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Letting Go Of The Past


Mar 12, 2009
Author: self
Dear Members,

This posting is in response to a new member introducing himself and wants to let go the past, it could not be posted in reply at that place due to my ignorance of the technicalityies;



It is easier said than done to let go of the past of this life and focus on what we hope for it in the future in our lives. It is difficult to let go of the past because we are held back by unfinished business. Past and future are in the imagination but present is the reality-we should pay attention to. We may regret choices that were made or feel guilty about past actions during this life period. As long as guilt and regret are not resolved, it is difficult to move forward. Regret is an emotion that feels similar to depression or sadness. It also feels like guilt, but it isn’t the same thing. We need not feel guilty about creating a life of happiness. There is no need to hurt those who have limited us in our efforts at freeing ourselves.
Subject here is the Karma of this life and not the Karma of the past life, of which we have no knowledge due to lack of transparency. Though we can learn from the Karma of previous life if we knew what wrong we did. Since the Karma of past life is unknown we cannot do any thing about it. Individuals do speculate on it especially if the present life is rather an unhappy one or if natural disasters have occurred around us from cataclysmic turbulence in the atmosphere etc. Guru Arjan in Raag Suhi and Bhagat Namdev in Raag Ramkali comments on the originality of Karam;

ਜਬ ਕਛੁ ਨ ਸੀਓ ਤਬ ਕਿਆ ਕਰਤਾ ਕਵਨ ਕਰਮ ਕਰਿ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਅਪਨਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਆਪਿ ਕਰਿ ਦੇਖੈ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਰਚਨੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥

Jab kacẖẖ na sī*o ṯab ki*ā karṯā kavan karam kar ā*i*ā. Apnā kẖėl āp kar ḏėkẖai ṯẖākur racẖan racẖā*i*ā.

When nothing existed, what deeds were being done? And what karma caused anyone to be born at all? The Creator Itself set Its play in motion, and Itself beholds the created Creation. -----Guru Arjan, Raag Suhi, AGGS, Page, 748-14

ਮਾਇ ਨ ਹੋਤੀ ਬਾਪੁ ਨ ਹੋਤਾ ਕਰਮੁ ਨ ਹੋਤੀ ਕਾਇਆ ॥ ਹਮ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਤੇ ਤੁਮ ਨਹੀ ਹੋਤੇ ਕਵਨੁ ਕਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਸਾਸਤੁ ਨ ਹੋਤਾ ਬੇਦੁ ਨ ਹੋਤਾ ਕਰਮੁ ਕਹਾਂ ਤੇ ਆਇਆ ॥

Maaey Na Hotee Baap Na Hota Karam Na Hotee Kaa-eaa, Ham Nahee Hotay Tum Nahee Hotay Kavan Kahaan Tay Aa-eaa, Saasat Na Hota Bayd Na Hota Karam Kahaan Tay Aa-eaa.

When there was no mother, father, our actions or even the human body and no one existed then where was this human being? How was he born? When there were neither Shaastras nor Vedas, where did destiny come from?
-----Bhagat Namdev, Raag Ramkali, AGGS, Page, 973

It’s time to let go of the Karma of the past (present life). This does not mean closing doors on it for ever. Our purpose is to seek a temporary release from that which no longer serves our growth. Instead we wish to rebuild upon a new foundation. One need not feel guilty about creating a better life – life of happiness. It is important to take inventory of our positives and negatives prior to making the decision to let go of the past. Who and what are affecting us positively? Who and what are affecting us negatively? One way to let go of the past is to review and remove the expectations that created conflict in our life with positive thinking towards the Creator in our Higher Self and thus putting an end to these by peace and happiness says Guru Arjan in Raag Dhanasari;.

ਤੁਮ ਘਰਿ ਆਵਹੁ ਮੇਰੇ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਤੁਮਰੇ ਦੋਖੀ ਹਰਿ ਆਪਿ ਨਿਵਾਰੇ ਅਪਦਾ ਭਈ ਬਿਤੀਤ ॥ ਪ੍ਰਗਟ ਕੀਨੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕਰਨੇਹਾਰੇ ਨਾਸਨ ਭਾਜਨ ਥਾਕੇ ॥ਘਰਿ ਮੰਗਲ ਵਾਜਹਿ ਨਿਤ ਵਾਜੇ ਅਪੁਨੈ ਖਸਮਿ ਨਿਵਾਜੇ ॥

Tum Ghar Aavhu Mayray Meet, Tumray Dokhee Har Aap Nivaaray Apdaa Bha-ee Biteet. Pargat kīne parabẖ karnehāre nāsan bẖājan thāke. Gẖar mangal vājėh niṯ vāje apunai kẖasam nivāje.

Come back to your home, O my friend. The Akal Purkh Itself has eliminated your enemies, and your misfortunes are past. God, the Creator, has glorified you, and your running and rushing around has ended. In your home, there is rejoicing; the musical instruments continually play, and your Husband Akal Purkh has exalted you.
-----Guru Arjan, Raag Dhanasari, AGGS, Page, 678-3

Surrendering to the Divine and living in It’s Will is an important purpose of life. When we take charge as per our own self-will, we are not trusting in the divine guidance within us. People who are egomaniacs are often covering their insecurities, which are often embedded deeply in their personality from a past or future fear.
Another way to let go is to keep our expectations intact, and try to change our circumstances so they become conducive to our success. Once we have identified a situation that needs improvement, we can attempt to change either the situation or adapt to it. Change can be actualized through positive reinforcement and acceptance. Others are less likely to change if they feel that they are being judged. They prefer to be treated as we want ourselves to be treated.

We may need to get angry to make a decision or set a boundary, but we can't afford to stay resentful. If we see ourselves as victims, then we will not find compassion. As soon as we remove the "victim" consciousness and take gentle, loving responsibility to love ourselves first, compassion for the others can follow.

What are the causes of our sadness and the sources of our sense of guilt? Unresolved sadness and or guilt can block our love and joy. In the past, we may have denied our right to feel pain, saying things like "it doesn't hurt that much, I'll think about that tomorrow, maybe if I just wait, it will change, or maybe if I try to change the other person, I won't have to change myself." This keeps repeating itself until we give it due attention, learn from it, and heal under spiritual wisdom of acceptance and singing praises and serving Akal Purkh/True Guru;

ਕਿਰਤੁ ਪਇਆ ਅਧ ਊਰਧੀ ਬਿਨੁ ਗਿਆਨ ਬੀਚਾਰਾ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਉਪਮਾ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਕੀ ਬਿਨਸੈ ਨ ਅੰਧਿਆਰਾ ॥ ਜਗੁ ਬਿਨਸਤ ਹਮ ਦੇਖਿਆ ਲੋਭੇ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਸੇਵਾ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸਚੁ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਦੁਆਰਾ ॥ ਨਿਜ ਘਰਿ ਮਹਲੁ ਅਪਾਰ ਕੋ ਅਪਰੰਪਰੁ ਸੋਈ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਥਿਰੁ ਕੋ ਨਹੀ ਬੂਝੈ ਸੁਖੁ ਹੋਈ ॥
Source:: Sikhism Philosophy Network http://www.sikhism.us/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/24308-letting-go-of-the-past.html

Kirat Paeyaa Adh Oorhdd Bin Giaan Beechaaraa, Bin Upmaa Jagdees Kee Binsai Na AnDhi-aaraa. Jag binsaṯ ham ḏekẖi▫ā lobẖe ahaʼnkārā. Gur sevā parabẖ pā▫i▫ā sacẖ mukaṯ ḏu▫ārā. Nij gẖar mahal apār ko aprampar so▫ī. Bin sabḏai thir ko nahī būjẖai sukẖ ho▫ī.

According to the karma of past actions, people descend to the depths or rise to the heights, if they reflect on spiritual wisdom. Without the Praises of the Creator of the Universe, the darkness is not dispelled. I have seen the world being destroyed by greed and egotism. Only by serving the Guru is God obtained, and the true gate of liberation found. The Mansion of the Infinite Akal Purkh's Presence is within the home of one's own being, and is beyond any boundaries. Without the Word of the Sabd, nothing shall endure. Through understanding, peace is obtained.
-----Guru Nanak, Raag Gauri Bairaagan, AGGS, Page, 228-14

We may not have had the tools to heal ourselves in the past, but if we recognize a pattern that is limiting our growth, this may likely be caused from the deeper issue that caused us pain or sadness. Recognizing this source is the first step to healing.
What are we angry about? Anger, like sadness and guilt, is also a form of fear, and can be beneficial as well as destructive. Anger is a warning signal. It is destructive when forgiveness is absent and Kabir ponder on it in his Sloke;

ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥ਜਹਾ ਲੋਭੁ ਤਹ ਕਾਲੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਖਿਮਾ ਤਹ ਆਪਿ ॥

Kabira Jaha Giaan Teh Dharam Hai Jaha Jhooth Teh Paap, Jaha Lobh Teh Kaal Hai Jaha Khima Teh Aap.

Kabir, where there is spiritual wisdom, there is righteousness. Where there is falsehood, there is sin.Where there is greed, there is death. Where there is forgiveness, there is God Itself. -----Bhagat Kabir Sloke # 155, AGGS, Page, 1372-15

If anger has resolved into abusiveness or resentment it is a symptom of the deeper issues. People who have "anger issues" are usually people who have a deeper insecurity. This insecurity is being triggered by a behavior pattern that makes the angry person feel unloved or disrespected. But controlled by anger one cannot think positively as expressed by Guru Arjan;

ਹੇ ਕਲਿ ਮੂਲ ਕ੍ਰੋਧੰ ਕਦੰਚ ਕਰੁਣਾ ਨ ਉਪਰਜਤੇ ॥ਬਿਖਯੰਤ ਜੀਵੰ ਵਸ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਨਿਰਤ੍ਯ੍ਯੰ ਕਰੋਤਿ ਜਥਾ ਮਰਕਟਹ ॥

Hey Kal Mool KrodhaN Kadanch Karuna Na Uperjatay, Bikhyant JeevaN Vasneh Karout Nirtneh Karout Jatha Markteh.

O, Anger, the source of strife, the person haunted by your presence within, does never receive Akal Purkh’s Grace. Infact, whosoever comes under its control, jumps and dances around like a monkey. -----Guru Arjan, Sloke Sahskriti, AGGS, Page, 1358

It is important to let go of anger, so that these conflicts can be resolved. However, in order to let go of anger, we must look at what need within us is being challenged. If we demand respect, it may be that we were disrespected at some crucial moments in our past. Is our need for respect really the concern of others? Our anger is OUR emotion, and it is a root cause of our insecurity. This insecurity needs to be addressed before we can resolve the related emotions. We can control our emotions, or control our circumstances which create our emotions. Otherwise we may be resigned to accepting our situation and just let it be.

Another approach to letting go is to change our feelings about the situation and environment. This may also require ridding ourselves of destructive behavior patterns.
What are we resentful of? If someone hurt us, letting that resentment go enables our consciousness to free up some space to bring more Divine love into our life in the future to neutralize the pain.

Source:: Sikhism Philosophy Network http://www.sikhism.us/showthread.php?t=24308
Change is probably the most important aspect of letting go. Those who challenge us the most to change are often our biggest life teachers. Changing our own expectations, reactions, and definitions of history are often the means to letting go and freeing our spirits to fly again. Meditation and prayer are useful in this respect;

ਗੋਬਿੰਦ ਗੋਬਿੰਦੇਤਿ ਜਪਿ ਨਰ ਸਕਲ ਸਿਧਿ ਪਦੰ ॥ਜੈਦੇਵ ਆਇਉ ਤਸ ਸਫੁਟੰ ਭਵ ਭੂਤ ਸਰਬ ਗਤੰ ॥

Gobind Gobindayt Jap Nar Sakal SiDh PadaN, Jaidayv Aa-i-o Tas SafutaN Bhav Bhoot Sarab GataN.

Meditate on the Creator of the Universe, O man; Jai Dev has openly come to Akal Purkh; The salvation of all, in the past, present and future.
-----Jaidev, Raag Gujri, AGGS, Page, 526-19

One of the most important ways to let go is to rid oneself of self-criticism. One way to eliminate self-criticism is to write a counter positive thought to each of the negatives. Let us focus on and write down what we can do! We should also consider what we are good enough for.

Which would you rather feed yourself?

As we think, so shall we be. If we think we don't deserve abundance, then we won't get it. Often, people who are self-critical do pray for help and ask for a sign that something will go better. It takes open eyes, ears, and minds to see what is going on and be accepting, rather than rejecting. This is an opportunity to let go of negative past patterns and embrace a positive change. Others may be also reinforcing our negative thought patterns and creating negative bonding patterns that are actually destructive to us. It is common for people with low self-esteem to choose others with low self-esteem. They might seem to be supportive but end up hurting us. The end result does not seem to be progressive and constructive.

Time is like an empty container into which events may be placed; but it is a container that exists independently of whether or not anything is placed in it. Time could exist without any events to fill it. There cannot be a period of time without change. It must be that time exists only for some events to fill it. Time waits for no one. Also, with its passage the things change. World is not constant and it is the present that matters.


It all begins inside of us. By changing what we believe we deserve, letting go of our negative self-criticism, and embracing loving thoughts in prayer and behavior, we can create the life of abundance, and love that we seek. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

ਪਿਛਲੇ ਗੁਨਹ ਬਖਸਾਇ ਜੀਉ ਅਬ ਤੂ ਮਾਰਗਿ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਕੀ ਚਰਣੀ ਲਾਗਿ ਰਹਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਆਪੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥

Pichalay Guneh Bakhsaaey Jeo Ub Too Marg Paaey, Har Kee Charanee Laag Rahaa Vichoh Aap Gavaaey.

Please forgive my past mistakes, O my Dear Akal Purkh; now, please place me on the Path. I remain attached to the It's Feet. Please help me eradicate self-conceit from within. -----Guru Amardas, Raag Maru, AGGS, Page, 994-5


Virinder S. Grewal
Williamston, MI

Reference: Spiritualism-A Sikh Perspective​

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Letting go of the past

Virinder ji,

Guru Fateh.

I must confess that I have not read your above essay yet but its title forced me to write something about it:

Tell that to my wife of 20 years.


Tejwant Singh

Note to the beloved wife: Just kidding, darling. Even the henpecked become brave for a moment or 2 of their lives.
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