Does that sound backward to you? Well it shouldn’t, because it is in fact reality.
Our minds are constantly grasping at the future and wrestling with the past. But in doing so, we completely miss what is happening. That future moment that was in your mind is already present. And what you thought was a mindfully present moment, has already whisked by.
Can you remember any thoughts that you had yesterday, or last week; thinking about the concerns for the coming days? Did they turn out as you had hoped and expected, or were they as bad and difficult as you had feared? But don’t we usually find that our hopes or anticipations were more than just slightly askew?
All because, in reality, that was now and this is then. This is what actually is happening, not what you imagined as the now.
My observation here, is the constant push/pull that we exercise with our minds in our day-to-day lives. Our distortion of reality is almost always tainted by grasping, clinging and aversions. But this is what the practice of meditation is designed to help us eliminate. Coming back to the breath, with clarity and precise focus of our attention. Not this hope or that, not any desire or fear, but that very defined point lying just at the tip of our nose.
Of course thoughts arise and fall away, as they should. This is what helps us to gain understanding and wisdom (panna). We observe the transient nature of our thoughts, and even our breath; observing that no two are alike, and none are fixed or permanent.
And it is by this discipline of our practice, that we take this with us as we leave the cushion. Peaceful and at ease, and better understanding the nature of this life and our physical body and mind.
All of this is to highlight the happiness that we gain through the determination of our practice. Happiness that contains only good will toward the self and all other beings. An acceptance that comes from understanding.
But it is always our option to choose suffering instead. Hoping and wishing for things to be different, for dreams to come true. But you also have the option to see clearly that dreams are just that, a mental formation with no substance or credibility. Another delusion to perpetuate our own samsaric journey until one day we may awaken from this sleepless state. Remembering that, to the sleepless person, the night is very long.
May you be well, happy and peaceful.