“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
-Hamlet, William Shakespeare
Westerners have become accustomed to thinking of time as an arrow, moving always forward in a linear fashion. We think of ourselves as perched on the razor’s edge between a never-arriving future and an always-gone past. This concept of time would be foreign to most of the people for whom ancestors are every bit as present as those alive today. In Asian societies and many indigenous traditions, time is cyclical in nature, not linear, as the patterns repeat over generations. The person close to you in this lifetime might have been close to you for many previous lifetimes.
The arrow of time concept, which goes back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Zeno of Elea, causes much anxiety, since everything must, by definition, be done now or not at all. But what if you were to shift your thinking to believe that everything is already implicitly done? What if you believed that you were living in a present that is already past, already accomplished? Sometimes such a belief is criticized as fatalistic, but it also produces a good deal of freedom. As you set about your morning, picture everything already accomplished, from your first deep breath of the morning to closing your eyes at night. Picture everything falling into place, as it was always meant to be, as it has already been written.
-From: A Mindful Morning, by: David Dillard-Wright, PhD