I am often asked if “living in the now” prevents mindfulness practitioners from looking to the future? Not at all. For instance, consider the concept of karma which is part of the same Buddhist tradition as mindfulness. At its simplest, karma tells us that all our actions in the “now” will have an effect in the future. So if we want the future to be agreeable, we need to be mindful of what we are doing now and of whether it is helpful or not helpful.
Think of this as “being kind to my future self.” To be kind to the self that has to get up at six tomorrow morning, I should get to bed early tonight; to be kind to the self who has to speak at an important conference in three months’ time I should spend twenty minutes in preparation today; to be kind to the self who wants to lose weight for the summer holidays, I should eat a little less of my favourite, fattening dish today (ok, and tomorrow too); to be kind to the self who has to look spick and span, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, twelve hours from now, I should go and check my wardrobe right now.
This, as you can see, is a very practical idea that cuts through many of the complexities of time management, of planning and decision making. And it’s not about austerity now in the hope of some remote future reward. The future is very close – a microsecond if we could perceive it. So, what can you do now to be kind to your self of tonight, tomorrow, next week? Mindfulness is an attitude and a philosophy as well as a practice. If you try it out I think you will find this take on karma to be genuinely life-enhancing.