When There is No Future - Because Only the Present Exists

Now is the time to put into practice what teachers of wisdom like Eckhardt Tolle have been preaching to us for years: "in times of crisis, deepen presence". 

Covid-19 and coming to terms with living in the present

For years most people have been living their lives, automatically assuming in their mind a relatively stable future existed ahead of them. 

They have been looking forward to their next holiday, birthday or Christmas party... planning that next big purchase (house or car...) or assuming that in 3 or 6 or 12 months from the current date they will be following their normal daily routine 'as normal'...

But what happens when something SO momentous... SO enormous... puts such a HUGE spanner in the works of the routine and 'normalcy' of the entire world's population, that 'returning to normal' is no longer an option, because there can be no 'going back' to what was?

Then what?

Many people right now are still coming to terms with the upheaval their lives have gone through in a very short span of time... in just a matter of days and weeks.

Most people are unaware that they are in the midst of a 'collective UDIN'*, something which generally happens individually, and rarely to everyone in the world at the same time. 

If most of us look back just 2 months ago, our daily routine looked very different: we were going about our daily lives 'as normal', not suspecting that in a short time ahead our lives would look and feel nothing the same. Most people right now are just acclimatizing themselves to a brand new 'lock down' routine, or being out of work. 

Currently, most (could we say 'all'?) of us have no concept of the consequences of what will happen once we are no longer in 'lock down', and allowed to do 'normal' things again, like have dinner in a restaurant (those who are still able to be open for business), meet up with friends or go back to work. 

None of us have any idea of the economic consequences we are about to face. None of us know what changes will be made by governments to our societal systems. We just don't know. 

So what does this mean?

It means that the 'future' - which was always and automatically in our mind - no longer exists. This stable, anticipated, expected future simply does not exist, and as yet there is nothing to take its place.

Understanding 'Breakdown'

In general, we can say we don't understand what is involved when a paradigm (fundamental belief system) breaks down, unless and until we experience a personal breakdown (aka mental breakdown) or significant life crisis.

When a person's life is turned upside down, often triggered through an unexpected crisis - such as illness, death of loved ones, loss of job - there is always a period of change and adjustment which one has to go through, which includes navigating the unexpected, life-changing situation, facing the feelings which arise, traversing confusion and fear, making necessary adjustments, coming to terms with the new reality, and finally coming out the other side. 

And now this change is happening collectively... to the world. 

On an individual level, when one navigates a situation like this, there is always a period of uncertainty, with accompanying emotions such as fear, sadness, grief, anger... And even more than this: a period of confusion and desolation, with a huge empty chasm where the previous life existed, now no longer exists. Traversing this chasm takes time, it cannot be rushed, it happens in its own time, because new bridges have to be built and crossed. 

So what happens when this journey of adjustment and growth now has to be taken by the entire population of the world, simultaneously... this journey into the unknown... how do we navigate it?

For sure one of the best tools we can use is something which wise masters of wisdom have been expounding for years: present moment awareness. Which means living each day... each hour... one moment at a time. Just one day at a time.

Instead of projecting our (usually negative) expectations into the future, we remain present-focused, our mind reigned in to today. Yes, we can make plans for next week... but our feelings and thoughts remain firmly centred in today. And any time we notice ourselves 'worrying' about the future, we STOP, we CANCEL the thoughts, and come back to the present moment. 

Why living in the present works better

Why does living in the present work better than trying to anticipate or create the future?

For two reasons:

1. Because when we live in and from the present moment, we have access to a wisdom within which guides us from the present moment, because it is here now.

2. Because it helps us to feel safer

3. Because the future IS created from the now, from our thoughts or inspirations and feelings: whatever we are feeling and thinking now WILL create the future. 

The benefits of living in the present

The benefits of being in the now are many:

1. Stopping Worry

Worry is the habit of 'mentally rehearsing what we don't want to happen'. It's driven by fear and is an unconscious habit of thinking designed by the mind to protect the human organism. The problem is, it doesn't really work, because it's built on fear rather than trust. Bringing ourselves back to the present moment is one of THE most productive tools for stopping the mental habit of worry.

2. Maintaining inner peace and calm

When we stay in the present, and constantly draw our mind back to the present from its imaginary place in the future, we usually find we ARE safe and that everything is ok, even if things are difficult. Constantly bringing ourselves back to the now is the safest place to be. 

3. Making clear and wise decisions

When we make decisions in the now from a calm space inside, these choices are likely to be wiser and more beneficial for our life. On the other hand, if we make decisions from fear-based worrying and worst-case-scenario-future thinking, the choices... and outcomes... are less likely to be beneficial. 

4. Better for health

When we lock ourselves into fear-driven thinking and stress, we cause damage to our cells, tissues and organs, putting a huge strain on the internal systems. Bringing ourselves back into the present moment and into a state of peace and calm is beneficial for physical, mental and emotional health, immunity and illness prevention. 

A brave new world

There is no doubt we are entering a new time most people never anticipated they would witness in their lives. Maybe we should have spent more time taking note of the recent Hollywood blockbuster movies in recent years, telling tales of destruction and upheaval?

As we sit right now in April 2020, with the world in global lockdown, the 'future' has changed irrevocably, and no-one knows the outcome. Nobody knows 'the future'. 

In such circumstances, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is bring ourselves back to the present moment, over and over again, re-creating ourselves from the inside out by managing our internal state, harmonizing our thoughts and emotions on a moment-to-moment basis. As we do so we notice that it IS possible to live in the present, and that the future will reveal itself in a more harmonious way as we do so. Now is the time to put into practice what teachers of wisdom like Eckhardt Tolle have been preaching to us for years: "in times of crisis, deepen presence". 

Relevant Programs from the EAA

  • How to stop worry
  • How to manage loneliness
  • Overcome depression
  • Emotional management foundation program

See the e-learning portal pages:




Free videos from Eckhardt Tolle



 *UDIN - 'Unexpected Dramatic Isolating No strategy 'shock' event' - see following links for more explanation of UDIN's:

How to cope when your life is turned upside down

How to get through traumas and shock events


Picture credit: https://www.etsy.com/nz/listing/547904994/milky-way-painting-yesterday-is-history 

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