future trouble

Future Trouble Has Future Solutions

“Let not things future trouble thee. For if necessity so require that they come to pass, thou shalt (whensoever that is) be provided for them with the same reason, by which whatsoever is now present, is made both tolerable and acceptable unto thee. All things are linked and knitted together. And the knot is sacred, neither is there anything in the world, that is not kind and natural in regard of any other thing, or, that hath not some kind of reference and natural correspondence with whatsoever is in the world besides. For all things are ranked together, and by that decency of its due place and order that that each particular does observe, they all occur together to the making of one and the same cosmos or world: as if you said, a comedy piece, or an orderly composition. For all things throughout, there is but one and the same order; and through all things, one and the same God, the same substance, the same law. There is one common reason, and one common truth, that belongs to all reasonable creatures, for neither is there save one perfection of all creatures that are of the same kind, and partakers of the same reason.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Future Trouble

Worrying about the future serves no purpose. That is the primary message of Aurelius in this “meditation”. He is saying that when you think about possible future events, future trouble, you are mixing apples and oranges. You are looking at the future event while considering how to handle it with your knowledge and abilities of today. He is saying that such an approach is bound to result in worries and concerns over future trouble when it shouldn’t. By the time the future event arrives, your skills, abilities, and knowledge will have changed. Events change as we change, and vice-versa. Continue reading “Future Trouble Has Future Solutions”

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unattainable

Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion

Unattainable Time

“Time is illusive, that is unattainable. If we try to take hold of it by looking at it from the outside, then we cannot even have ordinary refreshments1. When time is caught objectively in a serialization of past, present, and future, it is like trying to catch one’s own shadow. This is negating eternity constantly. The unatainable must be grasped from the inside. One has to live in it and with it. While moving and changing one must become the moving and changing. Emerson in

Brahma, sings of the eternal as ‘one’ in the changing and moving forms of time:

‘They reckon ill who leave me out: When me they fly. I am the wings; I am the doubter and the doubt. And I the hymn the Brahman sings.’

“Where the doubter and the doubt are one, there is Brahma as ‘the pattern of the eternal nature,’ which is God Himself. When the doubter and the doubt are separated and placed in the serialism of time, the dichotomy cuts into every moment of life darkening forever the light of eternity.

“’Living in the light of eternity’ is to get into the oneness and allness of things and to live with it.This is what the Japanese call ‘seeing things sona-mama‘, in their suchness, which in William Blake’s terma is to ‘hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour.’” ~Daisetz Suzuki

Time is Illusive

Most of us take it for granted that time can be conveniently divided into past, present, and future. But when you try to get into detail, things get illusive. Specifically, when you try to define “the present”. I remember reading recently that according to one person, the “present” can be defined as a period of a few seconds. That is because it takes a few seconds after something occurs for our eyes to see it, transmit the images to the brain, get them interpreted, and react. But that seems to limit the definition of the present to human response. What about a computer that can execute thousands of commands in a second? If it just finished executing an instruction, doesn’t that instruction now become the past? In any case, my point is this. As technology has improved we can cut time into smaller and smaller pieces. This is resulting in what is called the present to get shorter and shorter. In addition, it is true that we are not aware of a thing until a second or two after it happens. So we can’t know anything about the present, only the recent past. So the idea of living in the present only is technically impossible. At best, we must live in the recent past. Continue reading “Unattainable Time, Persistence of Illusion”

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eternity

Eternity is More than Negation of Time

“Eternity may be regarded as a negation as far as human finitude is concerned, but inasmuch as this finitude is always changing, becoming, that is, negating itself, what is really negative is the world itself and not the eternal. The eternal must be an absolute affirmation which our limited human understanding defines in negative terms. We must see the world in this affirmation, which is God’s way of seeing the world, seeing everything as part of the whole. ‘Living in the light of eternity’ cannot be anthing else.

“B. Jowett, translator of Plato, writed in his introduction to Timaeus: ‘Not only Buddhism, but Greek as well as Christian philosophy, shows that it is quite possible that the human mind should retain an enthusiasm for mere negations. … Eternity or the eternal is not merely the unlimited in time but the truest of all being, the most real of all realities, the moat certain of all knowledge, which we nevertheless only see through a glass darkly.’ The enthusiasm Jowett here refers to is not ‘for mere negations’. … What appears to be a mere negation from the logical point of view is really the is-ness of things.” ~D. T. Suzuki

Eternity as Negation

Why does Suzuki say that Eternity is a negation? That is because people who are used to think in terms of time see eternity as an infinite or unlimited amount of time. So in that sense, it is a negation of the limits of time. But that is only how it appears to those of us trapped in the illusion of time and space. In truth, eternity is not really a negation of time, but the status of a place where time does not and never has existed. That may sound like a negation of time, but it really is saying that eternity is reality, whereas the limits of time are the illusion, therefore it is time which is truly negative, not eternity. Continue reading “Eternity is More than Negation of Time”

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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.


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