The Trouble With The Past And The Future

Where do you live? I’m not referring to the location where your physical form presently resides. This place is, essentially, irrelevant. I’m talking about where your conscious focus lives.

It’s likely that I don’t know you personally, but I can just about guarantee that you live in one of two places: the past or the future.

What do I mean by this?

As we move through the life experience, most all of us typically have our conscious focus on what we believe happened in the past or what we believe will happen in the future.

The Past: I can’t believe he/she said that! Boy, that was embarrassing! He / She abused me – I didn’t deserve that! That was so much fun! Those were the days – I wish I could go back! I threw it all away – I blew it!

The Future: I have to come up with money to pay for this or that! I have to go this event and it’s going to be awful – I wish I could just stay home! They’re coming for a visit – what a drag! I’m going to get that promotion some day! My vacation is coming up and I can’t wait! I’m going to die!

These are just some basic examples. At its essence living in the past or the future consists of having your conscious focus on what has happened or what will happen. This is the normal state of existence for most people — their conscious focus is almost never in the present moment. Some people are able to carry on in this way and be fairly functional, though they are never fully content and at peace.

For other people, being consciously away from the present moment nearly all the time leads to a breakdown of one’s emotional and/or physical structure. Living in the past tends to create feelings of guilt, shame, anger, resentment, despair, and depression. Living in the future tends to create feelings of fear, anxiety, panic, stress, resentment, despair, and hopelessness.

In western culture, and perhaps especially in the United States, living in the past or future is so prevalent that it’s been given some form of medical diagnosis — depression, anxiety, panic, etc. — and a billion dollar plus infrastructure, literally, has come into place to treat it. This is not to say that these conditions are not legitimate or painful: they certainly are both, and cause enormous suffering. But the root cause of this pain and suffering is nearly always overlooked or misdiagnosed.

If you should feel emotionally distressed do a bit of observation. Where is your conscious focus? Is there a stream of thinking ongoing that has something to do with the past or the future? To put it another way, are you living in the past or the future?

The past and the future are best avoided by your conscious presence. The past and future are ultimately nothing more than thought – the present moment is all that there really is, and this will always be so. More important than this, focus on the past and future blocks out the present moment, the now, which is where genuine peace and bliss reside.

Heaven on Earth is not a destination — it is Now.