Friday, 18 December 2015

Back To The Present

A couple of months ago was “Back To The Future Day” after the film’s character Marty McFly time-travelled from 1989 to the 21 October, 2015. In the 26 years since the film was made, the world is very much a different place, and yet some of the “predictions” in the film have been almost accurate.
I describe mindfulness to clients as the non-judgemental awareness of the present moment, allowing thoughts, sensations and feelings to come up but to accept them as they are without the mind interpreting these into something else. So it struck me how it seemed the entire internet was simultaneously jumping between a 26 year old film, to present, and looking forward from the perspective of the past, warm with nostalgia, yet hot to judge how well 2015 was portrayed, back in 1989. It seemed that everything about the film was being judged – the clothing, cars, foods, hoverboards…
…To me, yesterday’s feast of Back To The Future Day was a global media-led illustration of how we can sometimes tend to process our thoughts about the past: We look back at an event, analyse it, then try to overlay it with the present, to fit our perception of what we would like (or not like) to see. In this sense, we do not allow ourselves to accept the thoughts of the past as they were (are), because as time passes by, so we change in the way we look, act, and feel, which may not reflect our thoughts accurately; sometimes we attempt to compartmentalise these perceptions into a structure we “approve” of – the structure that we think makes us feel most comfortable at the time. We make “predictions” about our future based on our past, using our past perceptions, experience and knowledge to shape our desires for what we want to experience at that time, but for a later point in time. Which is OK, except if you’re not really keen on the idea of re-hydrated pizza, for example!
I loved the Back To The Future films, just accepting them as they were at the time. I had no clue about what I would be doing in 2015, back in 1989 when I watched the film. Just like I have only a little idea about what I was doing back in 1989 – I was fourteen, so probably wearing dungarees and listening to the Happy Mondays!
My point is that if you are going to look back at the past, do so without judgement. Be a time-traveller yourself – place yourself in that moment and observe it. Do the same for the present: be experiencing it fully and accept whatever comes your way, process it and release it. Prepare for the future but don’t over-plan – you don’t know what will be, yet.

As the paraphrased quote from Bill Keane goes: “Yesterday is the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present”.

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