GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
3. The only difference between a poor person and a wealthy one is the future. Whatever happened to them in the past is no longer relevant. We all live in the present regardless of our life situation. No matter what happens in the present moment, in a split second the present will become the past. Not worrying about the future enables you to enjoy what you have already and are doing in the present. (Kochvai Ohr, p. 31)
You cause yourself a great loss by not living in the present.
The Alter of Nevardok said if a person constantly focuses on the future in his
present moments, he entirely loses out in his present moments. When the future finally becomes the present, he will continue to focus on the future of that future. Hence he never has a present. (Chayai Hamussar, vol. 1,p.67-8)
2. Rabbi Mordechai of Lekhivitz related, “From the day I reached a level of understanding, I haven’t worried a single time about what will be in another hour.” (Maigdolai Hachasidus, vol.20)
3. A person who always worries about the future will never be happy. For example, when he has a newborn infant, he will be happy if he lives in the present and appreciates his baby. If a person keeps his focus on all that will happen in the future, he will dwell on the fact that eventually the child will die. Hence the only sensible way to live is to live in the present and enjoy your present experiences. (see Braishis Rabbah 27:7)
Don’t let the past weigh you down.
Every person has moments of suffering and unpleasantness in his life. If you
master the skill of living in the present, you will keep these moments limited to the actual negative experiences. Both before and after a painful experience you will focus on what actually is at that moment, freeing you from much unnecessary pain in your life. Very young children have this skill naturally (we all had it when we were younger), and that is why they enjoy life unless they are presently in pain.
As we grow older, our ability to use our minds and think about the past and future increases. This ability can be utilized in very beneficial ways, but it can also be used in a detrimental way. We can transform our lives into suffering and torture by keeping in mind all our unpleasant experiences of the past. Forgetting these events, wrote the Chovos Halvovos, is the positive aspect of forgetfulness.
LIVING IN THE PRESENT