One of the main tenets of mindfulness is living in the here-and-now. Mindfulness is becoming aware of what you are thinking as well as what and how you are feeling. This applies directly to the present.
Yet the present is going to be impacted by the past in numerous ways. Further, when you are working on creating a life as you most desire it to be, much of that looks to the future. Reconciling this is a challenge in numerous ways.
The past has passed
There are way too many people and groups of people who strongly desire to go back to the past. A past that, overall, never actually existed.
This is what drives white supremacists and misogynists in their desires for a world they felt they dominated. That world they idealize never existed, despite their nostalgia for it.
The past has passed, no matter how you look at it. There is no going back, you cannot redo what has been done. No matter how you view time, whether linear, cyclical, or weebly-wobbly timey-whimey, the past cannot be returned to nor made into the present.
There are three options when it comes to the past.
1. Hold onto it for dear life. Never let it go. Keep hoping to go back to it. You can probably see for yourself how utterly impractical this option is.
2. Let it go. It happened, it is over, let go of it. By all means, be grateful for the good stuff that you got in the past because that leads to more good stuff (gratitude is super-powerful). But then, once you let it go, you can…
3. Learn from it. The past is a teacher. Various lessons can be learned from your experiences along the way if you choose to see what lessons may have come of them.
Obviously, options 2 and 3 go hand-in-hand because you simply can’t let the past dictate your present or future. BUT, and this is important to keep in mind, the thoughts, feelings, and actions of your past have created your present.
This is why letting go and learning from the past is so important. If you don’t, the now likely will make very little sense to you.
The present is reality
Your reality is most real in the here-and-now. The present. That’s not to say that the past didn’t get you where you are now. But where you are now is the most real time of your life.
Probably my favorite quote by Albert Einstein:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
The truth is that the past is part of the illusion. This is why it is passed and cannot be reclaimed. But right now, this moment, as you read these words, your reality is real. How you are perceiving your world, how these words impact you or not is this moment, and this moment is your reality.
It is difficult to be in the now for many people. This can be due to not wanting to be fully aware of their mindset; being scared of what they will find within their own headspace; because there are not even remotely where they desire to be in this life; or something else.
What’s more, who you are right here and now is the result of your past thoughts, feelings, and actions. That can be a bitter pill to swallow sometimes, in especial if they were less aware of their own mindset and mindfulness and allowed their subconscious to bring them here.
Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, feelings, and the intent behind actions you take. When you’re aware, you gain influence and control. Thus, you get to choose your thoughts and feelings in the now. That also lets you choose the intention of your actions.
The actions you take here and now will impact, direct, and create your future.
The future is not yet written
This can be seen by some as a challenge, and by others as a problem. Will the future hold amazing things, or awful things? Greatness, mediocrity, or terribleness? What lies ahead?
The thing is, the future can be how you desire it to be. BUT, and this is crucial, you can’t live there just as you cannot live in the past.
Some people look only ahead to what the future can hold. Then, they put things off in the now awaiting things in the future.
I’ll take that trip after I get the raise at work. I’ll buy the car after I lose 20 pounds. I will get a new job after my 40th birthday. Why set parameters? What if something happens and you do not reach these marks?
Now may be the only time that you have. So why create an artificial point you have to reach to do something for yourself? What’s more, when you do that you may be keeping that achievement in the future.
Consciousness creates reality. If you think that the achievement is ahead, rather than a foregone conclusion now, it may well stay ahead.
For example, when I was healing from serious injuries after getting hit by a car, I saw myself as healed. It was a done deal, I was recovering completely. Not in the future, not someday, but my reality was that this was the case. I would be healing incrementally every day.
This is not about a Pollyanna, rose-colored attitude, but more about how you view the now. Now creates tomorrow, just as yesterday went into creating today.
And yes, if you think too deeply on this it can potentially give you a headache.
Balance between the past, present, and future
The present is a product of the past, while the future is created in the present. Yet there needs to be a balance struck between these, just as most universal truisms.
You can and should learn from, but then release the past. You are empowered to create the future with thoughts, feelings, and actions in the now. Be mindful that you are not setting yourself up to keep the future always in the future with unnecessary provisos before actions. That is how you balance it all together.
Last but not least, you are worthy and deserving of being the best you that you can be. You have this life to learn, grow, and experience as much as you can, no matter who you are or where you come from. You are amazing like that.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter right here and now.