No one has ever been in the past or the future. These are ideas about time and time is always now alone. Contemplating this reality leads to some pretty solid insight to the nature of consciousness and the world of thought.
Only thinking and imagination can conceive of past and future. The body is anchored permanently in the now. All the sensation of life in the body is called ‘being’. These days it is referred to as ‘being present’ as opposed to ‘being absent’ or in contemplation of past or future.
People are fond of saying “You can’t change the past” but we do it all the time. Any time an event is revisited in memory we have an opportunity to create a new interpretation; a new take; perhaps one that is more pleasing but, many times, it is evidence to prove some ‘fact of existence’ to ourselves.
In this respect the past is like a dream: there are certain concrete perceptions but the stream of interpretation through feeling is the principle reality. This ability to see things in a new light is really the essence of freedom. One is never trapped by past events because the mind can form ever new associations in the present that balance or harmonize all influence of memory.
The future is the land of hope. Many spiritual masters advise students to abandon hope for this reason. Hope tends to look beyond the being of this moment which is the only reality. “What could be the problem with hope?” one might ask and there is no problem, but one can’t know that until one looks beyond hope to the good in the present.
Hope is the vision of a bright future but we can be too narrow about the good that is coming toward us by our visioning in hope of being or attaining ‘more’. If we want to ‘get ahead’ we tend to think less of the present and the present, as Eckhart Tolle says, is the only place of power. The present is the place of all creativity.
Any peace love or joy that is sought in the future can’t be felt in the now by definition. All the money and all the fame may someday be realized but being and life which are the source of all time will be identical in the now of that accomplishment. Making peace or love dependent on some future event cuts us off from the present reality. The reality of now is the only place one can really love or find peace. The future is an unfolding dream infused with desire and there is nothing wrong with that as reality. But do yourself a favor and Be Here Now.