Richard Bach had written in his book Illusions that ‘You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past’. As an 18-year-old I never quite understood what he meant and I shelved it as one of those mystical sayings that are so deep that you float! Today 18 years later I have finally understood what he meant, or in Richard Bach’s words, I already knew it, I just happened to remember. It finally dawned on me that your past is just a memory, yes the events were real and many times painful which is why some events are etched in our memory like stone, which even the waters of time cannot erase. I always thought that forgiveness, like our Lord Jesus preached could change our past and present and definitely our future. Perhaps this is what Richard Bach was trying to imply in different verbiage?
Apparently not, imagine any event that shattered you emotionally (dramatic effect) or even a simple one but something that created a ripple effect in your life. For a bit of drama, imagine Spiderman (yes I love spidey, this is the second time I have mentioned him in my posts.) he chooses a path of the vigilante because a criminal he refused to stop ended up killing his uncle. The latest version spins a new tale in which the criminal was not the killer but an out of luck dad trying to save his critically ill daughter. Has his past changed? YES.
For a less dramatic version imagine a little girl whose best friend steals her favourite doll then lies about it. She grows up with trust issues and turns into an introvert, years later when she moves to college her parents renovate her room. One of the builders hands over a dusty old doll that they found when moving a heavy wooden cupboard. This little girl is shocked at the discovery and yes her past has changed. Hopefully she makes up with her friend and overcomes her trust issues.
The point I am trying to make is that reality is how you and I define it. The exact events have nothing to do with it. What might seem like absolute, irrefutable truth can in fact be a lie and vice versa. The only permanent feature is our own interpretation of the events, which then translates into emotions, giving rise to either good or bad memories. These memories then shape our personalities, our beliefs, our ideologies and invariably our present, which soon becomes our past.
Lets look at natural childbirth, it is considered as the most physically demanding and painful experience in life. Yet, since the beginning of time women have happily volunteered for it and in many cases undergone more than one in their lifetime. Why? If only the ‘real’ facts were to be taken into consideration, which are intense physical trauma, excruciating pain, copious amounts of blood, loud screams that can curdle your blood, need I go on? For the record, I had three elective caesareans, and in no way lay any claim whatsoever to these multitude of brave women. The entire concept of childbirth is looked upon as a very natural and even beautiful process involving the birth of life through the selfless love of the mother.
Perception, is the difference between trauma and celebrated; routine and ghastly; torture and edification; not reality. So next time life, an event or a person breaks your spirit ask yourself how does nature trick mankind into forgetting the pain and glorifying the end and do the same. Go forth and change your past into whatever you want it to be!