Living My Future Self Now


There are many self-help and self-improvement advocates out there lauding the ways we can live our best life now. I don’t know about any of that, but what I do know is that we can live our future selves right now. At least in one way - forgiveness.

Think back to when you were a child and made a mistake that you have some amount of shame or embarrassment about. Many times we look at that act and forgive ourselves because we were just “dumb kids” doing things we did not think through very well. We can be quick to forgive children because children often do not know any better.

As you think of that memory and extend kindness and forgiveness to your past self, take note. Because your future self will be as forgiving to your present self, in the same way that your present self is forgiving my past self.

When you were younger you might have even thought that your future self would forgive your actions/behavior. And so, forgiving your past self in the present means you are living you (previous) future self now.

All of this to say that your future self will be as forgiving to your present self as you are presently forgiving your past self. And so give yourself a break and know you can live your future self right now by forgiving present self.

Everything happens. Sometimes there is a reason.

You have heard it, "Things happen for a reason." 

For many this mantra is hopeful because it gives a sense of security that no matter what crap they are living with right now, there is meaning behind it. That suffering is not without purpose. This can reassure us when we feel like we are alone and broken and hopeless. If we can only believe that things happen for a reason then it dulls the pain a bit and gives us breath for another day. I do not discount the comfort this provides people in time of need.  

But it does not provide comfort for me at all. 

It can be argued that if things happen for a reason than ultimately that reason is God. It is God that caused the tsunami. It is God that gave the cancer. It is God that was behind genocides and wars. When I hear "everything happens for a reason" my mind jumps to the question, "why would God not only allow but even cause this amount of suffering?" 

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason. I do not believe that God causes, green lights or approves of the suffering in the world. 

Rather than causing the suffering, I believe God is present with us through the suffering like a friend. Rather than trying to teach a lesson of how strong God has made you ("God will not give you more than you can handle") or get you to be more faithful ("God brought you to it and God will bring you through it."), I believe God weeps and struggles with us. 

As Rev. William Sloane Coffin said at his son's funeral ten days after he died in a car accident, God provides minimum protection and maximum support.

Here is what I know. Everything happens. Sometimes there is a reason, sometimes there is not a reason. Either way, God is present with you. 

And that brings me more comfort than thinking that everything happens for a reason.


The Human Being is on the Endangered Species List

In case we all have forgotten, we are all human beings. By that I mean not only that we are all created in the image of God and should therefore endowed with rights and anytime those rights are violated it is an injustice for all. 

It also means that we are human beings as opposed to human doings

As much as we value productivity, efficiency and mastering skills in order to "crush it" in life, these values drown out the value of being. And human being is in jeopardy of extinction to be killed off by the human doing. 

We do not value those things that are not instantly productive - such as taking a class on Shakespeare if you "know" you are going into business. We do not value the face to face time that we once enjoyed because it takes too long to get to the point in a conversation when we can just send texts and exchange data. We do not value sitting and being still, and when you do you are either sick, inefficient or lazy.


But we are not robots fueled by solar power. We have to take time to rest and recharge - but even that is too much being for us. And so we take our food to go, we answer email while sitting at a stop light, we check instagram when we are in like to get meat at the grocery store (assuming we don't order our groceries online). All of this makes us feel guilty when we step back into being. Guilt follows us everywhere we go tellus us that we are either growing or dying, that we need to work hard in order to prove that we are valuable or at the very least not a slacking freeloader. 

For as much as we need human doings in the world, we need that many human beings. You are more than a doing (like a robot or a computer or a car) you are a being.

Help save the human being

Just a problem with living in the moment

A common practice in popular spirituality is to "live in the moment". "Live in the moment". "Savor the moment". "Being in the present", There are a number of slogans that emphasis the importance of being present moment-centric.

There is a story of Jesus going up on a mountain with some disciples and Jesus is transfigured before them. While some of the disciples want to 'live in the moment' and build shrines so not to come down the mountain, God commands that they must come down from the mountain.


When we are present moment-centric then we do not think about the future. Which is a bit problematic for those who believe that we should be doing what we can to better the world around us. Why would I want to better the world around me if I am only living in the moment? 

It is clear that to live in the moment does not take seriously the work of the future or the lessons of the past. Present moment-centrism might be good for the individual for a time, but that is all that it is. Good for the individual.

And when we have a spirituality that is focused on the individual I am not sure if that spirituality is not just an idolization of the self.