I know better. As regards my own life and my interaction with myself, I never look to the future or hope that tomorrow will be better or different. I know that all things are impermanent and changeable and that things are the way they are right now because it’s just the way it is. Besides, there’s no way of knowing or controlling what the future will bring, so why obsess? The only way to experience peace and contentment is to be present, take joy in each moment, in everything we do, and live life in accord with the Five Precepts. Of course being lay persons, we must deal with the future, we must plan for all sorts of things, but while doing so we must remain present.
Yet for some reason when I come across a friend or someone who is frustrated or disappointed, I offer words of hope about the future, rather than the Buddhist maxim, “It’s just the way it is.” This is not helping the person because it encourages him or her to not be present and to hope for something different in the future. Even when it involves someone who is spiritually advanced and I know is aware of and can handle the reminder that it’s just the way it is, I offer the pablum of hope. Such is the power of our culture's habit energy of looking to the future. It's not that I think about what to say and decide on hope ... it's an automatic reaction. Definitely not mindful.
I have meditated on this more than once. And still I engage is this very non-Buddhist type of encouragement. The Fourth Precept, which includes speaking with loving kindness (in Thich Nhat Hanh’s version), would have me speak to the problem at hand, offer thoughts, or often just be quiet and listen. Definitely not look to tomorrow for things to be different. Instead, do what one can now in the present to possibly bring about a different result. And if it’s totally not in ones power to influence ... like the weather ... then we can only accept that it is the way it is and find the beauty in it.
I will meditate on this once again and try to be more aware before I open my mouth.
Another lesson in practical Buddhism.