The Past and the Future Steal Our Present

Looking at our life at present, many of us notice that they lived and even live not so much in the present, but in the past and the future.

The question is if this way of living your life is efficient and benefic for us.

It’s a good thing to analyze our past behaviors and past events, because only in this way we can learn how not to repeat our past mistakes and how to apply again our successful past attitudes, believes, thoughts and behaviors.

Also is a good thing to plan our future, setting goals, because only so we can progress and achieve great things.

In this respect, our capacity to access the past and project the future is an asset of humans.

We are the only creatures on earth (as far as we know) that can remember the past as discrete events, then connect those events with present conditions. Then, on the basis of those connections, we can consciously decide what to do, and project possible present actions into the future consequences of those actions. Thus, unlike other animals that react to stimuli as they occur, humans live not only in the present, but in the past and the future. A dog may bristle at a threat, but not at a threat that’s long gone or hasn’t occurred yet. Humans will do all three. It is this ability to remember the past, relate it to the present, and project into the future that is a special province of humans. This ability allows us to manipulate our environment, communicate across distance and time, and evolve incredibly complex societies and cultures.

Social Basis of Human Behavior

Things begin to go wrong when we let our inner world to be overwhelmed by regrets over the past and fear of the future. In this way the past and the future are two thieves which steal our present.

We must agree that living in the present is hard. We can enjoy a moment, but it doesn’t last too much, we soon find ourselves dwelling on something we did or want to do.

Usually, a mind that isn’t disciplined wander non-stop filled with thoughts that run back and forth to the past and the future, this mental agitation is the most unproductive kind of mental activity.

It is hard to live in the very present moment, because it come and go very, very fast. If you say “now…”, then say again “now…” the first “now…” is already on the path to the past. So the present moment is only a tiny and fast point. It’s easier to live in the present if we think of it as being a thicker point: from one minute to one day. Yesterday belong to the past even if the proximate past.

Tip: Discipline your mind to stay in the present by focusing and refocusing your mind on your senses (be aware of what happens around you and enjoy details).