Having looked the past in the eye, having asked for forgiveness and having made amends, let us shut the door on the past - not in order to forget it but in order not to allow it to imprison us.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once write something about the mind being like a room and that one should put into it only the furniture and other things one wants and everything that doesn't belong there should be thrown out.
We all have regrets. The older you get the more of them you have. They accompany wrinkles and gray hair like an entourage, nasty folks who weren't invited to your party but came anyway. Recently I was talking with a woman who was feeling very down because she had been remembering her past mistakes and bad things that had been done to her. She said she kept going through her mind trying to imagine what she could have done to avoid them. I told her to stop it. I told her to look forward, not back. I said don't rehearse a show that's closed.
Earlier this year I wrote about the modern Kabbalist who likened the mind to a radio that only plays two stations. On one station you can hear only good news and on the other only bad news. When you aren't alert the radio will automatically switch over to the bad news station. One has to keep switching back to the first station or the mind will give bad news to you all the time. It takes mental discipline to keep focused on only what you want in your mental room.
The past is hard to forget. Regrets pop into the mind without warning. A word, an event, a picture, something triggers a memory and zap! there you are reliving some scene you wish hadn't happened. Something has imprisoned you, locked you up in the wrong room. But fortunately you've a choice, it's called Freedom of Thought. It isn't hard. It just has to be exercised and used. It's easier than losing weight and much easier than giving up cigarettes, take it from me.
As an actor I found it was vitally important in order to clearly and faithfully portray the character that I was always concentrating on what he was thinking. Thus I developed an alarm that would go off whenever my thoughts were wandering into erroneous paths. The silent alarm would go off in my head and a voice would say "What are you thinking about?" Now I find the same alarm in my daily life. It's a habit. A good one.
DB - The Vagabond
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