Can future planning hamper our living in the present?

Buddha says Live in the present to experience peace. But what to do with the mind that has been taught since early childhood to plan for future? Both these principles appear to be useful and true but many a times our mind finds itself in this fix – ‘Should I plan for the future or live in the moment or do I have to let go of one of them?’ Confused!

Let us take a moment of pause and think. Oh, are we coming back to the present moment to find the solution! I think some part of my mind is already getting a feel of it but still wants to explore more. What does it mean to live in the present or planning for the future?

Many a times the driving forces are our own fears, insecurities and dissatisfaction. Remember those ‘what-if’ dialogues bothering the mind. In this state, the focus is more on imaginative negativities that may or may not happen. Such planning yields no good results because while executing it we are living in fear and anxiety. In fact allow me to ask- is it planning or worrying? In this mode, the present is lost among the worries of future


A better approach would be setting a ‘Why’ to gain clarity and plan with clarity in mind. Clarity will ease down the worries, minimize the chaos and will help us remain grounded in the Present moment. Once we know what we want and work towards that goal, we are able to enjoy our present with the mind at rest knowing the future is taken care of


In the absence of this approach even if we reach a milestone like getting married, having a child, getting our own home, the mind starts looking for the next – will I reach there? How will I reach there? What if I am not able to reach there?, etc


There is a very fine line of distinction between both the approaches. To humans, anxiety comes more naturally because the brain has got habituated to that kind of thinking over a period of time. We need to decide and choose among anxiety and peace. We do not know what the future holds for us, we should at least enjoy our present knowing that we have done our best in ensuring that our future is secure. We must rather just be where we have reached and enjoy that moment and be grateful for it. With this mindset we will have more energy and get more creative ideas to move forward towards the next milestone or make that future plan to reach the next milestone and when this positive frame of mind will be there, it will bring us more assurance, confidence, and fearlessness


- by Manjari Bhalla

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