THE BLOG
01/21/2014 12:26 pm ET Updated Mar 23, 2014

Hindsight, Now Sight and Foresight

When I was a little guy, my mom was always asking me, "What did you learn from that?" I would look at her, and my mind would be blank. What did I learn? What do you mean what did I learn? I thought I could jump across the stream and I didn't make it. My new shoes were full of water and my Sunday pants had splats of mud on them. I learned that I couldn't jump as far as I thought. I think that's what I learned.

I would say I was a slow learner, because I heard my mom ask me that question more times than I can remember. What did I learn? What did I learn? I learned that eating cookies before dinner got me into trouble. I learned that lying had serious consequences. I learned that sleeping in class made my teacher mad. I learned that if I didn't tie my shoelaces that I would trip and fall. I learned that frogs don't stay in my pockets, and I learned that the ground is hard when you fall out of a tree.

My mom was trying to teach me "hindsight." It's the old cause and effect concept in reverse. Here's the "effect" -- what "caused" it? I was slow, at first; however, I began to catch on. That question she asked became a habit. What did I learn? I learned that if I want different results in my life, then I would have to do different things. I was beginning to get it. I was in my 20s, and I had a few scares to remind me of some of my past "learnings."

About this time I had a friend ask me, "What's happening?" I thought: Nothing's happening. I'm sitting here watching TV. I'm sleeping till noon. I'm late for work. I just got a speeding ticket. My car just ran out of gas. Nothing's happening except all that stuff. "It ain't fair," I'd think. "Why does all this stuff always happen to me?" I wasn't paying attention to what was going on in my life. I was dreaming about tomorrow or that cute girl I saw at the dance last Friday night. My life was passing me by. I was floating. Being present was far from my consciousness.

The first time I was aware that I was breathing was when I took a yoga class and the instructor said, "Breathe in. Feel the cool air as you inhale. Exhale. Feel the warm air coming out." I thought, "Warm air out? Cool air in? What's she talking about?" She then said, "Be present. Get into the now. Be aware that what you are doing now is creating your future. Breathe. This is the moment you have been waiting for. Enjoy the bliss and the magic of the moment."

Wow! The world suddenly changed for me. I began to understand what it meant to have "now sight." Magic happened. I stopped stubbing my toe at the foot of the bed. I was aware of where I was walking. I saw my thoughts jumping around and I slowly, ever so slowly, began to be able to hold a focus. At first it was just the "cool in and warm out' process of breathing, and then it expanded to seeing the speed limit signs. I began to obey the rules of the road. I realized the value of being on time, and the power of keeping my commitments with myself and others. I was living in the now. I didn't know where I was going, but I was present. Life was good. I liked breathing. I liked being. I liked living. Positive things were occurring regularly.

However, in spite of all this wonderful stuff, I still felt depressed. I wasn't sure why. I knew something was missing. Then this guy came along and asked, "What are you doing with your life? Where are you going? What do you want to do by the time you're 65. Who do you want to be?" I looked at him. I said, "I ask myself what I'm learning all the time and I get great answers. I've learned to breathe and to be in the now. I can focus on stuff. I'm good. I'm cool." He looked at me and replied, "That's nice, but where are you going? You need to learn "foresight."

"Foresight?" I said, "What's that?" He smiled.

Wow! I have gone around the sun many times since then. I now know where I am going. I keep my eyes on my North Star. No matter what I'm doing, that's where I'm going. That's my intention. How I get there is my method. I know my method keeps changing as I go through time, but my intention remains constant. I know it's an inner process and an outer process. I know it's good to have "hindsight" and learn from the past. I still ask the question, "What did I learn? I know that being present and having "now sight" is where you'll find the bliss. I'm still breathing in the cool and exhaling the warm. I can stay focused in the "now-ness" of life. I have also discovered the value of "foresight," keeping my eyes on a distant future. I now know if I want to get there that I have to do the things that keep me on course, and I can't do the things that take me off course. Life is expanding. My vision is expanding. I know how to get there -- one step at a time.