By dreaming about past nostalgia and hopes for the future do I separate myself from the present?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.

That is exactly how it is.  Dreaming means being absorbed in completely useless and harmful thoughts particularly when they contribute to arousing emotions of pain, fear, guilt, envy, anxiety and more.  In some cases this dreaming takes over our thoughts and becomes a permanent trait unless we succeed in ridding ourselves of the habit. 

Often a difficult situation that may change from being occasional to frequent, allows our minds to be dominated by these kinds of convulsive thoughts that restrict our lives.  We have difficulty in getting to sleep at night or we become temporarily distracted because of their presence in us.  They make us feel impotent and dissatisfied with our lives.  They take over our lives and we do not realise that they are just thoughts, we do not realise that life is not like that.  We are distracted from our lives.  We believe that we do not have the freedom to decide.

It seems, and I am familiar with it because I have experienced it, that our lives have changed.   We are not able to appreciate that it is just that we have allowed our minds to be taken over by suffering as a result of  some kind of past pain, or because in our present situations we will not be able to be what we wanted to be in future.  These kinds of thoughts that have such a strong influence on our emotions and feelings make it impossible for us to direct our attention towards other matters.  Our attention is a captive of our prevailing thoughts.  We do not see ourselves as we really are.  Our minds are the prisoner of our thoughts.   

Our Present, what we really are, is lost in the turmoil of the past or the future.  We are not just what we think, we are also what we feel.  And it is very clear that we do not like what we are going through as a result of our thoughts, because we are suffering.  If we become aware that we are suffering, the very pain or fear that we feel, which also constitute what we are, make us take a positive step because by feelingwe cease to think.  Feeling always occurs in the present; thinking takes us away from it.  If you are able to feel that your present is ruined by your thoughts, if you are aware of it, you are where you should be. Moreover, if you continue to practise feeling your present life, whatever it is, or however it is, you are on the path that you are taking today, not yesterday’s or tomorrow’s. Today’s path. Now you just need to be aware of the reality that I have tried to describe to you: perhaps you are currently feeling some kind of pain or a disability that is part of your life.  Do not let yourself lapse once more into thoughts that take you away from the reality of your present life.  Practise paying attention to the present.  You are accepting yourself just as you are at this moment since you cannot do anything about it.

The past no longer exists even if it has left you with bad memories or limitations.  The future has not yet arrived so do not bring into your present life anxiety about what may happen when it does come.   Acceptance of what we are experiencing, whatever it is, is the only thing that will bring you into the present with the harmony, consistency and peace of mind that are the essence and meaning of life.