Exchanging the past for the good that lasts

Many of us have things we aren’t too happy about in our past. Attitudes we’ve held, which now we’re glad to have outgrown. Actions taken, words said—by us, or to us—that we just wish had never happened. On the surface, it seems that there’s nothing to be done about it. But if we dig a little deeper, we really can be freed of the hold those experiences seem to have on us. I’ve learned that the only hold the past can have on us today is how we’re thinking about it now.

About a month ago, I found myself really wanting to be free once and for all of something that bothered me every time I remembered it. However, it wasn’t just a single event. It was memories of a relationship with someone. Although the relationship started out with a lot of love and joy, it twisted and morphed until it became something regrettable. The relationship had been over for years, but every time the other person or any part of the relationship came to mind, I had this “yucky” feeling. I had talked with my Christian Science teacher about how I could dismiss those unhelpful thoughts and feelings through prayer, so I did that whenever things came to mind, but they still kept coming to me. It seemed as if those memories were just unpleasant, irremovable parts of my life.

Then something new came to mind. It’s what Mary Baker Eddy has to say about our past: “It is well to know, dear reader, that our material, mortal history is but the record of dreams, not of man’s real existence, and the dream has no place in the Science of being. It is ‘as a tale that is told,’ and ‘as the shadow when it declineth.’ The heavenly intent of earth’s shadows is to chasten the affections, to rebuke human consciousness and turn it gladly from a material, false sense of life and happiness, to spiritual joy and true estimate of being. … The human history needs to be revised, and the material record expunged” (Retrospection and Introspection, pp. 21–22). Revised and expunged. In other words, changed and deleted.

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