“Yesterday’s gone ... and tomorrow may never be mine,” says a Christian hymn. Only today, this moment, is mine to act in. But is it really possible to live in the present moment much as that is the best thing to do. It is best to live without the hangovers of yesterday and also without the mirages of tomorrow. Is it really possible, however?
One plain truth is that we are a product of our past to a very large extent. Whatever we may do, it is impossible to erase all of our past. The past has shaped our attitudes, thinking and our very character so much so it steps in whenever we are trying to find solutions to the current problem. It is impossible to ignore the past. The past is an integral part of our very being.
|Religion never lets the past go|
Not even in the life next!
I spent my youth with certain people who rendered unenviable assistance in making a mess of my life. They were apparently trying to help me shape my character which, according to them, was pretty bad. They were religious people and I was an atheistic hedonist. They thought that I had sold my soul to the devil and they took it upon themselves to redeem my soul. My life became such a misery to me that I ran away from the place and took up a job in another place where the people who surrounded me were of a totally different religion and didn’t give two hoots for my irreligion. I rediscovered myself in that place without much difficulty.
Happiness is short-lived. That’s one of the plain truths of life. I was fortunate to have at least a decade and a half of happiness unintruded by religious people. But then they came. In the form of a religious cult. They were not interested in anybody’s soul. They were only bothered about throwing people out of the place and grab the property to themselves.
The old missionaries returned to my life using the opportunity. Missionaries always know how to strike when you are the most vulnerable. This second assault left me thoroughly beaten. It was unwarranted and unexpected. I couldn’t even continue blogging (my favourite hobby and pastime). It took me about six months to overcome the depression.
This second assault left a far deeper scar in my being.
However much I try to live in the present, I am unable to do it. My repeated experiences make me wary of everybody much as I long to trust at least one person.
Mine may be a unique experience. But I’m sure there are many people who have gone through other experiences which have reshaped their very being in undesirable ways. I’m sure the number of such people is not at all insignificant. That’s why I decided to write this. Just to tell them that it is not a sin if they can’t live in the present even though that is the ideal. Ideals belong to a privileged few: those who can shape their destiny in spite of external forces that impinge on us constantly. Most people are not so privileged. And hence most people have an yesterday whose ghosts haunt them, and a tomorrow that is already darkened by shadows.
“I’m only human, I’m just a man / Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am...” That’s the opening lines of the hymn with which I started this post. But who is going to offer that help? God? The hymn believes that. But I don’t. I am still an atheistic hedonist. I believe in the present. The religious people don’t. They believe in the life hereafter. That’s the endless conflict between them and me.
PS. This is written for Indispire Edition 146 #CelebrateTodayThisMoment