11 Jan The True Nature of Reality: Imagining Real Events – 4

In our last journaling session, we contemplated on the imaginary things in our life. In this session, we will take a deeper look at the imaginary realm.

The most common way we escape reality is to project our thoughts into the past or future. We may reflect back on something that happened in attempt to relive or redefine it, or we may think about the future, trying to anticipate what is going to occur. Either way, when our mind leaves the present moment, it leaves reality.

Thinking about the past or future can be productive. We may draw on our experience to make better decisions or plan our future with positive goals. But, our natural human tendency is to leave the present moment when we are experiencing some type of negative emotion. We might replay a scenario that occurred in the past in attempt to reconcile how another person treated us poorly, or imagine the scenario with us reacting in several different ways that could have better controlled the situation. We might be filled with anxiety for some consequence we are anticipating, oftentimes playing out multiple scenarios.

The underlying fact is that any thought of the past, whether productive or not, is an imaginary reliving of a moment that is no longer present in time. Similarly, any thoughts of the future, are mere anticipations and not real experiences.

Exercise: Contemplate and answer the following questions:

What are the top three negative past events I think about on a daily basis?

What are the top three future events I feel negatively about on a daily basis?

What kind of situations usually leave me replaying the experience over and over while feeling some type of negative emotion?

What do I desperately wish I could change about my past?

What do I fear most about the future?

On an average day, how much time do I spend thinking about a past or future event? How often am I escaping the present moment?

On average, how often is my mind in another place from where my body is operating? For example, talking on the phone while driving, or daydreaming while doing other tasks?

Michael Ken