The Illusion of Waiting for the Future to Be Happy

“The future is always beginning now.” ~Mark Strand

Do you ever feel like there’s something missing in your life? It feels like you’re always waiting for something to arrive. You want the future to come, because it’s better there.

But that’s all wrong.

The future is an illusion. It’s just a concept in your head. This is what I’ve realized in the past few months.

I’ve suddenly become acutely aware of what’s going on. I’ve entered the present moment more powerfully than ever before.

If you go and read my previous articles here at Tiny Buddha, I talk about how I’m going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole.

I’m learning more and more, and that’s exactly what happens each year.

As I’m writing this, I am completely present in my body. I feel my fingers write the words. It almost feels like I’m not the one typing, typing is just happening.

I don’t claim to be perfect, but I do want to share what’s happened, and how you can tap into the same peace and joy that I have.

But before we do that, let’s look at the problem.

The Problem: Future-Think

In the past, I tended to live in the future. I daydreamed of a better life.

I wanted more money, more adventure, and more time so I could be in the present moment. When I put it like that, it almost seems crazy, doesn’t it?

But that’s how your mind works. It promises that you’ll get something that you already have. The problem is that to be at peace, you have to transcend the mind.

It’s there for the taking.

By shifting from the future to the here and now, I feel amazing. I realize that there’s nothing in the outside world that can make a big difference if I’m anchored to the present moment.

I’m currently in Northern Scandinavia, and we’re heading into winter. It’s getting dark and cold. I used to get depressed by this, but now I feel grateful.

I feel alive when I walk outside. The air is fresh. I am in touch with the presence that I am. And everything is what it is.

The Solution: Here and Now

The solution is to stay present here and now.

Notice what thoughts are popping up as you read these words. Let them be without analyzing or reacting.

Instead, feel your body. Notice your feet, legs, abdomen, and your breathing. Become intensely present in what’s going on now.

How is your body feeling? What sounds are you aware of? What do you see?

When your mind tries to pull you back, gently bring your attention back to your body.

This isn’t always easy. I’ve been falling in and out of the present moment for years, but how long you stay there is not the goal. There is no goal.

When you notice that you’ve slipped, you return to now. It’s that simple. When you notice criticizing thoughts pop up, let them be, and breathe.

Say yes to whatever happens in your life.

I worry less about the future, because I’ve realized there’s not much I can do. The future will come in the form it comes. All I have to do is stay here and now and deal with whatever comes in the best way I can.

It’s easy to think we can control life, but we can’t. Life has a tendency to live itself, and we’re along for the ride.

As I’ve become more and more comfortable with just going with the flow, I’ve started feeling more peace and enjoying what is.

Living from a Place of Peace

When I tap into the now, I notice that I’m already at peace.

I don’t really need anything, because even if I get something, it won’t have a lasting effect on my happiness. The only way I can be happy now is to tap into that peace inside of me.

When I do that, I come from a place of positivity instead of negativity. Life seems easier. I feel better. And I affect the people around me just by being close to them.

If I feel negative, I sometimes sit down on the sofa behind me, close my eyes, and immerse myself in what I’m feeling.

I breathe and let things be. When I do this, eventually I may feel an impulse to do something, such as write. I used to try and force myself to take action, but now it often just seems to happen.

We’re all interconnected. Even scientists are realizing this.

This means that if you stay in the present moment, you tap into a bigger intelligence than your mind.

Your mind cannot comprehend this, which is why it’s confused, scared, and worried. That’s okay, too. It wants the best for you.

But real living is living from your heart. It’s living in the present moment and following your excitement.

It’s About Letting Life Live You

You can’t control life.

I used to have plans for what I wanted to do. I still have intentions for where I am going, but I’m not rigid about them.

I don’t suffer if they happen. I might be unhappy, but I do my best to stay here and now when they arise.

I had no idea I would be doing what I do today just a few years ago. I’m doing what I love, and I’m teaching people how to build a business around their passion.

At the same time, I’m an alarm clock that helps people wake up from their slumber. I trust the force.

It’s not easy to let go, because your mind will try to fight you tooth and nail, but when you see that first glimpse, you realize what’s possible.

It has taken me years to reach this point, so don’t criticize yourself if you’re not where you want to be. Notice that that is another thought, and notice that you are the awareness behind that thought.

This is Just the Beginning

We’re all evolving. This is just the beginning.

But each moment is a new beginning. There’s no need to live in the future, because future is merely a concept in your head.

When it arrives, it will arrive as the present moment. If you’re not here and now, you’ll miss it. You’ll keep dreaming of a better future, which never really comes.

The message I want to give you is that everything is okay right now.

We all have challenges in our life, but it’s okay. Say yes to life. Accept what’s here and now. Trust life, even if it doesn’t look the way you want it to.

The problem isn’t life, but your expectations of it.

Everything in the outside world will sooner or later dissolve, but who you are deep down is eternal. When you can tap into who you really are, your life will change.

Are you ready?

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