When I was younger, I thought that my future held my circle of friends; we seemed inseparable. When I owned a house, I put my heart and soul into its maintenance, sweating and struggling to hold onto it because I was so sure that it was in my future.
I thought the same thing about my job, that my future held a high-paying career as a computer programmer, or a security consultant. At one point I was certain that my future held a position in the military. I was sure it held my ex-girlfriend.
But I was wrong, about all of it.
I learned that by telling ourselves day in and day out that we know what the future holds, that it must hold this thing or that person just because we always thought that it would, we lock ourselves into self-limiting and self-destructive patterns.
We hold onto these expectations because it’s safer that way, because our primal instinct wants to feel secure, because it wants to know that we’ve been somewhere and that we’ve done something and that all of this must mean we’re going somewhere, with someone, or with a specific group of someones.
We want to see ourselves making tangible progress, moving laterally from one direction to another, swimming toward a specific destination and making specific, measurable progress. We don’t want to think three-dimensionally, to look down into a dark abyss and imagine sinking to a undefinable place that holds so much unknown, to a place that has no certain depth and no measurable end, a place where anything can happen.
We don’t want to imagine that, but that’s exactly what the future holds, a dark unknown. We have no light to shine on the future. We have no map to lead us through. There is no rulebook that determines what happens and what doesn’t, who lives and who dies, who comes, and who goes. Life isn’t a two-dimensional surface with birth and death clearly marked on either end. It’s dynamic. It’s unpredictable. It’s raw.
You are not who you were yesterday and tomorrow, you won’t be who you are right now. But who you are right now is real. It’s tangible, and the only thing holding you back from blossoming is what you take with you into tomorrow, and what you expect to find when you get there. Your vision of the future is flawed. It’s a mirage. It’s an island that you’re swimming toward that doesn’t even exist.
Every heartbeat is a heartbeat you’ve never experienced. Every breath is a breath you’ve never taken.
Envision a future that is so unwritten, a future that is so strange that you have trouble holding it in your imagination. Envision a future so blank, so pure and unencumbered by the past or the present, so savage and wild and deep that it remains unrestrained by preconceptions of yesterday and unchained from expectations of today.
Envision a future that is so impossibly unimaginable that it creates an abyss of nothingness, and then, allow yourself to float into that unknown, leaving behind everything to embrace a future you that is flawless and free.
True. So so so true. And I’m only just realising it. How is that possible? The more I stop thinking about it… the more it takes care of itself. The future. None of us knows. But let go of it and everything just seems to happen. Thanks Raam. Another epiphany [as always] 🙂
You’re most welcome, Jean.
I think if we let go of it, we suddenly have the presence of mind to make amazing things happen in the now, forging a future that otherwise we would’ve been distracting ourselves from. 🙂
“Envision a future so blank, so pure and unencumbered by the past or the present, so savage and wild and deep that it remains unrestrained by preconceptions of yesterday and unchained from expectations of today.”
Wow. I’ve never seen it put so elequently. Very nice. Now if I can just implement it into my life.
Dan @ ZenPresence.com
Thank you, Dan. It all starts with practice. 🙂
Raam, thank you for these beautiful and uplifting words. Truly we don’t know what the future holds, and can only enjoy the present moment. But that is enough!
You’re most welcome, Carol.
The present moment is indeed enough. In fact, it’s all we really have.
What a wonderful affirmation of presence!
I was so hesitant to step into that abyss; now I am here, and I find the not knowing exhilarating. As a single mom, sometimes when I think of my children, my mind flits to the future, but they have been raised so fully present, that they quickly offer reflections to bring me back to *now*. It’s peaceful, it’s living abundance, it’s pure joy. And, I know with certainty, doubt only rises when my mind places labels and words upon the experience; my heart knows the way, absolutely.
Thank you, Joy.
The not knowing is indeed exhilarating. It’s pure potential. Children are excellent at reminding us of the present because they live in the present, not necessarily by choice, but because they have no voluminous past on which to judge or form realistic speculations for the future. What I learn from them is to release the past and release the future and live here, now.
yes* I would love to share this drawing with you—>
http://www.lucky2bu.com/2012/10/totem-beings-black-bird.html i feel a great affinity for your ideas & would only add that to me the abyss is Light.
Beautiful! Thank you for sharing that, Kara.
I don’t associate any ‘color’ with the great unknown of the future; I described it as a “dark abyss” only to emphasize the that we cannot see what it holds. 🙂
We think and focus way too much on that glorious future and miss out on the best parts of the present. Then, in the future, complain about how much we missed out on those moments we overlooked in the past.
And in complaining about how much we missed out on those moments in the past, we’re yet again wasting away the present. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow hasn’t arrived (and may never arrive). Now, here, is where we are. Now, here, is where we live. Let’s embrace it!
A beautifully written post. I think it is the realization most people come to through a lot of change and when you realize you are not really in the driver’s seat!
FYI – I was introduced to your blog through Joel Zaslofsky’s blog in case you are wondering where new readers have come from.
Thank you, and welcome Wendy! 🙂
You’re right about a volume of change leading to such realizations: I’ve been shown over and over that no matter how much I think I know what’s to come, I’m almost definitely wrong. We don’t even know what the world will look like tomorrow, let alone a few months or years from now, so how could we expect to have any idea what the future holds? I’ve learned that we can take our values with us into the future, but almost everything else is up in the air.
I live like that every day. It kinda goes hand in hand with immigration. I have my fingers crossed for that interview.
Glad to hear it, Bojan! 🙂
This such a Magnificent piece of work. every word, every sentence, every idea is a work of art imbued with deep meaning. You my friend are a great writer.
Thank you, kindly, Tal. 🙂
Beautiful Raam !
Don’t wait for the boats of future – Flow in the now!
Don’t waste time on mundane things – Flower now !
Whatever is available now – is your (my) heaven.
Keep sharing more
Thank you for an inspiring note.
Thank you, Amrita. That was a beautiful poem!
Hmm. Yes. I was sure that my future was to continue working at the same Zoo in Florida. I was sure it include my ex as well…some “stable” relationship because isn’t that the per usually…house. job….car…throw in a kid…right? Don’t we have this future planned out for ourselves. But when I completely released from all these planned out expectations of my future life….I started to expand with the release. I found my self flowing like the sweet waves on Siesta Key Beach where I grew up on…and remembering how I would look at the waves thinking that whatever I wanted to do, I could do, whatever I needed would be provided for me…as long as I remembered that connection with myself and the Divine.
Now jobs, love, and whatever comes my way will come to me because its meant to be. I don’t hold my breath for the future.
I breathe deep and let the waves wash over my feet with gratitude. And all the beauty we deserve will wash over us sweetly as it was meant to…
Beautifully said, Andrea. Thank you for sharing! 🙂
Until we release expectations, there is no room for the growth of possibility.