What are the consequences of not living in present?
1) One suffers in life by dwelling in past or future
While you are eating food, enjoy your food. Or else your meals become haphazard. Complete all the work that needs to be done in one division first, where you are. When you go into a division to eat, you must enjoy your food there and leave your worries of the other division outside. Next, when you go to the bedroom, leave the worries of the kitchen or the office to be dealt with when in that department.
A human being suffers because he does not organize this way; he does not compartmentalize his daily life. While having a meal, he worries about what he will do when his supervisor gets upset with him. Deal with it when he does so. For now, just enjoy your meal. God has said, “Enjoy what is present in front of you. Do not worry about that which is not present. Live in the present.”
2) Worrying about the future ruins the present
It is better if you attend to the present and do your best in the present situation, instead of worrying about future. Your worrying about future is not helpful in any way; it is detrimental as the future is not at all under our control. The effort that you put into thinking about future could all go to waste. It will only lead to worries and anxiety, which is certainly not helpful. This is not a scientific way at all. Your greatest solution is to stop looking at the far away mountains and prevent stumbling now! When we go out, how far do we look ahead and walk, about 100 – 200 feet? Why don’t we look so far? Because if we try to look far away, we could miss the danger that is in close vicinity and hence stumble. An accident could occur. Therefore, we only look at short distance and keep moving further. That is considered as having attained safe side. Everyday secure the safe-side for today.
Gnani says, “Stay within normality. See the safe side for today. E.g. instead of worrying about children’s future, improve their present by raising them with good moral values. You are responsible for that. But there’s no need to worry. You just be a guardian or a trustee of your sons and daughters and look after their present. This is Science.
3) Remembering the past leads to prejudice; prejudice ruins our worldly life interactions
Suppose you feel someone has deceived you. It’s harmful to keep reminding yourself about such a past. You simply have to see what that person is doing at present; otherwise it is called prejudice. Yes, it becomes a prejudice when you keep the past active in your attentive awareness. Prejudice ruins our worldly life interaction with that person again. Instead, let’s put our efforts in the direction of how we can become free from all kind of hatred within and foster harmony in our relations.
One behaved towards us the way he did due to the unfolding of our own karma (past deeds). His conduct towards us will become positive when our unfolding karma happens to be good. Therefore, we do not want to keep prejudices. How do you know if the person who cheated you earlier, has come today to bring you some profit? So whenever such circumstances arise, where we have to interact with that person again, we will not hold any prejudice against him / her.
4) Opinions based on past loom high over the present, and create bondage for future
Based on past, we harness opinions. This is wrong and it is harmful. If we live with a clean inner intent i.e. forming no biased opinions, we will not bind any karma. Wouldn’t that be great?! And do you know we form opinions based on our own faults, our own mistakes and our own opinions? So rather than forming opinions, if we practice repentance for our own mistakes done, the effect of the hurt will disappear.
Everything from birth to death is in the hands of Nature; it is destined and is the result of our own past karma. But we cannot see things as is because of our coloured opinions. We cannot experience bliss of freedom due to the dense veils of opinions within. When the causes, that we ourselves created in our past life, are unfolding as effects in this life, then by giving opinions, ‘he is good, she is bad, this is good, that is bad’ we create only new causes and hence new bondages.
5) In Tension of past and future, we lose the profit of present
Suppose you cannot get into the train and hence miss a major appointment, that is now a thing of past. The past is gone, so it is of no use remembering it again and again. Or else you will lose the profit of the present. That adds to your loss. Moreover, ‘what will happen now?’ is the thing of future, which is in the control of Nature, and hence there is no use in worrying about it either. Thus, we require to live constantly in present and remain tension free. Tension is for the one who gets lost in the past, and for the one who delves in future. One who lives in present has no tension. Besides, it is according to the law (of Nature).