It’s ruinous for the soul to be anxious about the future and miserable in advance of misery, engulfed by anxiety that the things it desires might remain its own until the very end. For such a soul will never be at rest - by longing for things to come it will lose the ability to enjoy present things.”
Seneca, Moral Letters, 98.5b-6a
That little phrase, along with a few qualifiers, could sum up my entire experience at my alma mater, Naropa University. Of course, as human beings we have hopes and dreams of the future, and it’s important to remember our past and where we’ve come from… but when we dwell in the past and future, we’re not dwelling in anything “real”. We’re only living in our heads… which is counter-productive to being present.
Just for a moment, think about this with me: nothing else is absolute and real unless it is in the present. The past lives in memory, an activity of the mind, and thus, not “real”. The future arises exclusively from the mind, and thus, is nothing but make-believe. The past, therefore, is what we remember, and the future is what we make up.
Dwelling in either the past or the future is what prevents us from dwelling in the present moment.
If it’s best to be in the present moment, why is it so inherently difficult? Well…
… sometimes we run to (or romanticize) the past or future because the present is uncomfortable. Sometimes we front-load the future with misery because we’re living in the past. Sometimes we get taken advantage of over and over because we’re out of right-relationship with the past (and the present). When we’re not residing in the present moment, the number of ways we can plug together the past and future to really screw ourselves become abundant…
… however, when we’re practicing being radically present, the number of ways are few.
Improve your chances. Be present. Always.
(See y’all tomorrow)