Tomorrow is Our Permanent Address

By | August 30, 2011

I just came across this phrase and wished I had come up with it for a book chapter I’m working on. On second thought, I realized that it would be unlikely to capture reader interest, considering how obsessed we are with the now. From bestselling books to Buddhist philosophy, we are given the message to quit dwelling in the past and projecting into the future, and instead be in the moment. The movement gained momentum back in the sixties with Ram Dass saying, “Be here now,” and popular songs echoing the “live for today” theme.

Unlike much of what the sixties counterculture gave us, the “in the now” message never died, as evidenced by Eckhart Tolle’s 2004 bestseller, The Power of Now. I see the philosophy as a natural outgrowth of the narcissism that has become the underlying theme of Western culture. Self-fulfillment and abundance gurus are making millions, and we are consuming our planet at a rate that would take an Earth four times the size of ours to sustain.

I’d like to point out another fundamental flaw in the philosophy—the now does not exist. The word you just read exists in the past, and already your attention is on the rest of the sentence. This is no fault of yours or mine; it is simply the way we are designed. If I let go of what I just read and do not continually focus on the upcoming words, my reading will be choppy and it will be hard for me to follow a train of thought.

We see the results of living for today all around us: dwindling supplies of everything from petroleum to clean water, and tens of thousands of our fellow creatures who are not here to enjoy this utopian now we have created. We may have even signed our own termination order.

Many American Indians consider how the decisions they make will affect the seventh generation to follow them. Honor and respect is their code of ethics, and they believe that giving is receiving. If I live for today, my focus is only on the receiving—it’s all about me. After all, tomorrow may never come. I’m here now, why would I even think about people seven generations from now? I’ll never know them, and I doubt they’ll ever even hear my name.

“The seventh generation” is the next phrase in my sentence. When I see my life—and life in general—as a continuum rather than a point in time, I naturally cherish the future. Tomorrow becomes my permanent address.


5 Comments

Rose on October 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm.

I’m always a little confused when you take a concept you espouse regularly, such as living in the now, and then turn around and dissect it. It’s very trickster.

Reply

Tamarack on November 19, 2011 at 10:17 am.

Hi Rose,

It’s just an old advertising trick: use a hook to get them in the door, then dazzle them with the pricey goods. Actually, Tomorrow is the same mountain as the Now. One day I just got a notion to climb up the Now trail it and see what was on the other side. Once I got there and found Tomorrow, I couldn’t return—the sign marking the trail back to the Now, now said “Yesterday.”

Come over Tomorrow,

Tamarack

Reply

julio ceasar on September 12, 2011 at 5:53 pm.

eternal present has been around for thousands of yrs main stream ahh
the kingdom of heaven is now with-in circa 65 a.d new testament, Apocrypha was a popular movement. still? or was the greek equivalent for now something different… I see that now (eternal present) is the deep longing in man to get back to mother nature. who’s already there (nature) as well with the body.

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Tamarack on September 18, 2011 at 9:24 am.

Julio,

Your perspective resonates with me: our yearning to be in the now is actually an expression of our deep need to reconnect with nature. This could be the natural realm per se, as well as the intrinsic nature of a relationship or other experience. We yearn for the essence—the true nature—of things. The mind might perceive this as the state of being fully immersed in the now; however once in the now, we come to find that it is actually a continuum taking us endlessly to the tomorrow that never comes.

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Thomas on September 22, 2011 at 10:18 am.

Simple and straightforward, it cuts right through the currently so popular feel-good live-in-the-now mantra. I´ll keep this in mind next time someone tries to convince me to live in the now at the exclusion of past and future (which, as you stated, are really all a part of a continuum) 😉

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