If we recall the past with either gratitude or as lessons it taught us, our living in the past is healthy. It’s in fact guaranteed to make our present and future better. Principles of appreciation, thankfulness, purpose centred life etc nourish us and make our life and endeavours worth it.
When we have a vision for the future and we work towards it, it’s like adding a number 1 to many zeros in our lives. If we have hundred zeros, the number is useless, but when we add 1- principles, purpose and God- then the number of zeros after it have meaning. When someone criticized Srila Prabhupada for riding on an expensive car or for staying in an opulent palace, he humbly said he was using these facilities for service to Krishna and for preaching Krishna’s message. He said and showed by his example his preference for a humble dwelling in Bhuvaneshwar or Vrindavan or Mayapur, yet he used royal facilities for spreading the message of Krishna consciousness. The example he often cited was of decorating the body. “If a person is dead, what’s the use of dressing nicely” he asked rhetorically, “Only when he is alive, it makes sense to dress and eat nicely. If the soul leaves the body, there is no use for our endeavours to make the body better. Similarly, if we have a spiritual purpose, there is meaning to our activities and acceptance of facilities.” Without a meaningful life, all that we accumulate is for naught.
A legendary character from the Srimad Bhagavatam, queen Kunti teaches us how to revisit the past and hope for the future. In her soul-stirring prayers, she begs Krishna not to leave her. She first thanks Krishna for all the protection He has offered her and her children and then even begs for more troubles so that in that situation she could remember Krishna more intensely and secure an opportunity to see Him.