We can’t live in the past (it’s gone). We sometimes lug the past into the present We can only learn from it. We can’t live in the future. It’s not here, though we can envision what it might look like, as long as we realize the truth of John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you when you are planning something else.”We only have today, and perhaps not even that. Although there are some philosophers who talk about the Eternal Now, the belief that the past, present and future are all present at the same time; only we are missing.
If we think of our lives as a book, then roughly seven years are a chapter (though some may live a chapter in less or more chronological time). I am thinking about the next chapter in my life, trying to figure out what it will be about, imagining where I might be and what I might be doing–all the time realizing life is an adventure where the authorship is not ours alone. The problem is that sometimes thinking too much about the future or the past robs us of a day or two along our life journey and that’s a loos no matter what else you do or think.
I love the story my brother told me about his friend’s grandmother (after I was asking what the next chapter in his life would be). She was asked the same question and responded simply: “We’ll see.” And my grandfather retiring at the age of eighty and asked by others what he was going to do, replied: “No plans, no panic.” Sometimes wisdom comes with simple words but layers of meaning.
No plans, no panic. A very wise, Buddhist-like wisdom to settle the mind and heart, words I need to ponder.
(G. Campbell Morgan, London, England)