Letting Go of the Past, Present and Future

Frans StieneArticles, English 6 Comments

past present future

Transcript of a talk by Frans Stiene.

I was thinking the other day, one of the issues we have is that we often get so distracted by everything. Within the system of Reiki we have the precepts – do not anger, do not worry, be grateful, be true to your way and your being and show compassion to yourself and others. 

If you really think about it, that in a nutshell is telling us not to get distracted by the past, the present and the future. 

So it is really quite simple in a way, but at the same time it’s really difficult. If we think about ‘do not anger’ – well we are often angry about something that just happened to us (or what happened last week or five years ago), so it’s in the past, and we are still angry and worried about it. 

Then when we look at ‘do not worry’ it’s often about the future. We worry “Am I still going to have a job?” Because nowadays that is not always the case. I have lots of friends who unfortunately have lost their jobs and been made redundant. So we worry about the future. For me the first two precepts, do not anger and do not worry, is really about the past and the future. 

Nowadays you often hear a lot of ‘stay in the now’ or ‘stay in the present moment’, but I think sometimes people get a little bit confused with that and ultimately we also have to let go of the present moment. We have to let go of the now. 

Why is that? Let’s look at being grateful. For me being grateful is really about letting go of the present moment, of the now. Because it often happens that you’re doing something at that moment and you’re distracted, you are analysing the now way too much. 

Let’s say you are trying to buy something and you really get caught up, “Shall I buy it, shall l not buy it? Oh that’s expensive, that is cheap. What quality is it?” So therefore we get really caught up in analysing the moment. 

For example, maybe you’re with your partner (I think you all will have felt this), and you’re hugging, maybe kissing, and one of you is distracted and thinking about something completely different and so therefore it feels very disconnected. 

Why? It is because we’re not grateful for that particular moment. If we’re really grateful, not 50% and not 80%, but 150% for that particular moment, then we are not analysing. 

Not, “This needs to happen, that needs to happen, they need to kiss me this way or that top I want to buy needs to be like this.” We get caught up in that present moment. 

There’s another thing, often when we think about the past and the future, it is in that present moment. We’re not thinking in the past about the past, or we’re not thinking in the future about the future. It is in that moment and therefore we are not grateful for the moment. 

This is why we need to let go of that moment, because how long is the moment? Is the moment five minutes, is the moment one second or is the moment two milliseconds? We cannot find that moment and that is why it needs to be left wide open. Not being distracted and over-analysing.

This is really important but it’s also one of the hardest parts because we can kind of understand not getting distracted by the past, because if I carried the past with me all the time I become very heavy with discomfort. I can carry something that is light – look, here I have something very light, some shoelaces, and I put that on my hand. It is very light but if I keep carrying this for one day or if I keep my hand in this position like this for one year, man, that becomes really, really heavy. The longer we carry it, the heavier it becomes. 

Therefore we know when we carry the past, we can understand that we need to let go of certain things. 

Also – the future. The future is always uncertain. We thought we were going to have a great 2020, “I’m gonna go on holiday and I’m going to teach all around the world!” Suddenly that fell away. So we know that the future is very uncertain, we don’t know. We can worry about it but it might never happen! 

The Dalai Lama has a really wonderful quote and it goes something like this – if you worry about something and you can fix it, then fix it and stop worrying about it. If you worry about something and you can’t fix it then what is the use of worrying about it! So stop worrying about it and let it go. 

We can easily understand these elements but actually being 150% in that present moment is a very slippery slope. We actually have to let go of that moment, we have to be wide open and then we can really enjoy life to its fullest. Most of the time we’re not enjoying life to its fullest. We are either thinking about the past or we’re thinking about the future. And then we are contemplating the present moment way too much, we are too much in our heads.

I was watching this wonderful series the other day, it’s a Spanish series called The Pier. I can’t remember the exact phrase, but the woman basically said, “If you label desire you limit it.” This is it! As soon as we label something that we’re doing at that moment, even if we say “This is wonderful” or “This is not wonderful and needs to be like this,” we’re already caught up in all of that. 

This is where we lose being grateful. It really is about being 150% grateful for what is happening at that particular time. So therefore the precepts ‘do not anger, do not worry’ are linked to the past and future. Being grateful has to do with the present. We need to open it up so we’re not attached to all of this. So we are not carrying a lot of the past, we’re not focusing on the future and we’re not constantly analysing this present moment. Then we can be really true to our way and our being. Through being true to our way and our being – compassion comes forward!

Pure compassion. Pure compassion is something that already exists inside everybody, it’s not something we have to acquire from the outside, it is our beautiful innate great bright light. It’s like how water is wet. I cannot take the wetness out of water, right? So the quality of this innate great bright light is compassion. 

To have that pure compassion come forward we need to let go of the past, the present and the future, or as they call it – we have to let go of the three times. This is really why we practice. First of all, we are really focusing. 

For example, in the system of Reiki we do these meditation practices breathing in the hara, centred and grounding. The more we breathe into the hara in a really focused way, the less we are going to be distracted by the future. If I’m sitting there breathing in the hara and I’m analysing my meditation, “Is it going good? I can’t do it. Oh man that’s difficult. Oh yes I’m feeling all these wonderful and great things.” Then I’m distracted. I am distracted by the present moment and therefore I cannot be grateful for the practice itself. 
In Japan they call it ‘just practice’, so when we ‘just practice’ we’re not analysing that present moment. 
This is why we sit on our butts and we do these meditation practices or chanting. When we do these kind of practices sitting on our butt for 10, 20 or 45 minutes, day after day – then it becomes easier to do this in daily life. 

For example when you walk into town you’re not distracted by the past, you’re not worried about the future and you’re not distracted by the present moment. This moment then becomes very fluent, it becomes very open. Things come and go but we’re not clinging to it, we’re not distracted by it and therefore we can be really true to our way and our being. At that moment when we are true to our way and our being compassion arises and people can feel it.

I just read a wonderful quote, I’m not sure who it was about since it was on a friend’s facebook page. She wrote it in Italian and it went something like this – if you hear someone speaking about spirituality look them in the eyes and see if it comes from a direct experience. If you read about spirituality read in between the lines and see if it comes from a direct experience, because we can talk about all of these spiritual practices but if it’s not coming from a direct experience then we’re just like a parrot who is repeating something that we’ve heard or read. 
When we have that direct experience of letting go of the past, present and future then we can be really true to our way, our being and that compassion. People can feel it! People can feel it when you walk in the street. There will be something emanating from you, that beautiful great bright light. This is so necessary in our daily life, specifically now when the world is in turmoil with Covid-19, violence and all sorts of things. This is why it’s so important to have daily practice, to sit on our butt so in that daily practice we can actually stay focused on what we’re doing. Don’t get distracted for yourself. 

Each time remember “Am I distracted by past, present and future?” Check, and then try to let go. It’s not easy but that’s why we have meditation
practices and that’s why we have hands on healing within the system of Reiki. That’s why we have mantras and symbols to stay focused. All of these are there so we’re not getting distracted. 

I spoke to someone yesterday and we talked about hands on healing. They were saying, often people do hands on healing but they’re not going deep enough. One of the reasons we came up with that is because energy follows the mind. 

So if I’m doing hands on healing on myself and I think about something from yesterday or I’m analysing my hands on healing practice, what I’m feeling, seeing, doing or whatever is on my mind, then I’m distracted by past, present and future. Therefore my hands on healing, my energy, is also being distracted by past, present and future. Does that make sense? 

If I lay down in bed and I do hands on healing on myself and I fall asleep. Most of the time we dream some really crazy shit, so my energy is also distracted by the crazy stuff that is going on in my dream state mind. Therefore hands on healing traditionally is about being focused. It should help you to focus. When you’re really focused and not being distracted by past, present and future, your hands on healing will take on a very different dimension. 

So check on yourself! Practice, practice, practice and practice. Not just hands on healing but also the precepts and the meditations. The symbols and mantras (if you know them), internalise them. Work with Reiju as a meditation practice, so that in your daily life you’ll learn about not being distracted about past, present and future.

Comments 6

  1. Avatar of Christopher Pritchard

    Thank you for this wonderful article Frans. You are a gifted writer and I am always grateful for your insights. Namaste.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene Post
  2. Avatar of Malcolm Pearce

    Very helpful!
    Simple and at the same time very very deep — especially the point about gratitude being the way to be fully established in the present moment, and to be free of the present moment.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene Post
  3. Avatar of Ana Sanchez

    Oh boy! now more than ever need to stay in the moment and walk in gratitude. the fear of the future is hunting me! need to keep meditating and practicing your teaching
    thank you Frans

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

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