Question: If I only live in the present moment then how can I dream about a better future for myself? You say live in the now but how do you set goals to work at when you’re living the way you’re talking about?
Tripping on Misunderstanding
Awesome question. Thanks so much. Clearly you’re really meditating on what you’re reading. Excellent. It is a subtle aspect to things that you’ve noticed but it is also fairly explainable.
Yes you want to live in the Present Moment but it is entirely acceptable plan for future moments in the moment you are currently in. Planning can be a very conscious activity. But once your plan is set, forget about it.
Reassessing a plan with new information is one thing. But to just ruminate and worry about it is another thing altogether. Above all, do not get attached to your plans. They are called ‘plans’ for a reason. Maybe you’ll be able to realize those plans, maybe not. You’ll see when you get to the moments where your plan plays out.
Is this making sense? You can go ahead and set a goal, but if you pay too much attention to the goal and not enough on the action necessary to realize it, then you’re likely to come up short. Then you’ll really be especially hard on yourself because you thought the goal into such a big deal.
If we’re focused less on an outcome and more on simply paying exceptionally close attention as we move toward it, then no matter what context we are in we will act in the best way you know how. With awareness comes wisdom.
Okay, so it’s: plan and prepare, live life fully, implement the plan at the specified time and date, respond to the real-world reactions, survive, and live to do it all again. Easy.
You do have a future. But many things other than you will decide how that future is shaped. Plan for your part of it, but be ready for all kinds of changes and adjustments and even disruptions or disconnections.
Planning for the future can be wise, but to spend too much time there is to leave the Present Moment unattended. The Present Moment is where 100% of the actual decisions about our lives takes place, so if we’re not going to be aware of, and consciously making our moment to moment life decisions in it, then what plans we have are meaningless because there will no one present to execute them anyway.
In the end your life would be better with 100% presence and no plans than it would be if it had perfect plans and barely any presence. Plans are largely expressions of the ego’s desire to achieve. Presence is a spiritual state. Spend time with each accordingly.
Have a wonderful day.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.