My mind is preoccupied with past thoughts
1. This idea is of course, the reason why you see only
the past. No one really sees anything. He sees only
his thoughts projected outward. The mind’s preoccu-
pation with the past is the cause of the total
misconception about time from which your seeing
suffers. Your mind cannot grasp the present, which
is the only time there is. It therefore cannot
understand time and cannot, in fact, understand
2. The only wholly true thought one can hold about the
past is that it is not here. To think about it at all
is therefore to think about illusions. Very few minds
have realized what is actually entailed in picturing
the past or anticipating the future. The mind is
actually blank when it does this because it is not
really thinking about anything.
3. The purpose of the exercises for today is to begin
to train your mind to recognize when it is not
really thinking at all. While thoughtless “ideas”
preoccupy your mind, the truth is blocked.
Recognizing that your mind has been merely blank,
rather than believing that it is filled with real
ideas, is the first step to opening the way to
4. The exercises for today should be done wit eyes
closed. This is because you actually cannot see
anything, and it is easier to recognize that, no
matter how vividly you may picture a thought, you
are not seeing anything. With a little investment
as possible, search your mind for the usual minute
or so, merely noting the thoughts you find there.
Name each one by the central figure or theme it
contains, and pass on to the next. Introduce the
practice period by saying:
5. I seem to be thinking about ——-.
6. Then name each of your thoughts specifically for
7. I seem to be thinking about [name of person.]
about [name of object], about name of emotion];
8. and so on, concluding at the end of the mind
searching period with:
9. But my mind is preoccupied with past thoughts.
10. This can be done four or five times during the
day, unless you find it irritates you. If you
find it trying, three or four times are sufficient.
You might find it helpful, however, to include
your irritation, or any emotion which the idea may
induce, in the mind searching itself.
It is amazing to me how much my mind tends to dwell
on thoughts of what I did wrong in the past. Or what
I should have said or sometimes anger will come up
from some past hurt. I think we all go back in the
past to find answers or justification for what we
did or should have done. The ego seems to be busy.