Forecasting, anticipating, and predicting what is going to happen is a natural pastime. It is as if we want to take the uncertainty out of the future. We seem confident that with foreknowledge we will avoid mistakes. Ironically knowing cause and effect, chain reactions, and natural outcomes does little to change what we do in the moment to come. It is as if our brain goes into neutral while our intuitive decision making comes to the fore. Nothing is for certain. Yesterday’s mistakes are easily repeated. Life continues to revolve around ending circles.
In spite of this or maybe because of it, reading life’s signals in an effort to anticipate the future is a major pastime. I’d like to suggest we could spend our time in more worthy and useful ways.
It isn’t that anticipating the future is something new. Actually the process is as old as man’s history. In one story of yesterday, the signals seemed to be very clear. Almost in a contrarian mode, the prophet set everyone straight; “The poor won't have to worry. The needy will escape the terror. But you Philistines will be plunged into famine, and those who don't starve, God will kill. Wail and howl, proud city! Fall prostrate in fear, Philistia! On the northern horizon, smoke from burned cities, the wake of a brutal, disciplined destroyer.” (Isaiah 14.30, 31)
Even with the knowledge people didn’t react. The present still caught them by surprise as it often does with you and me. Perhaps a better alternative, then and now, rests in taking time to reflect, learn, and preparing to act in the present. “Being” is full time job! Coming into the present – rested, reflective, and prepared – allows one to fully and completely respond to what is. Yesterday’s signals are often lessons to be learned. We can understand and prepare to act within the freedom each holds in her or his hand. Nobody knows what today, this moment will bring. We hold the opportunity. Wasting it worrying about the next doesn’t answer the present. We get to decide; carpe diem.
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