It's time to look a little more closely at some of the things the brain does. Did you ever have a conversation with someone that did not go well and you replay it over and over in your head? Believe it or not this is not regret, though that is what we call it, it is a program. Instead of undoing the program we give its effects or symptoms a label, creating a whole new problem we now have to deal with.
No matter how innate or ingrained these brain programs seem to be they are learned and must be unlearned if we are to have any peace within or without. The way the time program works has our brains stuck in the past, on auto-rerun. We look to the past to predict the future then tailor our actions to this imagined scenario. Though psychology and medicine will tell you differently, there is no value in referencing or rehashing the past unless you want what will be to be the same as what was.
What is really going on with time behind the scenes will blow your mind. For starters, the tyrannical time program consists of the past and the future only. The present is absent from the time program!!! What??? This was one of the most helpful things I have ever learned. By design the time program actually obscures the present which is our natural factory setting. Change, though, can only happen in the present, so Houston we have a huge programming problem!!
In programming 101 we are taught that the past is a treasure trove of valuable data and should be used to predict, expect, anticipate future events, and formulate responses lest we repeat our mistakes. I learned it well. Often in my life, in my heart, I wanted change. Dutifully, I looked at my past so as not to fall in the same hole. But with each attempt to not repeat my history, I succeeded only in doing just that. I kissed a lot of frogs until I finally caught on that something was wrong - and it wasn't me, it was this damn program.
It is time for all of us to move on. And we can do this together. But it requires opening your mind, and being willing to go beyond the programming you have known.
We are only as good as our teachers and I needed some new teachers. Through ACIM, I learned what was really going on in that brain of mine. You won't learn this in school because they don't know either, but you can teach your kids.
Thanks to our programming we spend over 90% of our day in made-up mind reveries of the past or the future.
I call this incessant and insidious program Time Travel. This actually means we spend most of our time in our imagination, which the brain presents as fact. You may say you are analyzing, strategizing, and planning and that it is essential. Nope and nope! When we are time traveling, we are not in the present, ergo not in our lives. How many of us feel that we are just going through the motions, hoping for the day when we can live?
Our time program consists of a past and future but they are not continuous and there is no intervening present
The brain relies heavily on the past as determiner of the future but the two ‘tenses’ have nothing to do with each other. The brain ignores the present and makes erroneous associations between past events and future consequences giving us the illusion of continuity.
Guilt is a good example of how the illusion of continuity is perpetuated. Because we feel guilty over something past, we fear retribution or punishment in the future. Thus we are constantly orchestrating outcomes and devising strategies to avoid some form of future reprisal or consequence.
Medicine and psychology are also predicated on this faulty programming. They too overlook the present as the source of mental or physical dis-ease. Without access to the present, we look for something in the past to explain our present condition and devise a cure. If the cure fails, we go back into the past, pull out another ‘cause’ and devise a new strategy for healing. It’s as masterful as it is disastrous.
Every moment is new
To our detriment, our current programming is invested in preserving the past as it if were present. This not only gives us a false sense of being present, it makes us think we want to escape the (pain of the) present. Every moment, though, is new, never having been before, but without brain training we can’t see it that way. Whenever we are in repeat mode, feeling as if we have said, done or seen something before, we are in a programming loop. Hello parents!!!
To break the program cycle we must begin to accept the truth that…
a) the future is not predicated on the past and
b) the past does not cause the future
c) the only reason to peer into the past is to see how far you have come
The present does not lie on a continuum between the past and the future
Newsflash: The present is wholly unrelated to time. It stands outside of time. As we said, time programming consists of only the past and the future. The real mind bender is that the past and the future do not exist, except in our minds. The past is done and gone and the future never arrives, it continually morphs into the eternal moment of now. If we are spending time mentally in the past or the future we are literally nowhere.
Many have the right idea when they say we need to get present. Without undoing the current programming we can’t be present. Presence is our natural state once the programming is undone.
Change and healing occur only in the present
The present is referred to as the eternal moment of now. No other ‘time’ actually exists. It is always and forever now. If we want something new to happen, NOW is the time. If something is wrong, now is the cause. We can’t fix what is in the past. Having that as our model for healing is terminal. The great news is that the problem and the solution are right here, right now.
We are unwittingly perpetuating the teaching of this program
It was drilled into us by practically everyone speaking that we need to be constantly thinking about the future and the past. We then train our kids to always be looking to what’s next. Plan ahead. Prepare. Use the past, we say, to make better choices. Learn from your mistakes. Keeping the past alive in the present keeps us in pain. The pain is not in our past, but in our reliving of it as if its present - thanks to our programming. PTSD is not that something happened, it is the reliving of what happened. This robs you of your present.
If you take time delving into each of these concepts you will see that the logic is airtight. But time travel is a stealthy program, one, that before this article, you probably didn’t know existed, and certainly weren’t trained to identify.
Lesson 3: Sweep you own front porch
ACIM chides that we are far too tolerant of our minds wandering and the brain does love to time travel. But it is killing our joy and we need to be vigilant about noticing it, and putting an end to it.
This week, notice when your brain is time traveling. Spoiler, it will be doing so constantly so be patient with yourself. These two ‘tells' will help you catch the program in action. When you do, call it out like you are playing hide and seek. Gotcha! And then, redirect. Do this as often as you can.
1) Sweep your own front porch to reign in the brain.
- If something or someone is not right in front of you, it is not for you.
- If your brain starts taking you on a tangent thinking about someone or something that is not right in your field, you are time traveling, i.e. conjuring a situation that is either past or future.
- Call it out, then STOP.
2) Notice if your peace is disturbed in any way - as you are time traveling
- Red flags to be on the look out for: fear, guilt and regret.
- Fear is only of the future
- Guilt and regret are only of the past
- Peace is only in the present
Unpack this blog slowly. You may have to dine on it in doses but it will be well worth your time. Email with any questions or ahas. You won’t regret it. Enjoy!!!