How many of us are mindful of our future, which often appears distant but is certainly going to visit us? Not everyone, if we go by what we are seeing at present. How can we justify, for example excessive or wrong eating, given the fact that everybody knows it will surely bring negative results in the near future? Similarly, we know that lust – as opposed to desire – has to be avoided. But how many care when lust drives?
Does everyone stick to his or her share in every matter? How about hatred, enmity, anger, pride, wasting time and all? Also, doing something that one will regret in future is surely a sign of ignoring the future.
No matter how oblivious one might be about one’s future, it is inevitability. According to the Bhagavad- Geeta, “As the embodied soul continuously passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body after the death of one. Physical strength wanes, as one gets older. A self-realised soul is not bewildered by such a change.”
So what does an intelligent person do? He or she gets into cultivating good habits. This is a great use of time in view of one’s future; plus, it gives benefits in the present as well. One should be sinless to the extent possible, which ensures a more satisfactory present and future.
If there is any doubt one should restrain one’s self. Our planning, if anything, should extend into thoughts about our next karmic life because it is said that one carries intelligence, deeds - both good and bad ones - which have not borne fruit thus far; and faith into the next birth.
Learning, patience and tolerance help since life is eternal. The types of pleasure one seeks should change with age, and that is being wise. One should strike the right balance between the present and the future. In short one should live one’s life like a chess player giving every act a minute look in view of the probable consequences.
What are the benefits of caution? One would draw less from the present, that is, make some sacrifices for the future. One should never think of procrastinating merriment; rather, one should draw limits to it. The limit should be determined by how much one can afford, without in any way affecting the future.
When we overdraw money, we are penalised by the bank. God, whom one cannot fool and who doesn’t forget anything done by us, is supervising everything. A smart person is one who gets close to God, who is the ultimate arbiter of our destiny, by doing acts ordained by him.
Therefore, smart living consists of enjoying the present as much as possible, while not compromising one’s future. One should be like a goldsmith, chipping away gradually. Life should be lived in an upward curve.
One should be jivana-mukta, working with propriety for the sake of liberation. It is never too late; you could start right now. Fear of future is unintelligent; we should not get paralysed by this fear but do something about it.