“At this instant, where are the past and future?  Nowhere.”  (Deepak Chopra)

Remember washing your face this morning?  That “now” no longer exists.  Remember how vivid it felt to be there in that moment, with your face wet, in front of a mirror?

And yet here you are, in a different “now” thinking about that “now” as a “then.”  What is left of that “now”?  Nothing’s left but a memory.  As real as that moment was, now, it is unreal.  And this moment too, in a moment, will become unreal, it too will pass into the nothingness of the past.

We are always in the “now” even if we are spending it thinking about the past or the future.  Thus, the past and the future do not exist – they are fiction, nothing but thoughts about what doesn’t exist.

Any time you are thinking about something that doesn’t exist, you are not thinking about what exists.  Any time you are lost in rumination of what no longer is or in the dread of what just might exist, you are lost in the mental construction called “time.”

[adapted from Present Perfect]

Related: Time Is Not a Stimulus, Time Is a Response

Creative Commons License photo credit: natebeaty

 


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    Last reviewed: 3 Oct 2012

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2012). Past is a Memory, Future is an Imagination. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2012/10/past-is-a-memory-future-is-an-imagination/

 

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Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D. is the author of The Lotus Effect, Present Perfect, The Smoke-Free Smoke Break, and Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time.


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