That’s fine as far as it goes, but as with so many things one reads or I have written, it’s easier said than done. It is somewhat easy to be aware when you start obsessing about the future and stop, breathe, and bring yourself back to the present. But when you aren’t obsessing, when thoughts of the future control your mind much like many thoughts based on your learned experience do ... they’re just sitting there, insipid, not causing any conscious discomfort ... it’s harder to be aware.
While none of this is new information, as my practice deepens I am continually brought back to the basics and learn that I have more work to do to walk the path. And through discoveries, one continues to make progress. Recently while meditating I became aware of situations, much like the one I related in my post on “Freedom from the Known,” where my low level thoughts of the future were making it impossible for me to enjoy the present moment, being where I was.
When I had this realization, I said as I did then, “no more.” I revolted at the control that my thoughts of the future, as well as my learned experience (to which thoughts of the future are of course tied), have on my experience of the present.
The closing verse of the ancient Chinese poem, “Affirming Faith in Mind,” says, “For here there is no yesterday, no tomorrow, no today.” This is the culmination of perceiving that all five skandhas are empty of intrinsic existence, being at one with all things, experiencing things directly without the intervention of thought, returning to one’s self nature and being at one with the way.
As I sat meditating, present, observing the feelings and sensations I was experiencing at that moment, this verse came to mind and I said, “yes.” Each day thereafter when I meditated, I reaffirmed this and I was very aware as the days went by that I was being present in a way which I had not been before. And when my mind did wander into a thought about the future or the past, I was aware and rather than expressing it and engaging it, I returned with my breath to the present and was at peace. As always, I know this is not the last word.