One of the distinctions from Landmark Education that speaks to me is the notion that “The present is being given by the future into which we live.” That is to say, the present really has nothing to do with the past; rather, who we are today is shaped by the future into which we think we are living. For example, if I aspire to be a successful writer, I will take actions today that are consistent with the future of “being a successful writer,” e.g. writing daily. If I want to climb Mount Everest, then I will train for endurance, save up money, etc., such that I can realize that future. And for the most part, what has happened in the past has very little to do with my ability to be a writer or to climb the world’s tallest peak.
What happens, though, when it feels like there is no future, when you can’t see past the present moment? Even in that case, there is a future. It is the future that “There is no future.” And the actions we take and don’t take are consistent with that future: We get sad, frustrated, and despair. We become reactionary and short-tempered. We begin to withdraw or shut down. We defer our ability to act powerfully to the overwhelming power of our circumstances. And all of these reactions are as automatic and knee-jerk as a doctor striking our funny bone.
It is in these moments that I must remember that it is my hands to create a future worth living for, one that inspires and enlivens me. And the thing about that future is that it never comes… like any other possible future, it resides beyond this moment, always moving away like a horizon. … The only thing I have is the present moment, shaped by this future towards which I am moving. Hence, I must consciously live, … choose with awareness, … to bring alive this possibility until it is finally realized.