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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Paradox Of Living In The Moment - How To Be Happy Today And Prepare For Tomorrow
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Are you feeling stressed and upset? If so, you are worrying about tomorrow. Events that have already occurred may cause you regret, but they only appear to cause worry. If you just lost your job, you are not worrying about losing your job - that already happened. You are worrying about paying your bills and finding a new job. Those are worries about tomorrow.
Worrying is just a natural human emotion, and everyone worries, right? Actually not. Worry is a bad habit that most people acquire, and like all habits, can be broken.
When you worry about what may or may not occur in the future, you miss the joy that is available today - each and every day. So is the answer to focus only on today, and let tomorrow take care of itself? That sounds good - until tomorrow arrives and you are not prepared.
It's a paradox. How does one balance living in the now with preparing responsibly for the future? The key to this dilemma lies in the distinction between "worrying about the future," and "preparing for the future." The two concepts are not at all the same.
There are two aspects to preparing for the future. The one that is more familiar to most people is planning. You know the mortgage is due next week so you save the money - You know you want to fit into your clothes tomorrow, so you forgo that second helping. Planning for the future is fully compatible with living joyfully today.
The other aspect of preparing for the future is accepting that things will probably not turn out the way you plan. Creating this acceptance of life's uncertainties is much more challenging than formulating and following through on plans.
The source of most worry is a lack of acceptance of the uncertainties of the future. When one fully lives a life of acceptance, life's vagaries are not merely tolerated, but are enjoyed because they are life's gifts. If one is religiously inclined, whatever life delivers is a gift from the Creator. If one holds other beliefs, then whatever happens is just what there is to work with - so why not enjoy it.
The recipe for a joyful life is planning and preparing for the future, while simultaneously accepting that you hold virtually no control over future events. By placing no demands on the future, you can enjoy whatever it brings.