A CHAIN OF INCIDENTS
Of all the accumulations of the past, those with the most far-reaching influence are the memories and habits that get settled in the mind as a by-product of the experiences to which it has been subjected. The limitations created by the hoary past (of the individual and mankind) have to be faced irrespective of their nature or intensity. However, they constitute a superfluous binding, as they pertain only to the manifestations of the spirit in creative history and not to its intrinsic being.
Another type of legacy of the past, which can bind the spirit vitally, consists in the shaping of human nature by the imprints and dispositions deposited in one's mind. One may try to run away from given circumstances and one may even have a certain measure of success in doing so; but one cannot run away from one's own mind.
The mind persists throughout life and also after death, on earth and in the states of heaven and hell, as well as in the endless succession of reincarnations. It is a never-failing companion of the individual soul and can never be annulled except in the state of liberation or realization.
From the spiritual point of view, the bindings created by the make-up of one's own mind are far more stupendous than the bindings created by external circumstances. Both types of bindings are the relics of the past and rigorously determine the experiences of the present and the possibilities of the future.
Man cannot act with true freedom in the present, because he drags with him his binding past. He goes on, inevitably creating suffering for himself and others, and also accumulating the self-created impressional or sanskaric momenta which constitute the fortresses of the limiting ego-mind. The past cannot be changed and has, as a chain of incidents, become petrified; but it continues to mold the present and shape the future of the limited "I."
LIFE AT ITS BEST, pp. 31-32
1957 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.