At the end of his book on timing – “When,” Dan Pink shared a recommendation on living in the present. He points out that living in the present may not the best strategy at all times – despite the advice of spiritual gurus.
Instead, he suggests that we’re better off integrating the past, the present and the future as we live our lives.
I thought that was a profound insight. And, it is one I am beginning to stumble upon myself as part of my journey to engage with engagement/mindfulness. There is undoubtedly a place for living in the present. But, spending time reflecting on what happened is a source of great learning. And, identifying with our future selves helps us move forward with purpose.
I read once that zen masters believe that the essence of zen is doing one thing at a time. That’s increasingly where I find myself ending up. There’s a place for some reflection, some day dreaming about the future and getting things done in our lives. They co-exist and, in moderation, balance each other out.
The key, I find, is to make peace with the process of balancing and to be fully engaged with it – one thing at a time.