There is an idea that if you spend too much time thinking about the past you risk depression and, too much in the future, anxiety.
This makes some sense.
The past – the way things were, the good old days, etmol; Our brains are fantastic at filtering-out the bad moments, the times of despair, pain or fear. We selectively recall the good, or at least when we look back on the bad, it is usually blurred, indistinct;
And, to the future, what might be, how, where, when? What if I… What will happen? The future-state possibilities are endless, limitless and, I imagine it is this lack of limit or boundary which makes anxiety so visceral.
We need the past and the future – forgetting the past and we just make the same old mistakes again. Forget the past and you are condemned to repeat it, so said Santayana.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I’ll love ya tomorrow; It is difficult to determine whether any other species is able to create a picture of tomorrow and plan towards it; this is what allowed us to form tribes and clans, to hunt in groups, build cities and destroy the environment.
I’ve seen wolves and lions hunting in packs – is that the same thing? How are roles assigned in these animal groupings? (Lion 1 to lion 2, ‘You wait behind that big rock and jump-out at the zebra when I shout Bazinga.’)
Without a concept of tomorrow, the loss of expectancy, of looking forwards, would be a tragedy. The childhood night before your birthday; before a holiday; Christmas (or so I am told) –
We need the past and we need the future to maintain us in psychological wellbeing. It is likely when the past devours us, or the future overwhelms our present, things go wrong.
Yin & Yang; keeping in balance.
How do we balance the future and the past?
The likely answer is present.
Pause for a moment in the present; see the sky, the trees, the clock ticking, smell the cooking, feel the warmth. Taste the now.
This, going back to an old subject, is Mindfulness. Occupying the moment, not paying it lip-service; more, extracting the richness, the essence of now; grinding the spices, releasing the flavour.
Mind wandering, mind stop & focus.
We don’t have a word for obsessing about the moment; the moment is now, it is whatever is happening, be it good or bad. Regardless, in the moment all we have is action.
Let us toss the past, present and future into a bowl and mix, agitate, stir.
The past present and future gives us who we are; who we were and are yet to become, frozen in timelessness.
The only reality is the moment; everything else is myth, happenstance;
Enjoy the ephemeral.