Armed with the spade of the choices we made, we stand in the graves we have dug. We are plagued by the decisions that we made in the past, and worry about what the future holds. While our thoughts oscillate between past and future, we don’t see the chaos that it causes in the middle as our present is wrecked by dismay. The indecisive nature of ours, too afraid of past experiences and future consequences, is stuck in the procrastination of decisions that are demanding our utmost attention. The thing about past and future is that as much as we want to ignore them, they keep coming back. But where can we find a balance in these oscillations, the beat at which our present can resonate?
The past teaches – this, we are aware of. Our life is too short to learn from just our own experiences, which would be a waste of resource (insert reinventing wheel metaphor). The entire world’s education systems teach history for this very specific reason. How will knowing about The Battle of Waterloo, or Hitler’s strategic errors help us in life? I don’t know, but I know they will help us make the right decisions when the time comes. Also, the human mind is yet to show any peak capacity for knowledge, so there is nothing wrong with adding something for now that might come in handy later on in life. The past is not only in the books. Experiences of life that other people recount to you: an accident, a joke, a stereotype, a warning, etc. teach us at a very subconscious level, and their benefits can be reaped when the fruit of it ripens. No shred of knowledge is unusable.
The future warns - for its arrival is imminent. If we lived today like the songs tell us to, tomorrow will suck, I can assure you. But the value of the future is far greater than that. Possibilities and probabilities are shameless when it comes to failure, and Murphy’s Law is no joke when it comes to preparing for it. The hopeful usually face hopelessness, or as Bane says - “There can be no true despair without hope”. Rather than expecting outcomes to favour, if we prepare for the worst, we usually end up coming out of every situation with no tears. Worrying about the future is good to a point of no hindrance. Your thoughts must be parts of plans, and not just self-loathing and ranting about how things are bad. Being negative doesn’t get you anywhere, but being a cynic does.
All that we need to worry about is weighted thoughts, those that do not help in any way, but refuse to leave our psyche. The thoughts of losing, failing, embarrassment, or even discomfort, usually tend to make us overthink certain actions and we miss the window of opportunity that just passed by. There needs to be clear analysis of events and immediate decisions with measured understanding of consequences. We need the mind to be unbiased and prepared for possible pain and suffering. It takes intense practice, will, focus, and courage to reach such a state, but once people reach it, they clearly stand out in crowds. We’ve all seen people like these, who are not tied down by any vices or lethargies. These people can just stop watching whatever they are watching, or they can study, just to study, when there is no test even remotely upcoming. These people horrify and inspire us at the same time.
The beat is flawed when the past or future shiver too far. As is in the pendulums oscillating, we swing the fastest when we are in the centre, and the slowest at the ends. The present needs to be influenced but not controlled. The past and future can be used like performance enhancing drugs, but they should not be abused like heroin or coke. We must learn from, and respect time as it is for us, but we must not let it rule us. It’s all about the balance.
Photography By: Ashna Panesar