Asking “What if?” Is a Slippery Slope

The future is unknown and fretting about it is common — but not all that useful.

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash

I cannot tell you how life is going to be when the measures being taken to combat Covid-19 are done. Nobody knows when returning to normalcy will be a good idea or even feasible. There are many possibilities and scenarios for what lies ahead.

If you start to work through every permutation of “what if” you can and probably will drive yourself mad. There is no single model, prediction, or explanation that is the end-all-be-all answer. It is nothing but unknowns — and that is terrifying for most people.

If you begin to ask, “What if?” you will likely begin a feedback loop that will utterly depress you. I could give you tons of examples of what I am referring to, but that’s unnecessary. Every single one of these questions is attempting to predict the most uncertain future any of us have ever faced.

Almost the entire world is stuck in this position, as the virus has made its way to every continent save Antarctica. Societies of millions of people are locking down and driving economies to a grinding halt to lessen the spread and save lives.

Some care more for those economies than the people — which is asinine, short-sighted, and depraved. Look, seriously, without the people there IS no economy, so what in the hell is your major malfunction?

Money, just remember, is a made-up thing that has next-to-no basis in reality anyhow. But I digress.

Since you cannot answer most of the “what if?” questions that come up during this unusual situation, what can you do?

Now is a good time to be present

Where are you, right now? How are you, right now? What are you doing, right now? This moment, the present, is the most real reality there is, plain and simple.

Asking “What if?” is a projection for the future. The question is about a potential time that is unknown and could unfold in so many ways it’s mind-boggling. But the present, this moment, is real and knowable.

For example, as I am writing this, I am sitting in my home office and enjoying the sun streaming through the window. I hear the white-noise machine my wife and I use in the bedroom. I am enjoying my coffee, taking sips now and then from it. All is calm and peace, save my cat wanting me to throw light for her to chase every few minutes.

That is my present. How will it change as the day goes on? To some degree, I know — but to a greater degree, I don’t. But that’s ok. In this moment, right now, I am at peace and calm.

Even if at this moment you are fighting allergies, a cold, the flu, or even Covid-19, this is just a moment in time. Considering all the potential “what if?” scenarios will not help you heal. But being present, in the now, you can truly care for yourself, which can also help others, too.

Being in the present moment helps you be conscious of yourself. It gives you a chance to be aware of your mind, body, and spirit. That puts you in control over the one thing you can truly control. You.

Mindfulness makes you aware of yourself

Practicing mindfulness goes beyond becoming aware of what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, and the intentions of your actions. It also makes you aware — on a deeper level — of what is in your heart and soul.

When you are mindful you become conscious. That means that you don’t just gain awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions — but you also gain influence and control over them.

Most people, just existing day to day, live subconsciously. They have routines and patterns they follow, and that drives them. Often, they don’t truly have ahold of their mindset and headspace. I suspect that, if they did, they would be more inclined to treat themselves and others with a lot more respect and kindness.

Why do I say that? Because the subconscious gets inundated with information, and that makes it pliable and influenceable. That is how cult leaders get people to drink the Kool-aid and commit mass suicide. Or get people to follow leaders who couldn’t care less about them — save for their own selfish needs.

When you practice mindfulness, you gain insight into what your subconscious has been absorbing. When you see that and see how it has been driving you, you gain the ability to alter and change it.

This will put you in the present, and that will allow you to determine better how to live your life. You can decide — if this moment is not how you would like it to be — what to do to alter that.

Asking “What if?” in the moment is different

Once you are present in the moment and seeing where you are at in the here-and-now, you DO have a “What if?” question you could ask.

This is not about the future. It’s about the now.

For example, if you are unhappy, ask, “What if I do ‘x’ to change my mood?” If you are ill, ask, “What if I get more rest, drink more fluids, and do things to raise my frequency?” Maybe you want to improve yourself, so ask, “What if I study this art form more closely?”

Most people direct “What if?” questions to the future. But the future is going to coalesce in ways that are hard — if not impossible — to see. But when you direct the question to a present situation it can open you up to altering your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

In other words — you can begin to practice mindfulness to take control of your life in the here-and-now. Be present and aware in this moment and take the control you can.

Save your “What if?” questions for the now. When you find yourself trying to work out how the world might look after Covid-19, realize and acknowledge that you can’t get — and won’t have — an answer. Instead, be present, focus on yourself in the here and now, and take charge of you.

If you are unwell — work to alter that however you can. If you are healthy — work on staying that way and helping others do so, too. Be mindful and take charge of the only thing you can truly control — YOU.

The future is unknown and fretting about it is common but not all that useful. Don’t ask “What if?” about it — instead, be present and do what you can to make the most of the now.

You are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter and can control our lives in the present.

Check out my Five Easy Steps to Change the World for the Better

I am a practitioner of mindfulness, positivity, philosophy, & conscious reality creation. I love to inspire, open minds, & entertain. http://www.mjblehart.com

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