Listening for the Echoes of the Past can Change your Tomorrow

It was one of those magic moments that will stay in my memory forever, I can still hear the echoes now. 

The Pisa Baptistery is famous for its perfect acoustics.
The guide stands on the other side of the baptistery and sings a few notes, pauses then sings a few more, pauses and sings a few more. What echoes back is a choir singing a beautiful melody.

Echoes can be beautiful. A wave of sound hitting a solid surface and bouncing back to surprise you.

They can also subtly influence you to listen to something of the past, rather than the present reality.

I remember listening to the echoes reverberating around, taking my eyes off the tour guide singing, and trying to locate the other voices singing. There were none.

Our minds are like this too. A thought is triggered and within milliseconds it reverberates unknowingly against an event from our past. The feelings from that past event come back to us so quickly that we respond in exactly the same way we did way back when that past event happened.


Event plus Response equals Outcome. All within in a few milliseconds.

The event might be a sound, a smell, a place, a person, but within a fraction of time the brain will make associations that will affect how we respond.

Listening for those echoes and paying attention to them can change our tomorrow.

It takes effort and a conscious decision to examine your thinking processes but the change can dramatically affect your future.

We don’t have to live according to the echoes and ghosts of the past.

An echo is an echo, it is not present reality and does not have to define our present experience.

As a child I had a lot of childhood illnesses that meant that I was unable to participate in many sports. I also missed quite a bit of school and always felt on the outside. That was then, this is how. 

Those feelings of being on the outside often come back to haunt me. What I have to do is take responsibility for myself and repeatedly tell myself the truth.

  • My past does not define me, it is the choices and decisions I make today that define me.
  • That was then, this is now. I am not that sick child any more.
  • I choose my response, not the ghosts of my past.
  • Sometimes I need to discount my feelings before they discount me.

I keep many of these insights in my Compass for the Brain which I review each day, telling my brain the truth. Bringing my mind under the influence of new truth.

I also daily dig into scripture for God’s revealed truth. All with the purpose of retraining the brain to be like the mind of Christ.

The next time you are being echoed on, spend some time going through these 7 steps.

  1. Ask God to help you listen and examine what is happening within you.
  2. What is your self talk? What are you telling your self, the little sentence that keeps on reverberating around in your mind?
  3. What are you feeling? What feeling is this self talk generating?
  4. When have you felt like this before? What moment in the past does this echo back too?
  5. What belief is feeding the feeling and self talk?
  6. What do you need to do? What truth do you need to tell your self? How can you make this a habit that will retrain your brain.
  7. Share it with someone you trust and ask them to pray for you

Some quotes to consider

  • Some feelings are just habits from child-hood circumstances. Feeling left-out, inadequate or misjudged are often only ghosts from the past. David Riddell
  • Did early sexual encounters leave you with an overlay of fear, guilt or disgust? Emotional echoes need to be answered before they can be laid aside. David Riddell
  • When you next over-react in anxiety, rejection or anger, try to distinguish between present reality and the echoes of past experiences. David Riddell
  • Emotional echoes need not be feared when recognised for what they are. Acknowledge them, then lay them aside. They can’t hurt you now, unless you submit to them. David Riddell
  • Research in marriage and family therapy suggests that approximately 80 percent of the emotional conflict between couples is rooted in events that predate the couple knowing each other. That’s why one of the questions I commonly ask in marriage counseling is how much of each spouse’s reaction to the other is his or her “80 percent.” In other words, how much of the conflict is not so much a direct outgrowth of a current event as something that flows from parts of their minds that are remembering? Curt Thompson M.D.,  Anatomy of the Soul
Questions to consider and leave a comment
  • What thought sentences keep echoing themselves back to you over and over again?
  • Are you a victim of your past experiences, sitting and languishing in the past, or are you going to be someone who challenges your past conclusions with present reality adult truth?
Barry Pearman