needs of the hour

Needs of the Hour for Success Tomorrow

“If any degree of mind or intelligence so worries and takes on itself burdens beyond the needs of the day, it will cut itself off from the power of attracting to itself what it does really need for the growth, the health, the strength, and the prosperity of today. I mean here just what I say, and that is no metaphorical, allegorical,of figurative sense. I mean that as the lily’s limited intelligence1, or mind force if you please, when not burdened or taxed about something that concerns tomorrow, draws to itself the elements that it needs for today, exactly so would human minds unburdened with woe or anxiety attract to themselves all that was needed for the hour. The needs of the hour are the only real needs. You need your breakfast in the morning; you do not need tomorrow morning’s breakfast. Yet nine out of ten among you are directly or indirectly worrying in some way about tomorrow morning’s breakfast, and so subtracting from ourselves more or less of the strength necessary to enjoy, digest, and assimilate this morning’s breakfast.

“Exactly as the unburdened, unfretted, unworried lily attracts power to grow and cloth itself with beauty from the elements about it, exactly so does the unfretted human mind attract to itself a thousand times more.” ~Prentice Mulford

Needs of the Hour

There is nothing wrong with making plans for the future. In our complex world of today, it is probably essential. But when we are all wrapped up in plans and worries for tomorrow, next week, and next year, we forget to live today. This is a big mistake because the only time we can actually live in is today. As Mulford notes, when you spend too much of your time worrying about tomorrow, you can’t take care of your immediate needs.

Bitterness of Worry

Even when you are taking care of your immediate needs to some degree, you are not doing it in the best way possible if at the same time you are worried about the future. Sticking with Mulford’s breakfast example, if you are eating a reasonably healthy breakfast, it may still soul in your stomach and not digest well if while you are eating it, you are worried about the future.

Let’s look at something completely different as an example. Suppose there is an Olympic weight lifter who deadlifts four hundred pounds. Now let him try it again with fifty pounds strapped to each arm, one hundred pounds sitting on his shoulders, and chains around his ankles. He won’t be able to do the lift under those conditions. That is what it is like for you to try to accomplish something now while you are constantly worrying about the future.

Prosperity of Today

Just as the lily in Mulford’s example is successful in caring for itself by taking care only of its immediate needs, we can be successful in our endeavors if we work on what we need now, and only now. And don’t limit the idea of prosperity to money, it can be other kinds of success. The real point is that if you want to be successful tomorrow and the next day, the only way to make that happen is to take care of the needs of the hour, then repeat and repeat each hour. You can’t solve tomorrow’s problems today, so you should not worry about it. You can plan for it, but without worry. Worry doesn’t accomplish anything.

Even the Lily Plans

While Mulford thinks that the Lily, which he uses simply as an example of all plants and animals in nature, lives only for the hour, that isn’t entirely true. In it’s primitive, limited consciousness, the lily does plan. Deep down some part of it knows that a dry season or a frozen winter is coming. It prepares for that by using any excess nourishment it takes in to grow its bulb bigger and stronger. But it doesn’t plan to grow its bulb at some indefinite time in the future, it does it now. That is how we need to plan.

When we tell ourselves that we need to do something in the future to plan for certain inevitable events, we accomplish nothing except to create worry. The proper way to plan for the future is to take action now. That doesn’t mean we starve ourselves today so we will have enough to eat tomorrow. It does mean we don’t waste what extra we have, but instead save it for tomorrow. It means we prevent the natural disasters of tomorrow by doing our best to care for the environment today.

Spiritual Needs of the Hour

Taking care of the needs of the hour rather than worrying about tomorrow is just as much a spiritual need as it is a physical and mental one. Yes, we do plan for the future, but we don’t worry about it. We rest assured that the spiritual forces and beings, with the help of awakened men and women, will save the world in a spiritual sense. But we do work on our own spiritual development today. We meet our spiritual needs of the hour. We know that we can’t wait until we are on our deathbed to try to awaken and develop our spirit and soul. That is like deciding it is time to take swimming lessons when on a boat that is sinking. Many of us are aware these days of the need for spiritual development. We can’t wait to do it some other day. We may die before that day. The world may transform before that day and leave us behind. Like those physical activities, our spiritual growth must be done in the here and now. The needs of tomorrow are met by meeting the needs of the hour, every hour from now on.

present living, thought character

Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In

“Because it’s so easy to be caught in the past, it’s helpful to have a reminder to stay in the present. In Plum Village, we use a bell. When we hear the bell, we practice breathing in and out mindfully, and we say, “I listen to the bell. This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.” My true home is in the here and now. The past is not my true home. You may want to say to the little one inside you, the past is not our home; our home is here, where we can really live our life. We can get all the nourishment and healing we need here in the present moment.

“Much of the fear, anxiety, and anguish that we experience is there because the inner child has not been liberated. That child is afraid to come out to the present moment, and so your mindfulness, your breath, can help this child to realize that she is safe and can be free.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Present and Past

To completely forget the past would be to become unable to function. We would never learn anything if we couldn’t remember the past. Possibly, we would keep getting burned by touching the hot stove. We would come out of the mall and not know which car in the parking lot was ours. Actually, we wouldn’t be able to walk out of the mall because walking is something we learned how to do in the past. We would be like an obsessive-compulsive person brushing his teeth every half hour. Or maybe not, because we wouldn’t know that we should brush our teeth at all.

So we can’t just forget the past. We learned a lot there. But we can’t get trapped in it either. We can’t let the things that happened in the past prevent us from acting now. We have to know that getting our fingers burned on a hot stove means we should always be careful around stoves. But we shouldn’t avoid all dogs because one bit us ten years ago.

Living in the Present

When I was a kid, I saw a horror movie where a monster was crawling out of street drains and grabbing people. For weeks after that, I tried to avoid getting close to storm drains in the street. That was the reaction of a child who doesn’t understand that a movie is (usually) not real.

I currently live in Nevada. I haven’t gone to a casino for over two years. When I did go, I sometimes heard people say things about slot machines like, “This one is due to pay off! I’ve been playing it for hours!” Others might say “Don’t use the push button, pull the arm. The odds are better.” I just shook my head when I heard such things.

Both of those statements are based on ancient slot machines from a century ago. Modern ones are controlled by internal computers. A random number generator is generating ten numbers a second. When you press the button, or pull the lever, a program running on another computer chip grabs the current random number. It uses that number to spin the wheels to the predetermined setting for that number. There is no such thing as “due” with these machines. But that is the kind of foolish thing people can think when they are trapped in the past. When we use such thinking to control our behavior, we make many mistakes. Continue reading “Present, Past, and Which We Should Live In”