Synopsis: The future is a persistent illusion. Why Forever Never Is
There’s a lot of silliness that goes on in the human head, the silliest of which is thinking that we can predict the future. Or that how we feel now (“I’ll love you forever!”) actually means anything.
But, of course, there’s a paradox here, as there is with everything in this Yin / Yang world.
The paradox is that present actions are indicative of future actions. Indicative, not predictive.
Last week, and also in a couple of other recent articles, I set up a straw person. I mentioned last time that she’s been making decisions about something significant, and then upsetting herself that the decisions are not what she wants to do.
Here’s this week’s piece: she’s doing it for her future happiness, or so she says.
I keep trying to tell her that the significant others in this story are not privy to her imaginary head-story. All they have to go on is what they actually see. And what they see is that she’ll agree to anything so no one dislikes her. And as she watches her significant other, the truth of his actions is that he puts his family and culture over her.
Every time. Nicely, but every time.
The wise person looks at this and says, “This (what is going on right now) is what is true. He will put those things first, and she will give in, and he will be pleased, and she will complain. And, without shifting something, this will likely become the pattern.”
Indicative, not predictive.
My cover article got published this week, and Let me say, it came out OK. However, I didn’t have input regarding the title, (which is OK,) nor the subtitle, which runs: How to Relate with Mindfulness (OK) … to live blissfully forever. (OOPS.)
I definitely didn’t write that one!!
Because, see above.
Now, …to live blissfully in the moment… that has legs!
The problem with future thinking is that it often bogs up the present moment. Off we go into our heads, and we draw ourselves a picture, and for many of us, we sigh with satisfaction… and that’s it!
Here’s the problem: if our imaginary future is at variance with the present moment (see straw person) we’re sacrificing “now” for an “imagined future.” But… no matter how much you imagine, your reality remains the same.
Repeat after me: all I know for sure is “right here, right now.” Anything else is a meaningless head trip.
Now, sometimes, people will counter this with something like, “Yeah, but if I don’t plan for the future, things will be a mess.” Well, no.
I may have, for example, a financial goal of having x dollars in a savings account 5 years from now. That’s nice. What will get me there? The plan?
Nope. Making regular deposits, on schedule, with no excuses. And in actuality, it’s “…making the next payment.” Same with anything.
A new degree, or writing a thesis? How? Page by page, class by class.
A new way of behaving? How? Shift your behaviour, this time.
A great relationship? How? Communicate clearly, this time.
Because, all there is, is now, and all we can do is what we do, now.
Your head will scream, “no!” but there it is. Get over yourself and your fantasies, and just “do it right,” this time.