Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Is your future behind you?

Heraclitus said that you can’t step in the same river twice. Its constant flow makes it impossible. One of his students added that in reality you can’t step into the same river even once…it changes as you immerse a part of your foot.

In Quantum Mechanics, Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty is premised on how we change that which we observe, in this case particles, and that we cannot with certainty predict the position of a particle because its momentum changes its position even as we measure it.

Osho spoke about how time can only be seen as the past or the future because even as we acknowledge the present, it becomes the past and the future is an unknown.

See a common thread here?

Across history, science, philosophy and religion, the clarion calls have been to be present in the present. This is the very secret of living, not existing, and being happy.

Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said that the greatest source of our unhappiness is rooted in the absence from our lives – living either in the past or the future – remembering or hoping.

Grief is one such mechanism that traps you in the past, in memory, in remembering…I am its victim. Because our time together was so beautiful and defining, I often find myself living in a warped reality where Shekhar’s very absence is a persona…one I use to anchor the present…in tribute, in commemoration. I live as if my future is behind me.

But today, I got a wake-up call…neither memory nor hope mattered. The only thing that counted was the present, being here now…and I realized that now is beautiful, now is as good as it gets…the past made me and the future may unmake me…Today, I am here…I answered God’s roll call…I am present. This is it.

However, one cannot strictly call an individual unhappy who is present in hope or in memory. For what one must note here is that he is still present to himself in one of these. From which we also see that a single blow, be it ever so heavy, cannot make a person the unhappiest. For one blow can either deprive him of hope, still leaving him present in memory, or of memory, leaving him present in hope.
Soren Kierkegaard in “Either/Or”
So I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple: get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about those things if you developed an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast while in the shower? …Think of life as a terminal illness, because, if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived.
Anna Quindlen in “A Short Guide to a Happy Life”