Getting Beyond Painful Memories
By Cathy Eck
Painful Memories Color Our Future
Painful memories are very important to let go because when we hold on to the beliefs and emotions connected with a painful memory, our future is colored by our past. And yet, most people avoid the painful memory, feeling like there is no use in dredging up the past and experiencing the pain all over again. This avoidance comes from a strong belief that the past is real and true and cannot be changed or released. But that is not true, we can release our painful memories and free our minds.
What We Can Learn from Hypnotherapy
When I was a hypnotherapist, I regressed people back to events that occurred decades ago. They would re-experience the painful memory from the position of an observer, then I would ask them to rewind the event. We would look for the belief that caused the event, and they would find it and let it go. Then they would replay the event again and see that it had changed. Once the causal belief was gone, the memory was different. The belief created the problem, and once the causal belief was gone, they were free. Hypnosis is useful for this process because we are more open to changing our mind in the alpha state of mind.
But we don’t need to be hypnotized to find the causal belief and change it. Once we get rid of the cause, we realize that the experience could never happen again. We are mentally free from the painful memories. What I learned from hynotherapy was that it wasn’t the painful memories that caused the person problems. It was the fear that the painful experience could happen again. That fear was real because the causal belief was still in the person’s mind. Once the causal belief was gone, the memory was like a bad dream. It no longer appeared real or true, and so it no longer affected their present experience. Often the subject experienced immediate relief, and often the circumstances of their life changed in what appeared to be a miraculous way.
Painful memories seem to rear their ugly head when we have set a big goal or are working toward the achievement of a strong desire. This is not some curse or devil bringing up the past in order to keep us from achieving our dreams. In truth, our true Self is the part of us that pushes the memory into conscious awareness. Since the painful memory is holding us back, our true Self keeps bringing it to mind so that we’ll eliminate it. But if we don’t eliminate the related causal belief, it can feel like our mind and emotions are torturing us.
Fear Does Not Protect Us
When we have been traumatized or abused, our false mind often tells us that we must hold on to the memory or it will happen again. Many people believe that their fear or anger is protecting them when it is actually putting them at risk. The very best thing we can do to assure our future safety is realize that the event came out of errors in thinking and beliefs within all parties involved. This eliminates the belief of victim and bully, which keeps us stuck in a dual position. To hold on to the victim or bully position creates labels that keep us chained to our past.
This is why religion tells us to forgive. But truly forgiving is not just apologizing or mouthing the words, it really is about forgiving and forgetting. The good news is that we don’t even have to talk to the other to forgive or be forgiven — we only have to correct our own thinking. So you can forget about having to make amends or living our your karma. Everything is corrected once the mind is set straight.
Our true Self was always safe, always loved, and always perfect. No harm has come or could come to that divine part of us. The painful memories did not come from love or a win-win mentality so it cannot be true. It may have been reality, but reality is not the truth. It is simply a mistake. It was not part of our perfect destiny. It was part of the illusion, which is nothing more than a dream that feels very real. Just as we wake from a nightmare and realize that what we witnessed in mind never really happened, the same realization occurs when we completely let go of a past memory.
Letting Go of Beliefs from Painful Memories
A final step is to let go of any beliefs that resulted from the painful memories such as “I’ve been abused” or “I must not deserve love.” Often we make conclusions about memories, and those conclusions also affect our future.
It then becomes easy to let go of any beliefs that we hold about any other person involved such as “They are evil or bad” or “They want to hurt me.” If this seems like we are letting others off the hook, it is. We let them off the hook so we can free our mind. When our mind is clear about the memory, it will exist like a movie that we remember watching long ago. And in my experience, the event then makes sense in the greater context of our life. We can see exactly why it happened. Once you have succeeded in this process, it becomes very clear that we only harm ourselves when we hold on to painful memories. And we free ourselves when we set the others free. In truth, our mind doesn’t know if we are hating another or hating ourself. We were wired by God for oneness; separation is a creation of man and is not real. Therefore, when we free our judgments of another, we free ourself.
Letting go of beliefs takes practice, but it is natural. Anyone can learn how to let go. For more assistance, check out this post to learn how to get freedom from beliefs.