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Past and Future

We are caught in psychological time as the memory of the past and the hope for the future. We don’t know what it is to live totally now. Now is life, not behind or ahead.
Public Talk 3 in Ojai, California, 19 April 1975

The past is our guide to the future until the present makes it clear that we are walking backwards. Do we stop and turn around to face the unknown, or do we just keep walking the only way we know? Apparently, the latter. But why? What does it take for us to awaken to our blind determination to succeed at what we can only imagine? Why can’t we see that the ongoing process of succession is determining the future, and that success is taking succession head-on, not ass-backwards.

Why not ass-backwards? Why not turn our backs on succession since there’s nothing we can do to prevent our eventual death? Why should we face that which will take our lives if, by facing it, we lose our will as well? Everything we are we’ve become by willfully walking backwards. Without our will we’d be nothing.

Do you think we’ll ever get tired of walking backwards, stop and turn around just to see what we’re determinedly not facing?

Or, can we learn to understand the complete nature of the conditioning, realising it’s influence, and learning to be living freely, and not willfully.

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Not if we don’t do something other than what we’re doing.

Do you see how quickly and carelessly there is this jump away to use something we know?

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Is that not nothingness? as set against which backward glances, and forward projections, offer the haven of something, even when that something leads to suffering.

Sorry, but I don’t know what you’re trying to say here. Please clarify.

You were picturing the brain as essentially walking backwards into its future, in effect seeing its past, or a future based on that past and projected by it, which I would agree with. But in all of that, there is something for the brain, which is something it can hold on to, something it can identify with, something it can have as comfort for itself, something it can construct security for itself out of, even when that security is no actual security at all. But all of that is deemed preferable to being faced with nothing, which is logically what is, if there is not to be something.

This makes no sense to me. What exactly are you saying?

I was picturing the mental attitude, our approach to life - not the whole brain.

By eschewing foresight and depending on hindsight, we exercise our chosen way of doing things rather than the way that is natural and sensible. When we’re facing what is unfolding before us, we don’t know what to make of it until it is behind us, so we choose not to face what is unfolding before us and rely instead on what we make of what has unfolded. This means depending entirely on our analysis of what happened (the past) instead of attending to what is happening in the eternal present.

But what is there that can be this? Self only exists as the past with thought as its medium, so it either is or is not. As long as there is recording in the brain, there is the creation of memory, then there is thought as a response, and as long as there is thought there will be the possibility of psychological thought as the self, unless that issue is resolved at its root, and this is where the difficulty lies, since self just keeps on like a juggernaut, impervious to all attempts at stopping it. What keeps it going, is what triggered to begin with, if it can even be said to have had a beginning.

The mind doesn’t know until it turns to face what it has turned away from, and the mind cannot make this move until it has lost the will to remain obstinate. It is not a matter of becoming something different, but of being exhausted and devoid of will to continue.

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Nobody is caught as nobody is real.