From time to time saints and mystics have appeared who have focused more on internal and spiritual development as compared to the external world. Major religions have developed around teachings of some of these saints. However, the preachers and teachers that have followed later have not interpreted the original messages correctly in all cases and thus compromised the teachings. The most stupid is the assertion in many religious schools that a human may attain progress only through their system. It is stupid if not outright criminal because it is a lie in most cases. It has to be, because if one of them is true all others have to be liars or fools.
Few humans have the time or inclination to go directly to original messages of saints. They depend on preachers that follow. Discouraged by false teachings, many modern humans have discarded religion all together. Along with that many have also discarded the central focus of religion – God. That is unfortunate because one could have always developed an independent relationship with the Universe or God. The spirit of Nature ever throbs in every part of nature and is ready to embrace anyone who approaches with love.
While many humans have discarded religion and manage with that as long as life chugs along merrily, the moment distress strikes they look for spiritual or emotional solace once again. Having discarded religious avenues they look for modern teachers and philosophers but as repeatedly warned by saints, many teachers shall follow them but many of them will be fierce wolves in sheep’s clothing that will devour them instead. This warning is not only for teachers outside of religions that followed a particular saint but also for teachers of religions developed out of their own teachings, because for saints, different religions did not exist, the one and only God did.
Thus being left with modern teachers, many modern humans have fallen pray to false teachings that might provide some temporary quick delight like a glass of whiskey does, but leaves them far worse off in the long run. Let us focus on a very popular yet false teaching of our times. It is called live in the moment and goes something like this – Live in the moment, the past is no more, and the future is unknown. Let us see how harmful and false this teaching is.
Each human personality is unique and is made up of experiences of past. If a human attempts to ignore the past consciously, it does not go away but recedes to the subconscious and from there it continues to empower or trouble. Looking back into the past, a human would find it is made up of many pleasant and unpleasant experiences, good and bad done, wise and foolish things, obsessions for both good and bad that may have occurred from time to time. We end up doing well when motivated by values of love, truth and simplicity and do evil when moved by lust, greed, anger, pride, jealousy etc. Reserving time for reflecting on the past gives us an opportunity to repent, to resolve anger with forgiveness or acceptance and thus lighten the burden that weighs down our souls. However most important is the education and learning we acquire from our past. That after all is the purpose of experience and a way to evolve. This learning not only helps us to evolve and make our life better but also goes on with us into future lives for those who believe in future lives as this author firmly does. There are humans who go through much good and bad and others who have little of either. The latter also have less learning and therefore evolve less slowly.
Aside from past, one must reserve time to plan for future too. Every morning we can set a time to plan the day’s activity. Once a week the weekly program, and once a month monthly issues so that one’s daily life becomes easier and more productive. One will not find then that one has run out of toilet paper just after a poop because one was too busy living in the moment rather than thinking of tomorrow after yesterdays poop when the toilet paper ran out, or find after a meal is cooked that one has run out of salt.
Besides short term future plans, once in a while during a year, one has to set time aside time for long term plans too. Younger persons have to develop long term career plans and those past forty must plan for retirement and old age else they may face a hard time when that time comes. It may be mentioned that evening hours are the worst for developing future plans or even those for tomorrow because one is prone to most errors at this time compared to mornings whereas evening hours remain good time to reflect on the past, just relax, or chat with family/friends about what transpired during the day. If one begins to talk of what should be done tomorrow, remind that evening is not a good time to plan for tomorrow.
Having stated that, it must be noted that there is much truth in the old adage – Man proposes, God disposes. What happens to us in future depends not only on our plans and actions but much more on the Universe around us. One might work on building a lovely home in a California forest but when it comes time to move in, one may find that drought has dried up the place. On the other hand, there have been cases of humans who did nothing to plan for retirement yet when the time came; they won a lottery or an inheritance. This does not mean that we should not plan for future because that would increase chances of a hard time ahead, what it means is that we must not let worries and concerns of future influence or compromise our present. As we go about tackling the tasks for the day, there is enough to carry for today, why add to it the load of tomorrow as well?
Those who trust in God have the confidence that He and the Universe shall do right by them in future. The chances of that are more if we do the right things in our life. We make choices from moment to moment to do the right thing or be led into wrong by baser instincts.
Thus after having reserved time for reflecting on past, resolving and learning from it; reserving time for future both for short term and long term plans, one must focus on the present, the moment and get on with our lives attempting at all times to do the right thing. What is required is to be fair to each, past, future and present but not mix issues of past and future when we are engaged in the moment so that we may do justice to each fully. When one has resolved emotional dilemmas of the past, it more or less ceases to occupy thought and when some time, only a little, is reserved for future planning as indicated in this note, one may immerse oneself fully in the moment and make the most of it.
Art Image accompanying this post: Landschaft mit einem Wasserfall by Ludwig Philipp Strack
Note: This blog has many posts on spiritual matters arising from a similar independent philosophy aside from many other issues important to modern life and living. Readers are welcome to browse. If you raise any queries or contentions in comments it will be a pleasure because it helps other readers too and several hundred visit the various posts daily. I shall know of it through email notifications and respond to it.