“I regret tomorrow more than yesterday” – from “Long Way Home” by ATB
The above is one of my favorite song lines. Do you ever regret the future before it has even happened?
When you regret, fear, or worry about the future, you project your consciousness beyond the present moment. Essentially you become unconscious because you lose awareness of the present moment, and consequently, you lose awareness of the real you, which exists only in the present. The future is something of an illusion because you never actually exist there. Past and future are merely memories and projections. Your real experiences occur only in the present.
When you live in the future, you experience suffering because to suffer is to be unconscious. When you can keep your full awareness in the present moment, there is no suffering, regardless of circumstances. Every moment feels perfect because you simply accept it. When you push your consciousness into the future, you resist the present moment, fighting what is and wishing it to be something else. The result is emotional pain.
What about visualization or planning? Is it OK to imagine what you want to happen in the future? Visualization is fine, but there’s a way to visualize what you want without leaving the present moment. Instead of visualizing the future, visualize a new present moment. Feel the presence of what you wish to create in the here and now. Feel its energy in your reality right now, instead of projecting it beyond the present into the future.
For example, if you wish to create more wealth for yourself, imagine yourself enjoying more wealth and abundance in this very moment. Don’t project that enjoyment off into some distant future; otherwise you’re visualizing that the wealth and abundance will never come to you. This is a common mistake people make when visualizing — they inadvertently project the results they want to achieve into the future, which sends the message that this is a wish that will never be fulfilled.
The same is true of planning. When you make plans, realize that the purpose of planning is to focus your present-moment decisions. It is NOT to create a map of the future, which is outside of your control (and your consciousness) anyway. You need only do enough planning to achieve clarity in the present moment. When you have clarity, further planning is unnecessary. So when you create plans, do so with the intention of generating clarity in the here and now.
Living consciously requires keeping yourself centered in the present moment, which is actually the most secure, safe, protected place for you to be, free of regrets about past or future.