Q: Why Am I Always Daydreaming About the Future?

The question is from Gayatri. It is not only you, Gayatri, who is continuously daydreaming; everybody is doing that. Human mind as such is a daydreaming faculty. Unless you go beyond the mind, you will continue to daydream. Because the mind cannot exist in the present. It can either exist in the past or in

The question is from Gayatri. It is not only you, Gayatri, who is continuously daydreaming; everybody is doing that. Human mind as such is a daydreaming faculty. Unless you go beyond the mind, you will continue to daydream. Because the mind cannot exist in the present. It can either exist in the past or in the future. There is no way for the mind to exist in the present. To be in the present is to be without mind.

You try it. If there is a silent moment when no thought is crossing your being, your consciousness, when the screen of consciousness is absolutely unclouded, then suddenly you are in the present. That is the moment, the real moment – the moment of reality, the moment of truth. But then there is no past and no future.

Ordinarily, time is divided into these three tenses: past, present, future. The division is basically wrong, unscientific. Because present is not part of time. Past and future only are parts of time. Present is beyond time. Present is eternity.

Past and future are part of time. Past is that which is no more, and future is that which is not yet. Both are non-existential. Present is that which is. The existential cannot be a part of the non-existential. They never meet, they never cross each other’s way. And time is mind; past accumulated is what your mind is.

What is your mind? Analyse it, look into it. What is it? – just the past experiences piled up, accumulated. Your mind is just a blanket term, an umbrella term; it simply keeps, holds, your whole past. It is nothing else. If by and by you take your past out of the bag, the bag will disappear.

If past is the only reality for the mind, then what can the mind do? One possibility is that it can go on chewing, rechewing the past again and again. That’s what you call memory, remembrance, nostalgia. You go again and again backwards; again and again to the past moments, beautiful moments, happy moments. They are few and far between, but you cling to them. You avoid the ugly moments, the miserable moments.

But this you cannot do continuously because this is futile; the activity seems to be meaningless. The mind creates a ‘meaningful’ activity – that’s what daydreaming about the future is.

The mind says, ‘Yes, past is good, but past is finished; nothing can be done about it. Something can be done about the future because it is yet to come.’ So you choose out of your past experiences those which you would like to repeat again, and you drop experiences that were very miserable, painful; that you don’t want to repeat in the future.

So your future dreaming is nothing but past modified, better arranged, more decorated, more agreeable, less painful, more pleasant. This your mind goes on doing. And this way you go on missing reality.

Meditation simply means a few moments when you are not in the mind, a few moments when you slip out of the mind. You slip in reality, in that which is. These existential moments are so tremendously ecstatic that once you taste them, you will stop daydreaming.

Daydreaming will continue unless you start tasting meditation. Unless you are nourished on meditation, you will go on starving and hankering for some food in the future. And you know the future is not going to bring it, because today was future just one day before. Yesterday it was future, and you were daydreaming about it. Now it is there. What is happening? Are you happy? Yesterday was also one day in the future. The past was all part of future one day, and it has slipped – and the future will also slip. You are befooling yourself in daydreaming.

Become a little more aware and try to bring your consciousness more and more to the facticity of existence. See THIS flower, don’t think about THAT flower. Listen to THIS word I am uttering, not to THAT word that I am going to utter. Look at me right now. If you postpone even for a single split moment, you miss me.

And then it becomes a habit, a very ingrained habit. Tomorrow also you will miss me, and the day after tomorrow also, because you will remain the same. Not only that – your habit of daydreaming will have become more strong.

I was reading the other night a beautiful Japanese story. Such stories exist in all the folktales of the world, on similar patterns. It is a beautiful story. Listen to it.

There was once a man who hewed stones from the rock. His labour was very hard and he laboured much, but his wages were slight and he was not content.

Who is content? Not even emperors are content, so what to say about a stone-cutter? His work was certainly hard and the payoff was almost nothing.

He sighed because his labour was hard, and he cried, ‘Oh, I wish I was rich so I could rest on a couch with a cover of silk.’ And an angel came from heaven, saying, ‘You are what you have said.’

And this really happens – not only in parables and stories; it happens in real life. Whatsoever you think about yourself, starts happening. You create your world by your thought, you create your world by your desire. Whatsoever you insist on, starts happening. Reality goes on cooperating with you. It waits for the moment, for the day, when you will cooperate with it. Until then, it goes on cooperating with you.

And the angel said, ‘You are what you have said.’ And he was rich, and he did rest on a couch, and the cover was of silk, and the king of the land went by with horsemen in front of his carriage and behind the carriage there were also horsemen, and a golden parasol was held over the head of the king.

And when the rich man saw this, he was vexed that no golden parasol was held over his own head and he was not content. He sighed and cried, ‘I wish to be a king.’ And the angel came again and he said, ‘You are what you have said.’

And he was king and many horsemen rode in front of his carriage, and there were also horsemen behind his carriage and a golden parasol was held over his head, and the sun shone hot rays and scorched the earth so that the grass shoots withered. And the king complained that the sun burned his face and that it excelled him in power and he was not content. He sighed and cried, ‘I wish to be the sun.’ And the angel came and he said, ‘You are what you have said.’

And he was the sun and he directed his rays upward and down, to the right and to the left – everywhere – and he scorched the grass shoots on earth, and the countenances of kings who were on earth.

And a cloud placed itself between him and the earth, and the rays of the sun bounced back from it and he grew wrathful that his power was resisted. He complained that the cloud excelled him in power and he was not content. He wished to be the cloud, which was so powerful, and the angel came and he said, ‘You are what you have said.’

And he became a cloud and placed himself between the sun and the earth and caught the rays so that the grass grew green. The cloud rained large drops on the earth causing the rivers to swell and floods to carry the houses away, and he destroyed the fields with much water. He fell upon a rock which did not yield, and he splashed in great streams, but the rock did not yield, and he grew wrathful because the rock was not yielding to his power, and the power of his streams was in vain and he was not content.
He cried, ‘That rock has been given power which excels mine. I wish to be the rock.’ And the angel came and he was the rock, he did become the rock, and did not move when the sun shone nor when it rained.

And then there was a man with a pick and with a chisel and with a heavy hammer, and he hewed stones out of the rock and the rock said, ‘How can it be that this man has power that excels mine and hews stones out of my lap?’ and he was not content.

He cried, ‘I am weaker than he. I wish to be that man.’ And the angel came from heaven, saying, ‘You are what you have said.’

And he was a stone-cutter again. And he hewed stones from the rock with hard labour, and he laboured very hard for small wages – and he was content.

I don’t agree with the conclusion. That is the only disagreement with the story; otherwise the story is beautiful. I don’t agree with the conclusion. Because I know people – they cannot be so easily content. The wheel is complete. The story in a way has come to a natural end, but the real stories in life don’t come to any natural end. The wheel again starts moving.

That’s why in India we call life ‘the wheel’. It goes on moving, goes on repeating itself. As far as I can see, unless the stone-cutter became a Buddha, the story must have been repeated again. Again he will become discontent. Again he will long for a beautiful couch and a cover of silk, and again the same thing will start. But if this stone-cutter was really content, then he has jumped out of the wheel of life and death. He has become a Buddha.

This is what goes on happening to each mind – you long for something, it will happen, but by the time it happens you will see that you are still discontent. Something else is creating the misery now.

This is something to be understood – that if your desire is not fulfilled, you are frustrated; if it is fulfilled, then too you are not fulfilled. That is the misery of desire. Fulfilled, you are not fulfilled. Suddenly many new things arise.

You had never thought that when you will be a king, and horse-men will be in front of you and at the back of you, and a golden parasol will be over your head, the sun can be so hot that it can scorch your face. You had never thought about it. Then you dreamed of becoming a sun, and you become a sun, and you had never thought about the cloud. Now the cloud is there – and proving you impotent.

And this goes on and on and on, like waves in the ocean… non-ending – unless you understand and simply jump out of the wheel.

Life is here, life is now. God is here and god is now. If you are searching him in your daydreams, your search is in vain, because god is nothing but deep contentment.

The mind that goes on telling you, ‘Do this, be that. Possess this, possess that… otherwise how can you be happy if you don’t have this? You have to have a palace, then you can be happy….’ If your happiness has a condition to it, you will remain unhappy. If you cannot be happy just as you are – a stone-cutter… I know hard is the labour, wages are poor, life is a struggle, I know – but if you cannot be happy as you are, in spite of it all; if you cannot be happy, you are not going to be happy ever.

Unless a man is happy, simply happy, for no reason at all, unless a man is mad enough to be happy without any reason, a man is not going to be happy ever. You will always find something destroying your happiness. You will always find something missing, something absent. And that missing will become your daydream again.

And you cannot achieve a state where everything, everything is available. Even if it is possible, then too you will not be happy. Just look at the mechanism of the mind: if everything is available as you want it, suddenly you will feel bored. Now what to do?

I have heard this – and I think it is reliable – that people who have reached heaven are bored – it is from very reliable sources, you can depend on it – they are sitting under their kalptarus, the wish-fulfilling trees, and they are bored. Because the moment they say something, the angel appears, and immediately he fulfills their desire. There is no gap between their desire and their fulfillment. They want a beautiful woman, a Cleopatra, and she is there. Now what to do with such a Cleopatra? It is pointless – and they get bored.

In Indian Puranas there are many stories of devas who became so bored in heaven that they started longing for the earth. They have everything there. When they were on the earth, they were hankering for heaven. They may have been great ascetics, they may have renounced the world, women, everything, to attain to heaven. Now they have reached heaven; now they are hankering for the world.

I have heard:

The pilot of a new jet plane was winging over the Catskills and pointed out a pleasant valley to his second-in-command.

‘See that spot?’ he demanded. ‘When I was a barefoot kid, I used to sit in a flat-bottomed rowboat down there, fishing. Every time a plane flew by, I would look up and dream I was piloting it. Now I look down and dream I am fishing.’

Now he has become a pilot. First he was a poor boy, fishing, and jet planes would roar above and he would look up and he would dream that ‘one day, god willing, I will become a pilot’. The thrill of the open sky, the winds, the vastness…. He must have been dreaming, and he must have been feeling very miserable – just a poor boy, fishing in an ordinary rowboat.

And now he says to his second-in-command, ‘Now I am the pilot. Now I look down and dream I am fishing.’ Now the small, beautiful lake, deep down in the valley, with beautiful trees, and birds singing, and the meditative relaxation of fishing…. Now he must be dreaming how to get retirement, how to get rid of this piloting.

That’s how it goes on and on. When you are not famous you want to be famous. You feel very hurt that people don’t know you. You pass through the streets – nobody looks at you, nobody recognizes you. You feel like a non-entity.

You do hard work to become famous. One day you become famous. Now you cannot move in the street. Now the crowd stares at you. You don’t have any freedom. Now you have to remain closed in your chamber. You cannot get out, you are imprisoned. Now you start thinking about those beautiful days when you used to walk on the streets and you were so free… as if you were alone. Now you hanker for those days. Ask the famous people….

Voltaire writes in his memoirs that once he was not famous – as everybody was one day not famous – and he desired and desired and he worked hard, and he became one of the most famous men in France. His fame increased so much that it became almost dangerous for him to go out of his room, because in those superstitious days people used to think that if you can get a piece of the clothes of a very great man, it becomes a protection; it has tremendous value, protective value. It protects you against ghosts, against bad accidents and things like that.

So if he had to go to the station to catch a train, he would go under police escort, otherwise people would tear his clothes. Not only that – his skin would be torn, and he would come home with blood flowing.

He became so fed up with this fame – that he could not even get out of his house; people were always there like wolves to jump upon him – and he started praying to god, ‘Finished! I have known this. I don’t want it. I have become almost a dead person.’ And then it happened. The angel came, must have come, and he said, ‘Okay.’ By and by his fame disappeared.

People’s opinions change very easily; they don’t have any integrity. Just like fashion, things change. You can be famous one day, the next day you can become the most notorious man. One day you are at the top of your fame, the next day people completely forget about you. One day you are the president, the next day you are just citizen Richard Nixon. Nobody bothers.

It happened that people’s minds changed, the opinion, the climate changed, and people completely forgot about him. He would come to the station and he would long that at least someone, at least one person must be waiting there to receive him. And nobody would come to receive him – only his dog.

When he died, there were only four persons giving him the last goodbye; three were men and the fourth was his dog. He must have died in misery, again hankering for fame. What to do? This is how things go on.

Mind will never allow you to be happy. Whatsoever the condition, the mind will always find something to be unhappy about. Let me say it in this way: mind is a mechanism to create unhappiness. Its whole function is to create unhappiness.

If you drop the mind, suddenly you become happy… for no reason at all. Then happiness is just natural, as you breathe. For breathing, you need not be even aware. You simply go on breathing. Conscious, unconscious, awake, asleep, you go on breathing. Happiness is exactly like that.

That’s why in the East we say that happiness is your innermost nature. It needs no outside condition; it is simply there, it is you. Bliss is your natural state; it is not an achievement. If you simply get out of the mechanism of the mind, you start feeling blissful.

That’s why you will see that mad people are more happy than so-called sane people. What happens to mad people? They also get out of the mind – of course in a wrong way, but they get out of the mind. A madman is one who has fallen below the mind. He’s out of the mind. That’s why you can see that mad people are so happy. You can feel jealous. You can even daydream, ‘When will this blessing happen to us?’ He is condemned, but he is happy.

What has happened to a madman? He is no more thinking of the past and no more thinking of the future. He has dropped out of time. He has started living in eternity.

It happens the same way to the mystic also, because he goes above mind. I am not telling you to become mad, but I am telling you that there is a similarity between the madman and the mystic. That’s why all great mystics look a little mad and all great mad people look a little like mystics.

Watch a madman’s eyes and you will find his eyes very mystic… a glow, some otherworldly glow, as if he has some inner door from where he reaches to the very core of life. He is relaxed. He may have nothing, but he is simply happy. He has no desires, no ambitions. He is not going anywhere. He is simply there… enjoying, delighting.

Yes, madmen and mystics have something similar. That similarity is because both are out of the mind. The madman has fallen below it, the mystic has gone beyond it. The mystic is also mad with a method; his madness has a method in it. The madman has simply fallen below.

I am not saying become mad. I am saying become mystics. The mystic is as happy as the mad and as sane as the sane. The mystic is as reasonable, even more reasonable, than so-called rationalist people, and yet so happy, just like mad people. The mystic has the most beautiful synthesis. He is in a harmony. He has all that a reasonable man has. He has both. He is complete. He is whole.

You ask, Gayatri, Why am I always daydreaming about the future? You are daydreaming about the future because you have not tasted the present. Start tasting the present. Find out a few moments where you are simply delighting.

Looking at the trees, just be the look. Listening to the birds, just be a listening ear. Let them reach to your deepest core. Let their song spread all over your being. Sitting by the side of the beach, just listen to the wild roar of the waves, become one with it… because that wild roar of the waves has no past, no future. If you can tune yourself with it, you will also become a wild roar. Hug a tree and relax into it. Feel its green shape rushing into your being. Lie down on the sand, forget the world, commune with the sand, the coolness of it; feel the coolness saturating you. Go to the river, swim, and let the river swim within you. Splash around, and become the splashing.

Do whatsoever you feel you enjoy, and enjoy it totally. In those few moments, the past and future will disappear and you will be herenow. And those moments will bring the first good news, the first gospel of god.

The gospel is not in the Bible. The gospel is in the rivers and in the wild roar of the ocean and in the silence of the stars. The good news is written all over. The whole universe is a message. Decode it. Learn its language. Its language is that of herenow.

Your language is that of past and future. So if you go on speaking the language of the mind, you will never be in tune, in harmony with existence. And if that harmony is not tasted, how can you stop daydreaming? – because that is what your life is.

It is as if a poor man is carrying a bag of ordinary stones, thinking that they are great diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and if you say to him, ‘Drop these. You are a fool. These are just ordinary stones,’ he cannot believe you. He will think you are tricking him. He will cling to it, because that’s all he has.

I will not say to that man to renounce his bag. I will try to show him real rubies, emeralds, diamonds. Just a glimpse of them and he will throw the bag. Not even that he will renounce it – because there is nothing to renounce; it is just ordinary stones. You don’t renounce ordinary stones.

He will simply become aware that he was living under an illusion. Now there are real diamonds.

Suddenly his own stones fade, they disappear. And he will simply empty his bag immediately without your telling him, because now he has something else to put in the bag. He will need the bag, the space.

So I don’t say to you, drop going into the future, drop going into the past. Rather, I would like to say to you, make more contacts with the present. When present arises with its grandeur, its beauty, everything pales down. Renunciation follows awareness like a shadow.

Osho, The Discipline of Transcendence, Vol. 2, Ch 2, Q 1

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