If you look to the past too much, you are not paying attention to the present or the future. You are either spending too much time in regret or anger, both emotions that are not very useful in moving onward and upward. I spend a lot of time doing exactly the same. I spend time lamenting about the past, regretting my past mistakes, my past actions, my past words. I spend a lot of time in jealousy and anger over the past. Basically, a lot of my mental activity is spent in frivolous activity, that is never going to lead in any positive change in my life or spirit.
It doesn’t mean that you should completely forget about the past, and consider never, ever looking back. Honouring your past is something that I have yet to learn. To look back upon the years that have passed and actually be neutral about what happened. Whatever happened had to have happened, in order for you to be where you are right now. There is no good or bad in your past. There just is. If you can look back at your past with neutrality and a sense of learning from it, you will have reached a good place in your spiritual development.
It is an extremely hard thing to do. I have yet to meet a person who has managed to do that with any measure of success. It seems that all of us are still struggling with it. But like in any situation, the important thing is to try, to keep on trying, to try until you die. Maybe we should have this as one of our spiritual goals for the years to come – to honor our past, to try as hard as we can to not look back with anger, or regret, or any other debilitating emotion. To look back and think, yes, that was a mistake, now how can I learn from it? Just the thought of being able to do that successfully makes my heart sing.
All of those moments that I spend crying about the past would be erased. I would be free from the stigma that I bring upon myself from the vagaries of the past. No one has any control over their actions in the past – all you have control over is the present. Why would you think you would be able to change the past by thinking about it? All you can do it change the present by using the lessons of the past. The only sane thing to do, really.