Dharma arrived just as I'd finished preparing breakfast. As we sat down to eat, he immediately began my lesson for this week. "Tadpole, only the frog who has hopped down the road knows where the holes are, Do you understand what I'm saying?" "Uh, I think so," I replied. "We need to watch where we step when we're on an unfamiliar road?" Dharma chuckled. "No, my boy, although what you say is true enough. But what I was getting at is this. We must stop worrying about what lies in front of us. We can't know where the problems, or holes, on our path until we actually come upon them. We can do a little preliminary planning but we cannot prepare for every eventuality." And so Dharma, with all his wisdom, laid out for me four important reasons to stop worrying about the future.
1. You can't predict it. No one can predict the future. We can make educated guesses, but until the future is present, we won't know for certain what will happen. It can feel kind of scary not knowing what potholes lie ahead on our journey through life. Life is much more complex today than it was 20, 30, or 50 years ago. That much is true. But doesn't it make more sense to spend your time working on making something happen than to worry about something that is out of your control...like the future? Worry doesn't really fix anything.
2. You can't control it. Just like not being able to predict the future, none of us can control it, either. Luck, randomness, and chance contribute so much to the unpredictable nature of life that it is just unrealistic to think you can control things. You can’t. What you can do is plan the best you can, for the future you want by taking the necessary steps. Then, we must accept whatever is handed to us and work from there. While the randomness of life can seem a bit frightening, it can also be exhilarating, too. Sometimes we plan on getting a single rose but, instead, life sends us a whole bouquet!
3. You miss out on life. When we spend time worrying about the future, we miss out on the good things that are happening here in the present. If you've got your eyes closed, bracing for some imagined storm, there's a good chance you'll miss the sun shining. The best things in life happen in real time, not in the future. So quit worrying about the future, open your eyes and enjoy all the beauty that each day has to offer us.
4. The worst isn't always as bad as you had imagined. How many times have you thought to yourself, "When it happens, I know it's going to be bad!" And then when "it did happen, it wasn't terrible at all. In fact, it might have been even pretty good. Life has lessons to teach us...sometimes over and over, so instead of dreading every little thing embrace the idea of change. Go with the flow. Wade through that pothole in your personal road and learn from the lesson. There's always a lesson...something to be gleaned from the experience. Some lessons are small. Others are great and powerful. But whatever the lesson, learn from it and try to be a little grateful. Most problems can be overcome with time and a little creative thinking.
Dharma hung around after my lesson and helped me tidy up my kitchen. And just as he was readying himself to leave, my internet came back on all by itself! yes, it was going to be a good day after all.
I hope you found Dharma's lesson helpful...or at least a helpful reminder that all we have is the here and now. Accept it, embrace it and, maybe even love it. Whatever is going on. Problems are only potholes and, before you know it, you be through them and back on high ground again. I invite you back here tomorrow, so until then...