Why all sufferings lie in future and all happiness in the present?


As a child, my father used to tell me “How you spend your day is, how you spend your life’.

It didn’t make sense then. I never understood how ‘just a day’ can decide my entire life?

By and by, I started understanding that it’s the smallest unit in a mathematical calculations that determines the grand total. In the scheme of this world, everything is determined by the smallest particle. In the end, everything boils down to the smallest unit – DNA. Each moment of our life is the determining unit of what the grand total of our life will be. It’s the value of the ‘present’, the mindfulness of the present moment and your ability to recognise that is what is the single most defining aspect of our lives.

This concept of presence is rooted in Hindu philosophy of mindfulness… the ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience. If you observe closely, the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction.

If we really want to enjoy the present, there must be a promise or hope of a great future. But life doesn’t offer any such assurances. Only astrologists, numerologists and tarrot card readers offer such promises of an awesome future. The only thing we know about our future is that someday we are going to die. Man is in constant pain, suffering, despair and agony because the future doesn’t turn out to be the way he envisaged. It’s the fear of what the future holds for us is what makes us anxious, angry and violent.

We spend most of our lives imagining a future based on abstract things, depending on predictions, guesses, deductions… or someone else’s experiences…. We spend most of our lives window-shopping. Because we can’t touch, feel, smell these abstract ideas. In this chase of future where the faster we chase future, the faster it runs away from us, we even forget that future can’t be enjoyed, whereas, only present can be enjoyed. Only if we start living in this moment.

It’s the chase of the future that all our affairs are rushed. We hardly enjoy what we have. We are forever seeking more or something else. Our happiness, instead of depending on the present reality, depends on abstract and superficial things like promises, hopes, and assurances.

This is also because in cities, people live like machines on wheels, busy in constant performing of a role, counting, calculating, measuring everything for a future on which they have no control. Subconsciously, they live in a state of ‘no-control’. Frustrating, no? We spend a lifetime living in a world of romanticised future and rationalised abstractions which have no relation to divine rhythm and harmony of the Mother Nature, which exists in now. Which is why, man invented artificial intelligence, hoping that it will free him from non-stop calculations and performance.  Soon, the man will become redundant. Like making fire or chasing animals has become redundant. Our bodies have changed, similarly our mind also changes with diff levels of evolution. This will cause more unhappiness.

If you want to understand this, analyse why do we make New Year Resolutions. Because we want to live an ideal life. We say “To improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” We have no control over the bad “me” and we depend on the good “I”, which is just rationalised hope. As long as we have a bad “me”, there will never be a good ‘I”.

To understand the value of the present… the now… the moment…. you must not face it but be it. Be #IAmBuddha

Note: you can also contribute to this column by sending your ideas, stories, fables, anecdotes. I’ll use them with due credits. 

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