Maybe you torture yourself by constantly revisiting painful episodes, feeling unable to exorcise them from your mind?
There might be a period of your life when you felt particularly successful or powerful, and now you find yourself replaying moments from that time, or telling people about who you once were.
It’s easy to slip into any or all of these. However—you might want to think twice next time you begin to drift into this pattern.
Because frequent dwelling on the past—even on positive memories—can actually accelerate the aging process!
Now, when I say ‘positive memories,’ I’m not talking about occasionally sharing some nostalgia with loved ones while viewing photos of a treasured vacation. I mean a regular habit of looking back on times when it seemed like things were better than they are now.
Yep—accelerates the aging process.
I’m not just pulling this out of nowhere. IT comes from one of the leading spiritual teachers of our time.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I am only now finally getting around to reading The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle.
Despite the fact that it occupied a prominent place of honor on the shelves of my store for at least five years after its publication, despite it being one of the ‘highly recommended’ books on our list during my coach training, despite countless friends and colleagues raving about it, and despite owning my own copy for over a decade…. Somehow I just never could get past the first few pages of Tolle’s somewhat pedantic writing style.
I mean I was pretty sure I’d heard it all already.
I guess I wasn’t quite ready or willing to be present.
It’s so funny, because now that it’s Divine Timing for me to receive this, I’m not bothered at all by the writing style. And … it’s a whole book, for heaven’s sake! I have NOT already heard it all!
I’m drinking up the reminders, and practicing presence as often as I can.
Which, of course isn’t that often.
Those moments of presence are fleeting at best. My busy mind has always much preferred planning the future. Or catching up on what’s going on with everyone else.
Now I have an extra incentive, I am quite motivated to slow the aging process. And I notice I actually do feel younger when I’m fully in the moment.
More and more, instead of feeling like a drag, or boring, there’s a wonder, a curiosity, an excitement with the experiment with actually occupying my body even in the boring or painful moments.
And, I’m fascinated by Tolle’s explanation of the ‘pain body,’ and super excited about the potential of Matrix Reimprinting for helping to diminish or even dissolve the pain body.
But what really jumped out at me was his take on what happens in our bodies when the past takes up a great deal of our attention. I‘d always thought that the ‘problem’ with being in the past rather than the present was in reliving all the old pain. But Tolle says that even when your mind is preoccupied with the great things you’ve achieved, ‘you are not only reinforcing a false sense of self but also helping to accelerate your body’s aging process by creating an accumulation of past in your psyche.”
He invites us to verify this for ourselves by observing those around us who have a strong tendency to hold on to the past. Now THAT’S an interesting experiment.
Set an intention today to notice when you mentally go into the past. And, if you can, gently redirect your thoughts and body experience to the present.
It just may pay off in a more resilient and healthy body—whatever your age!