Ajahn Sumedho explains the formula:
Yesterday is a memory.
Tomorrow is the unknown.
Now is the knowing.
in his book in Now is the Knowing.
At the first sitting of Norman Feldman’s in-city retreat today, I felt this tremendous sense of loss for all things past – my (long) deceased parents, missed opportunities, mistakes of youth. I yearned for a refuge from these thoughts and feelings about the past, which seemed to be reverberating so strongly in the present – perhaps because I just had a birthday, I don’t know. I really wanted to be focused in the present, to take refuge in the knowing, to be free of the sadness that emanated from these memories.
This refuge came as the day went on, but it was also, in some way, an escape from the past, which does have an impact on the present. And I think we do need to be able to see the history of ones life and reflect on it without fear or anxiety. Memories affect how and what we know in the present too.
I think that reflecting on regrets – having remorse – can inform and edify one actions, speech and thought in the present.