If you study Kabbalah carefully, one of the things that becomes immediately apparent is the reality that the Tree of Life, the very structure of our experience of life, is constantly in movement. It’s to be remembered that movement is the sign of life itself. Motion within the Tree of Life is everywhere. The whole structure of life emanates one level from the previous one. The Sefirot are constantly unfolding and then interacting with each other. There are multiple interactions between the levels and within the Sefirot themselves. Time and Space are in constant motion. The Kabbalist Tree of Life, the whole of reality, then, is the continuing experience of the Present.
The Past, from a Kabbalist perspective, is the record of how reality has been experienced already through the actualization of the choices we have made and the repercussions that have emerged from those very decisions. The past is a very vast, rich and important archive of information, which is meant to be used as a tool for learning and for soul development. It is not, however, a living reality and should never be confused with or allowed to interfere with the Present. The present, to be clear, is life experience itself, not the record of how it was lived and what the ramifications of our actions were.
The great danger in doing so, in being overly fixated on the past, is that you can get overly identified with what was reality at the expense of what is actually happening now. To be caught in the past or worse, to be living in the past, is to be experiencing life through a merciless and unchanging filter.
The Kabbalah teaches that the past is unchangeable as a reality. It functions as a record and its job is simply and effectively to preserve experience and information. It is essentially a closed book, a chronicle and an archive. The Past is to be studied and learned from. It cannot be relived or worse lived in, because it only represent life as it was, not as it is. Therefore if you are overly focused on the past, your perception of life is being filtered through a lens that is projecting onto your life a picture of what has been, not what is. It is doing so at the expense of objectively seeing what is actually transpiring. Your life experience is being colored and distorted by a non-reality.
What one learns from the Kabbalah is that focusing on the Past only perpetuates what was. If you are living in the past, the problem is often that you are trying to alter or heal negative and damaging experience by dwelling on it. You may be ruminating about it in order to try and effect a meaningful change. The reality here is that you cannot impact or alter the unchangeable. Fixation on the past only reinforces and perpetuates old patterns. So, if the old patterns were painful, damaging and destructive, then by holding on to the past reality only adds energy to the filter and exacerbates matters considerably.
From the Kabbalist perspective, suffering in our lifetime is often caused by this continual distortion of our present life experience due to the imposition of old psycho-emotional patterns from the past. If we are seeing and feeling what was over and over again in our lives, we are not able to see or feel what is truly happening now, in present time. The clear reason is that the past model, being constantly maintained, is overriding much of what could be seen and felt that is generated by current life circumstances.
Stuck or fixated in the past reality totally eclipses being in and experiencing the Now. You cannot be truly present and creatively, vibrantly alive, if stuck in the immutable past. This is because your energetic focus is tied up, continually recreating and reinforcing what was. All you are doing is regenerating trauma and trying to animate and change a frozen emotional reality by accepting it as the constant.
What picture is in front of the lens is what appears on the screen. If your focus is in the past that is continually what will be on the screen of your life. It will never change. Like a slide in a projector, the past is static. As the Kabbalists
say, “Consider this point well.”