The wandering mind lingering on the past


I have noticed that my mind tends to wander a lot, and that it likes to stray into thinking about my past. I will be sitting on the subway or not paying attention and suddenly I will be thinking about some random memory over my life. Sometimes they will be happy memories of people I once knew or of certain experiences, but the vast majority of the time I find myself thinking about experiences where I was embarressed or ashamed for some reason, not pleasant things!

Even after I've noticed this, it still happens quite a lot. I catch myself and try to stop it, but later on in the day it will inevitably happen again.

I find it strange that I do not daydream or fantasize about the future or imagine other things. My mind appears to be fixated on the past for some reason.

Does this happen to other people? Is there a way I can quiet my mind? Why is that I am so obessesed with instances in which I felt an embaressing emotion?



This reminds me of a time in my twenties where for about 8 years I kept having thoughts regarding a time when I was a teenager and I lost a friends riding crop. The situation somehow kept replaying in my mind coupled with the emotional impressions that I felt at the time of the incident. It made me squirm every time I had flashbacks of the whole thing.

In my 30's I went to a weekend healing retreat and the girl was there. I felt dreadful and thought, the only thing she will remember about me is loosing her riding crop years ago. The thought was starting to overtake my weekend and I was feeling really down - hoping I could throw it off somehow.

Then, she walked over to me :bugeyed:

I had no need to fear a thing - she was the nicest person one could hope to meet - we spent alot of time talking together over that weekend and when I finally mentioned my fears to her - she didnt remember the incident at all, and then said "Ah hell I had so many of then (riding crops) I wouldnt have missed it anyway - I was a spoilt brat!"

I then realized how much of my time I had given to this incident in my life - and how I had been percieving it all this time. I was way off the mark. I hadnt considered alot of other circumstances and information around the ordeal - it really made me think about guilt and forgiveness, my perception, grace, love, healing, time - all sorts of things.

After that time when these thoughts came up again, I forgave myself for whatever happened. Meditation helped lots. Small acts of kindness, even feeding the birds and watering the garden made me feel better.

Guilt can be very debilitating to any thoughts of healing - sometimes because we have the idea that some form of punishment is necessary or deserved.
Maybe if you can come to some restful conclusion regarding the incidents of your thoughts - without bashing yourself up over it - you may find that you can move past these things and heal them the best way you know how. Theres a lesson in them all - and sometimes thats all we need to realise at the time.

I never borrowed anyones riding crop after that time - I bought one, and I lent it out too - and no... - no one lost it on me ;)

Be kind to yourself - maybe your mind is asking you to sort through these things so that you can move on - it may be bored with these unresolved issues itself - maybe you could give yourself permission to finally find peace, make way for some new and exciting thoughts!! :)

Take care
Elven x


one possible reason for that is

energy or soul shamanically speaking..
a piece of yourself got stuck back there,, and the chords to that self hasnt' been cut for how could it,, it is part of yourself.
you have to reclaim yourself and then cut lose all the chords that surrounded it.
then you will definately notice the looping of that past instance lessen.


I do that also, but usually I think of bad things that have happened to me in the past. Like something mean one of my parents said or did. I seriously wish I could get over it by now. But the bad memories just pop into my head whenever my mind is resting, showering, doing housework... I hate it, but can't help it.


I'm in the same boat, TheoMo and OliviaRose. I think it must be something to do with forgiving oneself. For years and years I did my best to avoid ever thinking about those embarrassments - I filled up my life with all kinds of exciting adventures like hanggliding and lots of hard work. Anything to avoid being alone with myself. And any time I did relax, just like that, I was back in some terribly embarrassing or angry or hurt memory.

So I've been trying to spend lots of time with myself, now, facing the memories instead of running away, trying to get comfortable with the fact that some things are uncomfortable. I'm reading Pema Chodron's book The Places That Scare You and she talks a lot about being kind to yourself, as Elven and HOLMES mentioned. I just wanted to pop in and sign up as a fellow-sufferer, and say that trying to surpress the unpleasant memories didn't work - although I did have a lot of fun adventures trying!


Quite truthfully, every time you find yourself thinking one of these unhappy occurrances - you should force up a happy one to counteract it.

The mind is a strange thing - look at the stuff you dream at night! I daresay we all have moments where out-of-the-blue something surfaces for no reason and we haven't thought about it for 20 years and now you can't get it out of your mind. Such things must have a reason - somewhere.

My important question to you - are you merely remembering the past - or are you reliving it?


Sometimes I think energy comes with good and bad emotional
attachments. This is how we learn and mature. The memories
help us learn how to cope and forgive.

We need to break the cycle that in a situation brings memory
that does not leave. Maybe the happy ones are for sunny days
and unhappy memories are for depressing days. We can pick and
chose what we want to remember BUT we have to be aware of
what we are doing in the first place. Going back to unhappy
situations sometimes need the awareness that we just need to
forgive the other person. We took it upon ourselves to
keep their negative energy with us, which needs to be released and
that's how the cycle goes on. We need to forgive the person for
wrong doings and not pass it on.

With happy memories they may be gifts that we keep to or for ourselves
just because we can. They are ours and sometimes that gets us
through a rough spot in our life.

Also control of situations and of others. When we learn the lesson or
mend the past we have the opportunity to grow through our past.
When we figure out and let go of the emotion we become a stronger
person within. Pass the knowledge or help others through our own
experiences instead of passing on the negativity energy. Break the cycle of
control, make peace within your heart and when you help yourself,
you help others! Stay in a happy place.

Why do we carry negative emotional BS anyway? We all do for different
reasons. But really it's heavy and not fun.

Gawd sorry for the ramble,
hope you understand what I'm
trying to say. :)


One more thing! LOL

At one time, there was a lady who had an upsetting situation. I don't know
where this came from but this is what I told her,

" Take your bad memories and put them in a imaginary suitcase. Pick it up
and walk down the street with it. Pretend to set it down when you are
tired of carrying it. Leave it and don't look back. This will help you let
go of all the BS you have put it there. Imagine then someone picking
it up and walking the other way with it (still don't look back).You know how other people love to know your business, let them. That will be their lesson to learn, why they pick up your business in the first place."

Then I told her,
"I have done this many times but some A** keeps bringing my suitcase
back and putting it inside my door & I'm crazy enough to open it!" LOL

If you try this over and over or tell yourself when a bad memory comes,
"I haven't time for this right now" and only let the happy memories
sit with you, sooner or later the negative ones work themselves out.

Also if there is something that really bothers you, just say to yourself
" God (or whomever) please deal with this for me because I can't right
now." This way you are passing it on to someone you know will do what
should be done with it.

I feel also that when we lighten our emotional load, we have more
light in our aura.


Thanks all for your thoughtful responses. I think I am just overly critical of myself. I am, in a sense, reliving them, as tarot bear pointed out. I was a very awkward child growing up and I have grown tremendously over the last few years. I am much more confident of who i am now then I was in the past, and I think part of it is that I am, in a sense, very ashamed of where I came from.

I sent myself a little compassion and forgiveness after reading what people here had suggested on this thread yesterday and i felt immediately better and my mind has found a great deal more peace of mind. Holmes, the idea of "reclaiming" a part of myself really rings true -- I feel I have perhaps cut off my past self, not accepted where I've come from, and that leads to me dredging up all the memories where I felt embaressed or out-of-place.

Thanks again for everyone's responses!


That's all very good, what you said, but I wonder how I'm supposed to deal with those people still doing the things I'm trying to forgive them for.
Like my mom, she's mad at me right now because I told her I couldn't listen to her tell me these horrible things about me on the phone the other day, so she leaves it on my voicemail, telling me what a bad person I am.
I didn't want to listen because I start to believe it, but fortunately I have a great husband who can keep telling me not to listen because she's crazy.