Lesson # 17: You Can Get through Anything Life Hands You if You Stay Put in the Day You Are in and Don’t Jump Ahead

by bye2mrwrong

Do not dwell on the past.
Do not dream of the future.
Concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Often our past haunts us. Once our mind is attacked by memories, we find ourselves pulled into the “what if” zone, the shoulda coulda woulda thoughts, and the regrets of what happened or didn’t happen. When it comes to the future, what creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.

I understand that living in the past is nothing but wallowing in old memories. The past is gone. It’s over. We cannot change what was. So it’s best to leave it behind where it belongs. That seems logical and almost easy enough.

But what I don’t quite understand is how not to think of the future. Being the control freak that I apparently am (only according to my psychologist), it’s hard not to think of the future, plan it, sometimes even to the slightest of details, and hope it comes true.

Can I really just live in today without thinking of tomorrow? I just can’t come to grips with this idea of living in the moment. Enjoy it yes, live it to its fullest definitely, not dwell on the past sure; but not think of a future, not make plans or have goals in mind hmm. I understand the whole thing about coming to terms with the fact that I cannot and do not control everything that happens around me, or even to me. But I just can’t handle not thinking of tomorrow.

Maybe I’m seeing this too black and white, and I’m forgetting to look at the shades of gray in between. But if I didn’t plan for the future, I wouldn’t have studied, I wouldn’t have married, I wouldn’t have had goals to conquer, ambitions to achieve. Maybe this formula was only meant to ascertain that we do not dwell on the unhappy moments which were or those that could have been. So that we do not look backwards with sorrow or forwards with fear.

What do you think?

9 Comments to “Lesson # 17: You Can Get through Anything Life Hands You if You Stay Put in the Day You Are in and Don’t Jump Ahead”

  1. You need to learn from the past but not dwell in it, live in the moment, but think about the future. If you ignore the past, you will repeat mistakes, if you only live in the moment, you will change the future for better or worse, and if you only life in the future, you aren’t thinking about how your actions will affect you today, which is where you are. I think you have to combine all of it to live happily and fully. You cant ignore any tense.

    • Thank you live.love.laugh.

      I do believe youre right. This makes much more sense than not looking at the future at all, or forgetting about the past.To be honest I’m not sure I want to forget the past. Much of if was great. And what wasnt, well I guess its good to learn from it. As for the future, I guess everyday today is a day that i make the future happen.

  2. That’s a great reply… living in the present doesn’t mean forget the past or don’t plan for the future. I think it’s more about finding contentment in your current self. Don’t spend your time stressing over old issues that you can’t change. Accept them and move on, but don’t forget them because they give you wisdom. And then don’t spend all your time planning to be somewhere tomorrow, you’ll be stressed and disappointed, but think about your future and work toward it because it gives you hope.

    And always, always, find a way to be thankful for who you are right now. Find something to enjoy, something you can appreciate now. Be proud of your choices today, you can’t change your old choices and you don’t know what your future choices are until you make them.

    • Thanks Maurice.

      Well put. No regretting the past, and not too many expectations for the future.

      Today I am thankful for my beautiful past, for what I’ve lost and what I’ve found, for having learned, for having grown, for having loved and for being loved. I am thankful for the possibilities of a wonderful future. I am grateful for my family, friends, and co-bloggers which have listened with an empathetic ear, held out a supportive hand, and showered me with love and understanding.

  3. I think it’s different to spend one’s time wishing for the future when, hopefully, all the pain has gone and life is fun and happy again and just sitting around and hoping it will all miraculously ‘happen’ – which is living in the future.

    Living in the moment is about using Now positively. It can be about planning the future you want. Taking action now to give you the tomorrow you desire. Taking those small steps to the goal you want rather than just wishing you were there already. And enjoying the whole process of doing that.

    For me this is what living in the moment is about.

  4. I’ve been thinking about this before commenting. It’s a tough one to wrap your mind around. I think it’s okay to dream about the future and to plan for the future. But don’t dream with dread because it isn’t going to be as you had once intended. That’s always going to be true. Our plans get changed for us whether it’s divorce or some other bump in the road. For example, I’m planning a trip to Peru for next May. I tried to do this trip once before but it fell through because of snags that were out of my control. I still want to go so I’m starting to plan again. Will I make it this time? Who knows? But the planning is fun all the same.

    Keep on keeping on, girlfriend.

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