are you past or future oriented

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Are You Past or Future Oriented?

I am without a doubt, I’m a future oriented person.  This is neither better or worse than a past-oriented person.

What’s the difference?

I’m concerned and imagining the future.  You probably gather this reading this blog.  I talk about building a life and moving forward.  It’s how I think.  This is good because I’m a doer and want to build things.  It’s bad because I can lapse into worry.

A past oriented person ponders the past.  The benefit is here is learning from the past.  This too can be valuable.  However, being past-oriented can result in shame (especially for recovering alcoholics).

Being past or future Oriented determines your primary defect

If you’re like me and you spend most time imagining the future your primary defect is fear.  You fear problems – most of which will never materialize.  Fear is your driving negative emotion.  At least it is for me.

If you’re past-oriented, your defect is likely shame.  You have shame about things you did or didn’t do.

What’s the Point?

I’m a believer that focussing on the now is the best.  I struggle with this.  My mind loves imagining the future.  But I can fall into fear-based emotions.  This is not good for serenity.  The now is the best for me.  When I’m engaged in an activity I love, I’m in the now.  Sometimes when I have a great meditation session, I’m in the now.

There’s tons of self-help information about getting in the now.  I’ve read plenty of it.  Much of it is good.  Much of it, however, fails to provide concrete guidance for getting into the now.

For me, what works is doing activities I love doing.  Doing things effortlessly with no expectation of any particular outcome.

Another wonderful practice for getting in the now is acceptance.  I hated acceptance when I first sobered up, but now it’s one of my favorite meditations.

Whether you’re future or past oriented, practicing acceptance and doing activities that inspire you will get you in the now.

Don’t berate yourself if you discover yourself in the past or future.  Your mind is active and it will go where it goes.  Just practice and give yourself gentle reminders about the benefits of being in the now.  Generally, the best way for my mind to get present is doing something puts me in the present – fully engaged, interested, and inspired.

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