We carry the past with us wherever we go. Every reaction we have – in every single encounter – comes from a past reference point. This is why it’s so hard to let go of times we were unfairly treated. And this is why it seems like the same situations keep recurring again and again in our lives.
It’s not that we’re being punished by a punitive God or that we’re repaying some karmic debt. Rather, we do this to ourselves by choosing to step out of the present moment. These lines from A Course in Miracles help clarify how this dynamic works:
“Now” has no meaning to the ego. The present merely reminds it of past hurts, and it reacts to the present as if it were the past.
Thus we’re always living in the past, and creating more of the same in our “present”. Until we realize that we can completely let go of the past by letting go of the ego.
The right mind of the Holy Spirit brings us into the present moment of being-ness. The past, and all its hurts, dissolve. In its place is a peaceful, eternal, timeless “now”.