Have you heard the story of an old man who was found to be sobbing bitterly on his deathbed? His friends asked him why he was crying so broken-heartedly. He said to them, “In my youth, I threw away a fortune worth crore of rupees due to my licentious living and evil ways. Isn’t that cause enough or sorrow?”
“We understand,” said one of his friends, a wise man. “Can you get back your crores by crying now?” The old man retorted, “How can I get back all that money now?” “Then why should you cry over spilt milk?” There was no answer. Most of us live in the past. We cling to the memory of all those unhappy moments in our life.
There is no need to spend a lifetime regretting all our past mistakes. True, we must repent for them, and wherever possible, make amends; but above all, we should learn from our mistakes. There are no irreversible failures in life, only different experiences and every experience comes to teach us a lesson. Therefore, it is futile to dwell constantly on the past. We must make the best of the present moment.
Our past experiences teach us valuable lessons. But when we allow the past to influence our mindset, we reject the possibility of a change for the better. For example, if your efforts have not succeeded in the past, it does not mean that you will never ever succeed in the future. That is why wise men insist that we start every day with a clean slate. Remembering the past is all very well; but we cannot attempt to relive the past all the time; and most certainly, we must not allow our past to recreate our future, for that would be quite disastrous!
The past is over and done with; the future is in God’s hands; the best that anyone can do is live in the present, wisely and well.