Verses 13b–14: “All I can say is this: forgetting what is behind me, and reaching out for that which lies ahead, I press towards the goal to win the prize which is God’s call to the life above, in Christ Jesus.”
How much time we waste in rehashing the past! We can spin round and round wondering why, ruminating over the “if only I’d…,” beating ourselves up, tending resentments, holding onto grudges. We inadvertently nurture our feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness, and inadequacy. This Scripture reminds us of the need to focus on where we are going and to reach for the life that God Within calls us to live.
Carl Jung talks about “regression in service of the Self.” In a nutshell, this means we get pulled back to the past because an energy needed for forward movement in the present is stuck. It is stuck in the affect (feeling state) connected to the past experience and then triggered when we experience the same or similar affect in the present.
For example, a current feeling, say of embarrassment or rejection, taps into past feelings of embarrassment or rejection that led to a loss of self. Instead of acting and feeling the totality of the ego/self connected to the Self/God Within, we are pulled to a disconnected piece of self that has a limited feeling state. This disconnected piece traps us because it is not integrated or connected with the whole.
In the moments where we relive the past, we must look to see the seed of the Self/God Within that got stuck there. The seed may be a feeling that was unexpressed or disowned, it may be a desire that was shamed and hidden, or it may be a quality or attribute that was labeled wrong.
Whether we relive the past experience in our thoughts or in our actions, in our inner experiences or outer relationships, we can forget what is behind us as we reclaim and reconnect with the bit of self in the past experience. We do this by acknowledging, owning, accepting, and lovingly bearing the experience. As we bear the experience, something shifts as that which is connected to the whole is less powerful than what is separate and unbalanced.
Looking ahead and reaching for the life that is the fullest expression of our soul is the work of individuation or salvation. The Self/God Within is inborn in us. The Inner Divine Spirit flows through us in every body sensation, emotion, intuition, thought, and feeling we have.
When we go in self-destructive circles, we need to look for the bit of our soul that got stuck. As we reconnect with this bit, we move towards the prize of “God’s call to the life above, in Christ Jesus.” Symbolically, this means a conscious connection and union between our ego and the Self/God Within. Experiences and emotions that were unbearable when disowned and disconnected from the totality of self are bearable when connected to the whole! We are then free from the past.
Take a few moments to invite any lost or disconnected parts of your self/Self to come back home into your body-mind. Look to see the disowned bits of self that keep you reliving past, painful experiences. Set sacred intention to look for and go with the (alternative) expressions of the Inner Divine Spirit that will provide the needed forward-moving, life-generating action—inner and outer. Act accordingly.