Is the present the only opportunity?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile.

In Chile in the old days we told a story about the disgruntled peasant father who used to say to his son: “Study, study, son, so that that when you grow up you will not be like me.”  It was said to be about a peasant but, in reality it is about the desire of all parents when they worry about the commitment of their children to their studies and how well they remember what they learn.

They are sure that, by doing this, they are passing on the best of their way of doing things to their descendants, because they have had to go through it themselves.   If they are professionals, to some extent, they impose this goal on their children.  If they are not, they insist that their children should do better than that in their future achievements.

We do not let children or young people be what they feel or discover in their lives but impose a fixed model on them based on what our past has been like.  We are, to a great extent, the result of the prevailing culture when we were growing up.   From our childhood onwards we live for something that will take place tomorrow.  We memorise everything that we might end up needing in the future as a means of escaping from something about which we feel guilty or responsible.  It is completely natural that children and particularly, young people rebel against this kind of life.  Fleeing from the past and storing up effort to enjoy ourselves in the future.

As if that were not harmful in itself, due to the lack of incentive provided for living life in the present, we are imposing on young people a life that is not their own but a life that is alien to them.

Any specialist consulted about this would tell us that such a person is probably being raised with a high degree of resentment and dissatisfaction.

What they do is not what they feel that they want to do but what is demanded of them as a result of the guilt of others.

The life we have for the rest of our days is the result of that way of living.

Due to the guilt I feel about my past I feel that I must change, I must seek to change so that I do not commit the same errors. 

My guilt about the past sets up what I have to go through.  I look to change in the future because I am not satisfied with what I am.

I follow the messages or guides that offer me help to stop being what I am with ease.  I live today guided by the errors of yesterday or by the desires of tomorrow.  I must correct what I was yesterday.

I must accomplish what I will be tomorrow.  Those are the same errors that have brought me right to this day.  Living in the present is the only chance to grow and to be yourself.

Discover yourself as if you have always been following a wandering path and start to live an aware life.  Pay attention deliberately to what you are experiencing and a natural process of self-regulation will be set in motion.

You do not need to worry about anything other than living in your present, being present in your life.