Reading stories and living in the future

I have many documents of my parents (letters etc.) from the second world war in Germany and Russia. I want to arrange them to give them my children; perhaps they can learn from history , from thinking and behavior of their grandparents.

These documents are very depressing. By working through this material I feel my reactions with body and mind like an echo of my ingrained structures , build up in early years of my life: sadness, like having heavy weights on my feets and on my heart.

Reading these documents and thinking about them I ask: how can I live in the future , cultivating appreciation for all what is coming in my life?

My parents: I now can look at their whole life: how should/could (?) THEY appreciate their future (my father died in the war, my mother after a cruel fate had cancer)? WE hear of many “positiv” aspects of the future. Does the future also present dark sides, negativ “Karma”, cruel fate?

And I myself ? I can stop reading and for example looking out of the window, that means, I cut up my contact to the past by force and repress thoughts about my parents and my past. – It seems better for me (and my parents) to be patient and (this thought came one day) to cultivate the Four Immesurables (compassion, love, equanimity and joyfulness).

What means: to think about love, deeper and deeper, the roots of love, the love of knowledge, a rose infront of me, a lotus flower, and my parents and little Peter in the background. And here and now I can begin to live (a little bit more) “in the future”.


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2 Responses to Reading stories and living in the future

  1. Peter says:

    Thank you, Michael, for telling your experiences. In the orientation for Week 4 Jack tells about an essay and in this essay he writes: “To allow for the possibility of forgiveness is to be open to the past, in the sense that one is ready to recreate that past and start over……Forgiveness in this sense offers a political equivalent to TSK´s invitation to free ourselves from the structures of linear temporality:”Rich in knowledge but lacking in substance , the past cannot bind us”(DTS,p.311).” p.285 and 286 in Light of Knowledge.

  2. michaelg says:

    Hi Peter,
    You raise difficult questions. The kind that anyone, such as myself at this time in my life, can be relieved not to have to ask. It seems that present happiness and the sense that there is a clear path ahead onto which my interests and engagements are free to step, makes the future feel like a friend in the neighborhood. But when past hurts and insurmountable distances crowd around the doorways of time (because the opportunity to surmount them among the living has gone), what can the future be but more of that darkness? Reading the thoughts you have shared makes me glad that my life seems simpler, less marked by the insanity of the past. I’m glad that the Four Immeasurables give you solace and open up a space into the openness of future time. As Hayward said, Joy can infiltrate the heaviness of Compassion (perhaps compassion for those who have gone too soon). But where is the doorway into all these happier states: aliveness, joy, the infinite possibilites of the future? I have wanted to use another word (Grace) at moments when I have been rescued from my own dark place, one that I seemed unable to crawl out of myself. In my case, it felt like I first espoused my freedom to make a leap into the freedom of the future, and then I didn’t have to make any leap. I was already there. –Michael

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