Thousands of years ago, the leaders of the Mayan culture created a deep-time calendar. We can only guess why they thought it so important. Perhaps our distant ancestors believed they could somehow control the future by mapping it. Many speculated whether or not this Mayan calendar pointed to the end of the world, since it appeared to conclude with the date 12/21/12.
Why did it end there? The world did not end that day. Is it possible that this symmetric number, once so far into the distant future, represented instead a time after which the calendar’s creators saw no need to attempt any control over outcomes? After all, they had to stop somewhere. Perhaps this date signified the infinite, a time so far away that actions would have no consequence – an infinity point where the need for answers would be moot.
The normal habit energy of the human mind is rarely aligned with the present moment. Our attention robotically drifts from analyzing the past to speculating about the future. How much of our life do we spend going along for the ride, reacting from past experience and anticipating the future? How often do we actually respond to what is right in front of us?
Here are a few questions to ponder:
Is there a date in the distant future after which you feel no need to anticipate outcomes? Is it related to your children’s or grandchildren’s life span? Is it some date far away, perhaps 100 or 200 years from now? This will be your “No Worries Number.”
Take some time to think about the worries, fears, joys, and concerns that dominate your life right now. Next, imagine how they might appear at the time of your “No Worries Number.”
Now here is the trick: Live your life right here and right now with these same thoughts and feelings, but instead of letting them drive you, gently notice when they grab the reins of your attention. Take time to stop and inhabit what is going on right now in your life.
Is there a way to enjoy your life more fully? Decrease anxiety? Can this new way of being impact others and help them to enjoy their lives and to ease their suffering?
The work of seeing things from a fresh perspective is vital if we are to live in a way that reflects the highest and best for our individual self and all of the people involved in our life. Presented with the dizzying array of possibilities from a mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and environmental perspective, it is easy to lapse into planning or reacting mode.
But there is another way. There is a way to sustain balance while making conscious choices with the knowledge that we can never be totally in control of outcomes. A combination of self-knowledge and surrender can help us see that every moment offers us the chance to begin again.