How to deal with fear of the future
Whenever we face situations wherein our future seems dark and dangerous, our mind starts becoming paranoid. The Bhagavad-gita (18.35) cautions that fearfulness characterizes a mind afflicted by ignorance.
How are fear and ignorance related? Fear arises from our ignorance of the reality that all we have to deal with now is the present, not the future. And in the present, we are safe from future dangers. They can’t hurt us in the present unless we become paralyzed and fail to prepare appropriately for them.
To better contemplate how the future can’t hurt us in the present, we can equip ourselves with spiritual education and devotional connection.
Spiritual education: By regularly studying the Gita, we realize that we are indestructible spiritual beings. We exist above our situations and above our emotions. No matter how dangerous the future may be, we as souls won’t be hurt by it — neither in the future, nor in the present.
Devotional connection: We are always connected with the ultimate reality, Krishna, because we are his eternal parts (15.07). And all that Krishna wants from us is that we do our part. In the totality of time — past, present and future — the part he has entrusted to us is the present. The present is his present to us; he wants us to use it in a mood of loving service. ; the future, like the past, is in his hands. If we do our best in the present to serve him, he will guide us from within (10.10), taking us through the future to safety.
No matter how dangerous the future may be, it can’t hurt us in the present, unless we let it — just stay spiritually educated and devotionally connected in the present.
Think it over:
- What contemplation can shift our vision from the future to the present?
- What two tools can help us separate the present from the future?
- What fear troubles you the most? How does it affect you in the present? What can you do about it now?
18.35: And that determination which cannot go beyond dreaming, fearfulness, lamentation, moroseness and illusion – such unintelligent determination, O son of Prutha, is in the mode of darkness.
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