This is the first post of the Q&A category. Namely, a reader asked the following interesting question:
“How do we learn from possible futures without becoming obsessed with the future?”
Those who seek to awaken their potentials of awareness, are often challenged to confront their relationship with time. They are challenged to experience permanent residence in the present moment. In parallel, they are challenged to understand the past, and to navigate the future. This may sound counterintuitive, but from the perspective of grounded and applicable esoteric wisdom, the future is the least important of the three standard temporal references.
In some of the more marketed versions of metaphysical thought there is the notion that the higher dimensions of time refer to everything occurring at once. There is, in other words, only the present and future and past coexist in it. Another perspective associated with the previous is the notion that everything has already occurred in all its variations, and we are just running a thread through one version or probability of happenings.
Our common reason gets to stretch beyond comfort zones with these notions, and especially where their logical implications or conclusions are concerned. Yet all too often we are prone to paint ourselves into a corner and end up arguing against our free will, all in the name of objective reason. So let me say that I will only pursue models of reality that don’t turn me into an automaton of fate, or even some stale form of Divine Will.
This is not my own wishful thinking talking. We obsess because we stress, and we stress because we’re trapped and insecure by the way our mind interprets things. It is not the fault of our response. That is to say, trying to simply not be stressed, or not be obsessed, is not the solution. It isn’t even healthy. I would instead suggest altering the model of perception and evaluation toward a form that allows natural response to lead to empowerment.
Even so the more ‘realistic objectivists’ among us might call this approach wishful thinking. I disagree. Choosing unhealthy world-views in the name of Murphy’s Law (basically the “Life Sucks” model) posing as realism is the less rational attitude in my opinion. It isn’t only dysfunctional, but it happens to help those who would want us weakened by despair and confused in the labyrinth of our own callous reasoning so they could manipulate us against our own interests.
My point is that trafficking in the future is like drinking a good wine with one’s meal. It helps digestion and makes for a good mood when imbibed in moderation. But it can make you sick if you indulge in large doses. You certainly cannot live on it for very long.
Instead of looking at the future as something set, let’s look at it as a void of potential, a field of any-thing and no-thing. Any-thing is possible, but no-thing is what the future is. In addition, the more probable or likely to occur outcomes can be traced to the past via our here and now.
Our positioning in the present moment- our presence- with respect to this void determines how the past looks to us. How the past looks to us determines how we can best use our experience to chart our course. This, in turn, alters what is more and less probable to unfold out of the field of no-thing that is the future.
The most important consideration in this is that the present moment is our position of empowerment. The present is the only real temporal frame. It is where we always are. Orientation in this frame, however, is still a choice. We can face the future or face the past. In modern western culture “living in the past” is discouraged, while looking ahead is praised.
On the contrary most every source of wisdom from our collective past advices to remain in the present. Where do we look? What is more real, the past or the future? I say it’s the past because we have experienced it. We don’t have to live in it, because it is already in us. We can look and evaluate all it has taught us.
The future cannot teach us anything. It doesn’t exist until it becomes the present. If we look for it all we do is project our preconceptions onto a blank screen. Because there will always be uncertainty with the future, our preconceptions will most likely be weaved with fear, or at the very least with degrees of insecurity. We will be challenged to compensate with faith or calculations of the most ‘objectified’ reasoning ‘just to be sure’.
Intuition might be delusional because we are not in the present moment where it naturally operates. Anxiety is the prime sign of disconnecting with the present in our temporal assessments. Anxiety begets obsession. We gnaw at something to make sure we leave no stone unturned. We hold on in fear it will bite us or worse if we let go; or we fear we will lose it somehow and cause things to derail out of control.
My recommendation, in a nutshell, is to practice being present first. The simplest way is to feel one’s own body in space. Time is connected to space and the body is always in the present. The mind then grounds, and in a relaxed state one can open to intuition via the great record banks of experience, one’s own and via all the information at one’s disposal. It is that which then calculates the probabilities that appear to be the “possible futures” facing us.
Let me confess that I practice methods of divination. I use Tarot cards, a pendulum and sometimes the I Ching to help assess the flow of probability. It is easy to obsess and even get somewhat addicted when using divination. Experience and determination, however, are great teachers in inhibiting projection beyond the present moment.
Whether using a method of divination or one’s intuition and inner guidance, one can see, sense, feel and/or cogitate the patterns of probability that flow through the present. The past teaches, the future is acceptable when we associate the lessons with the probabilities extending from them and work to making them happen. How that can happen is beyond the scope of this presentation, and any single answer. Just turn your back on the future, remain in the present and learn from the past. Then obsession should be kept at bay.