I recently read two books and both of them were based on the same idea: people are happy by nature and the main reason for their unhappiness is the mind and its never ending journey into the past or into the future. I came to realize that there is truth in this idea. We are wandering too much between our memories, the things that we have lived in the past and those that we hope to live in the future.
We keep the past in mind fearing we will repeat the mistakes we did in our lives. And, more importantly, we do not forget the wrongs that others did to us hoping that this will protect us from future evil.
We are always planning ahead and we hope to have a better future than the present. Maybe you are going to ask what’s wrong with that. I would say there is nothing wrong with that as long as our longing for better times in the future does not prevent us from living the present.
Why is the present moment so much more important than the past and the future? Because the present is the only time that we are going to live, the only real time. The past and the future do not exist in reality; they are only in our minds. They are in fact formed of many present times that have passed or many present times that will come. So, now is the only moment in our lives that really matters. It is now when we can do or change something and it is now when we can let go of the past and change the future.
Most of the time we search in the past or the future for better moments, but it’s our mind that compares and labels the present moment as not good enough. The mind is the one that carries us into the past and the future where we can find happier times, or we think we do. But when we are running away from the present we are in fact running away from our life because we live only in the present and never in the past or the future.
There are very few people that are really unhappy in the present. Most of us are unhappy because we bring guilt and fear from the past and we worry about the future. And, most of the times, there is nothing else that makes us unhappy besides that. So basically we can be happy if we can stop our mind’s continuous chatting. Of course I am not saying that our mind is useless, not by far. But we should only use it when it brings us value, not when it makes us unhappy.
Cherish the present as it is the only time that we will ever live and it is the only time when we can be happy. And I am asking you to take two minutes to answer a question asked in one of the books: “What, at this moment, is lacking?”