I’ve always been a believer in “hope for the best and prepare for the worst.” I suspect that is why my monkey mind is staging a quiet revolt today in my yoga class.
The instructor says “be totally present in the now.” This is a common prompt for anything involving meditation, but the problem starts when he takes it one step further and asks us to reflect on what keeps us from doing so.
“I know, I know” the eager student in my head clamors. She likes getting answers right. “I replay scenes from the past, and I concentrate on tasks and I worry about the future.” But another voice in my head speaks up, and it is less anxious to please.
“You don’t just worry,” it says. “You prepare. You plan ahead. Those fantasy scenes you love to invent allow you to try on various scenarios and practice problem solving before it is crucial to your survival.”
“You mean I’m not a day dreamer and chronic worrier?”
“You probably are that too,” my monkey mind concedes. It tends not to sugar coat things for me. “But if you never let yourself live in the future, you wouldn’t make plans. You’d pay a ton more for airfare, and find every Bed and Breakfast you ever want to stay in is sold out. Admit it, you do more if you plan, and you do it better.” Monkey mind is convincing and I’m thinking maybe this yoga instructor has it all wrong and I should be living more in the future, not less.
“So you’re going to turn into one of those crazy survivalists who waste their life and resources stockpiling a cellar to live in in case the word falls apart?” I appear to have grown a second monkey mind, and this one is having none of this focus-on-the-future argument.
“You can prepare without paranoia,” the first monkey shoots back.
“You can plan ahead while still being in the here and now,” the second one retorts.
“You can have this discussion later,” my inner self says firmly. Both monkeys disappear, along with the dreams and worries that matter so much to them. I breath slowly. For just this moment, tomorrow will take care of itself.
My character Ariel has a special relationship with the future, having an innate ability to see the most probable outcomes in front of her. It doesn’t stop her from worrying either, as this excerpt from d4 shows.
“I am glad I met you,” he said. With that he turned and left the little conference room quickly, like he needed to use the restroom badly or had just remembered an important call he had to make. Ariel watched him go in silence, as the remaining board members left still talking among themselves, oblivious to the bit of drama that had just occurred.
There was no question that Baldur had just set off the most unusual premories that Ariel had ever experienced. Ariel considered whether it was because the man would somehow play an important role in her life. Was it possible that he too had her curse? On the other hand, she had been so shook that she might have imagined his response to her. Finding another person with precognitions like her own was incredibly unlikely. Ariel had decided long ago that what she could do had to be very rare, or the world would be so different.
So she needed to get a grip, and do her job and stop worrying about this future stuff. She needed to become far more familiar with exactly what Baldur’s professional needs were and do her best to see that her firm met them. She thought that it would also be a good idea to find a way to avoid touching him ever again.
(As for what my monkey mind had to say about focusing on the past — see my post Bring back the good old days? on my z2 blog. For thoughts about my never ending focus on performing tasks — see my post Frittering life away? on my c3 blog. And find out what my yoga instructor thought the problem was at Are you performing, or performing? on my y1 blog.)