‘We misunderstood each other, and that was the root of all the problems.’
‘If I don’t get a job after graduation, how will I manage my family’s expenses?’
In our busy and hectic life, we don’t have time to stop and introspect ourselves. Even if we do, we will find that most of the time our mind is either thinking about the past, or wandering in the future.
The grip of past and future grows stronger every time we dwell in the past or try to predict the future. Our mind is just juggling between past and future, and we seem to have lost the control of our own mind.
Let us take an example to exactly understand the influence of past and future on our mind.
Assume that if I remove your memory completely, then there will be no past, or any past experiences. When there will be no past, there won’t be any definition of good or bad. You will not even remember your name or identity. We tend to predict the future based on our memories i.e. the past experiences. And when there is no past (memory), there won’t be any future.
If you stand in front of a mirror, you will see your reflection. You can easily notice that there is a difference between your reflection and your original form. It is you who has a reflection and not the other way round.
Similarly when you look into past/future which can also be termed as reflections of mind, are not the original form. You will not be defined by what you did in the past or what you are going to do in the future.
You will be defined by what you do in the present moment.
If your memory is removed, your past and future will be left behind, and the state acquired is called ‘Enlightenment’ or ‘Mindfulness’.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment and non-judgementally”
The practice of mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now. It can be developed through practice of meditation. Mindfulness meditation is practiced sitting with eyes closed, cross-legged with the back straight. Attention is put on the awareness of the breath as it goes in and out the nostrils.
Neuro imaging techniques have suggested that mindfulness practices lead to the development of will power, focus, concentration, emotional maturity, greater tolerance and increased listening skills.
When we are mindful, i.e. living in the present, everything around us feels naturally beautiful. We begin to realise that there is nothing bad in others, it is only inside you. Buddha also stated enlightenment as the ‘end of suffering’. And this suffering will end when we are no longer attached with either the past or the future.
‘Can we change the past?’
‘Do we know the future?’
(Not unless a time machine is invented!)
Until then, we will have to learn to live in the present; we will have to be mindful.
You can build empires, earn billions of money, and keep running over and over again. And one day you are going to realise that all you built is now a past, which is of no use in the end.
So, don’t just look, observe
Don’t just swallow, taste
Don’t just sleep, dream
Don’t just think, feel
Don’t just exist, live!
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” – Buddha