I came across something the other day on social media. It read “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” The quote was attributed to Lao Tzu.
In my perception, that quote is a big over-generalization. I think it’s quite possible to be depressed, anxious, or at peace while visiting the past, present or future. On the other hand, maybe the key word here is “living.” If you’re living in the past or the future, is that always a depression/anxiety inducer?
I’m not sure.
I don’t mean to pick the quote apart. In fact, I think the quote is very enlightening and useful. That’s why I’m sharing it with you. If we stand back and look at it from a distance, there is a powerful message to be had about living in the present and not obsessing over the past or the future. Focusing on the past or hoped-for future blessings can keep us from experiencing the blessings of the now.
It can also create a lot of stress and anxiety for us in the present. If we become certain that our hope for joy is in the future or (worse yet) a thing of the past, the anxiety and worry that causes can be debilitating.
We are nearly helpless to change the past. We can learn from it. We can plot a course for the future based on what we experienced. But we cannot change it nor can we return to it.
I would argue that we are a bit more empowered regarding the future. At least if we choose to be. If we plan, take action, and have courage and faith, then we can create a future “present” for ourselves. If we do it correctly then we can take heart in the here and now about what is to come.
If we do it wrong, then we may stress or live in fear that we will get it wrong or fail to create our perceived perfect “happily ever after.”
Where I do believe the quote from Lau Tzu is pretty accurate is where it teaches us that peace is a thing of the present. You can remember peace from the past or anticipate peace in the future but to feel it completely in your heart, you have to focus on your blessings rather than your stressings in the present.
That’s right here, right now. In this moment.
It’s curious to me that we find that challenging. We as human beings of the 21st century seem to focus in like a laser beam on our stressings. We toss worst-case scenarios around in our minds like popcorn at a movie theatre. In order to anticipate happy outcomes or even better circumstances than we had hoped for seems to require extreme focus for most people.
And yet, focus we must! Our blessings simply must be the primary focus in our lives. Otherwise, we almost assure ourselves of self-fulfilling prophecies of the worst kind.
As always, I desperately want you to be happy. I surely, truly do. And your angels also want that for you.
What it takes, is focusing on your blessings not your stressings.
With you on the journey,
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