by Frank Dobner

In life it is easy to find things that you don’t like. A lot of time is spent deciding how bad things, events or people are. Things of the future are feared. Things in the present are tolerated. Things in the past are often just permanently painful. Today, I am going to talk today about the things of the past.

The past is special. It’s completed. It can’t be changed. When you think about it, what percentage of your mind do you dedicate to either people, things or events? For the most part, the past is usually dominated by memories of people.

There is today’s past, in which you wished you had said something different to someone, than what you actually did say. There’s yesterday past, where you wished that you had spent time with your kids or wife, rather than watching TV. And there is the distant past of failed or hurtful relationships (maybe death, a divorce, an estranged family member or a broken friendship).

There is a better way to remember the past than through pain. More and more, I tend to look at these people and try to restore what I know is their truth in spirit. It is very common to believe that the truth is the physical or tangible “reality” of what they did. It is easy to think that what someone did or didn’t do is the truth. It may be very easy to continue thinking this way if you were physically or emotionally harmed by them.

But, the fact is that spirit is the real truth. Rather than looking at all the loss and wreckage, it is better to restore your mind to the wholeness of what was originally intended rather than what appeared to happen through your body’s senses. It is a matter of healing. When you suffer an emotional or physical pain, it is natural to heal. The word “healing” comes from the word “whole.” It means putting things back to wholeness that is natural in spirit. You can change your mind. Changing your mind, could save your life.

A Course in Miracles says that giving is receiving. In one of the workbook lessons (#108), it states “to give and receive are one in truth.” This pertains directly to restoring the wholeness to the broken relationships. Because when you vision any relationship (past, present or future) as broken, you are actually experiencing yourself as broken.

When you think bad thoughts about someone else, you are unfortunately thinking the same thing about yourself. You might think that when you remember someone or something that they did as negative, you may think you are giving them the pain. The fact is that you are poisoning yourself. When you give someone a negative “copy” of your thoughts, unfortunately you keep the original.

One of the things that I do, is to remember to look at these relationships as souvenirs. Souvenirs are things that you want to keep, right? You intended something very good with these people. Most likely, they intended something very good for you too. You probably had some memorable moments with them. Most of the time, there is always something good to be remembered, by just about everyone that was in your life. Don’t try to forget these people. Don’t bad-mouth them. Worst of all, don’t do yourself damage by holding bad thoughts about them.

Try to hold souvenir thoughts about them. Remember them in your mind, as they would want to remember themselves. Try to think of the things that you loved or liked about them. Most likely you probably know their real Self a lot better than you want to.

Their Self is the thing that is beyond their body, their personality, their profession, or pettiness. If you try hard, you can actually visualize how they would like to see themselves. You might not get it completely right, but my guess is that you know much more about their Self than you would like to admit. I suggest you spend some time and collect souvenirs of these people from your past and hold them in the light of truth that they see in themselves.

Right now, think of that “really evil person” in your life. Feel the feeling of what you think they did to you. Now think about who you know they really are. They didn’t intend to hurt you. Even if they bad-mouthed you to the entire school district, stabbed or even raped you, they were just trying to fill something inside of them that was aching for some deeper need. They simply made a mistake.

You didn’t intended to hurt them either, did you? You may abhor the idea of giving up your decision to hate them. Their actions were more likely a call for help or love but you may have perceived it as a threat. If you visualize them as their true guiltless Self, you will receive the benefit immediately. Or you can continue to hate them and poison yourself….your choice.

Here is me playing one of my favorite Billy Joel songs entitled “Souvenir.”