The past and future are real illusions…

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

-Buddha (latter half of first millennium BCE)

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

Bil Keane (1922 – 2011)

The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)

If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.

Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965)

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Steve Jobs (1955 – 2011)

I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.

Alan Watts (1915 – 1973)

One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good.

Gretchen Rubin (b. 1965)

Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future.

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.

Marcel Pagnol (1895 – 1974)

The chance which now seems lost may present itself at the last moment.

Jules Verne (1828 – 1905)

34 thoughts on “The past and future are real illusions…”

  1. Thanks a lot, David, for provoking memories of a metaphor I once measured and meted out my existence with. I’d all but forgotten it. 🙂
    “The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” –Niccolo Machiavelli
    When you’ve meditated on that metaphor for thousands of hours while jotting down your thoughts about it in poem in progress with no deadline, epiphanies occur for a curious character who realizes the power of metaphor to tune out time’s interference in existence and see what is.
    “A story conducted by the time of a clock and calendars alone would be a story not of human beings but of mechanical toys.” –Mary Lascelles
    This is not a plug for my opus, David, but a salute to your focus on the metaphors we more-or-less consciously choose to use to shape the real existence of which we are more-or-less conscious.
    “We say that time passes, time goes by, and time flows. Those are metaphors. We also think of time as a medium in which we exist.” –James Gleick
    Ben Franklin converted the time metaphor to hard currency. Perhaps time is so convertible to all valuable currencies of human life.
    “Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties.” –Jules Renard
    Thank you for your posts, David. Always current. 🙂
    “The truth about forever is that it’s happening right now.” –Sarah Dessen

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