“If I had done it like that…”, “If I had acted that way…”, “Only if I had ignored it just like that…”, “If I had not declined that marriage proposal…”, “If I had been a surgeon instead of being a lawyer…” etc. are conglomerates of stray, rather futile thoughts that constantly agonise us by clogging our highly capable imaginative minds. Quite interestingly, such bizarre extrapolations into past seldom lead to questions like “If I had not been born at all…” !!! “Was our past governed by some sort of deterministic doctrine ? Is it possible, are we capable to alter our present and future ?” are yet another set of questions that often disrupt our peace of mind. Quite disconcertingly, most of these extrapolations into past pertain to setbacks / tragedies / losses etc. Hardly ever it moves on optimistic lines, “If I had adopted that strategy, I would become President of USA instead of President of Bharata…” !! Mental recklessness has no limits, indeed.
Our approach to past certainly influences then determines our approach to present and future. If the sentimental baggage attached to past is too heavy, our self-esteem shall not be able to accompany our present or craft our future pragmatically owing to the simple fact, self-esteem is constantly under corrosion wrought by the baggage. Worst follows when you succeed in convincing yourself, you had been root-cause of all those setbacks / tragedies. Then even your self-esteem or whatever is left out of it, is unable to prevent you from your transformation into becoming a cynic / sceptic or even hedonistic. Self-pity and self-criticism automatically creep into this cynicism and the flame of miseries fans high into the sky. Are we really then inclined to fix the problem ?
All such “Ifs” and “Buts” of past ought to be perceived stoically, utterly unattached and indifferently irrespective of range, extent and intensity. Every incident in life whether unsavoury or palatable must be viewed as merely one among so many in one’s life. Instead of striving to revive a corpse by reacting to past “Ifs” and “Buts”, viable proposition is to weed out all unsavoury reminiscences. If one is not resolute enough to achieve that, such memories may be allowed in, allowed to remain idle therein albeit dis-allowing oneself to react to all that or invoke that as a measure of some measuring scale to assess oneself or even as preposterous convictions that restrict our freedom to evolve and grow. Past events must never be empowered to influence present lest one’s growth and development are stymied. As a matter of strange reality, our lives are absolutely devoid of problems as Isvara never created problems for us. All our so-called “Problems” are our own sheer brain-waves. If we just re-fashion frequency of our brain-waves in terms of Mega Hertz, every problem is transformed into a golden opportunity !!
So far, we focused on “Ifs” and “Buts” emerging within ourselves. What about “Ifs” and “Buts” being constantly and compulsorily gifted to us by our friends and relatives ? We expect everyone else to possess a certain set of perceptions about us and if it is not like that, interactions go haywire because our ego is bruised. This ego is essentially a database of perceptions that we expect others to have about us and what we have about others as well as our stale, worthless memories. It is susceptible to vacillations leading to approval / appreciation / recognition seekeing attitude. Self-Consciousness is far away from this ‘databased’ ego, an ego that only knows to react while Self-Consciousness propels us to transcend what others say about us as well as what we expect others to say about us. We need not be contemptuous towards other’s views however, that ought not be allowed to be the prime source of motivation in our lives. Also, we must be discriminatively aware of, how much significance is to be conceded to which perception and why. We must be in complete command of our lives as a measure of our inalienable right of individuals according to our legitimate and democratic inclinations guided by the “moral compass” that we all possess. Our relatives, friends and lives they lead are ends in themselves and none of us is means by which the other may lead a surrogate life anyway.
Since every dream is possible irrespective of past and every event is consequential to a conglomerate of complex factors mostly unpredictable and uncontrollable, we must groom ourselves into a “Possibility Dreamer / Thinker”. Such a dreamer imbued with self-confidence, moves ahead with a vision in his / her eyes only to realise the dream sooner than later. On the contrary, a “Probability Thinker” is essentially a sceptic who is perpetually engaged in his / her mind visualising obstacles on the way and calculating (statistical !!) probability of coming to a naught !! Thus, a “Probability Thinker” inevitably comes to a naught !!