Why We Are Not Shown the Big Picture:
Fully Committed to Now
Sometimes, we may find ourselves wishing we knew what our lives are going to look like or what gifts and challenges are going to be presented to us in the coming months or years. We may want to know if the relationship we’re in now will go the distance or if our goals will be realized. Perhaps we feel like we need help making a decision and we want to know which choice will work out best. We may consult psychics, tarot cards, our dreams, and many other sources in the hopes of finding out what the future holds. Usually, at most, we may catch glimpses. And even though we think we would like to know the whole story in all its details, the truth is that we would probably be overwhelmed and exhausted if we knew everything that is going to happen to us.
Just think of your life as you’ve lived it up to this point. If you are like most of us, you have probably done more and faced more than you could have ever imagined. If someone had told you as a child of all the jobs and relationships you would experience, along with each one’s inherent ups and downs, you would have become overwhelmed. With your head full of information about the future, you would have had a very hard time experiencing your life in the present moment, which is where everything actually happens.
In many ways, not knowing what the future has in store brings out in us the qualities we need to grow. For example, it would have been difficult to commit yourself to certain people or projects if you knew they wouldn’t ultimately work out. Yet, it was through your commitment to see them through that you experienced the lessons you needed to grow. Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened. In fact, your most challenging experiences with their inevitable lessons may have ultimately brought you the greatest rewards. Not knowing the future keeps us just where we need to be—fully committed and in the present moment.
~ Madyson Taylor, Daily Om
If you are like me, you have a love/hate relationship with surprises. While I love the idea of a thrilling surprise, I am also a very impatient and curious person, and ‘Let me see, let me see!” is my common refrain. I know that this is terrible, but when I was little, I used to surreptitiously open up my Christmas presents to see what was hidden inside. My mother never knew, until I told her as an adult. I grew out of this stage, but my desire to know what hidden gem lay inside the package remained. Similarly, I used to approach life that way.
I thought that if I knew the future, I could avoid the mistakes, doubts, bad choices, hurts, regrettable decisions, and the inevitable feelings that go with them. In essence, my goal was to avoid the very things that lead to life lessons and wisdom. There is no doubt that there are things in my life that if I’d known the outcome of my actions, I would have chosen differently.
Fortunately, I’ve grown to appreciate the comfort of the unknown. It allows us to dwell in the present, the only moment of certainty, and it provides us the freedom to act without being hampered by the knowledge of the future. In reality, even if we are given a glimpse of the future and the outcome based on our own present actions, we must remember, to weigh the fact that each of us is connected, and that the actions of others affect the outcome of our own future. The wonder of life is that it is unpredictable and subject to change and if a single moment changes, it can greatly affect future outcomes. (Just thinking about it, makes my head hurt.)
One point that the article makes is “Looking back on your life, you would likely be hard pressed to say that anything in your past should not have happened.” Well, I disagree with this statement. Granted, it is true to a large extent. Nevertheless, after witnessing various outcomes caused by my actions, there are several choices that I would change post-haste. Specifically, those that involve the harmful fall out upon other people, which is almost always the case. In most instances, we never choose with the intention to harm others, but almost always, unanticipated collateral damage follows. Of course, we must face our actions but doing so brings with it both a lesson and strength.
I sincerely doubt that I would be the person that I am today, blessed with all the people and things that I love, if I’d known what the future held for me. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and even though we do not see it immediately, we will come to realize it when the time is right. Every person and thing, even those we consider unpleasant, are in our lives for a reason, and only by accepting and embracing them as integral to our journey, do we learn from them and of their importance. Much like knowing the ending of a good book or movie, knowing “the big picture” robs us of the experience of living our lives as they should be — in the present.