“What’s gone is gone. One of life’s lessons is always moving on. It’s okay to look back to see how far you’ve come, but keep moving forward.”
-Roy T. Bennet
Moving on is not really a matter of choice. Time itself moves on. We often feel we are stuck but we are constantly moving on, fast or slow, or even at a snail’s pace – but we are moving. We can feel stuck in three different areas of our lives, physical, mental, and spiritual. The most important thing is to keep moving.
Physically, we need to move to keep our bodies healthy. We need to find a way of doing this, even if in some way we are a little incapacitated. We can still move our body if we are confined to a chair. Micro movements, done consistently over time, strengthens us. We all need to make our bodies move, every day, consistently.
Mentally, we can remain stuck in certain belief systems for a long time. It is mainly the lack of belief that causes us difficulty. “I’m weak”, “I can’t do this”, “I’ve never done this before, so I won’t be able to do it” – this is staying stuck. The way to start a new train of thought, a new neural pathway in the brain, is to replace these self-defeating ‘mantras’ into very powerful, counteracting messages. People say we have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Listen to the angel. Sports stars all realise that winning is a mind game. Tennis players can come back even one set down, just by shifting the mindset, with a thought of determination. Whatever we have to deal with, thoughts of: ‘I can do it!’, ‘I know what to do or can certainly find out’, ‘I have all the support I need’, have a tremendous affect. These kinds of thoughts are very powerful. It is important to avoid distractions, though. Sometimes we think that we have too many distractions, so we are unable to focus on what we need to do. However, Oliver Burkeman, a British author and journalist, says, that we consciously distract ourselves, so that we do not have to focus on what is too difficult to focus on; those uncomfortable conversation or the painful thoughts we need to address. We actually get benefit from staying still for long enough to look at these things, to see the lessons that life is trying to teach us. It will pay off, because we will flex the muscles of our minds and hearts and create bigger, warmer hearts. We always learn and grow when we face what is hurting us, and resolve it within ourselves, with compassion.
However, spiritually moving on is the key to our way forward. Spiritually, all of the above also hold true. Powerful thoughts, elevated thoughts, build our self-confidence and self-respect. Taking care not to be distracted from our spiritual aims, and truly looking inwards to see what is going on and what we need to face and deal with, takes us forward. When we are stuck, one of the ways to keep moving is to actually sit and not move at all. When we sit in meditation, we begin with a certain kind of consciousness. During meditation, when we contemplate and examine powerful truths, we calm our breathing, focus our thoughts, and a there is a shift in consciousness. Our awareness becomes broader, and solutions and ways forward appear, as if by magic. Whatever we are unable to face and deal with, will keep popping up on the path until we do. We are all spiritual travellers, and travellers, however much they wish to stay in one place, or even take things with them, cannot. Because we have to move on, travel as lightly as possible. We are guests in this world, so take little, give much, and move on. We need to leave the past behind and looking forward to the future, spreading as much light as we can, on the way.
Aruna Ladva is an author and Rajyoga meditation teacher based at the Global Retreat Centre, Oxford, UK.