Most of us spend the majority of our time living in either the past or the future. Neither of these states actually exist, nor can we control them. This lack of control of something we CAN’T leads to a cycle of suffering marked by anxiety, guilt, fear, or self-judgement.
Phrases like ‘I should have’ or ‘I shouldn’t have’ indicate we’re reliving something that has passed and yet, we can’t let go. If you let the mind keep up this pace, you’ll end up shoulding all over yourself.
And, the ‘What ifs?’ can quite literally paralyze us from moving forward in life for fear that something bad will happen.
So, what happens when we answer ourselves with the opposite or confirm that the decision we have made is already done? We find a little peace.
The next time you find yourself feeling guilty about something, find the ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ statement at the heart of the suffering, and simply answer ‘Oh well, I didn’t’ or ‘Oh well, I did,’ and sit with it. No need for self-flagellation, just acknowledgement and taking responsibility. Then let it go.
If you find yourself feeling worry or fear, find the ‘what if’ and throw in the opposite just for kicks. ‘What if I ask her and she rejects me?’
‘What if she doesn’t?’
‘What if I fail?’
‘What if you succeed?’
‘What if I die alone?’
‘What if you don’t?’
I’m not suggesting that you get caught up in another future state wormhole in which you pontificate scenarios that don’t yet exist, but rather, offer up your ego both sides of the argument it’s making when it tries to take you down.
Living in the present takes effort and discipline. Don’t let your mind run over you like a spoiled child.
– Your Charmed Yogi