The Wisdom of Looking Back
I seem to flaunt conventionality at every turn. I don’t do it on purpose; I just don’t understand the ways of the world. There are many things in life that are accepted as truth and common knowledge, but just because they are accepted, doesn’t mean they are true. In my last article I wrote of the dark side of love and light and I was surprised by some of the reactions. It seems many thought I was expressing a disbelief in the power of love and light, not understanding that such beautiful sentiments could be used in a harmful manner. And now I find that although I am being guided to look back over my life to review and put things in their proper place, I am being warned that it is a dangerous thing to do.
They say that history forgotten will soon repeat and yet we loath to look back, are we trained to just continue with the same mistakes? Now that I have taken some time to review I have discovered many repeating patterns in my own existence, so I can only imagine that others suffer the same recurrences. And having discovered these odd returning scenarios I believe I will be better prepared in the future to face the potential arrival of the same old thing. Or if I am very lucky I will have broken a cycle that I never would have been aware of had I not taken the time to gaze backwards for a while.
I wonder why we are so well trained to keep our eyes focused on the now or towards the future and why it is perceived as a sin to look into the past. To me it seems a dangerous precedent to only look forward, a soldier doesn’t go into a war zone keeping his eyes peeled in only one direction, and if he did he wouldn’t live long. Cars have rearview mirrors because it is considered wise while driving to check behind our vehicle periodically. A therapist would quickly be out of business if he didn’t open the doors to the past. And even animals retain memories and learn from the past, yet we are instructed that it is unhealthy to look upon what has transpired earlier in our own lives. How can we be free of the past if we have never really spent time exploring it? How will we recognize the signs of endlessly repeating cycles if we are not supposed to acknowledge their existence?
We live in a society that deems our worthiness by our checkbook balance and many believe that attainment brings happiness. We are kept ever so busy running the wheel like mice in a cage, but nothing ever changes on that wheel until we stop and see it for what it is – a circular road leading no where. It is my goal to free myself from the wheel, to step off of it into higher realms and to find a peace that can’t be found running aimlessly, wasting time.
A wise man once said that the path to the kingdom of God lies inside of each one of us, but how are we expected to find that path when we maintain a focus outside of us? Looking back through time has to be done on the inside of us, as it is the only place that the past still resides. Could it be that the accepted wisdom of facing only forward is an illusion meant to keep us trapped? How can we grow to be stronger in the light of God when we refuse to journey into our own past and see both our triumphs and our failures, both our good deeds and our bad? The past still lives in other dimensions and perhaps by exploring the darkened valleys we can change not just the past, but also the future, perhaps we have the power to alter our destiny and time.
I find it interesting that when I say I am looking back, folks assume I am living in the past, but the past cannot be laid to rest while it still contains life and untold truths. I find it even more interesting that self-professed Christians are the most fervent about refusing to see what has gone before, while worshipping a man who has not drawn a breath in 2000 years. It’s a strange dichotomy of thinking that leaves me grasping for answers where none can be found.
How can we learn from our mistakes if we don’t look into our past? How can we become better people if we are not supposed to analyze events and decisions that made us who we are? Are we born anew each morning we wake from sleep or are we a product of all the years we have walked upon the earth? And if we are a product of those years spent on this earth, where is the sin in looking back to know the product better? The simple truth is that in the end it is solely between our creator and us. So the question becomes will we meet Him unclear of our journey or will we meet Him fully embracing our responsibility for the time we spent here?
They say we only have one life, but what if we must live it over and again until we get it right? What if the powers that rule this earth are aware of this fact and to keep us trapped endlessly repeating the same mistakes, it has been determined that we must be kept so busy that we should never figure it out. I have tried to understand why it is perceived as such a destructive thing to look back and I have yet had it explained to me in a fashion that makes much sense. It seems to be one of those ideas that just is and one we should not question.
I have lived many lives in this existence as Victoria and many of those years I spent running so fast, as though the devil himself was nipping at my heels. I was formed by those years so it seems to not explore them is much like living with a stranger. How many of us know Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie better than we know ourselves and how is that conducive to living a successful life? I believe we can never fully know another person, but I also believe it is a sin to never fully know ourselves. How many times have we asked ourselves, “Now, why did I do that?” And isn’t that answer far more important than acquiring the latest fashions or beating a video game or gossiping about friends and co-workers?
So I will spend more time looking back, despite being warned away. We must always remember that the narrow path is filled with obstacles and naysayers attempting to herd us back onto the broad path where we are easily controlled. And if I doubt I will remember the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Thomas, “The kingdom is like a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One of them, the largest, went astray. He left the ninety- nine and looked for the one until he found it. After he had toiled, he said to the sheep, 'I love you more than the ninety- nine.”