My mind often wanders and wonders about ‘tomorrow’, whether that’s five minutes, five weeks, or five millennia from now. I reckon a hunter-gatherer instinct drives this because everyone I know sees a ‘tomorrow’ awaiting them. Why are humans always jumping ahead of the moment? … Because we can! The mind’s space is larger than most mundane moments can stimulate and fill. It seeks greener pastures, i.e., the hunter-gatherer impulse to look for food that must be just ahead, either in reality or in the fertile fields of human imagination.
Keeping mindful of this is invaluable. Life turns out much better. Chapter 14 speaks to this:
What about the future? Shouldn’t we look ahead for opportunities or dangers that await us? Actually, most genuine opportunities and dangers are in the present. Thus, awareness in-the-moment is the way to take advantage of opportunity and avoid danger. The future generally takes care of itself when I am fully engaging in the present (1). Chapter 64 speaks to this nicely…
It is easy to maintain a situation while it is still secure;
It is easy to deal with a situation before symptoms develop;
It is easy to break a thing when it is yet brittle;
It is easy to dissolve a thing while it is yet minute.
Deal with a thing while it is still nothing;
Keep a thing in order before disorder sets in.
Looking to the future actually robs the present, and besides, as chapter 38 cautions us,
Speaking of foreknowledge, in the 70’s, I learned to read palms, cast horoscopes, do the I-ching, and Tarot cards. A fascinating aspect of this was how people reacted when I revealed their past, present and future. Those who had faith in what I was doing from the start not only bought every word, but often amplified the narrative as well. That shows the power of belief!
Those who didn’t have faith from the start were less than convinced and neutral at best. This only goes to show how our beliefs and expectations play a huge role in how and what we see. Anything that supports these will wind up reinforcing them. Likewise, anything that doesn’t support our preconception, we will heavily discount or ignore.
(1) Then again, looking ahead is how I remember what I truly want in life. For example, when I’m drinking alcohol or eating cake, looking ahead is how I sense when to stop… as chapter 32 reminds, Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger. I must be-in-the-moment to maintain awareness of consequences, i.e., “A stitch in time saves nine.”