Dialoguing with Your Past

The ancient Greek poet Agathon (~441-401 B.C.) observed, Even God cannot change the Past”. Agathon’s statement implies that the Past is a distinct, inflexible, linear, dead “thing,” separate from the living Present. Is he correct? What, after all, is the Past?

There may be another way to think about it. Here is what one Laughing Heart practitioner reports: “At those times when my own mind is light, I have discovered that my relationship with the Past appears to change. The dark stories soften, or perhaps I see them with fresh eyes. The Past becomes closer, more intimate, and events and people long forgotten suddenly reappear in new and often helpful ways. It seems that a curtain parts and two worlds which once appeared separate are one. The relationship of our mind to the Past may be far more adaptive, plastic, and dynamic than we generally suppose.”

Try this exercise for yourself in Laughing Heart. Write down your discoveries. We are very interested in hearing your insights on Agathon’s axiom. Try solving the discovery puzzle noted below. References and Links: Julian Gresser, Piloting Through Chaos/The Explorers Mind (2013), Book II A Puzzle: Alive or Dead? – What does this puzzle tell you about Laughing Heart?

Daowu and Jianyuan went to a house to offer condolences.

Jianyuan struck the coffin with his hand and asked, “Alive or dead?”

Daowu said, “I’m not saying alive, I’m not saying dead.

“Why not,” Jianyuan asked.

“I’m not saying, I’m not saying,” Daowu maintained.

On the way home Jianyuan became belligerent, “Say something immediately, Teacher, or it will be the worse for you.”

John Tarrant, Bring Me the Rhinoceros, 2004


Is it possible that a person can be alive although fundamentally dead to life, its beauty, wonder, and potentialities?… while someone who is already dead can have an enduring ever-living influence on our health, vitality, and well being? In this very moment are we alive or dead?

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