Something deep inside us seems always to think that the answer to life’s challenges is to do more and push harder. And modern working life encourages this, with its demands to produce more, and these messages keep the mind leaping to the next task or challenge. And so we live a lot of the time in the future, thinking that our security comes from something that will happen there. In a practical sense this means that we will spend a lot of moments today trying to get somewhere else. The different wisdom traditions tell us that mental health is related to resisting this, and to living more in the present:
Before a step is taken, the goal is reached;
Before the tongue is moved, the speech is finished.
Though each move is ahead of the next,
There is still a transcendent secret.
Mumon’s Commentary on Kempo’s One Way , in the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate