“How often, you wonder, has the direction of your life been shaped by misunderstanding? How many opportunities have you been denied — or, for that matter, awarded — because someone failed to see you properly? How many friends have you lost, how many have you gained, because they glimpsed some element of your personality that shone through for only an instant, and in circumstances you could never reproduce? An illusion of water shimmering at the far bend of a highway.” — Kevin Brockmeier
You most likely won’t remember this moment.
You won’t remember most of what happens to you. Even though we log away our experiences, we don’t remain conscious of what happened yesterday — let alone a week or a month or a decade ago. In fact, we sum up entire years with just an isolated moment or two, memories that always seems random and benign.
If asked, we can recall certain days, certain experiences, but in our day-to-day waking consciousness, we don’t remember the past, and we don’t actually ruminate in it, we ruminate in the select, random thoughts that crop up — and for different periods of time, they’re usually the same ones. They are the same past experiences that are brewing beneath in our subconscious.
These are really important to note, because if they crop up without prompt, they are most likely controlling more than we realize.
It often seems like there’s no correlation. Because they are effortless, they must be meaningless. But what our minds run through and play out while walking down the street and grocery shopping and driving to work isn’t meaningless at all.
They are the imprints that we carry with us. They are the unhealed things that are lingering beneath — and even if those exact experiences, those precise moments, aren’t the ones that have to be fixed and healed, they are representative of them, they call our attention to them in less threatening ways.
We live with these unconscious daydreams all the time. These, and our projections of our futures based on them.
I used to live most of my life through a projection of the future — every action, every day, was a means to an end I imagined. Suffering came from the misalignment of what I thought I was working toward and what actually happened. Greater suffering came from believing I knew what was best for me. I thought I failed because it didn’t play out how I thought it should — but I only failed myself by not being able to let the purpose of the experience be the experience — not where it could, and should, take me.
I didn’t learn to “live in the now” when somebody — or really, many people — told me, “hey, it’s useless to worry about the past or future” because yeah, well, obviously.
I couldn’t stop because something in the present was unsettled and was forcing me to keep looking back until I healed it, and forward to deflect from the pain of not doing so.
I thought the issue was overcoming what it was that was causing me to deflect when the issue was overcoming the fact that the past and future are ideas. And that singular notion was the only thing that really shifted my mindset. That everything real is in front of you, the rest are images. Dreams. Unconscious daydreams.
We can only imagine the future we think we deserve, based on a now in which we are constantly reminding ourselves of the past that we haven’t healed. Our minds aren’t aware of a fraction of our capabilities. Our minds won’t let us love ourselves enough to think we deserve more.
I didn’t understand this for a long time. I thought planning for the future was paramount in importance, that you had to have a vision before you could accomplish it. Though that isn’t necessarily untrue, what’s more true is that the only vision of the future you can have is what you allow to unfold now; today creates tomorrow. The essence of things is what comes to fruition, the exact details are better left to the universe to figure out. Life unfolds from the inside, not from a vision of the outside.
You don’t fall into your future all of a sudden. You only fall into your delusions about it — the daydreams you don’t even know you have.