“Make peace with your past so it won’t destroy your present.” ~ Paulo Coelho
There are many things most of us try to keep hidden from ourselves and from those around us, things that caused us so much pain and suffering. Things that are perceived by our minds as being dark, ugly and painful. Things we would rather forget happened. Things we would rather keep buried deep down inside than bring back to the surface. But the truth of the matter is that until we don’t come to terms with what happened, until we don’t cleanse ourselves, until we don’t heal all our past wounds and until we don’t bring light into our once dark world, the past will continue to haunt us. And those painful experiences will continue to have power over us and we’ll continue to be their victims.
“Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life…….” ~ Akshay Dubey
According to the Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung, everyone carries a shadow. There’s a dark side to all of us, and as long as we continue to hide, repress and isolate this side of us, our darkness will continue to influence ourselves and the way we live our lives. And we will continue to be its victims.
“We carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden. If it comes to a neurosis, we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow. And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.” ~ Carl Gustav Jung, “Answer to Job” (1952).
We live in a world where people are ashamed to face and confront themselves, their past, their hurts and their wounds. A world where a lot of people pretend to be happy when they’re not, taking great care of the image they have in the eyes of the world. Painting the outside in bright and shiny colors when the inside is in ruins.
We care more about what other people think of us than we do about how we feel.
How sick is that?
We spend most of our lives desperately trying to run and hide from who we are deep down inside. Thinking that by keeping ourselves busy with all kinds of meaningless things and by living our lives the way everyone around us lives their lives, we will eventually be happy. But we will never be happy unless we take out the garbage, and unless we bring light into our dark inner world.
“If you bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will be your salvation. If you do not bring forth that which is within you, then that which is within you will destroy you.” ~ The Gnostic Gospels
In the Four Noble Truths espoused by the Buddha, we are taught that suffering is part of the human condition. The first noble truth teaches us that pain is part of the human condition. And as long as we avoid confronting those things that once caused us pain and suffering, we can’t really heal ourselves . In fact, the more we try to hide, repress and isolate past painful experiences, the more we prolong the suffering.
The second truth teaches us that we must get to the root cause of our suffering. We must find the courage to face ourselves, our shadows and our hidden wounds so that we can allow the healing process to begin.
“We often hold the tacit assumption that all of our suffering stems from events in the past. But, whatever the initial seed of trauma, the deeper truth is that our suffering is more closely a result of how we deal with the effect these past events have on us in the present.” ~ Peter A. Levine PhD
The third noble truth tells us that all wounds can be healed while the fourth noble truth states that, once you have identified the root cause of your suffering, you must find an appropriate path that will help you heal.
There are so many things you can do to make peace with your past and heal your life and I have to say that one of the most important things is to learn to be alone with yourself and fully accept all that you are. And once you can do this, all the other things will come so easily and effortlessly.
Take time to know yourself and heal yourself. To make peace with your past and to make peace with yourself. Spend less time trying to impress people and more time alone with yourself. Get to know yourself for who you truly are and not for who you think others expect you to be.
“If your mind carries a heavy burden of past, you will experience more of the same. The past perpetuates itself through lack of presence. The quality of your consciousness at this moment is what shapes the future.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Get in touch with the parts of you that are still hurting. Take the heavy burden of your past from your heart and place it on a piece of paper. Ease your pain by writing about your innermost thoughts and feelings in a journal that only you have access to. Bring to the surface all the past experiences that are sabotaging your happiness and your life.
If you can’t do this alone, see if you can talk to a trusted friend, a family member or even a therapist.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable in the relationship you have with yourself and the relationships you have with others. Open yourself up only to those people who have earned the right to hear your story.
Set time alone each day (if you can’t do it daily, do it at least once or twice a week), to converse with the younger part of you. The you that experienced the pain and suffering. Ask for forgiveness from that part of you and work on forgiving those who might have also hurt you.
Meditate in the morning and in the evening before going to bed, for at least 5 to 10 minutes, or if you can, do it longer.
Pray, if you can and if you want to, for strength, for courage, for wisdom and for healing. Ask to learn the lessons you need to learn and ask for help in releasing the heavy burden of your past.
Talk to your Soul, and ask your Soul to lead the way. To guide you and to give you the wisdom, power and confidence to make peace with your past, face your shadows, and heal your life.
Spend time alone in nature, to renew, refresh and restore yourself. To really notice the beauty that surrounds you and to recognize the miracle and magic of life in all that you see and all that you are.
Take deep breaths throughout the day and make sure you are always present in the now. Whenever you feel yourself drifting, you can use the same words I use, learned this from the buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh, to bring yourself back into the present moment:
Breathing in, I calm body and mind.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment (breathing in),
I know this is the only moment (breathing out).
Do these things to heal yourself. Make peace with all that happened and move on with your life. Make peace with your past, and the past will stop sabotaging your happiness and your life. And remember:“In virtually every spiritual tradition, suffering is seen as a doorway to awakening. In the West, this connection can be seen in the biblical story of Job, as well as the dark night of the soul in medieval mysticism.” ~ Peter A. Levine PhD