The need to keep thinking of the past

Acharya Prashant
5 min readApr 21, 2020

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner: I have question on the mind rehearsing stuff. Basically, something happened in the past 10–15 years back and I didn’t give a right response, or my ego got hurt or maybe I hurt somebody. Even though the incident happened 10–15 years ago, I see sometimes my mind still repeats that situation and tries to simulate responses what I would have given. And it is just wasting my life and time. I just want to live in the present or this won’t be possible. I don’t want to live in imaginations. So, how can I achieve this, please?

Acharya Prashant: Talk back to the past or identify itself with the past. The Reason is that the “I” is looking for satisfaction and surely there is a little satisfaction that is to be derived from the past. The “I” is looking for strength and security. If looking back at the past offers it a modicum of strength or security, then the “I” will choose that option. And you cannot blame it.

Somebody is thirsty, really thirsty. And in that condition, if he is being offered a little bit of water, just a little bit of water and that too impure water, the fellow might decide to take that option. Remember that he is thirsty. Should we then talk about the fellow’s thirst and blame him? No, even if you blame him, it won’t help because he is indeed thirsty. Continuously pointing fingers at his thirst or declaring him evil because he is thirsty won’t help. Similarly pointing fingers at the one who is providing that little bit of water, impure water too won’t help. The one who is providing that half relief, that false belief is at least providing something. And if you are very thirsty, then that something is better than nothing.

You have to question why there is no pure water anywhere. And pure water cannot come from memory or aspirations. Pure water is something that you have to dig for right now. It’s a fountain that springs only by the dint of your determination, your work, your immersion in life.

When you are immersed in life, that great ocean called life, there is enough water. Then there is no need to look for shallow and dirty reservoirs. The past is one such shallow and dirty reservoir. First of all, there is not much it can offer. It’s just an image…