If you consider the title of this post it could strike you as outrageous, impossible or merely ridiculous. In fact it is the simple truth. Your present perceptions are the product of your history, beliefs, language, culture, emotions, all of which come from the past. Whatever you are seeing or perceiving is inescapably shaped and sculpted by your past experience. Literally, you only see the past.
When you look at a ‘cup’ you don’t see what is actually there in the present. You see it in terms of your idea of what a cup is for, what a cup is shaped like, how heavy cups are, what size, how it should feel, and so on. Your mind instantly creates a perception of this cup…and it is 100% based on past concepts, notions and experiences with cups. If you didn’t have these filters, you wouldn’t know what it is. You can identify ‘cup’ only because you learned about cups in the past.
You ‘see’ an object and label it a ‘cup’ because ‘cup’ is in your past. You weren’t born with the concept of ‘cup.’ The same is true for everything you perceive in your world: yourself, others, the past, the present and images of the future. Without a good deal of ‘un-learning’ you see only the past. Think about it.