A Life Without a Past
Imagine you woke up one day and had no memory. The only things you remember are your name, your knowledge base, your family and friends. You also remember your job and your colleagues.
But you don’t remember anything that any one did or didn’t do. You have no memories of past actions and words—good or bad. You have no disappointments or hard feelings.
How would your life be?
How would you look at your spouse or partner as you wake up next to them and don’t remember anything they did? How would you start your day?
How would you deal with your kids, parents, siblings, and coworkers? You know their names and connection to you. Other than that, the slate is wiped clean.
What would you want to know about them?
Your memory of your own actions is also gone. So you don’t remember anything good or bad that you did or didn’t do—no guilt, shame or pride.
How would that feel?
What would life be without a past?
One might say there wouldn’t be a present without a past; we are the sum of our experiences after all. I think it’s the other way round—without a present, there would be no past.
The past as we understand it is not usually what happened but our thoughts about what happened. Are our thoughts about the past helpful in living today?
The past takes away from our experience of the ever unfolding now. Without a past, we could be more focused on the present.
What if we pretended for a day that we don’t have memories and experienced just this moment?
Here is what I think we can gain from forgetting about the past.
Without a past, there is nothing to regret or to reminisce about. You are free to enjoy life with no attachment to what took place (or didn’t).
With no emotional baggage, you can move freely and experience life as it is now.
A truthful outlook
When you look at people, you see them for who they truly are. Your perspective is not tainted by judgments of the past.
You don’t consider motives or have doubts. You just interact with others in this moment and let it take you wherever you’re meant to go.
Every experience you have is new. You don’t have any preconceived notions—no walls are up and no resistance to what is based on what was.
You meet others with welcoming curiosity and genuine interest. Every interaction is a beginning and an end in and of itself.
Lightness of being
When there is no past to weigh you down, you feel lighter and more at peace. You become one with life at this moment.
What is more joyful than living a harmonious life?
The thing is: you don’t need to imagine having no past. You can choose to ignore the past and let it be. And if any thoughts relating to the past keep coming up, question their relevance and purpose. Then let them go.
It’s not that easy to forget the past but that doesn’t mean we can’t try. The rewards are definitely worth the effort.
Every day brings with it a new start and an opportunity to be free from the shackles of the past.
The sun rises and sets every day. Let your experiences rise with the sun and your memories fade as the sun sets.