Thursday, August 29, 2013

Yes to the Day not Yesterday

Art by Jayson
I had a discussion with a Buddhist friend of mine about past lives.  My question was, are Buddhists interested in past life regression to try and understand the path that brought them to this life?
She basically told me that Buddhist have no more interest in past lives than the average person. Certainly it was not a tenant of belief.  
The Buddhist philosophy is not a matter of what happened back when, it is a matter of what you are doing now for that which is to come. At least that was my "take away" answer.  I am sure the Buddha would say it better.
It stuck with me though.  If one believes in reincarnation and we are here correcting the mistakes of our past, knowing those past mistakes is not as important as it would seem.  In fact the way I see it, that's a subtle cop out.  It becomes too easy to blame the situation you find yourself in on something from your past rather than your present involvement.
If a person is afraid of dogs, for example, and finds out that in a former life they were attack by dogs, it may be interesting but not helpful.  It is not important how dogs treated your former self, but what your current self is doing to make peace with the dogs today. Rather than your life being some paper cup that is blown to some experience by the winds of fate, your life is the wind blowing the paper cup to the experience of your own choosing.
Life is a little more difficult than overcoming dogaphobia.  There are people, places and ventures that have "attacked" us in the past.  It could make us afraid to repeat the experience. At the first sign of fear we generally stop and run away. If you do that you are definitely off your path. 
When you find yourself in a place you don't want to be you ask how did I get here?  The answer is not because, "those people, places, ventures or dogs hurt me in the past. I feared they would do it again,so I ran away." They did not make you afraid, you are in control of your own emotions. To get back on track you will probably have to come their way again.  One will never reach a destination by running away and coming back to the same point in the journey time after time. 
No matter what you were before, even yesterday,  and no matter what caused your fear, unless you are moving forward you are going in circles. Deal with the issues today as a new person capable of moving forward in strength not running backward in fear.  Other wise you will be stuck in the same place for a long time and perhaps in Buddhists thinking... many lifetimes.
As you were,


Bill said...

I will never forget a reporter asking Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, "What do you think about reincarnation?" His answer was, "I'm opposed to it." He then went on to say that he preferred to gain freedom from the cycle of birth and death by gaining enlightenment in this lifetime and not have to come back.

At other times when asked about delving into or remembering past lives. He said it is a blessing that we forget the past and maintained that life is always developing into more and more. On that foundation he said it's better not to cloud the more evolved present with the mud of a less evolved past.

Tonda said...

That is beautiful, Jay. Exactly how I see it. I love your illustration, too!

Pete Biro said...

Wonderful post, Jay