Mark O Brien

Being a prisoner of our past

With Mark O’Brien

I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever cease to be a prisoner of our past.

Either it is the events which happened, dramas I made out of them, the belief in past itself, that it needs to be looked at, or even the conditioning which I choose to say arose in the past, yet seem to be just too lazy, too untrusting, to un-arise it in the here and now, to live utterly in the moment, in trust.

Our teachers have said (at least 10,000 times) to drop the past, and yet here am I, and heaps of others, constantly giving credence to the belief that there is a past and it needs to be addressed. Curious.

Many of us moved to Byron Bay leaving a life, uprooting from whichever life we were previously engaged in, to break from the past and all the life that was lived then, before.

But we don’t leave our past at all, in fact we hold it closer. We do ‘this’ because that’s what we did yesterday.

When I jumped out of a plane last week the quality of absolute freshness, of no framework in which this experience could fit, was like the first real meeting with Osho, the first melting.

The moments of freedom, when the chains fall away, dissolve, as the illusion they were/are. In a flash you are out of the bottle. Identity blown to shit. Recreating yourself every second. Quite relaxed really.

Then some movie, some story comes along, and up you jump and take a walk-on role except you think it’s the lead, and the only script you have is from a bad movie in a past which has never existed. Quite confusing for the being in the gap.

I find my mind continually recreates the past, going over it again and again as if it were really interesting. As though it was significant.

The storyteller in me loves to unearth some new slant on why I am as I am, or think I am. And so much energy. To consider that same energy going into the present, all of it, feels pretty awesome.

To let go of the attachment to all the memories, easy and difficult. To all of the experiences. All of the boxes. To all the codes of relating, the identities that need maintenance, the lines drawn in the shifting sands of our minds.

After watching the film “The Matrix”, which is about waking up and seeing the illusion, the dream, I had the experience of cracks appearing in the veil of illusion, that it is possible to step out of it altogether.

Even going out on the town, partying, doing something that you normally wouldn’t, can create that space.

Groups like Path of Love, as well as standing on their own in terms of what you get out of them, are also great because they take you out of your movie, out of your ‘reality’.

We try to glorify our past, even when we know it was a pile of shit, and we model what we do in the here and now on the past, even though we know it didn’t work before, so why should it bring any real joy this time?

The question is then (again) “Do we have the guts to drop it?”

By Mark O’Brien

Published in the Here & Now magazine, June 1999

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