Unveiling the Layers of Time: Past, Future and Present

Bloganuary prompt: Do you spend more time thinking about the future or the past?

Past

I don’t spend much time thinking about the past.
The past is an important part of us. All the experiences, people and thoughts that came before this present moment form the basis of what we think and how we feel and act now and in the future.

But there is nothing about the past that can be changed. Maybe with time and a lot of work, we can change how we interpret things that happened in the past but that thought is in the present and may shape the future.

Of course, it is important to know your past and recognize how it has shaped you. Just as important is to take into consideration the past of the person situation or conflict you are dealing with.

Future

Yoda Quote Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.

I think about the future more, probably too much.

In the short term, this is probably natural and healthy. It is important to know what you want to do or accomplish in the near future. “What am I going to face today?” “What do I need to get done this weekend?” “What’s for dinner?” Those things.

Where it gets trickier is the more distant future. Thinking about this can be very scary. I have had times where thinking about the future has caused me so much anxiety that I needed therapy to realize what was happening.

It is important to keep the future in mind but keep in mind that you can only anticipate as much as you can see today. There are often factors in play that you can not know and that will change the future.

Present

The more experience I gain with juggling past, future and present, the more I see how important the present is.

I realize that the moments where I am the happiest are moments where I am totally present. Present with the person I am spending time with, with the activity I am involved in and also present in the thought or feeling in my mind.

For a few years now I meditate with a guided meditation for a few minutes in the morning, right after getting up. I use the time when my mind is not swirling with plans, thoughts, daydreams and other things coming my way during the day. The time in the morning when the coffee is already warming my tummy but the caffeine has not reached the brain yet.

What meditation (especially Jeff Warren in the Calm meditation app) has taught me is to detach more from what is going on in my head and be more of an observer of my thoughts, emotions and anything going on around me. This is called equanimity.

Doing this requires practice and some days it is easier to do than others. With time though I am able to carry this skill into the day. It allows me to analyze situations better and respond to people and events calmly and in a more thought-out, productive manner.

I still freak out, get angry and ruminate too much about things I think are wrong 🙂 .

If you would like to try the Calm meditation app for free, leave a comment on this post and I will email you a code.

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