Last week, a client brought a classic conundrum to her coaching session: how can I be fully in the moment and mindful, while also making goals and planning for the future?
What a great question!
There are many quotes and books about the fact that this very moment is all there is. Eckhart Tolle and Thich Nhat Hanh, among others, are famous for this concept. And it seems on the surface to stand in contradiction to those who advocate for goal setting and spending time visualizing the future.
For instance, consider these two quotes:
“See things as you would have them be instead of as they are.” ~Robert Collier (1885-1950)
“Life exists only in the present moment. To lose the present is to lose life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh (1926- )
The first speaks of the future; the second, the present. And yet both are true! How can this be?!
Is it possible to hold the present and the future together in the same space? I think part of the answer lies in this well-known quote, which embodies the apparent contradiction:
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
~Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
I’d always thought of that quote in terms of social justice and equality, as a variation on The Golden Rule. And with my client’s question, I began to consider it in a new light. Just the first three words – “Be the change” – hold the present (be) and future (change) as a singular idea.
The change Gandhi speaks of is larger than setting and achieving goals. It has to do with living your values… exemplifying and expanding into them, right here and now. If you are living in alignment with your values, the future unfolds naturally, without force or struggle.
Your vision of the future is coming to life every day, because you are living it in the present moment.
My client is spending some time meditating on “be the change” and what that means to her. I am doing the same. I invite you to join us, and find peace in living the present and trusting the future.
What change do you want to see for yourself? For the world? What does “be the change you wish to see” mean to you? What’s present in this moment that supports that change?