Fortune-telling, ancient oracles and divination have been a mainstay since the beginning of mankind. Priests, shamans and holy-men who practiced these modalities were well-respected and sought after for their wisdom.
Today, people are much more skeptical about these ancient arts, and prefer to rely on science. Sooner or later, they realize that it’s futile to make sense of something that is as mysterious as the unknown.
While our thoughts and decisions certainly do have a big influence on the trajectory of our life, there’s always going to be one component of the equation of our fate that we cannot control.
There was a time in my life when I felt alone on my path and I grew anxious about my future. My worries escalated during a difficult phase in my relationships and career. During this rough patch, I felt like I was living in the grey zone, and had no idea about what could happen next.
Gnawing worries about the future plague all of us at some point in our lives. We may have tried soothing our worries with food, alcohol, drugs, smoking and anti-depressants, or other forms of escapism.
Needless worrying disturbs our inner sanctum and we miss out on living in the present moment. We don’t know when our last day on Earth will be, so it’s imperative to make the most of every single moment, no matter what.
This doesn’t mean that we should turn a blind eye to future possibilities. Instead, we should try to plan and prepare for it, without getting stressed and worried.
Here are five steps that elaborate on how we can adopt this approach:
1. Examine the root cause of your anxiety: If we are to overcome our anxiety, we need to start with finding out what is specifically causing us to worry about the future. One of the best ways to do this is by asking ourselves well-framed questions. For example, if you are concerned that your creative work is not going to be appreciated by others, ask yourself, “What about not getting appreciated for my work bothers me?” You continue asking yourself questions until you get to the core issue.
2. Get comfortable with ‘not knowing’: Human beings are, by nature, uncomfortable with the unknown. Our species is wired to seek comfort in the familiar. The reality of a life with no guarantees is in direct conflict with our need for the familiar. We need to go against our basic nature and make a concerted effort to feel at ease with uncertainty and “not knowing”. Spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation or reciting affirmations, can help with this.
3. Focus on what you DO know and take action: Gather all the data and information you can about the situation that’s concerning you and create a plan of action. It’s important to do your part in influencing the outcome of your situation by doing whatever is within the realm of your control.
4. Let go of what you can’t control: After we have done all that we can do within a given a situation, the next step is to let go of our attachment to the outcome. Letting go does not mean that we stop caring and that we withdraw our attention from the matter. It simply means that we are willing to release our mental grip on a situation in the spirit of faith, knowing that we have done all that we can to influence the outcome.
In my quest to overcome my fixation on the future, I found that one of the most effective ways to overcome it is by spending time with children.
When I look into the eyes of a child, I’m transported back to the golden era of my childhood – a time when I reveled in the simple pleasure of being alive. I’m reminded that the abundance that I seek is found right here, in this present moment.
All my best on your journey,
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