Richard Dama, LPC, Counseling & Clinical Hypnotherapy

The Future Just isn’t What it Used to Be

Over the past few weeks I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the nature of time. As a certified sci-fi geek and as a former nuclear missile launch officer, I’m on more than speaking terms with physics and I also try to stay up with current theories and developments in the field.

Recently, an anthology of speculative fiction landed in my lap that dealt with a number of ideas as to how time works and how we are either prisoners in a linear progression of events, or we are beings who have convinced ourselves to experience time as a linear progression, when it’s actually like a large blanket, with all time and all events woven into an integral fabric, (imagine standing on the tip of a needle sticking up from underneath, experiencing one specific point, but also able to see the whole blanket and able to choose where we pop and enter the blanket at will.)

I willingly admit that this is probably nothing more than an exercise in mental masturbation, but this is the kind of stuff that often keeps me up at night…speculating…not the other thing.

Anyway, this got me thinking about a statement I have made in several other blogs and something I often tell my clients; “The past is behind us and cannot be changed…put baggage donw and move on. The future is an illusion and will happen with or without us, regardless of what we try to do about it. The only thing that is real is the moment right now and the breath you’re taking at this instant.”

Now please understand that I preach, teach and practice mindfulness in my own life. I make the conscious effort to experience as much of the immediate moment as I possibly can and marvel at the astronomically improbable set of events that are responsible for my existence. However, my ponderings have led me to amend my view of time and our place in it.

Yes, the past is behind us and (as far as we’ve been able to determine) there is nothing we can do to change it. Too many people allow themselves to be trapped by regrets and guilt about things that are in the past and cannot be undone. They waste the precious gift of the present moment by continuously reliving the past.

Now regarding the present moment; our world is exactly the way it should be and couldn’t possibly be any other way. Our current reality is the sum total of all the choices we’ve ever made and where we’re at and what we’re experiencing is a construct of our own making. We are also living in a world where everyone else is making choices, so I’m willing to admit that we are sometimes the unintended recipients of the consequences of other peoples’ choices (yet another page from Rich’s Big Book of Shit Happens.) But, my underlying point is that, since It is what It is and can’t be otherwise, focus your attention on the moment. Be an active participant in the experience. Live your life instead of being a spectator.

This now brings me to the revision in my position about the future. If the past is immutable and the present is an inescapable consequence of previous choices, then it seems reasonable to conclude that the future is the only thing over which we actually have some control. By consciously deciding to make choices that have a higher probability of resulting in outcomes more to our liking, then by exercising our free will in the present moment, we can change the course of the current in the river of time to result in a different future!

So what does it all mean? Simply, that if we are truly living our lives in the present moment we have the chance to choose wisely now to shape a better future.

Send me you thoughts and counter-arguments.

Here’s hoping you have an intentionally great day and an even better tomorrow.


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