20 Questions in 30 Days. Q14. Why does being in the moment guarantee failure?
First and foremost it doesn’t. Not always. Only sometimes.
All eyes are turned to the future. Every animal, human and inanimate object has its eyes on the future. Birds build nests before they lay eggs not after. People save money for the future not the past. Beavers build dams before they need them. Whales head toward to South to breed.
But if I stamp on your toe, do you care about the future? No way Jose. You are totally 100% in the moment, and that’s an important diversion of your eyes away from the future.
So there is a fork in the road.
There are people spending money right now to create a pleasure right now, we call this lifestyle seeking and those people are acting exactly as if someone stamped on their foot. They are in pain and in the experience of that pain – usually relationship or emotional pain – they spend money to create pleasure in the now. It’s like winding your watch on the way to the gallows.
All eyes are turned to the future. For some that future is 15 minutes away and they spend energy to create that future. If they won the lotto they would spend it all very quickly on short term instantaneous pleasures.
I remember not long after my first marriage settlement, where I’d fought tooth and nail for survival, and lost. I was in allot of pain, and became habitually self obsessed. It’s understandable. It hurt. On every level it hurt. Emotional, mental, financial, relationship, family, and I even had to start a new business. I met a gorgeous woman who I can only describe as Anais Nin, one of my favourite authors. My new partner was sensuality personified, she lived 1,000% in the moment. So, not only had my habitual self gratification, (we call it healing) driven me to make many unwise financial choices, it had driven my choice of partner. I had no long term ambition for my new love, although I wanted to be with her forever, what drew us together, was pleasure, little else.
This was Kayling’s (her name), lifestyle although she wasn’t doing it like me for pain relief, this was her world. She also owned two houses at the age of 30 and had a brilliant career. So for her, this relationship sensuality was not just in the moment, it was an investment in her future. So, Kayling and I arrived in love and a beautiful relationship together for two different reasons. Her attraction toward me was for the potential of a future, mine to her was, unknowingly my new found habitual quest for pain relief. Short term thinking, pleasure.
But when you seek pleasure from a relationship, one person as the source of it is never enough. Soon it becomes repetitive and other attractions creep in. And when two people arrive in a relationship for two different intentions, neither becomes satisfied. Every choice Kayling and I made became dissonant. If we were going for dinner I wanted to spend, she to save. If we were at home, she wanted to talk about work and I about art. My eyes were turned to the now. Hers, as nature intended, toward the future.
But this is not a story about a relationship. How does being in the Now Cause Failure?
During this great enjoyable sexy, sensual relationship where we moved in together in her South Melbourne home, I also had my Sydney apartment and was living in two cities. I needed a Melbourne car, something practical, something ecconomic, something that I could leave at the airport. Something that if I went to collect the three kids from their mum for my weekends, would tell my now ex wife, I was over her and all was fine. (a lie). So, I bought a Porsche.
Yes, with all this habitual living in the NOW, the purchase criteria became somewhat distorted. I bought a Porsche. The cheapest part about buying a Porsche is buying it. Keeping it running and repairing the graffiti and paying the lease monthly but none of this, in my quest for pain relief though short term instantaneous gratitfication, entered my head.
My Porsche was white. I love white Porsches. With a whale tale racing rear spoiler. Sitting in my Porsche I was king. I fucking loved that car. I felt on top of the world. For the first 24 hours. On the second day, I got in my pleasure machine, turned the key and blew up the engine. (spoiler alert, don’t put your foot on the accelerator when you start a Porsche). The bill, including towing away from the front of Kayling’s house, was over $8,000. And suddenly the cold realisation started to creep in over me like a morning fog on a camping trip. The bitter cold feeling that I’d made an irreversible wrong decision based on pleasure seeking pain relief dawned on me.
For the next two years I had a love – hate relationship with my Porsche. Love because it was great. Hate because it was a pain in the arse every time I looked toward the future and started to refocus my eyes, the Porsche, like Kayling, screamed for attention. Unlike Kayling, separating myself from the Porsche was not so easy. In our relationship we both moved on but the Porsche stayed, I had a massive payout on the lease and I guess, needed to be reminded for the next 24 months that being in the moment when we make financial, relationship, social, career, health and spiritual decisions is going to mess with our mind long term.
When an alcoholic wakes up in the morning they promise themselves they will never drink again. By mid afternoon they are less focussed on the future and more in the moment. What was a good choice based on having their eyes on the future changed as their pain, whateever it is, rises during the course of the day until they buy their Porsche, have a drink and then, it’s done, and the road ahead for the day, is set.
Pain requires us to be self-obsessed. We are drawn into the moment to handle it and with this pain, our self-talk can shrink to pleasure seeking, emotional, financial, career, relationship pleasure seeking. It defy’s nature. It argues with the universe to heal, just for a time, that pain. In that period, we must, to heal, be very present in the now. But all eyes are turned to the future and if we are in the now, in a healthy way, it must include the future.
It is an ancient Tibetan ritual of meditation to learn how to be in the Now and include the future. In English, it translates to EXPANDING THE NOW.
In short, what this means is becoming present, 100% present with the future.
Lets use a child as an example. It’s two months before their birthday, kids are usually very present with whatever they do. So they are good role models. They ask “can I have a bike for my birthday?” They don’t just want any bike. If you ask, “what sort of bike and what colour” they’ll know it. Typically, they have an image of the bike, the fun, the riding, the joy and none of the falls that will inevitably follow with it. They have an image, imagination, and they are, if we stop and listen long enough between meetings and phone calls, 100% present with that future image. When the bike arrives, they compare it in its real creation to that future image and if there’s a match, there’s acceptance. If it’s not a match there’s another nail in the coffin of trust, trust in themselves.
All this goes right back to the consciousness cone. A person in a state of GOT TO, is so in the moment, nothing else matters. A person in love to is in the Tibetan state of expanding the now. This is the art of visualisation, affirmation and denial. We’ve shared the process in SUCCESS FORMULA month on this podcast and blog and if you missed that series, now might be a good time to go back and expand the now into the future.
End of this question… Thank you.