The Past Isn’t The Future

Rediscovering the Present Moment

Michael Ken


Life offers us guaranteed suffering and a chance to find freedom from it.

With life’s opportunities for positive experiences comes the inevitable hardships we must all face. These hardships cannot be avoided, stopped, or ignored.

We all have different ways of dealing with these difficulties. Many times, this means developing an unhealthy relationship with suffering. We try to place barriers between ourselves and the pain that memory (the past) and speculation (the future) bring.

We begin to live under the assumption that our past negative experiences dictate our future. We move through life trying to suppress the insuppressible and escape the inescapable. We become highly suspicious of the future based on our blind faith in the past.

Every negative coping mechanism is a temporary fix for a more chronic problem, a bandaid placed on the chest of someone with a failing heart.

Living in fear is the result of dwelling on our past and worrying about our future, two acts that pull us away from the here and now. When we feel overwhelmed by afflictive emotions, we can get so caught up in our thoughts that we try to run away from our pain, not realizing the present moment is the only place we can effectively deal with our problems; not understanding the pain we are trying to escape is only intensified and made more lasting by our attempts to flee.

The present moment isn’t something magical or esoteric. It is you, just as you are, in this place; at this time. More than a mere physical presence, the present moment requires your mind to be awake, not thinking about any past, future, or imaginary events, but staying fully engaged in whatever is happening right here, right now.

The present moment is where reality exists; it is the only place you can exercise influence over your environment.

Stop running away; stop running towards. Learn to sit, be still, and embrace each breath that emanates from the mind and heart of a human being who has returned home to rediscover the power of the present moment.



Michael Ken

My journal about life in the woods. Visit to see my complete journal, photographs, and articles.