Staying Present While Planning the Future
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Someone recently posed the question, “While dating, how does one stay in the present moment, focused on the here and now, while still assessing whether a partner would be viable for the future. If we are imagining a future, aren’t we no longer present?”
While sounding simple, without explanation, the concept of “being present” can be confusing. In the world of success strategies, we are taught to make plans, to set goals, to be forward thinking and to be prepared. Yet, in the realm of spirituality, we are taught to be here now and to be mindful of the present moment. So, in the hopes of being successful in love, how do we bridge these two—staying present while evaluating future potential and planning? These two concepts seem to be in conflict. However, they don’t have to be in opposition.
When you tap into your authentic nature, through the present moment, you are able to consider what you truly want for your future. This knowing will come from a different place than the unconscious should-programming from your past (you should get married, you should settle down, you should be a parent) or from your future fears (you will be alone forever, no one will ever really love you). So ironically, accessing the present moment can bring clarity about your future path. Also, from the present moment, you can more clearly see if there are any situations from the past you need to tend to, apologize for, sort out, or forgive.
Being present is a form of responsibility. It is our responsibility to clean up our pasts, integrate and heal our hurts, so that they no longer impact or influence our behavior or our vision. We tend to see through a lens of what is still incomplete or what has caused us pain. When we have these experiences, we make up stories and come to conclusions that are not necessarily accurate. Then we look at all new people and circumstances through this lens, even when it doesn’t apply to them and we behave as if it does. It is our responsibility to observe our own thoughts, beliefs, decisions and conclusions, question them, and suspend any that don’t have any real evidence or merit in the current circumstance.
It is also our responsibility to look deeper than our fears about the future, and instead see them as a marker on the surface letting us know what the treasure is hidden underneath. Under the fear of being cheated on is the treasure of being in an honest relationship. Under the fear of death is the treasure of loving life. Under the fear of being alone is the treasure of the company of others. It is our responsibility to look under the fear to see what matters to us. When we know what truly matters, we can bring our soul qualities to the front line in helping us create that vision.
Getting present requires bringing your attention to what is happening now, how you are feeling now, what you are doing now, what you are thinking now, and taking a deep breath. I call this taking the “down elevator breath” from the ego mind into the spirit. This journey is a matter of moving your awareness from the head to the heart. When done successfully, angst drops away, depression and fear drop away, and in their place rise the qualities of our soul-essence.
All we have control over is our now moment, but the now moment holds the power to transform the future and to heal the past.