Those of us who were trained to be unduly rigid thinkers often struggle with Zen concepts. For example: How can you balance living in the present moment with our conception of the future? After all, isn’t it a contradiction to live in the present moment while planning for the future?
It is possible to reconcile living in the present moment with living in the future, if you open your mind to possibilities. I will use a banal example.
It’s 2 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon. I haven’t eaten yet, as I follow an Intermittent Fasting style of eating. I’m starting to get hungry. The following self-talk occurred:
[Sees Quest bars on the kitchen counter.]
I am hungry. Therefore I am going to eat a Quest bar.
You haven’t gotten your 2,000 words of writing done yet today.
I know, but I’m at 1,500 words. I’ll still get my word quota done for the day.
If you eat that Quest bar, will you feel heavy or light? Will you feel energized or sedated?
Also, you’re going to hit the gym after you’re finished writing. Wouldn’t it be better to take your nootropic + BCAAs + Glycofuse on an empty stomach? You’ll feel lighter at the gym, won’t you?
I elected to continue fasting.
Is this a boring example? Yes, it is, for good reason.
Your day is comprised of tens of thousands of ordinary moments. Each ordinary moment is a building block for what we know as “the future.”
To become more Zen and develop a greater appreciation for life and to plan for the future, you must begin to see the beauty and significance of each of these seemingly trivial decisions.
“If you know the Way broadly you will the Way in all things.” – Mushashi
Reflect on your decisions.
- Will you feel heavy or light?
- Will you feel energized or sedated?
- Will you feel inspired or demoralized?
There is a time to feel sedated (before bed). There is a time to feel heavy (when celebrating a major life success).
By reflecting in the present moment about how a decision will affect you (heavy or light, energy or sedation), you are able to set yourself up to have a winning future.