The Bible talks a lot about hope. There are so many references to a better future. To a better tomorrow. Faith is often used in the context of believing you will obtain or achieve something in the future. In fact, for so many Christians, heaven is seen as “the” ultimate and aspired destination. As a Christian, I was taught to strive in life with heaven in mind. With this focus, the future is so bright – so much so that it almost makes the present seem irrelevant.
On the contrary, I have personally experienced a deep sense of dissatisfaction in my life at times, due to feeling like everything I ever needed to be or achieve was somewhere down the line, in the future. Which consequently caused the present to feel incomplete, troublesome, insufficient, and pretty much like a mistake. In turn I felt like a personification of those feelings – incomplete, troubled, insufficient, inadequate, as though my existence, my life, had a mistake lodged in its hard drive. Did my Creator make a mistake? Or was I just not able to follow instructions? There have been times when I have been so caught up in a busyness for a future destination or achievement that was in reality, robbing me of the one realisation that would change my life: Right now!
It’s only since I started to practice being present and developing an understanding of the idea that where I am right now is perfectly enough, that I began questioning my view of hope, success, purpose and faith. Like, how does anybody ever embrace the present if they are constantly focused on arriving someplace or becoming “something” in the future? What about who we already are, or what we have already achieved, or what we have already become?
Am I saying that we should stop planning, or setting goals or reaching for our dreams to be materialised? No. Am I saying that we should no longer hope in a better future, or a better life situation generally? No. But I do question how much a overly dominant focus on the “hope” of a future gain, can hinder our ability to be “present” and realise that all that there EVER is, is now?
I wonder how many of us would feel cheated if we found out that heaven was not a destination? Or that new home, or job, or relationship that we prayed for for so long would not make us feel complete? I wonder how we would feel if our ability to remain individually authentic was the true measure of salvation, or of pure joy and lasting peace? Would we still stick with our current choices? Would we stop doing anything with immediate effect?
Somehow for me, being overly hopeful in a tomorrow that hasn’t arrived yet, as opposed to being thoroughly present in what is, seems to be at separate ends of a spectrum right now. Perhaps it is my growing understanding that makes it appear this way but I guess I am okay with exploring this. Why? Because it appears that there is so much more richness in becoming increasingly present – present enough to smell more roses than ever before….and in fact, I only just realised that a rose is so much more than just a flower…The other day, I noticed birds chirping around 6/7pm really loudly, as though it was the first time I had heard birds chirping at this hour. My daughter reminded me that it was the “Evening Chorus” that I was over hearing. What amazes me about this is that I just cannot seem to recollect a time of such inner stillness, that allowed my ears to hear beyond the call of future engagements.
So my question is, how much time do we really spend on the “now” that we once planned for?
Indeed – Our hope must be a present one.
Stay True x