When I was a little girl, my mother used to read a lot of interesting stories to me. One of the stories was about a group of friends,the accurate account of the story has faded from my memory; at the end of which on looking back they turn into stone. As I was trying to Google the actual story, I came across references to the book of Genesis where Lot’s wife turns into a pillar of salt on looking back. God’s wrath doesn’t spare her as she turns around to take one last look at what she’s leaving behind.
The concept of ‘don’t look back’ thus comes from ancient times. Funny as it may sound, a few months back my dentist gave me a piece of wonderful advice and it was ‘ jau peechay mur ke dekhta hai woh pathar ka ho jata hai’ ‘ the one who looks back turns into a stone’. Now after having totally forgotten about my conversation with him, this line wandered its way back to me on a random hour of winter night.
I was wide awake, lying in bed, trying to make sense of this and that when I realised the significance of what the doctor had said and quickly a past memory fluttered nearby. I remembered all the stories that my mother read out or told out of her imagination carried a lesson for me. Amazingly they have all stayed with me like a silent friend.
In life we need to be like those group of friends who have to keep moving forward without looking back. The bittersweet experiences in life tempt us to stop a while to either regret on the past mistakes or bask in the good old days of years gone by. We stop and stare behind us when we know ‘there’s no time to stand and stare’ as William Henry so aptly once wrote. That moment of giving in and taking one glance back is the time we choice to become a pillar of salt/a stone. We choose to let the present moment wait and leave while we regret a little.
We let the past haunt us, take our present from us, burden us with the baggage with what has happened and cannot be undone, leaving us something like a stone, fixed and stuck. As long as we keep dragging that baggage with us, we will find our hands full unable to take the right actions in the present. It is for us to decide what we want to be driven by; the temptation of looking back too much or looking ahead with a fresh positive attitude. The past can guide us to be better in the present for our future. But at the same time it has the capacity to lure us deep into it’s intricate paths. Whatever we may think, looking back would never make it possible for us to relive the good times in the past or fix the wrongs there. We would but find ourselves a statue unable to move back or forward…