“The future starts today, not tomorrow.” Pope John Paul II
Looking down the road, planning for the future, saving for a rainy day, and dozens more truisms come to mind that point us in the direction of tomorrow. Right now, this very moment we will make choices that will make tomorrow different than if we had made a slightly altered decision. Every step down the road leads us to the next and the next. We are defining our future with each breath that we take, each word that we utter, each thought and hope and dream. Just a little terrifying, yes?
Having faith that the journey is laid out before us and taking the tentative steps in that direction is all the bravery one really needs to muster. Most of us have an internal compass that warns us of taking off in on an ill-chosen path. Yet so often we fail to trust our best instinct and in fact argue with it, rationalize going against it and fight to have it “our way”. Where does that leave us if not on a narrow ledge from which we will have to backtrack at some point if we are, in fact, building our future at this moment? Is it not more terrifying to think that through our actions we are laying the groundwork for something less than we know is best for ourselves?
Stepping up this moment to take responsibility for what happens next is the great human challenge. Whether it be a personal action or one that reaches far outside of oneself, acting fearlessly and following our moral compass works best in the present. Thinking we will build the future when we get there and pay no toll for the thoughtless or reckless actions of today is certain folly.
Mindfulness is the tool to be certain the future we live is one we would have chosen, had we known. Insight prevents hindsight to a great degree and should be used at every turn. Instead of wasting time agonizing over a choice, turning it this way and that, creating arguments to satisfy each perspective; paying attention to the reaction of the mind and body will tell us everything we need to know. Centering ourselves in an unshakeable present gives birth to a satisfying future.