrying pain from your past?

The journey is much easier when you are not carrying your past.
– Sheila Burke

Once a senior monk and his student were walking back to their monastery. They were walking by a river, running through a thick forest. In a distance, they noticed a beautiful young lady, standing at the banks of the river, and crying. The senior monk asked her why she was crying. She replied, “in the morning I crossed the river in search of some wood from this jungle. But due to the rise in the river current, I am not able to return, and it’s going to be dark soon!” To that, the senior monk said, “do not cry, I will help you. If you sit on my shoulders, I can drop you to the other side.” She accepted the offer, got on to the monk’s shoulders and the monk dropped her to the other side. He returned and along with his student, continued their journey towards their monastery. When they had almost reached the monastery, the senior monk asked the student, “I see you are restless since when I dropped that girl. We were having such a good conversation before that. Suddenly you went silent. Is anything bothering you?” The student replied, “You are a monk! How could you carry a young lady on your shoulders?” On hearing that, the senior monk smiled and said, “I dropped her off almost an hour ago but, it looks like, you are still carrying her on your shoulders!” 

This story is a classic example of how people carry the past on their shoulders and don’t want to release it. Is this something you do too?

Those feelings of ‘I will have to give it back when it’s my turn’, those curses ‘you will suffer for all that you have done to me’, being jealous about others progress, etc., are the common grudges we carry in our hearts. The pain of somebody hurting you, for whatever reason; someone grabbing your opportunity using unfair means; an incident of pain in your life, which you never want to forgive or forget etc., all cause heaviness to your heart, like a heavy load.

Do we carry such load or baggage because we like it? No, it’s because we do not know how to let go. The common suggestion you get from people is, to let go and do not dig into the past. But “HOW” do we do that, is the question! Can you stop digging into the past? Will your mind allow it? May be not! 

Our mind is mostly dwelling in our past or in our future, it’s hardly present in the present. The answer is, to live in the present and make sure you understand the past better. You can release the past only when you understand what it held. The longer you hold your pain from the past, the more heavy and painful it becomes. So, it is imperative that we should release it. 

Photo by Yunmai on Unsplash

Some people, even after doing everything right, like maintaining a good diet, doing adequate workouts regularly, indulging in yoga and meditation etc., are not able to lose weight. Even if they succeed in losing some weight, they gain it back even faster. One main reason is, they are carrying the weight of the person whom they are carrying in their mind (shoulder) from the past. It’s essential to manage the past, for a healthy and better life. The more you dwell on the bad incidents from the past, the more it hurts. It could cause anxiety, restlessness, blood pressure etc., which in turn can lead to a lot of other ailments in the body, like heart diseases, kidney failures etc.

I strongly feel, the past can be corrected in the mind, to release the pain, if it cannot be fixed physically. This is done by first, understanding the situation or the event. We will see how to do this, a little later in this article. 

We must always be conscious of the fact that, there are always two sides to any incident. Either you have allowed the other person to hurt you (one-sided), or you were equally involved (two-sided). And there are two kinds of pain too. The one from a person outside of you and the other from one inside you (or yourself). Forgiving the self is equally important if you intend to release your load.

How do we then work on releasing the past from your back?

Understand and correct the past: Sit in a room or a silent place where you are at peace. Take a couple of deep breaths and return to the incident in your mind. Observe the sequence of events which lead to the incident. Take stock of what exactly happened, there could be triggers from both sides. Think of the person who hurt you and tell the person, ‘All that happened, happened in the heat of the moment and I forgive you for it’. Release the person from your mind, confirming to yourself that you have forgiven the person. Now the incident and/or the person can’t hurt you anymore.

In this process you travel back to understand the situation and most often than not, you will realise that you would have done better had you avoided the situation. Then you start feeling it’s no use carrying it any further and hurting yourself and you drop it and move on. 

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Iron out the differences: Many a times, the person who hurt you, may not even know that he or she has hurt you. Pick up that phone and make a call, that could iron out the differences. This needs courage, because if the person has hurt you intentionally, he/she could further hurt you. If you do not have the courage or if the person ends up hurting you more. Follow the ‘understand and correct the past’ step. Most of the time it just needs that call as the person would have passed the comment or done something in a casual/jovial way, not knowing the impact. This process will help you to take the person out of your mind and relax. 

Photo by Andre Mouton on Unsplash

Self-Talk: To release self-imposed baggage, the mirror exercise is the best method. Stand in front of the mirror, visit the event in your mind. Look into the reflection of your eyes and tell yourself ‘I forgive you; I know you reacted to the situation and the real purpose was to protect yourself’. Talking to yourself, by looking directly into the eyes, is the key. You may have just reacted the way you did, purely because of adrenaline surge or the rush of blood. Whatever happened is over, come out of it.

It does not matter if the pain is self-inflicted or inflicted by others, you should never carry the load. Learn to let it go, it helps you lead a better life. 

If you are having an issue reducing your weight even after a lot of struggle, check your weight today. Try releasing all those who are sitting on your shoulder. Then start with your routine to lose weight and check the difference for yourself. Letting go, will improve your health and social wellbeing.

To wrap up, I wish to share this lesson taught by a psychology teacher. The teacher decided to do a practical exercise to teach her students about why releasing the past is so crucial. She told the students to tie 4 onions in a bag and fasten it to their waists and come to the class the next day. All the students came with 4 onion tied to their waist. Some came with small ones and some with big ones. The teacher told them that they should not remove it, let come what may. Even while doing your daily activities like, sleeping, exercising, while under the shower etc., they were not supposed to remove the onions from around their waists. She told them that they would all meet on the 10th day to know more. When they met again on day 10, students complained about the stinky smell, soggy, heavier waists etc. and expressed that they could not stay that way any longer. The teacher then asked them what they wanted to do. The immediate reaction from the students was, to get rid of it. She then explained to them, the onions represent the pain and hurt that we carry around in our minds. However, we all tend to keep it, even if it’s stinking (hurting). She advised them to learn to get rid of it and get that smelly felling out to lead a stress-free life.  

Always remember that, it’s the person who is carrying the pain and hurt, that is suffering. The person who caused the pain and hurt is leading a normal life. Why do you want to suffer for someone else’s folly? Go, let yourself free and enjoy life.

Please leave a comment if you liked the article or if you have more ideas which we can follow. Thank you for reading!

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