We are prisoners of the past. Emotionally, physically, psychologically, intellectually…on every level of our manifestation we can not escape the consequences of what we’ve done and who we have been. Whatever you are experiencing in this moment, and in any moment, is the sum total of every choice you’ve made, every emotion you’ve indulged, and every battle you’ve raged. There is nothing that you have been that is not a part of who you are now. The term “Prisoner” may throw you off as it carries a negative connotation. Release that judgment and just accept that as you are today is the complete function of what you have been up to this point. The key is to realize that just as my present is a slave to the past, my future is also slave to my present. Whatever I do not like in this moment can change over time. This change may happen slowly with deliberate effort; or it could occur with just a mere change of scenery. This is the source of our power: owning the present moments.
Sometimes we use the truth of being prisoners to the present as an excuse for our behaviors and feelings:
“well that’s just who I am so you gotta deal with it.”
“I’ve always been this way.”
or better still
“God made me like this so whatever…”
These are comments made by someone who is a Slave to the past, not a Prisoner. There is a tremendous difference between the two. Slaves to the past do not dare to challenge authority. In this case, the authority being their established Behaviors, Beliefs and Thought Processes. Whereas Prisoners to the past are in a constant quest to overcome the limitations of their mind. Slaves to the past hold on to convictions that were established years, decades, lifetimes ago. Prisoners to the past are evolving with the changing world, allowing new experiences to shape convictions. There’s little work to be done for the slave; this person will let you know “I am what I am.” The Prisoner, on the other hand, fervently works at creating a better version of himself for the future.
You can tell if you are a slave to the past if you hold the same beliefs as you did 7 years ago. If you think the same things about groups of people, tell the same stories of your childhood at parties, have the exact same friends. You can tell if you are a slave to the past if you engage in the same spiritual/religious practices as you always have. Everything evolves, that is the nature of this world; anything that is not actively evolving is dead. Slaves to the past have already died to themselves.
I meditate on the mantra “Om Namah Shivaya Shiva” which can be translated as: “Om and Salutations to that which we are capable of becoming.” I sat with this mantra and it dawned on me that this man I was hoping to become wasn’t going to just show up on my doorstep one day. He would not usurp my daily addictions, write my words, study on my behalf, create peace within and around me. He did not exist outside of my daily habits. This man I hope to become would have to be developed, day by day…it occurred to me that the only difference between BEING and BECOMING is time. Whatever I want to become, I need to be right now. I need to sit everyday to become the man who sits every day. I need to wake up early in the morning to study and write if I see myself as someone who studies and writes. I need to reach out to lost loved ones if I hope to one day be in their lives.
If I meditate sporadically then I am becoming a person who meditates sporadically. If I write when I feel like it, then I am becoming a person who writes when he feels like it…so on and so forth this concept applies to all aspects of life.
So the future You is counting on the present You to make it a Prisoner of something beautiful. A Prisoner of doing good, a Prisoner of sharing love, a Prisoner of productivity, a Prisoner of laughter, a Prisoner of prayer, a Prisoner of creativity…
Review your actions at the end of every day and ask yourself:
“Who am I Becoming.”