Prateek made an excellent point in the comments on the last post. I do fret too much. The great thing about this blog is that it has shown me that. I had no idea just how much worry my brain was producing until I saw it written out here.
An important part of Hinduism is to stay present because the present is truly the only thing we can effect. You may have heard the poem, "Look to this day...for yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow a vision. Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope." (I actually saw it in a Narcotics Anonymous booklet once). It is originally a Sanskrit proverb.
It is hard to imagine not planning for the future. I think there is a line to be drawn, because some amount of forethought should go into the future, but not nearly as much as we tend to think. Tomorrow will take care of itself based on what we do today. Worry never solves anything. As much as I know that intellectually, it doesn't stop me from worrying excessively.
Logically we can see there is no point to worry. The only time to create action or change is in the current moment. When people present me with scenarios of what-ifs I can't answer them because I can only know what I will do in a particular situation when it is in front of me. There is an idea in Hinduism that when you are fully present and a dilemma arises, you will naturally know what the right thing for that moment is.
Most of the time I trust deeply in that. I don't plan the future much. My worries about offending people are the only real jumps into the future, because until someone actually tells me outright, in the moment, that they are upset by something I am doing, then it is just a hypothetical and dwelling on it does no good.
It is the past I have trouble with and that makes even less sense. The past is done and cannot be changed, and yet I am plagued with some regret and some wondering how things would be different if I had made different choices. Obviously this is counter-productive! I'm not sure how to stop, though, as even my sub-conscious gets in on the act. I have frequent dreams about an emotionally abusive ex-fiancée and the nights I don't dream of him, I dream about my dear friend who was killed in a car accident recently. My mind refuses to be at peace.
And that is why Hinduism emphasizes training the mind through meditation and other disciplines. We should be in control of our minds because we are the boss and the mind is our servant. I'll have to wait for another post to explain what I mean by the personal pronoun here. After all, if we are not our minds, what are we?
But, the point today is, only now can be changed and the choices we make in the now are what creates our fate.