Past Experiences Rule!

As I begin to become more present to people around me, I observe how past experiences dictate certain patterns in a person (myself included) and how that pattern makes them relate to themselves and to the world. Whilst this pattern only exists in one person, it can somehow affect the people around him and hence people who are affected may either tends to take sides (as in to support the pattern in this person) or to shy away from this person.

The past two days of closely communicating with a loved one despite the occasional clash of views when I begin to speak, I saw that there was no possible way to convey a new idea to him. As he was holding on so strongly to his beliefs where were conditioned by his part experiences, it did not allow him to expand his horizon that may relief his sufferings. Clearly, his past experiences had made such a strong impact in him that he lives such pattern all the time, unable to understand why others do not see or listen to where he is coming from when he gives his piece of advice to others. Of course, his piece of advice is right to him as there are no right or wrong views but merely what one chooses to adapt or buy into, but what happens here is that the holding on to this belief becomes such a strong and ingrained pattern in him that he will view others as wrong and stupid and gets disappointed when his point of view is not taken seriously.

And today, I came across an interesting incident. There was this resident’s visitor who came into the neighborhood refusing to inform the guards where he was going and the guards, under instructions by the Resident Committee, did not open the barrier gate for him to enter into the neighborhood as and until the visitor reveals where he was going. To all of our surprise, the visitor threatened to make a police report, parked his car right in front of the barrier gate of the entrance of our neighborhood, and walked to the resident’s house. It was indeed an awkward situation. This has posted inconvenience to the community nonetheless. When the visitor left after a couple of hours, the resident called me to apologize and explained that this very dear friend of his has had bad experiences with gated surroundings which had affected his business hence such behavior from this visitor. I was thankful for the information as again, I saw how a past event had affected a fellow brother to react this way towards the security guard, failing to be considerate to his friend or even to the community which he was entering into. Again, not that he was wrong as he only did what he thought at that moment was right, only that it has posted inconvenience to the others and for that, other residents who probably had other past experiences of whatever consequences from this action felt triggered and proceeded to complain to the security guards and the community of their frustrations. The rippling effect can be quite amazing.

It is entirely fine when we find that others are not listening to what we tell them, similarly to moments when we don’t listen to what they tell us; but to force the information down another’s throat or to raise our voices a little higher or louder just to be heard can be quite threatening to another when such characteristics are being portrayed. The result of this is either an argument or a retreat once the sense of attack is being felt.

If only we can begin to understand and see how the past has no effect on us, except for our holding on to them making them an undesirable pattern that runs in our lives. Because I have a bad childhood, I don’t want to have children; because my parents are divorced, I don’t want to get married; because I had been poor, I need to be rich; because all the men I know has affairs, my partner will surely have an affair. Can we begin to see how irrelevant each situation or each person is? How innocent the others are as we project our past upon them, bringing forth the past in us to the present, attacking all that is right here and now around us? Why not release the old patterns and treat each moment as a new one? Let life be lived through us. Yes, there are moments where I am reluctant to go where life leads me, as it is against my old belief systems, but can we also love that part of us which is reluctant and instead open up ourselves to the many possibilities of life itself?

A better way to resolve this is self awareness and to take responsibility of our own patterns. Even if the pattern is hard to break on our side, the moment we are willing to stop pointing fingers at others, we are much, much closer to investigating the causes of the old patterns in order to break the chain. Again, there is nothing wrong with the old patterns, but if the old patterns are causing one to suffer ceaselessly, to the point of resignation and condemnation, we can be sure that it is time to make a change within us for that peace that we so deserve.

It will not be a surprise to find resistance in wanting to give up the old pattern. There may be anger, defense, more blame, and more hatred… who likes to give up that part of themselves whom they are so used after so long? But which do you prefer – to be right, or to be free? I’d choose peace anytime.


  1. Of course past experiences rule! We are supposed to learn from our past experiences. If a child burns her hands playing with fire, she will learn not to put her hands into the fire next time.

    1. Yes, learn and understanding from our past experiences; thereafter, move on and let those experiences go. The child learns and understands that it is not safe or wise to put her hands into the fire; but she does not become afraid of the fire and try to convince others to be equally afraid of fire as herself.

      Appreciate the past experiences and then let them go. Why let past experiences stop the possibilities of the Now?

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