Every function of our brain is very essential for our survival and the betterment of our life. Thinking about the past is one such beautiful thing. Cutting our hands with a knife is not the mistake of the Knife, it is due to our inability to handle it. Likewise thinking about the past stresses us a lot, purely because of our inability to handle it. Living in the Present is a very pleasant experience but how many of us can really do it? We either live perpetually in anxiety mode or in never-ending procrastination. It is also highly impossible to force living in present. So how to achieve this state?
Living in the Past is called Learning.
Thinking about past experiences is called learning. Our brain goes back to the past to learn, how better we could perform in future. What good is our experience if we do not learn from them? How will we learn anything if we do not think about our past? When such is the case, why do people suffer because of such thinking?
Regrets and Guilt -When we think about our past we do only 2 things. We either regret things that we failed to do in past or feel guilty about the things that we should not have done. In a sense, both action and inaction give us pain. Not just this also actions of others too give us pain. If we do not revisit the past and not contemplate is equal to sweeping dirt under the rug. Many philosophers have written extensively about this subject.
Living in the future is called Planning
Living in the future is called Planning. Here again, in spite of the obvious benefits of planning, we struggle because of two things, Fear and Fantasies. We are fearful of future events, which seldom happen or liven in fantasies. Depending on our emotional state, we are either stuck with fear or fantasies. Many times dreaming gives us a false sense of doing and living. Such daydreaming is detrimental to material and spiritual living.
The important aspect of thinking is not the tense (past, present or future), but Chitta Suddhi. As long as Chitta Suddhi happens, tense is not important. In fact, Chitta Suddhi should happen for all three tenses. This exactly is why most of us struggle to meditate. When we have learned to deal with our past and future, the present will happen without any effort.
R Rajesh Kumar