When I’m in my ego mind, I see the past in everyone and everything. I remember how you hurt me before, and I don’t want that to happen again. Or, this person has great character and integrity – I want to spend more time with them. And similar such mind musings.
We don’t see people as they truly are – we see them based on our analysis. Analysis being a euphemism for judgment. And all our judgment comes from the past. But the past isn’t real – we make it up in every instant.
There’s a wonderful passage in A Course in Miracles that talks about true perception. In such a state, “You perceive a brother only as you see him now. His past has no reality in the present, and so you cannot see it. Your past reactions to him are also not there.”
When we see people in the “now”, with no past – meaning, no judgment – then we see their true nature as all-inclusive spirit. We see no separation between them and us.
But if we react to anyone with anything other than love, then, in the words of the Course, “you see but an image of him that you made and cherish instead of him. If you remember the past as you look upon your brother, you will be unable to perceive the reality that is now.”
True perception is seeing without the darkened lens of the ego. Everything is then seen in the liberating light of love.