It's true that all we have is the now. Every moment, lived now, is how we put together a life. Living our mental time too much in the past, or too far into the future, is a sure fire recipe for suffering.
In a previous post I wrote about a few important aspects of changing our body
experience in the present: focusing on actions we can take to change our
inner world: good nutrition, daily exercise, quieting the mind through
prayer, ritual, or meditation, and focusing our time on mutual, healthy
Here I'd like to talk about the mental attitude
of hopefulness, a necessary ingredient to creating a more positive
outcome to our efforts toward change.
Have you ever noticed that
while you are in that awful process of really being sick with an
infection or injury, trying to decide whether to make an appointment or
get to an urgent care center, the anxiety about your situation amplifies
your suffering? In the same way, I wonder if you have noticed that once
you make up your mind to take action, and put yourself in a situation
where you can receive medical help, your symptoms begin to subside even
before you are examined?
This lessening of anxiety and its effect
on our suffering once we are confident we will be helped is known as
the placebo effect: the way that hope for change creates an increase in
well-being and a lessening of suffering.
That is how powerful
the emotional experience of hopefulness is. Part of the therapeutic
process, whether in a hospital room or a counseling office, is
sustaining hope for change. I believe that human beings can change; I
have changed, and continue to work on my own change processes. I have
helped many people create their own change, and witnessed healing of
heart, mind, and body all my life.
Hope is the confidence that
the suffering of the present can be relieved, and that there is a path
that can be relied on to attain healing. It is what can carry us through
the work of the present to a new future. It's the most necessary mental
ingredient I know when taking on the challenge to create something new
in our lives.
If you have hope for a different future, you can
often endure the suffering of the now, the work necessary to change your
circumstance, and launch yourself into a different tomorrow, next week
or next year.
Want to change something now? Grab onto your hope for change and don't let go.