In the past, a V8 car was on nearly every street in America. What a big, beautiful and powerful car. Now we drive cars with half the engine size, made with lighter materials, and with almost the same power. We look back at the V8 with a new perspective. They no longer represent the same things to us. We wonder why we wasted so much fuel and polluted our air. How we drove without seatbelts or airbags. We think back with new information.
This is not unusual. Over time, our perception of things changes. New knowledge, new experiences and new viewpoints. I call them lenses. Like a photographer choosing a lens based on their skill to get the perfect shot.
We can never go back and re-experience our past in the same way. We are looking through a different lens now. Sure we have a vague recollection of the dates, the places, and even some of the emotions we experienced. We hold dear to a few good memories, while unfortunately the more traumatic tend to stick with us in more detail. Consider the following quote:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
― Lao Tzu
The present moment is the only moment. The most important time is now. This is because now is when we have choices to perceive our lives. If the past is forever changing or impermanent to our memory, why is it so difficult for us to let it go? If we cannot know the future, why do we attempt to dwell on it?
Is our need for certainty so powerful that we attempt to fix our lens to only what is known? How can we expand to allow the unknown into our lives? Allowing ourselves to live in the uncertainty of the world, creates space to be surprised and to invite new opportunities into our lives. Understanding that we cannot have permanency is a big shift. A shift that is necessary to grow and experience more. I am not saying that this is easy, it is a bit scary to let go of what we think we know. After all, we are experienced as adults, maybe even experts in our knowledge of one or more given subjects.
There is a theory, as shared by Deepak Chopra, around what an experience is; the acronym is SIFT.
Sensation in our bodies
Images we see
Feeling or emotions
Thoughts- Daniel Siegel
Our brains register one or more of the above at any given moment. We recognize our thoughts are shaped by our current lens or choice of how we perceive. Therefore, our experiences are only accurate in the moment. Once the moment has passed, the experience can shift. If you are old enough to remember the V8, I am sure your experience of them has shifted based on your new thoughts about a car.
Try it for yourself. Next time you find you are thinking about the past, notice what you are feeling. Is the experience helping you in the present moment? Now while you are aware, shift your perception to the now. What changes in your SIFT or experience?
Are you ready to explore how you are perceiving your life, I would be honored to speak with you. Let us work together to tap into how expansive your life can be, if only you learn to embrace the moment. Please connect with me via my contact page or my email link.